Friday, January 11, 2008

TGIF Roundup!

Several nuggets o' knowledge to drop on ya on this magnificent Friday... so let's get right to it!

I'm going to Malt Disneyland!

This MSNBC bit by Lew Bryson focuses on what I like to call "The land o' milk(stouts) and honey(ales) - BELGIUM! Whatever we're doing over here in the good ole US of A with beer, Belgium has already done it. Like 1,000 years ago. Belgium is to beer what videotape is to the New England Patriots. Or Lidocaine is to Roger Clemens.

Fran (that's my incredible wife) and I just started planning our mega European trip in 2010, which coincides with the 200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Coincidence? Not hardly. But I digress... Belgium will, if all things go according to plan, be included on the itinerary. I already have one Belgium bar on the "Bars to visit before you die" list (the Delirium Cafe in Brussels), but thanks to Lew's article I've just added another - the Tavern Dulle Griet in Ghent.

They offer over 250 different beers, including all the famous Trappist beers and an extensive range of exclusive Gueuze and Kriek beers. Their specialty truly is special! To get the “Max of the House” you must first take off a shoe, which then gets hoisted into a basket and raised to the ceiling. Hell, after a few hours at the Griet I'll give 'em more than a shoe!

Cicerone Certification Program Update

Got an Email from Ray Daniels - Director, Cicerone Certification Program - regarding a few new changes to the Cicerone Program. Check out the site for all the details, but here's a quick breakdown:
  1. A revised and updated Novice Syllabus is available. This can be reviewed (it appears in the registered user area) to see what will be on the Certified Beer Server Exam.
  2. You can now take the Certified Beer Server Exam ONLINE. This is required to become a full-fledged Certified Cicerone. The exam must be completed in 30 minutes or less, so be prepared if you decide to take it online.

Hop it like a monk!

Dean Biersch is the co-founder of Gordon Biersch, one of the top brewpub chains in the U.S. But that concept came about twenty years ago. Today he's got a new idea that he thinks can become yet another chain. One I'm very intrigued by because Fran (my soul-mate and "BDB" - Best Drinking Buddy) and I have designs on eventually opening our own pub.

Now a resident of Sonoma, California, Dean plans to start this new project by reopening the 105-year-old former electric-rail depot in Sebastopol and christening it - HopMonk Tavern. Dean plans on buying a house pilsner from Gordon Biersch while rotating 16 other draught selections, including one devoted to cask-conditioned beers, starting with one from Petaluma's Lagunitas Brewing Co. If you're an IPA fan, you'll absolutely dig their hoptastic version. While I was on holiday a few weeks ago I stumbled upon one of their rare seasonals - Cappuccino Stout. It fuggin rocked! These guys are great... and a bit wacky! They literally brew up whatever the hell they feel like and stick 'em in 22 ouncers. BAM First come first serve. But I digress...

The type of draughts will focus on seasonal selections. According to Colorado-based (the #1 brewing state in the country mind you) Brewers Association spokeswoman Julia Herz, seasonals rank #2 in sales only behind pale ales. People love 'em! I know I do! And I hope this thing takes off like a rocket! One free of lidocaine and B-12 that is. ;)

Have a great weekend, and imbibe some good brews while watching football! Zivjeli!