Revolution and Beer of the week…best of the Pumpkin brews NSA-style!

So I was at rehearsals yesterday for my new play,

Autumn Beers by independent Craft brewers will dominate the season

Autumn Beers by independent Craft brewers will dominate the season

The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden. One of the actors, the amazingly talented and one of Chicago’s funniest comedians, Catherine Povinelli, or Povs, as friends call her, considers herself a connoisseur of Pumpkin beer, which I like, but which is thankfully also a seasonal offering. So, I threw together a sampling of three currently on the market, whipped together a food pairing and headed off to rehearsal.189114_709116582710_8120832_n

We’re reading and working the script, a satirical swipe at the security state, out of Eddie Marks’ Uptown Apartment. Eddie plays my hapless NSA agent’s, a disillusioned company man who realizes that he’s been set up for failure by the agency and falls for Catherine, the sexy KGB agent babysitting Snowden.

The Pumpkin Beers are just making an appearance on shelves, though it is still a bit early. There are really cool weather beers, with the bite of expectant winter cold in the air and the scent of turning autumn leaves. I brought three to the rehearsal, Pov’s eyes lighting up when she spotted the telltale black and orange label of the first, Pumking, from Southern Tier Brewing out of New York, sporting a hefty 8.6% ABV. It poured to a really nice deep copper color and an off white head. This was one of the richest of the pumpkin beers I’ve tasted, coming off sweet and almost thick in flavor, with ample notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Povs loved it, and was somewhat taken aback by the flavor, in a good way.

Pumpkin beers with the author's seasonal take on traditional German Flamkuchen

Pumpkin beers with the author’s seasonal take on traditional German Flamkuchen

Guy Wicke, local actor and proprietor of Wicke International performing arts promotion had never before tasted Pumpkin beers. He was tasting a can of Pumpkin Ale from The Wild Onion Brewing company out of suburban Lake Barrington, a small but solid craft brewer. “

“It was like tasting a pumpkin pie in a can…with a kick,” he offered. At 5.4% ABV, this didn’t pack the kick of Pumking, and was lighter in flavor. It poured to a lighter copper color as well, with a thin off-white head. Across the room, my co-director, Erik Parsons, was working his way through a long neck bottle of Arcadia Ales Jaw-jacker spiced Ale. Again, not as rich as Pumking, the added spice of nutmeg, cinnamon and All Spice was muted and lighter in flavor. At 6%ABV, it made for a comfortable brew.

I poured Povs and Nick Haugland, my Snowden, the last of the Pumking as Ed marks dove into a line. “The Agency, as we like to call it, enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Okay, we just threw in that last part to cover our ass…Let me break it down this way, some 12 year old will come along sooner rather than later and render every spying capability we have obsolete, and he’ll do it from the back of his mom’s Volvo on the way to soccer practice. Our job at the NSA is to stay one step ahead of that 12 year old. That 12 year old only has to be right once. The NSA has to be right every time…”
Pumpkin beer is perfect for those late autumn hearty meals with spice and depth and character. This night I paired it with my take on a traditional German favorite called Flamkuchen. It’s a sort of a German pizza of sorts, served on a cracker this crust, with a cream cheese-like sauce traditionally topped with bacon and caramelized onion. To pull it together with the beer, I topped the Flamkucken with a mix of shredded sweet potato, chopped onion, mint and a touch of brown sugar. Lightly browned bits of bacon were added, and the whole thing placed in an oven preheated to 380 F, for about 12 minutes, or until the edges of the crust had browned nicely. Cut into wedges, I garnished with chopped parsley. I made two that night. They were gone in an instant.

Generally I am of two minds on Pumpkin beers, which have grown in popularity over the last several years. First, I believe that they should not over power the palette. Pumking comes right up to that line without crossing it. I enjoy a bit bolder flavors, though there are times a lighter brew works in the absence of meal in helping to capture that autumnal character of the season. More to come on other Pumpkin beers soon…

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer…of the Week, Romania’s Timisoarana Beer

You’ve probably never heard of the Romanian town of Timisoara. There was a Roma girl I knew there once on one of my first trips to the Balkans just after the fall of the Soviet Union. I’m recalling an evening in a friend’s flat in Belgrade. The friend rented out the front room to a Roma family that was selling odds and ends at a local flea market. I had a room off the kitchen to myself. The girl leaned at the door as I wrote in a journal, her mother and grandmother at the stove, filling the apartment with the wonderous scents of grilling meats, sautéing vegetables and a ubiquitous mix of aromatic Balkan spices.IMG_0847

The girl was 18, with aspirations of attending dental school one day. Those aspirations were plagued by the tragedy of the Balkans in the wake of the collapse of communism and her Roma heritage, a heritage which evoked acute discrimination across much of Europe, leaving the Roma segregated in a cruel sort of apartheid. Lifting a mug of Timisoarana Beer, a clean and perfectly balanced pale lager, the golden color reminded me of the gold in the girl’s auburn eyes. She’d offered me a bottle of the beer from her home town, part of a stash her father and uncle in the next room had carried as they skirted Serbian customs over small country roads on the frontier between the two nations. Now and then her grandmother would intrude, drawing our hands together with her flour covered frail fingers and e3licit uncomfortable blushes from the girl and I with over-eager talk of marriage. 439363-R1-E017_017

The city of Timisoara itself is a roadmap of the last five centuries of European history, falling to the Ottoman Turks for almost two centuries, became part of the Hapsburg Empire and was all but destroyed during the Second World War. The Timisoarana brewery itself opened in 1718, just two years after Prince Eugene of Savoy forced the Turks to abandon the town, making it among some of the oldest beers in Europe. I like to think the supreme and precise balance of the beer reflects that history, and the ethnic and national influences that washed across southern Europe like successive floods, each laying their own character.

The beer takes me back to that night, a chill autumn breeze off the Danube River just across the road, the rattle and bell of the last tram for the night, exotic foods, the beer and her. I was learning, those days. There were too many stories about the Roma in Europe, which carelessly could be affirmed through naïve observation of Roma pickpockets, beggars on trains and upon street corners. Thieves! Criminals! Those were the refrains often heard. I endeavored to fight those misconceptions at every turn, and this good family was the perfect place to begin.220px-Fabrica_de_Bere_Timisoara

And so I am raising this glass of Timisoarana, which is purely and simply crafted and would adhere precisely to the German purity law, the Reinheitsgebot of 1516. In that law, only water, barely and hops were to be used-they didn’t know about yeast in 1516, though they used it. 5%ABV, it poured to a full white head with simple lacing. I like to think that first beer back in 1993 helped to open my mind a bit. I never saw her or the family again, but I sometimes recall those evening’s building bridges of friendship and understanding over a fine bottle of Timisoarana beer.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: Dunkel Weiss Throwdown, Bavaria vs. Chicago

 

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Debbie_mediumThere’s a great little hidden café beside the English Garden in Munich, Germany, sometimes called the “Naked” Garden. The first time I went to Munich I was all excited to see naked people frolicking in what amounts to a park in the heart of a bustling and historic city. Turns out, most of the naked people are these ex-hippie German guys. Not quite what I expected. Still, the English garden is an amazing place, pressed between the artsy and Bohemian shops of Schwabing and the Isar River. Presiding over nude sunbathers, ad hoc soccer games, picnicking families and strolling pensioners stands the classically inspired Monopteros. It’s always a destination when I visit, the café is the reward.

Munich's English Garden

Munich’s English Garden

Located on the quiet corner of Veterinar Strasse and Konigin Strasse , and shrouded in ivies and small trees, it is suitably insulated from the traffic rush and bustle along Ludwig Strasse. They serve a local Dunkel Weiss in tall, narrow Weiss glasses. this is the birthplace of the Weiss Beer, and though many have tried, that crown has remained properly secure, until now.

Could it be that the center of the Weiss Beer universe has shifted to Chicago? Gasp! Guffaw! Say it isn’t so! And I can hear all my German friends sharpening knives and soaking torches in oil.

Brian and I tried three different dark Weiss beers, and threw in another local traditional Weiss just for fun. The First, a Moosebacher Schwarze Weiss, has long been one of my favorites. It is a rich and mellow weisse, with fruity notes and rich dark malts. keep the lemon, or all the other hipster fruit garnishes. I want to taste the layers and character of a beer. Moosbacher is alw ays enjoyable, enlivening all those great memories of Munich.

Next we had to sample Franziskaner, though despite the pride inherent, it is a little sort of like Munich’s Budweiser. Ouch! Those knives are getting sharper. Lighter in character than the Moosebacher, this deep golden-brown brew, to be fair and accurate, is still a far sight better than Budweiser.

The surprise, the beer that stopped Brian and I in our tracks was not a Bavarian brew, but one from the Northside of Chicago. And to be honest, I didn’t want to like this beer as much as I did, and I certainly didn’t want to like it better than the age old German offerings. I’m proud to say II have tried several dozen Bavarian and German Dark Weiss beers, some made in small establishments and served fre sh as can be, but Spiteful Brewing’s Debbie Downer Dunkel Weizen really stole the show.

The author in Miltenberg, Bavaria

The author in Miltenberg, Bavaria

It packs a punch at 7%ABV. Rich with roasted malts with hints of plum and pair, extra black malt adds Debbie Downer’s extra depth. Perhaps not a traditional Weiss, Spitefuls offering is sort of like bell bottoms were to straight-legged slacks of the 50’s, not entirely original, but revolutionary just the same. The color was as dark as night, and though it didn’t hold the lacing quite as well as it’s Bavarian cousins, the depth of flavor certainly made up for that.

Just for fun, though now three beers into our little survey Brian and I weren’t quite as focused as when our little experiment began, we checked out Two Brother’s Edel Weiss. Not dark, but rather a crisp golden color with a thick white head, this offering from a great suburban Chicago brewer was fruity and pleasant, and on a par with the best German contemporaries.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer…of the Week Vive la French Aramis IPA de New Belgium Brewing!

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So, Saturday is Bastille Day, and this past week has felt very Revolutionary for us here at Revolution and Beer. A protest against a tax dodging company, a trip to Washington DC just for starters. We’re working hard on two books and gearing up for the second season of our television show here in Chicago. It seems altogether fitting that it should culminate with Bastille Day. It brought to mind my first, unpublished, novel, with a character who believes that all human history and future can be described or predicted using the French Revolution as a template. I thought of beer.20130711_183915

Just out this month is a beer by the always consistently good New Belgium Brewery out of Fort Collins Colorado, one of my favorite small towns. I have some keen memories camping in the Rockies along the Poudre River, but back to the beer, revolution and Bastille Day.

6.7%Alcohol By Volume, ABV, this modestly priced India Pale Ale is really anything other than modest. It poured into a pint glass with a hearty ½ inch snow white head with a beautiful opaque Baltic amber color. Quickly I discovered a rich floral aroma with just a hint of spice and warmed hops. I let that settle in the glass a moment, awaiting my perfect food pairing choice to arrive, which I will get to in a moment.

Interesting that with all that occurred this past week that it should come to be punctuated so perfectly by Bastille Day. The single thread running through all of the events the past week were the power of peaceful protest, which brought to mind some brilliantly appropriate quotes by Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre, or more simply, Robespierre. He opposed the fates that ultimately were bestowed upon the necks of the royal family, opposed an unnecessary war against Austria and believed that violence was not the way to spread the values and ideals of the revolution.

Tout institution qui ne suppose pas le peuple bon et le magistrat corruptible est vicieuse!” Which translates to “Any institution that does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil!”

a favorite image of Robespierre

a favorite image of Robespierre

So it was this that I was thinking of as I took the first sip of French Aramis IPA, the summer offering from New Belgium. That first malty impression was rounded out with a subtle orange sweetness, It followed nicely by a lingering hoppiness, which, after sampling several fruit-infused beers this week was a welcome return to tradition.

I really wanted to showcase this beer with something befitting the day as well as the beer. It must be obvious at this point that the perfect food to pair with an IPA with a that hint of orange, on the eve of the anniversary of the French Revolution would absolutely be Thai food! What else? French food? Zut Alors!
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The place we preferred was a little family place in the neighborhood, called Cilantro, http://cilantrothaikitchen.com/, with simple and understated dishes. I chose a basil dish with duck and a light chili sauce with a medium spice. Stir fried with garlic, green beans and red peppers until the basil leaves held the slightest crispiness and the garlic had cooked into the sauce with juices from the duck. The herbalness of the basil, softened by the garlic nicely complimented the hops. The spice of the sauce was balanced sublimely by the sweetness of that hint of orange. Vive la revolution! La vous allez! Bonne fête de la Bastille!
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer… of the week: Boulevard Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s Terra Incognita

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You don’t just get Beer and activism at Revolution and Beer. You get a good story and a bit of history as well. My travels and explorations have always had an element of beer somewhere within those various, sometimes risky and occasionally epic adventures. Beer always held an element of destination, and as a student of history, an indication of place and time as well. I wrote about beer in Sarajevo amid the siege in my memoir, and wove several scenes in my 2011 e-novel “Burn Down the Sky,” over a potent Vietnamese wartime brew called 33 1/3, fermented with formaldehyde in a Saigon café.

Trolling the selections at a local Binny’s, looking for something interesting and new for the Beer of the Week, my buddy, CJ, mentioned that he had a couple bottles of a new offering in back. A collaboration between Boulevard Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, both of which create consistently good quality beers. This new brew is called Terra Incognita, with a dark mahogany color, reminiscent of Brazil’s perennial Xingu. I poured it into a heavy chalice, one of a dozen (a baker’s dozen until the cat broke one the other night) of those old heavy pub chalices. Terra built a foamy and light chocolaty ¾ inch head that evaporated quickly, leaving minimal lacing behind.

I’d first come across the words “Terra Incognita” while sifting through classical Roman sources researching a now extinct southern European civilization. Little remains of those ancient Illyrians, but for neglected archaeological sites and all too brief mentions in Roman and Greek literature. Perhaps fewer that 50 words remain of a language that dominated the region for thousands of years. The Illyrians were apparently prolific beer drinkers. Their reportedly very bitter recipe was called “Sabaia.”

I pulled up a couple old photographs and pulled out a worn and dog-eared journal I’d kept. I flipped through the softly yellowing pages, my scribbles and sketches still vibrant as I explored a bottle of Terra Incognita. The 8%ABV helped coax details I’d believed were long forgotten. The taste was sugary and malty, with hardly any hint of hops. The Espresso warmth was tempered in fruity plum and raisin notes.

Terra Incognita means unknown land. Certainly that’s what the Balkans were for the Romans and Greeks, but that isn’t what reminded me of Boulevard and Sierra Nevada’s beer, which was modestly priced to compete with any casual bottle of wine. Pausing for dinner the wife and I mulled this beer over a couple of Rib eye steaks, grilled and blackened with a cardamom, cayenne and cumin rub, warmed yellow corn tortillas, homemade black beans fork mashed with fresh cilantro and a bit of mole sauce, and a salad of sliced avocado, fresh jalapeño, tomato wedges, cilantro, red onion and crumbled Queso Fresco with a squeeze of lime. The beer reminded me of one truly amazing moment.IMG_3851

There is a place on the mountain overlooking the Sarajevo valley. The city fills the valley below, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, like frozen green and gray waves upon a stormy sea. It’s a quiet place, the solitude intruded upon now and again by a church bell, the momentary rattle of a tram or the call to prayer from one of the many Mosques that add their spindly texture to the terra cotta rooftops abounding throughout the valley. When the light is just right, mid-summer clouds collecting at the horizon, in which the sun appears to set into the mountains. It is a most magical spectacle, the sunset colors rich and bold. I found something in the lightness of Terra Incognita’s body that reminded me of the breeze coming across the valley as I beheld that rare sight.

Make a memory with this beer. Its light enough to enjoy its complexity on a warm summer’s night. Act quickly though, This one is a limited run, and we may not see it again.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: A truly Revolutionary Beer-Sarajevsko Pivo

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I recall my very first sip of Sarajevo beer, or Sarajevsko Pivo. It was amid the siege of the city. I stumbled into the city aboard a United Nations APC and hitched a ride to the center of the city with a Canadian cowboy war photographer. Read my memoir for the full story, but I eventually ended up in a small apartment overlooking Sarajevo’s notorious sniper alley. It was a gloomy and chilly march evening. A single oily candle flickered across the pale and shrapnel pocked walls of an Austro-Hungarian era building. My would-be hosts were Nadja and Hasan Haljevac, both local artists. Sniper fire crackled along the boulevard. Hasan produced a single bottle of Pivo he’d been saving. He graciously opened in as my welcome to the city. Their audacious 10 year old son Sulejman was curled for warmth against his mother.

I’m drinking one now. Each time I crack a bottle of this southern European-style lager, with an ABV of a modest 5%, a flood of memories from dozens of trips to the region revisit me. How many times I have sat and pondered politics, humanity and fate over a glass or bottle, musing over the fine champagne carbonation, which the beer and its inch deep white head holds nicely. I can’t fault Beeradvocate for a meager 3 1/2 stars. One must know the history to properly appreciate the beer. There is a history in this beer, perhaps like no other beer on the planet.449px-Sarajevo_brewery_1

This is a truly regional variant. Don’t make the mistake of comparing it to other brews. Take a look at a map. Sarajevo is an island in the wilderness. The bitterness that finishes to a watery plum note, and a buttery-warm aroma is a product of history and individual character not found elsewhere. With a brewery, or Pivara, founded in 1864 over a rich and deep natural mineral spring-whose local character attracted Romans more than two millennia ago, this beer is historic. The Pivara witnessed Napoleon, two World Wars, forty years of Communism, the fall of two empires and a civil war. Within its oriental style architecture, and the beer hall within, Austrian, Turkish, French, German and NATO soldiers have toasted. I come to it with all of my memories, layered upon that auspicious one, including Sarajevsko Pivo as an excellent elixir for the worst sunburn I have ever suffered.

Pairing the flavors, this beer might be enjoyed with any number of foods. I recommend going local on this one. Many times I’ve enjoyed this over a local Bosnian dished called Chevapi, grilled meat, fresh diced onion and a brick over baked bread called somun. Try a bit of red-pepper spread called Ajvar as a side. Or try with a Turkish-inspired meat, potato, cheese, spinach or pumpkin-filled pastry called Pita.

Bosnian Pita, has a Turkish origin, that can be filled with meat, farmers cheese and spinach, pumpkin and potato.

Bosnian Pita, has a Turkish origin, that can be filled with meat, farmers cheese and spinach, pumpkin and potato..

But always I will recall that first glass during the war. I did not speak much Bosnian, and neither Nadja nor Hasan spoke English. Sulejman spoke some English. I spoke some French. Nadja new a bit as well. For the next week we enjoyed this wild round house of three different languages, and somehow managed to make it all work. And so began my history with Sarajevo beer.

And that’s the key, as I finished the glass, and before I go for another one. Sometimes we can over think a beer. Brian and I love exploring and critiquing beers, pulling apart the flavors and layers, and even going after ill conceived or executed brews. But in the end, it is about memories and loved ones and that perfect moment. It is about the history, the one that is, the one we bring to it and the history we make.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
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ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: battle of the Great Lakes Monsters!

IMG_2308The Ojibwa called Superior Gitchee Gumee. They told of a terrible serpent called Mishi Ginabeg who lurked in the dark depths and submerged caverns. It was said that when the spirit of the south wind, Showondesi, came laughing Mishi Ginabeg awoke from slumber for vengeance against all who had not made sacrifice. The crew of the Fitzgerald had grown old hearing those tales, but paid them little mind. This was the Twentieth Century, and surely there were no monsters skulking beneath Superior. The laughing Showondesi had long been replaced by the measurable science of meteorology. On that cold November night impassionate science abandoned the good crew, and not a soul could completely dismiss those ancient legends…A terrible moan arose from the ship…the storm was now at a murderous tempo. A new wave slammed the ship sideways nearly tearing her in two. O’Brien felt the wheel go dead in his hands and knew they were at the mercy of the lake. He turned, just as the bow slid into a deep trough. For a moment the ship’s great rudders spun free in the air…a giant wave built over the bow. McCarthy saw it first and crossed himself as the bow plowed under…”Those with a bit of history about the Great Lakes will quickly recall the fate of the Edmund Fitzgerald, here retold in my first novel, Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, W.C. Turck.

I left earlier this week on a trip to Michigan’s Lake Superior shore. On the way up from Chicago I stopped off for a good beer to enjoy on the beach that evening. Something interesting to ponder and decipher a bit, and take the edge off the long trip. When I spotted a couple 4 packs of Great Lakes brewing Company’s Lake Erie Monster, a seasonal offering by a consistently strong brewer my choices narrowed considerably.

This handcrafted Imperial Pale Ale pours to a summer sunset deep golden hue. The head is pale white. After a long day on the road, take the edge off the long trip, it melted it away. Half way through the bottle, the 9.1ABV didn’t hurt either. There were just the caramel malt, hint of citrus and a comfortable hoppy finish that, from the first taste, didn’t two questions remaining; what food would this work well with, and which of the Great Lakes monsters would win in a fight?

This one is a no-brainer. The sightings of the so-called Lake Erie Monster, though no doubt encouraged by copious amounts of some cheaper swill, leave much to be desired. One, eh-hem, witnessed described the “South-Bay-Bessie” as cigar-shaped. Yet another described it as having a “long neck and an eye was visible on the side of the head with a grin going up one side The creature appeared to be playing in the water…” Sorry, but Frolicking serpents don’t evoke awe, at least not to this reporter. The grainy videos and photos hardly prove more than sightings of a prize-winning sturgeon, a wayward beaver or the existence of the Ohio mafia. Mishi Ginabeg has never, nor would ever allow itself to be photographed, nor would it ever, ever, ever frolic. But then Mishi Ginabeg doesn’t have its own beer, at least for now.

I was staying with our old friends the Coopers for the week. Carole, who authored the Simply Healthy Gourmet, had supper waiting http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/. She’d prepared roasted Rosemary Chicken, with roasted potatoes and onions. The warm sweetness of the onions nicely complimented the citrus in the beer. A few days later, meeting up with a buddy, the sculptor Ritch Branstrom for a Lake Erie Monster in his studio, I tricked things up with a sliced roast beef, a slice of fresh mango and some local melted medium cheddar on croissant with some homemade cilantro mayonnaise for a perfect match with the beer.

So, I guess when it’s all said and done it’s a draw between the two great lakes monsters. And though I’m hardly convinced of the actual creature, I’m fully convinced of Great Lakes’ Lake Erie Monster

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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Beer Brewing Basics with Brian Richards at White’s Party Store


Bill’s been on the road again in the UP. He got to spend a few moments with Brewer and home brewer Brian Richards at White’s Party Store, 1001 Third Street Marquette Michigan. The talk about home brewing basics, and beer for the warmer months.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week: Brunehaut Gluten Free Belgian Amber Ale and Blonde Ale.

bruneContinuing with the theme in which all things in the Universe seem to intersect at that beautiful moment in which activism and beer meet. It is what we do at Revolution and Beer. Activism isn’t about over-turning cars, loud chants or Occupying public places. Activism, true activism covers a broad spectrum depending fully upon the injustice or cause being championed. Boiled down into a common denominator, it is about lessening the burden, or sharing the burden from neighbors and those struggling against burden. May is Celiac’s Awareness Month. Brian and I love food and beer, and since there is no cure for Celiac’s currently, what could prove a better mission? The only treatment for Celiac’s is dietary maintenance.

Earlier in the month, we talked about a line of gluten-free beers from New Planet. The regular beer drinker will note the difference in brewing gluten-free beers with sorghum syrup rather than malts. In a pinch, these beers would pass most tastes. For those with Celiac’s or other’s with wheat sensitivities, they are an anchor to a more normal-feeling diet. One of the three from New Planet was very enjoyable. Check out the piece for which beer I’m talking about.

But alas, the Belgians have weighed in with two strong offerings in the Gluten-free arena. Brewed by Brasserie De Brunehaut in Brunehaut, in southwestern Belgium, Brian and I sampled the Amber Ale and Blonde Ale, both touting a respectable 6.5ABV. Following a 1000 tradition, these beers reflect that value and artistry of that legacy. We could not tell, as with other gluten-free beers, that they were indeed gluten-free. Immediately we started talking food. Because of the health dimension to the topic, we reached out to our friend, and author of Simply Healthy Gourmet, Carole Cooper, living an enviable existence in the wilderness overlooking the Lake Superior shore.

A warning, if you have an issue with delicious food, please leave the room now. We’ll wait a moment for those folks to leave. A little more. Some folks seem to be moving a little sl…Okay, their gone. Let’s talk food.

It’s grilling season, so I quickly inquired about a hearty meet dish that would highlight both of these beers simultaneously. The Amber Ale, has these really pleasing toasted hops flavor. The Blonde was full-bodied and a bit sweeter, pouring to a great clean golden hue, with a strong white head. Carole instantly referred me to a roasted lamb dish on page 75, that I thought was the perfect choice, the herbal earthiness of the lamb was a natural for these beers. But her side dish in the book was made with Orzo pasta, a bit of a no-no for the gluten in the pasta. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a gluten-free Orzo.

“How about a Basmati rice?” she offered as a substitute for the Orzo. Add to the basmati, chopped asparagus, juicy, sweet red grape tomatoes with a drizzle of Olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon, and you’ve got a tasty and satisfying side dish. But here’s the kicker, not all rice is gluten-free. Commercial or restaurant rice can have ingredients and additives that add gluten. Make it fresh yourself with a teaspoon of cumin for that smoky taste, or about a half teaspoon of mint to the cup of rice, pinch of salt and 13/4 cups of water for a different twist; Gluten-free and delicious.

We truly enjoyed these beers, and were tossing around possibilities for both gluten and gluten-free dishes. And we are really interested in readers sharing their gluten-free recipe pairings that can be shared with our gluten-sensitive neighbors. In the meantime, kick back with an Amber or Blonde Ale from Brasserie De Brunehaut. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. See, who said that activism couldn’t be fun, and delicious!

Here’s how to find Carole’s cookbook, Simply Healthy Gourmet, and catch her online recipes: http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/carole

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

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If you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to support and nurture the grassroots network for Chicago activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper at revolutionandbeer.com.

And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc.

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Revolution and Beer…of the week, Shmaltz brewing Co.’s Coney Island Lager, and this damned blog is whatever I say it is! No offense.

IMG_1820All right, maybe that’s a little on the aggressive side, and I don’t mean to necessarily be that way, but we are talking New York beer, so I suppose a bit of attitude is appropriate. See, I could have gone any number of directions with this piece. I could rightly have talked up or down or anywhere else about Shmaltz Brewing Co.’s Coney Island Lager. But you and me, we’re tight as ticks, ain’t we? Ain’t we? I said, ain’t we! That’s better.

See, this afternoon, and this is just between you and me, but I was feeling all philosophical and what not. I could have been using all these big collge-boy words, talking about 5.5%ABV, airy-cream-colored heads and this full bodied lacing. Maybe I was gonna tell you about Marris Otter and Red Wheat and light Munich 6L among the 8 Malts in this beer, or Warrior, Amarillo and Cascade hops. But we’re gumbahs, and you and me we don’t go for all that. Do we? Huh? That’s right. Speak up when I ask a question. Don’t be shy.

I know. I know. You like the complex layering of Shmaltz beers. th ey just feel substantial with each taste, am I right? For the Coney Island lager, you liked that caramel fruitiness, that rich and full sweetness from that deep amber color that finished so nicely with a hoppy tickle at the back of the throat. You like that sweet aroma. don’t you? Go ahead, don’t mind me. Breathe it right in before you take a sip. I’m not judging you. Who am I to judge, right? Don’t answer that. I mean it. Seriously, don’t answer that.

Here’s the thing, between you and me, and I don’t care who knows it, but just between us, I’m proud you had the guts to pick this one up. Shows some Chutzpah. You’re gonna need that to hang around mopes like me. By the w ay, never call me a mope, capiche?

Yep, I’ll take a bit more of that. Just two fingers of that Shmaltz Brewing Co.’s Coney Island Lager- vertical not horizontal fingers. There it is! There’s that smile I like.

And what’s that? What about the blog? Don’t take this the wrong way, but this damned blog is whatever I say it is! Now get going. No offense taken. You and me, were still like two peas, we’re like Velcro you and me, like dandruff and a black coat-inseparable. I’m getting all choked up here. Now beat it, and god love ya!

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