Maté Hartai (The Libertine), Sam Wynne (Flying Saucer/Meddlesome Moth), and Jeff Fryman (formerly of Union Bear and currently working on a new project with Matt Tobin and the folks at Goodfriend) are leaving for LA today. They hope to return as a Master Cicerones, the third and final level of certification of beer service. All three have already achieved the first two levels: Cicerone Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone. Today there are about 30 Certified Cicerones in the state. Currently, there are only four Master Cicerones in the country. Four. In the country.
Like the Master Sommelier program designed to provide high quality wine knowledge and service, the Cicerone Certification Program was created to change the image of beer from a twisting off a the top of a longneck to a experiencing the essence of a carefully crafted and sophisticated glass of beer served by experts.
The exam, limited to 12 participants, takes place Tuesday and Wednesday and includes written, oral, and tasting components. Four industry experts conduct extensive interview sessions and candidates must pass a rigorous blind assessment of beer styles. In other words, these guys have to be walking beer encyclopedias.
Sam tells me the group has been studying together for months hunkering down and comparing similar styles as conducting blind tasting to determine the style and origin and brewing company. They also studied with Wim Bens of Lakewood Brewing and Michael Peticolas of Peticolas Brewing Company. Recently Peticolas won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for his Royal Scandal, a classic English-style pale ale. He’s only been open for about six months. “We also did sensory training using an off-flavor kits provided by the Seibel Institute in Chicago,” Wynne said. “Basically we use eyedroppers to put chemicals in our beer that replicate the flavors and aromas caused by mistreatment, poor sanitation, and fermentation conditions that are less than ideal. We trained ourselves to recognize these in commercial beer and be able to identify the cause of flaw to ensure the people we serve only receive top quality product.”
It was bound to happen. Williams Sonoma, aka the folks who brought “keeping up with the Joneses” to the kitchen, has entered the world of mail-order homebrew (except they call it “artisanal beer,” natch).
Check it out:
With their apartment-friendly beer-making kits, Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of the Brooklyn Brew Shop make it easy to craft artisanal beer – right in your own kitchen. Showcasing the finest barley, hops, yeast and spices, your all-natural home-crafted brew will taste as great as the premium artisanal beers served at the best brew pubs.
Choose either fresh summer wheat beer or India Pale Ale (IPA), a pub favorite with bold, hops-intensive flavor.
Includes the specialty equipment and ingredients you’ll need for home-brewing, including enough grain, hops and yeast for your first batch.
Additional equipment and ingredients required: six-quart pot, fine-mesh strainer, funnel, honey and ice.
Step-by-step instructions guide you through every stage: the mash, the sparge, the boil, fermentation and bottling.
The entire brewing process takes approximately 17 days.
Each mix produces 1 gal. of IPA beer or fresh summer wheat beer.
Equipment can be reused over and over to make more fresh beer.
1-gal. glass fermenting jug.
3-piece chambered airlock.
12″ laboratory thermometer.
Ingredient mix (choose summer wheat or IPA).
jump for the burning questions… Continue reading "Brews News: Surefire Hit or Satan in a Sunday Hat? You Be the Judge."2 Comments »
Perhaps I have a soft-spot in my heart for Oak Cliff’s Brew Riot Homebrew Festival because it was the first Dallas beer event I attended after moving here to town last May. Or perhaps it’s because Brew Riot is such a grass-roots, neighborhood kind of event. Either way, I get thirsty just thinking about it.
The third annual event is set for next Sunday, May 22 from 4 to 8 pm, and will draw hundreds of homebrew lovers to the Bishop Arts district to sample some amazing homebrews.This year, organizers are adding the Backyard Burger Throwdown. Bring your own grill and 10 lbs. of meat and see if you’ve got what it takes to be named the Bishop Arts Backyard Burger Champ.
Last year, Blockhead Brewing Company won the People’s Choice Award, and St Canterbury Home Brew Club walked away with two prizes: Best Dark Ale and Best Pale Ale. This year’s homebrew judges will include for-real microbrewers as well as our own Todd Johnson.
jump for the categories… Continue reading "More Brews News: Oak Cliff Brew Riot Homebrew Festival, May 22"2 Comments »
Starting tomorrow you can sample from more than 100 craft and import beers at a three-day North Dallas event brought to you by North Texas Beer Festival, Guiness, Franconia, and FC Dallas. (Beer & soccer—sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.) The main event will go down Saturday from 1-11 pm at the Plano Center; general admission tickets cost $30; your ticket entitles you to 12 2oz. tasters.
Events kick off tomorrow at 7 pm with a Sunset Brews Cruise at the Pier 121 Marina in Lewisville (1481 E. Park Hill Road). To participate in this part of the event, attendees must purchase the $ $119 VIP ExBEERience package.
On Sunday at 3pm, duffers can head to the Top It Off Charity Golf Tournament. Registration is $95 per person and proceeds benefit the Good Samaritan Inn. The event will be held at Top Golf, 1500 Allen Station Parkway.
jump to read more... Continue reading "Brews News: North Texas Beer Festival Starts Tomorrow"
We feel for Rick Donley; really, we do. Especially after reading this morning’s New York Times article by Chris Smith (Texas Tribune). How befuddling it must be for Donley, as president of the Beer Alliance of Texas (read: lobbyist for big boys Bud Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors Light and Natural Light), to have to continually explain why allowing small breweries in Texas to distribute their beer is such a bad, bad idea, how it will ruin us all, and how your very children will be in danger if craft breweries are able to make their product available under the same regulatory channels that the big boys do.
Here are some favorite passages:
Mr. Donley said he worries that their products could be shipped to dry counties or to minors. “This regulatory system has worked well since Prohibition,” Mr. Donley said. “Why anybody wants to disrupt it is a question I can never quite get an answer to.”
…while the locally brewed beer business is booming nationally, it is lagging in Texas, where the laws governing distribution are restrictive.
You may recall that we broached this issue in our October 2010 issue; many of you echoed our frustrations. Now’s the time to keep pushing, folks, especially since the lunacy of our regulatory system is qualifying as national news. Want to join the fight? Check out Texas Beer Freedom, a non-profit lobbying group on OUR side of the issue.
I encourage you to read the entire article to get how truly transparent and ludicrous Donley’s argument is. (And let us know if you, to, see obvious parallels to a certain family values argument that makes levelheaded people boil in their boots.)
(Many thanks and props to Christopher Smith who wrote and researched the NYT/Texas Tribune article.)11 Comments »
When the Discovery channel announced the development of Brew Masters, a new shadow-style reality show following the men behind the malt, specifically the brew-ventures of Dogfish Head Brewery’s brewer-founder Sam Calagione, we jumped for joy (or would have if we hadn’t had so much beer last night).
We thought we couldn’t be happier as we marked our calendars for the Nov. 21 premier.
Flash forward to last Saturday morning when I received an email from my buddy Jeff Fryman, in-house cicerone at The Common Table, who told me that, starting with the premier episode at 9pm on the 21st, The Common Table will be throwing Sunday evening viewing parties.
Happiness officially compounded.
“Hey,” says Jeff, “if people can have Sex in the City parties we damn sure can have one for our favorite beverage, right?”
Be sure to call ahead if you want them to save you a seat. But beware if you’re seated next to one of us; we SideDishers can get a little mouthy, I mean handsy, I mean excitable when we drink.
Consider yourself forewarned.
Let it not be said that brewing is without its drama – it’s marriages, its breakups, it’s longing glances. Oh, who am I kidding. Even at its most scandalous, craft brewing drama is pretty tame. Take the on-again/off-again collegiality of Homebrew Headquarters owner & chief brewing educator Kelly Harris and his former employee and student Ben Motley, the current beer curator at Central Market. The two, who co-taught Sunday afternoon’s Homebrewing Workshop (the final scheduled event in the store’s Brewtopia extravaganza), have a history as colleagues, pseudo-competitors, and now conspirators.1 Comment »