There is an event in Detroit called Slow Roll. Every Monday night bike riders gather for a pedal through Detroit’s neighborhoods. I got me thinking, why can’t we do this in Monroe? We can! So Mon-Roll was created. We did add a slight twist so we included a stop for Michigan craft beer.
So here’s the plan. Every Monday at 6:30p we will meet at Loranger Square, located in downtown Monroe. Then we will take a moderately paced ride out to a local bar. Drink a beverage of your choice. My choice will be a Michigan craft beer and you will not be shunned if you have a soft drink. You will be if you order a Coors Light. I’m just kidding? We will then ride back to one of the downtown bars for one more beer.
Now for the rules… First rule of Mon-Roll is talk about Mon-Roll. Second rule is about helmets. I wear a helmet but I will not make you wear one. That decision is yours and your alone. We will obey the rules of the road. And no rider will be left behind.
Some people think of Friday the 13th with a sense of doom fearing that something bad is lirking right around the corner. I on the other hand am looking forward to Hopslam arriving in Monroe today knowing that four of my five senses will be very happy tonight.
I found out that kegs are arriving today at McGeady’s and Harbor Inn & Ale. I talked to the owner of HIA and he said that it will be on tap today.
Bottles will be showing up in stores so look for them at Jake’s and Foodtown.
Erie Bread Company in Monroe, MI will be selling bread baked using spent grain this Tuesday, December 28, from the local homebrew club, Muskrat Mashers. The grain came from Craig Laginess, an avid beer lover and our club treasurer. He brewed a wheat and rye so the bread will include four pounds of each grain.
It is fantastic to have a local bakery that is so willing to work with a local group like us. The fact that they are so good at what they do is an added plus. Thank you for choosing Monroe to be your home.
I can’t wait to try the bread and Craig’s beer. You can drop off a bottle when it’s done.
I hope everyone will have a safe and joyful Christmas and that beer geeks everywhere are sharing locally made beer with their loved ones. I bought a 12 pack of individual local craft beer for our gift exchange tonight so I may pick that gift out for myself.
We have a very special “beer” for today. It’s B. Nektar (Ferndale, MI) Cranberry Melomel which is a mead made with cranberries and orange zest. I bought this bottle at Merchant’s in Dearborn. Yes, technically it’s a mead and not a beer but it’s a special occasion and I think that Jesus would want us to enjoy something a little special on the eve of his birthday.
Here is the description from the bottle…
Only 20 gallons of this Cranberry Melomel (Batch 58) were made in January, 2010 (a melomel is a mead made with fruit). Orange blossom honey was fermented with 30 pounds of whole cranberries for a wonderful tart balance. Then we aged the mead on some orange zest to bring out the citrus-like character of the honey. The aroma is very complex with cranberry, honey and hints of citrus. The flavor doesn’t disappoint with tart cranberry up front followed by citrus-laden honey. This mead is also incredibly gorgeous in the glass with a striking pinkish-orange hue.
The bottle’s description is pretty thorough but I will try to add something to it. The mead is a beautiful salmon color with a slight carbonation to it.It has a sweet honey nose with hints of cranberries and orange. It has a nice tart taste from the cranberries that sets it apart from other meads I have had. The orange adds a hint of citrus to the sweetness of the honey along with a slight earthiness. The mouthfeel is dry but soft on your tongue.
If you don’t like mead because it is too sweet this one has a nice tartness to balance it out, so you may enjoy this one. I really like B. Nektar’s meads and recommend them for the holiday season. What is great is that they are easy to find in our local stores so now I can enjoy them whenever I want.
I will warn you. Don’t drink this on a empty stomach. It is 12% ABV and I am feeling it. Too busy cleaning house to eat.
Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs to end this post as well as our advent series. Enjoy!
It’s somewhat of a special occasion tonight since neither of us has to work until next week. Sarah doesn’t go back to work till 2011. I’m not so lucky. So we bumped our scheduled Advent beer tonight so we could split a growler of Jolly Pumpkin that I bought from the cafe yesterday. As soon as I tried this beer I wanted to share with it Sarah as soon as I could. So our beer tonight is Nightmare Before Vicious Sour Wheat IPA. I’m not sure why it is called that but it seems to be a play on words with The Nightmare Before Christmas. I should have swiped a beer menu.
The color is a bright golden amber with a white head. It had very little head retention but it had more retention when it was poured at the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe. The aroma has a farmhouse sourness that is distinctively Jolly Pumpkin. Once that clears you can smell the oakiness. The mouthfeel is dry with a tart crisp bite and really excites the tongue.The farmhouse sourness is in the forefront of this beer with some bready sweetness from the wheat and a finish of grassy hops .
I would place this beer at the top of the advent beer so far. I am always impressed with Jolly Pumpkin beers. They have a distinct flavor yet each beer is distinctly different. When you see the process that Ron Jeffries goes through you realize why it is called Artisan Ales instead of a brewery.
Now to enjoy the rest of our night, good beer, bad movies and ugly gift wrapping jobs.
Merry Winter Solstice pagans! It is the longest night of the year here in America. But as I write this some Aussie is throwing another shrimp on the barbie because he has 4 more hours of daylight. I realize all I know of their culture is through TV and movies so I am going to stop before I stereotype them into giving me a booting. Our beer tonight is Solstice d’hiver brewed by Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel in Montreal Quebec. It was purchased at Merchant’s in Dearborn.
Since it is a Barleywine, I am hoping it is the perfect beer for tonight.
This is from the website…
“The Solstice d’Hiver is brewed only once a year in the month of July, and is then aged for 5 to 6 months before being put on tap on the 21st of December. This aging process is necessary to achieve an ideal equilibrium between the sharp bitterness and the other flavours in the beer. Also, every year, two 50 liter kegs are put aside. One is served as of the following 21st of June, after one year of maturation, and the other is served as of the following 21st of December (a year and a half of aging) to accompany the new batch”
The beer we are drinking tonight was brewed this July and even though the ABV on the website says it’s 9% the bottle say it’s 10.2%. I would love to find one from last year to try along side this one.
The color of this beer is a deep reddish, copper brown and moderately cloudy. It pours a light beige head with decent head retention.
The aroma is full of caramel malt notes and a distinct alcohol nose. It is unmistakably a barley wine and the alcohol is powerful in the flavor with a very distinct (almost harsh) burn in both the flavor and in the mouthfeel as it goes down. Almost so much so that it overpowers the other flavors that we should be getting in the beer. We would like to taste this beer again after it has aged a little bit more which I think would mellow it out considerably. If we can get our hands on a bottle from this batch next year we will definitely feature a reprise review.
We were both very excited about this beer and it fell a little short of expectations. But if you like the flavor of alcohol this beer would be great for warming up your night. Especially if you are trying to cajole a special someone into staying a little later at your house. I can’t help thinking of the “what’s in this drink?” from “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.
By the way, if you can zoom in on the ornament in the picture you will see Sarah at age five.
…And down the stretch we come. For those of you that do have an Advent calendar you noticed that we are out of the teens and Christmas is just 5 days away. Tonight’s beer is called Abita S.O.S. (Save Our Shore). Abita is a brewery located near Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. Being part of a community that has been affected so negatively this year by the oil spill Abita decided to create S.O.S., a beer to raise money and consciousness. It is a weizen pils at 7% ABV so this should be a nice change of pace from all the other beers we have had.
Here is their description…
“This Abita Beer is a message in a bottle…a distress signal for the troubled waters of our Gulf Coast. For every bottle sold Abita will donate 75¢ to the rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive this disastrous oil spill. This unfiltered Weizen Pils is made with Pilsner and Wheat malts. It is hopped and dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops. It has a brilliant gold color, a sweet malt flavor, and a pleasant bitterness and aroma.”
The label on the bottle describes this beer pretty accurately, which makes our job tonight that much easier. It pours a hazy golden with a nice white lingering foamy head. The aroma and flavor is crisp, floral and spicy, which you would expect from the pils malt. It is light bodied and crisp with biscuity maltiness in the onset which soon gives way to a refreshing floral hop bitterness.
Its probably not the type of beer you would expect to be drinking around Christmastime which makes it an even more welcome variation, at least for us. In our opinion, pilsners are pretty hard to pull off and the style is unfairly maligned by some but the brewers at Abita have succeeded in making a good easy drinking and flavorful beer. The fact that its for a good cause makes it that much more enjoyable for us.
This past weekend, my wife and I went to an AHA membership rally at Bells in Kalamazoo. They had a tour of Bells Brewery to start off, and then it was off to the Eccentric Cafe downtown for the rally. The tour was awesome. The place was far bigger than I imagined. I got a chance to meet and chat with Larry Bell and Charlie Papazian (founder of the American Homebrewers Association and author of The Comlete Joy of Homebrewing). Both were amazingly down to earth cool guys to chat to. We were handed Bells pint glasses as we walked in filled with goodies (stickers, pin, bottle cap opener and 1 oz. of hops!). I took video of Larry and Charlie speaking and posted them on Youtube. Both gave pretty cool talks. I also included a link to my pictures of the brewery tour and event below. I had a great time, met a lot of awesome Michigan homebrewers and am looking forward to receiving my Zymurgy magazine.