Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All About Brewing: Slows Beer Camp #1

Front: Slows Bar BQ manager Terry Perrone, incognito.
Back, L to R: Mr. and Mrs. Cicerone, head chef Brian Perrone, manager Tara Garrity.
Yesterday somebody tweeted a quotation from somebody else (sorry, I drank away the brain cells necessary for remembering names) to the effect that any fine dining establishment that does not include fine beer on its menu is not a fine dining establishment.

Fortunately, more and more restaurants are starting to catch on and some, like Detroit's acclaimed Slows Bar BQ, not only "got it" from the beginning, but are taking the extra step of training their staff in all aspects of beer — including brewing.

April 18 marked the first "Slows Beer Camp" at the Allen Park home of Mike Bardallis and Annette May, Certified Cicerones®, proprietors of the Trust Me, I'm a Cicerone®! blog, and bona fide ®elatives of your correspondent. Head chef Brian Perrone and managers Terry Perrone and Tara Garrity came out for a hands-on brew session to deepen their knowledge of beer ingredients and production at the feet of award-winning homebrewer® Mike, aka Mr. Cicerone®, aka Dr. Acula.

The beer chosen for the session was an imperial pilsener, and it was so x-treme, it took most of the day to make, from dough-in to decoction to decanting the wort into carboys for fermentation. Luckily, throughout the process there was plenty of Rye Peppercorn Ale™ and other homebrews as well as a fabulous Passover-style feast prepared by Annette, aka Mrs. Cicerone®.

The pilsener will be lagering for a few months, but in the meantime, more Slows staff members will be coming by to create other batches so they can learn how to answer common customer questions like, "Where does beer come from?" or "What the hell is a vorlauf?" Be sure to test their knowledge!

The full photo album from Slows Beer Camp® #1 is here.

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