Archive for March, 2011

Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.

By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio

Style: Amber Ale
Hemp: Organic toasted hemp seed
Grain: 2-Row, Crystal and Malted Rye, Victory, Flaked Barley
Hops: German Hallertauer and Summit and American Cascade
23 IBUs
5.5% ABV


Here we have O’Fallon’s Hemp Hop Rye amber ale. After all the legal maneuvering we have a solid hemp flavored local beer (calm down – there is no way the Federal government is allowing the distribution of a beer with any THC in it). The beer pours out murky amber in color with nice head retention on the pour. The smell is a balance of malt sweetness and very light spice from the rye. There’s also a herbally effect from the German hops. The taste is greater than the sum of its parts and is extremely balanced – the herbal bite and citrus pop from the hops, the spice of the rye, the nuttiness of the toasted hemp seeds, all with a solid malt foundation. Only point of complaint was this batch seemed more yeasty than the last time we had it. Overall the beer is really balanced, drinks very smooth, and is a great addition to O’Fallon’s “everyday beer” catalog.

 

About the Authors Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.

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Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.

By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio

Style: German Pilsner
33 IBUs
4.8% ABV

Here we have Radeberger Pilsner from Radeberg, Germany (in the Saxony region – they’re like states in the US). The brewery was founded in 1872 and has been turning out this flagship pils using their soft well water ever since. The beer pours out a very light yellow in color, with a very small pure white head and light lacing. The smell on our pour was really light, but it’s slightly hopped and somewhat grassy. The beer is crisp, smooth, and on the lighter side for mouthfeel. The taste is slightly hoppy, somewhat herbally, and finishes dry. Overall it’s an unimposing beer on the palate and drinks extremely easily. As a weird fact to impress the person next to you at the bar, apparently it’s the beer of choice for the character Charlie Harper on TV’s Two and a Half Men (thank you Wikipedia). So pop on down to Cicero’s and see if you can impress your bartender with that fact while ordering it.

 

 

About the Authors Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.

Intimacy during rock ’n’ roll shows isn’t easily created. Many factors play into the effect: the size of the venue, the fans and their eclectic mix of attitude and beer coursing through their veins and, most importantly, the artists on stage pouring their hearts out through song—laying it all out while raking fingers across guitars, pounding their drums, singing into the mic with eyes closed. Tampa’s GreyMarket spilled their hearts out for fans at Cicero’s on Friday, March 25, establishing a personal relationship with those in attendance, then leaving them in a dreamlike haze, anticipating more music to come.

It’s rare that a duo can command such regard and can fill a room with an encompassing and grandiose sound. Thanks to technology and a keen set of ears for programming, what at one point may have only been noise is turned in to beautiful accompanying music for guitarist/vocalist Cave McCoy and drummer Michael Gargiulo. Fully adorned in their semi-formal garb of black, white, and gray shades, the duo took to the stage and opened with a new song, “Mother of All Bombs.” After setting themselves up on a high note and making one hell of a first impression, the pair moved into a trio of songs plucked in order from their 2008 album Some Orbits Will Never Decay. The merge of twinkling guitar and keyboards, propelling rhythms and explosive lights, only added to the aura of GreyMarket’s special brand of massive yet intimate music.

“Cascade (Down the Rabbit Hole)” was a firm and powerful number; the Alice in Wonderland–themed rollick had fans both old and new, as well as McCoy himself, erupt in to a show of hands clapping, arms flailing, bodies breaking out in kinetic dance, and the guitarist rushing out on to the venue floor, leaving it all out for others to thrive on. The show was packed with ferocity from the beginning, and in the end the two left pieces of themselves stuck to attendees like rock ’n’ roll confetti on sticky, sweaty skin. As everyone, including the band, thought it was over, they were surprised with a bit of extra time in which they treated everyone to “I’d Wait Years,” also from SOWND, as an encore. After McCoy crooned “I’d wait years for you” repeatedly in his decadent tenor, he and Gargiulo left the stage and joined those in attendance. The pair were genuinely appreciative to those who approached them, willing to shake hands and open to discuss music.

If you missed this show, you should be kicking yourself right now; see some of what you missed on their website, www.greymarketband.com. While listening online won’t create the same magic exhibited at Cicero’s on Friday night, it will give you a taste of the magic of GreyMarket. Oh…and watch this space for a return visit in July. | Jenn Metzler

 

Setlist:

“Mother of All Bombs”
“Waterworks”
“Hey, Mr. Spaceman”
“Make Sense”
“Back in Time”
“Cascade (Down the Rabbit Hole)
“Timebomb”
“Wings (Made of Steel)”

Encore

“I’d Wait Years”

Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.

 

 

By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio

 

Hops: Target
Malts: Pale, Wheat, & Black Barley
Fruits/Spice: Black Pepper & Cloves
9% ABV

 

Here we have another of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series, the Dunkleweiss. The label description is too cool not to mention: “Cat-burglar-smooth and just as fond of the dark, Dunkelweiss sneaks together wheat and barley malts with a pinch of black pepper. Nab one before it gives you the slip!” The beer pours out deep walnut in color, clear, with a off-white head. The aroma off the beer is malty sweet with rich banana and clove esters prominent. Even though this is a Belgian take on a traditional German beer, New Belgium really nails the traditional German style characteristics. The taste of this beer is sweet up front, but it fades into a roasty chocolate and banana. The black pepper wasn’t that strong on the taste, but Alaina and I are both into really spicy food – thus our spice sense maybe more muted. The drink of this beer is exceptionally nice and really is another great and “folly-licious” beer part of their Lips of Faith series. Enjoy it while you can on tap, typically you’re only able to find the Lips of Faith in 750s.

 

 

About the Authors Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.

Soundtrack to Last Call

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s not that hard to imagine, really. Weeks in the making or mere hours of planning, a great night out with your best friends at the bar/game/show typically involves more than just a simple plan to catch up and have a few drinks. What you never stop to think about is the soundtrack to your evening: music in the car on the way to and from hanging with friends; music at the bar/game/show you’ll attend; the music playing wherever you end up after your first round of drinks at aforementioned event. Unfortunately, everyone has had a run in with that guy: the one who puts $20 in the jukebox so you can listen to his music all night; the kind of guy that refuses to sing anything but “I’ve Got Friends (in Low Places)” by Garth Brooks every chance he gets; or the guy who gives his rousing a cappella rendition of “Living on a Prayer” and (incessantly) insists everyone sing along. Very few people can defend these acts of musical jerkitude, but what if you could have it your way?

Everyone enjoys playing “what if” and “would you rather” games, and a few friends of mine recently posed the question “What would be your top five songs to close out a bar?” Now, these friends are professional “what if” askers, so they had a few stipulations and conditions: These would be the last five songs played right after the perilous shout of “Last call!” Personally, I have a hard time choosing just five. I’m a very emotional music listener (as most of us are), associating certain songs with certain events in my life, and am able to appreciate music in different ways depending on the setting, event, or mood. I was told that setting, event, or mood could have no sway in my choices, despite the question being purely hypothetical. I’m always up for a challenge and also enjoy explaining the “why” behind my choices and opinions so, lucky you…here they are:

“Drunk Girls” by LCD Soundsystem | How can I help myself from kicking off the waning minutes of a night full of craziness, fun, beer, and memories? James Murphy essentially reads out of the drunk girl anthologies as he sing-speaks: “Drunk girls get invitations from nations/ drunk girls, they got the patience of saints/ drunk boys, they steal, they steal from the cupboards/ drunk girls, drunk girls like to file complaints.” Upon merely reading the lyrics, the song sounds like it may be from a modern country-pop song, but LCD Soundsystem injects the funkiest beats, effects, and up-tempo absurdity in to every one of their songs, this tune being no exception. I dare anyone to try and sit still or keep a straight face during this song If you’re going to close out a bar with five songs, this is the strongest contender—why not start on a danceable and lively note?

“Broken Bottle” by Alejandro Escovedo | Yeah, this would probably get me labeled as “that guy” for having a total buzz kill of a song, but this song digs deeper than the bar illusion given in the title. This song has just enough twang to make you feel like a saloon-sittin’ son of a gun, while your elbows are up to signify the drownin’ of yer sorrows. Too much? OK. Escovedo sings longingly, “So pour me a drink, from a broken bottle/ fill my glass with the dirty water/ what I’ve lost is gone/ what I’ve gained has no name…” From there, the gorgeous, twang-y, finger slide full waltz carries the listener to the bar stool right next to Escovedo to console him through booze.

“Come on Eileen” | by Save Ferris: I have to be completely, 100% honest about this choice: This is a throw away spot. If you’ve noticed, this is the third song thus far in the mix. Now, my friends made the rule that you can’t change your playlist depending on the venue or the type of event you participated in; I’m of the belief that that’s totally unfair. I change my favorite band/song/album like I change my socks (that’d be daily, thank you). At any rate, this third spot is what I’d like to consider the ever-changing sub spot, consistently swapping with one song/artist or another. Yes, I adore Save Ferris and I’m not ashamed to admit to it. This Dexy’s Midnight Runners tune is a classic that nearly everyone in the bar will know and (possibly begrudgingly) sing along to. And what’s not fun about that? Monique Powell’s voice soars in this version, so just raise a glass and go with it.

“Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet | Do you really need an explanation? If you don’t know the words to this song but like to kick back a few brews, there is absolutely something wrong with you. Clichéd? Maybe. Do I or anyone else who will undoubtedly sing along care? Nope, not one bit.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen | The title says it all. Does anyone ever really want to get force-fed their last drink at a bar during last call? Of course not, but why not make the most of it during a raucous, glam-filled rock ’n’ roll classic served on a hedonistic platter by Freddie Mercury himself. “Don’t stop me now, ’cause I’m havin’ a good time/ I don’t wanna stop at all” are the quintessential lyrics of those who obviously haven’t filled their quota of an awesome night.

While it would have been easy to say something like “I’d just put a Girl Talk album on repeat” or “just a bunch of remixes by a DJ,” it does seem to take the fun out of choosing favorite songs you’ll never get tired of hearing, dancing to, and singing along with. Despite the strict guidelines imposed by my friend, I had a great time creating my list, however challenging it ended up, and encouraging other friends and family to choose their own favorites. I highly encourage you to do the same (and don’t cheat!), and feel free to post in the comments section with what your top five would be and why. Come on…make Rob Fleming (…really? The “Top 5” protagonist of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, remember?) proud. | Jenn Metzler

The Soundtrack to Last Call

Posted: March 16, 2011 in Music Venue

It’s not that hard to imagine, really. Weeks in the making or mere hours of planning, a great night out with your best friends at the bar/game/show typically involves more than just a simple plan to catch up and have a few drinks. What you never stop to think about is the soundtrack to your evening: music in the car on the way to and from hanging with friends; music at the bar/game/show you’ll attend; the music playing wherever you end up after your first round of drinks at aforementioned event. Unfortunately, everyone has had a run in with that guy: the one who puts $20 in the jukebox so you can listen to his music all night; the kind of guy that refuses to sing anything but “I’ve Got Friends (in Low Places)” by Garth Brooks every chance he gets; or the guy who gives his rousing a cappella rendition of “Living on a Prayer” and (incessantly) insists everyone sing along. Very few people can defend these acts of musical jerkitude, but what if you could have it your way?

Everyone enjoys playing “what if” and “would you rather” games, and a few friends of mine recently posed the question “What would be your top five songs to close out a bar?” Now, these friends are professional “what if” askers, so they had a few stipulations and conditions: These would be the last five songs played right after the perilous shout of “Last call!” Personally, I have a hard time choosing just five. I’m a very emotional music listener (as most of us are), associating certain songs with certain events in my life, and am able to appreciate music in different ways depending on the setting, event, or mood. I was told that setting, event, or mood could have no sway in my choices, despite the question being purely hypothetical. I’m always up for a challenge and also enjoy explaining the “why” behind my choices and opinions so, lucky you…here they are:

“Drunk Girls” by LCD Soundsystem | How can I help myself from kicking off the waning minutes of a night full of craziness, fun, beer, and memories? James Murphy essentially reads out of the drunk girl anthologies as he sing-speaks: “Drunk girls get invitations from nations/ drunk girls, they got the patience of saints/ drunk boys, they steal, they steal from the cupboards/ drunk girls, drunk girls like to file complaints.” Upon merely reading the lyrics, the song sounds like it may be from a modern country-pop song, but LCD Soundsystem injects the funkiest beats, effects, and up-tempo absurdity in to every one of their songs, this tune being no exception. I dare anyone to try and sit still or keep a straight face during this song If you’re going to close out a bar with five songs, this is the strongest contender—why not start on a danceable and lively note?

“Broken Bottle” by Alejandro Escovedo | Yeah, this would probably get me labeled as “that guy” for having a total buzz kill of a song, but this song digs deeper than the bar illusion given in the title. This song has just enough twang to make you feel like a saloon-sittin’ son of a gun, while your elbows are up to signify the drownin’ of yer sorrows. Too much? OK. Escovedo sings longingly, “So pour me a drink, from a broken bottle/ fill my glass with the dirty water/ what I’ve lost is gone/ what I’ve gained has no name…” From there, the gorgeous, twang-y, finger slide full waltz carries the listener to the bar stool right next to Escovedo to console him through booze.

“Come on Eileen” | by Save Ferris: I have to be completely, 100% honest about this choice: This is a throw away spot. If you’ve noticed, this is the third song thus far in the mix. Now, my friends made the rule that you can’t change your playlist depending on the venue or the type of event you participated in; I’m of the belief that that’s totally unfair. I change my favorite band/song/album like I change my socks (that’d be daily, thank you). At any rate, this third spot is what I’d like to consider the ever-changing sub spot, consistently swapping with one song/artist or another. Yes, I adore Save Ferris and I’m not ashamed to admit to it. This Dexy’s Midnight Runners tune is a classic that nearly everyone in the bar will know and (possibly begrudgingly) sing along to. And what’s not fun about that? Monique Powell’s voice soars in this version, so just raise a glass and go with it.

“Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet | Do you really need an explanation? If you don’t know the words to this song but like to kick back a few brews, there is absolutely something wrong with you. Clichéd? Maybe. Do I or anyone else who will undoubtedly sing along care? Nope, not one bit.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen | The title says it all. Does anyone ever really want to get force-fed their last drink at a bar during last call? Of course not, but why not make the most of it during a raucous, glam-filled rock ’n’ roll classic served on a hedonistic platter by Freddie Mercury himself. “Don’t stop me now, ’cause I’m havin’ a good time/ I don’t wanna stop at all” are the quintessential lyrics of those who obviously haven’t filled their quota of an awesome night.

While it would have been easy to say something like “I’d just put a Girl Talk album on repeat” or “just a bunch of remixes by a DJ,” it does seem to take the fun out of choosing favorite songs you’ll never get tired of hearing, dancing to, and singing along with. Despite the strict guidelines imposed by my friend, I had a great time creating my list, however challenging it ended up, and encouraging other friends and family to choose their own favorites. I highly encourage you to do the same (and don’t cheat!), and feel free to post in the comments section with what your top five would be and why. Come on…make Rob Fleming (…really? The “Top 5” protagonist of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, remember?) proud. | Jenn Metzler

Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.

By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio

Syle: American Pale Ale (APA)
Malts: Idaho 2-Row Brewers, German Vienna & CaraAmber
Hops: Columbus, Galena, Amarillo, Simcoe & Cascade, dry hopped with Cascade
60 IBUs (International Bittering Units)
6% ABV (Alcohol by Volume)


Today we’re looking at one of Grand Teton Brewing Company’s flagship beers – Sweetgrass American Pale Ale (APA). The brewery is from Victor, Idaho – which boasts a population of around 800 people. Lucky for us, their beers still make it all the way out to Missouri. The beer was originally brewed in 2002 under the name Sweetgrass India Pale Ale (IPA). It was the brewers’ favorite and received high marks at beer festivals (though it never medaled). The beer had difficulty finding the right category – too hoppy for the Pale Ale category and not hoppy enough for the India Pale Ale category. Finally, with the popularization of the American Pale Ale category, Sweetgrass found its home and was rebranded as an APA. In 2009 the beer scored a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival – besting 107 other entries in the category.

So now on to the tasting of Sweetgrass. The beer is golden in color with a white fluffy head on top. As the head dissipates, it leaves some great lacing around the glass edge. The aroma of the beer is crisp and light. You get a playful variety of the five hops all mingling around – but again it isn’t overpowering. The beer has a medium body and the taste is hoppy (both grapefruit and resiny pine) with a nice malt profile in the background. It’s true to the style of an APA which makes it very sessionable. This is a beer Mike enjoyed more and more throughout the pint. Alaina isn’t typically a hop head, but she testifies that she could easily drink these all night. The hop profile doesn’t scorch you pallet, but gives you more pop than a typical session Pale Ale. We really encourage anyone who has never had a Grand Teton beer to grab a Sweetgrass. You won’t regret it.

About the Authors Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.