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Friday, February 16, 2018

New Beer Friday, Hop Pre-Order Edition (February 16)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

We have exciting news for anyone looking to establish or expand a hop garden this spring. This year the folks at Sandy Ridge Farms in Zeeland, Michigan, will once again be supplying us with established hop plants as opposed to the hop rhizomes we have offered in the past. According to the growers at Sandy Ridge, the advantages to purchasing established hop plants versus rhizomes are three-fold:
  1. An established plant eliminates the risk of questionable viability as often found with rhizomes. It is typically recommended to plant more than one rhizome per pot/hole which increases costs.
  2. An established plant with a developed root system and mature top growth will produce larger yields in the first 2 years than a planted rhizome.
  3. Hop plants are susceptible to virus and disease out in the hop yard. A rhizome from an infected plant will produce another infected plant. Plants are obtained from the National Clean Plant Network at Washington State University where they are virus/viroid tested prior to being shipped. Sandy Ridge Farms has a strict protocol in place regarding clean plants and preventative pest-management. A healthy plant produces more hop cones.
We will be taking hop plant pre-orders now through the end of business on Thursday, March 22. Those wishing to place orders may do so via email (, by phone (616-453-9674) or in person here at Siciliano's. When ordering by email please ensure that you indicate the desired quantity of the specified variety. Price per plant is $8.59 and payment will not be due until the time of pickup.

We anticipate that the hops plants will be available for pickup by the end of May. Those placing orders will be personally notified when the shipment arrives. Go here to see a full list of the hop plants being offered. Please note that this list includes Hallertau m.f. but they are not available this year.

Sandy Ridge Farms

New and Returning Beer

  • New Holland Passion Blaster, $1.99/12oz - "Passion Fruit, Tropical Peaks. Rosy Ale, Blush as Raspberry Cheeks. Exotic notes excite your tongue, the satisfying adventure has just begun" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Love Shadow, $7.19/16 - "Bourbon Barrel Aged Plow Horse Imperial Stout" (source).
  • Schramm's Mead Blackberry, $46.39/750ml - "Schramm's Blackberry Mead is made with raw, unfiltered honey and whole blackberries. It is an intensely fruity, medium sweet melomel with vanilla and cinnamon aromatics. This hand-crafted beverage pairs well with creamy cheeses, duck, veal and good company. Serve at cellar temperature or lightly chilled" (source).
  • Upland Cherry, $24.99/750ml - "When we started experimenting with Belgian-style sour ales back in 2006, we immediately knew we wanted to add cherries to our program. We get over 4,500 lbs of red, tart Montmorency cherries each year from King Orchards in northern Michigan. We add the cherries to the mildly tart sour ale base and let it ferment for three more months before kegging and bottling, giving this barrel-aged fruited sour ale the distinct cherry characteristics. The beer pours with rich hues of red and pink foam, with zesty effervescence. Tart cherries dominate the aroma, with hints of wine and cider, and the finish is dry, with lingering cherry fruitiness" (source).
  • Upland Prim, $9.29/500ml - "Sometimes a name says it all. Prim was inspired by blending the names of the two main ingredients, plum and cardamom. This sour ale uses Basis as the base beer, adding whole plums to capture the sweet fruit flavor and tartness of the skins, and the incredibly aromatic cardamom. Prim is aged in wine barrels for 4-6 months, further intensifying the complex flavors of this brew. It’s tart, fruity, herbaceous, and very refreshing" (source).
  • Upland Crimson, $13.99/500ml - "Crimson, formerly released as Malefactor, is an American take on a Belgian Flanders-style Red Ale. Upland’s twist on this classic brewing style is aging the beer for eight months in previously used bourbon barrels rather than white oak, which contributes to a slightly higher ABV than most Upland sours, clocking in at 10%. Crimson pours a dark copper beer with hues of red and amber. Long fermentation reveals aromas of plum, red wine and cherry. The bourbon barrels add subtle notes of charred dark oak to this medium-bodied sour ale. Crimson finishes dry with notes of tanginess" (source).
  • Upland Oak And White, $13.99/500ml - "Our relationship with Bloomington-based Oliver Winery continues in this bottle of Oak & White. Ten years ago, we traded beer for barrels from the winery to create our first batches of sour beer. Today, we still age many of our sours-such as this one-on previously used, neutral, Oliver oak wine barrels. This blend of base sour blonde ale aged in Traminette grapes from Oliver’s Creekbend Vineyard creates tart flavors reminiscent of a dry white wine. Beer and wine drinkers alike will love this creation" (source).
  • Upland Peach, $24.99/750ml - "We first began experimenting with Belgian-style ales in 2006, and fresh, whole peaches were selected as one of the first fruits to add to the sour beer that we had fermented for over eight months in white oak barrels. We use 7,000 pounds of fresh Indiana peaches from Huber’s Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Indiana, destoning the peach pits by hand before adding to the barrels. Peach is a fruited ale with gold and straw colors that shine upon pouring, and zesty amounts of carbonation. Fresh peach aromas meld with floral and wine-like notes. Wonderful peach flavors follow in the taste, accompanied by refreshing tartness with a dry finish and mouth-watering tanginess" (source).
  • Short's Batch 8000, $17.39/22oz - "Batch 8000 is a Quadruple IPA with raspberry brewed in celebration of the 8,000th batch of beer brewed at the Short’s Brewing Production Facility in Elk Rapids. Pale amber in color, this beer carries scents of dank berries and tropical fruit. Slightly sweet to start it is quickly balanced by the tart raspberry and pungent hops. Intense citrusy dank hops coat the drinkers’ mouth balancing the high alcohol content. Powerful, intense, and boozy, Batch 8000 is the perfect sipper to share" (source).
  • Odd Side Dank Frank, $2.79/12oz - "Imperial version of Dirty Dank Juice. Hazy NE style IPA" (source).
  • Left Hand Chai Milk Stout Nitro, $2.89/16oz - "Super smooth Milk Stout Nitro with aromatic spices" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Wood-Aged Bitches Brew, $3.89 - "The Bitches is back, only this time we aged it our oak and Palo tanks! An off-centered twist on our classic Bitches Brew, Wood-Aged Bitches Brew is still the same bold, dark, Imperial Stout you know and love" (source).
  • Darkhorse Barrel Aged Scotty Karate, $6.19/12oz - "If the original Scotty Karate wasn’t enough for you, check out what happens when we age it in bourbon barrels for a while. We brew this big bold scotch ale with cherry wood smoked malt instead of the traditional peat smoked malt offering up warm notes of coffee, caramel and sweet caramelized brown sugar. We then age it in bourbon barrels for several months to pick up some mellow vanilla and oak notes to bring you a mature, quite refined Scotty Karate" (source).
  • Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Blackberry Porter, $4.59/12oz - "This is a big and dark beer with bold flavors to ease you into spring. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Blackberry Porter has been brewed with the official state fruit of Kentucky and aged in bourbon barrels. This spring seasonal comes out with the bold roasted malt flavors complemented by a nose of fresh blackberries" (source).
  • Flensburger Pils, $2.89/11.2oz - "Ingredients: Water, barley malt, hop extract" (source).
  • Flensburger Dunkel, $2.89/11.2oz - "The dark site of pleasure. Fine bitter, fresh and rich in taste. Thanks to dark superior malt that provides the amber colour and the elegant smoothness" (source).
  • Flensburger Weizen, $2.89/11.2oz - "Brewed with the finest wheat and barley malt. Full-bodied and tangy" (source).

Video of the Week | Wood-Aged Bitches Brew

Now available at Siciliano's!


Friday, February 9, 2018

New Beer Friday, Little Manistee Edition (February 9)

The Little Manistee River
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

You know how it is when you walk into one of those up north saloons and you're given the once over by a couple of the locals? Well, a few winters ago Harry Winston and I stopped by the Bear Creek Inn and the only guy who didn't bore a hole through us was wearing a Santa suit and he was passed out in one of the booths. After brushing aside the stares and stomping off our boots we sat down at the bar.

"What, did we suddenly turn invisible?" Harry said after a few minutes.

"Relax," I said. "She's busy talking to her boyfriend."

"What'll it be?" the bartender asked when she finally walked up to us.

"Long neck Blatz," Harry said.


"The same."


"No glasses."

Harry pushed a twenty towards the bartender when she came back with the beers. "Both out of here. We'll take some peanuts too."

"Buck for the peanuts," the bartender said.

"A buck? They used to be free."

"Lots of big changes around here," the bartender said. "Want them or not?"

"Forget the peanuts," Harry said. "Is Pete around?"

"Pete?" The bartender looked past us to where two men were throwing darts. 'Hey Ralph," she yelled. "Guy here wants to talk to Pete."

"Well go get him," one of the men yelled back.

The bartender shrugged then picked up the twenty Harry had laid on the bar. She walked to cash register, made change from the open till, grabbed a step stool and then reached for a wooden cigar box from a high shelf on the back bar.

"What's this?" Harry asked when she put the bills and the cigar box in front of him.

"You asked if Pete was around."

Harry looked up at the bartender then looked down at the cigar box and then turned around and looked at Ralph.

"C'mon Harry," I said. "Let's finish these beers and get the hell out here."

"When did it happen?" Harry asked the bartender.

"Two years ago last spring. Couple of fishermen found him halfway down the hill at Bowman Farm." She motioned a finger towards her chest. "It was his ticker. No family. Some of the boys took up a collection and had him cremated. Big Ralph over there picked up the joint for back taxes."

"Nice. Pete runs this place for forty years and now he's stuffed in a cigar box," said Harry.

The bartender leaned forward. "Bad blood between him and Ralph," she whispered. "Word is that Big Ralph owed him some money."

"I didn't owe Pete shit." We turned and saw that Ralph had walked up to the bar and was standing in back of Harry.

"Just saying what I heard," the bartender said.

"And I 'm saying that I didn't owe that little bastard any money. Is there a problem here?" he said to Harry.

Harry swiveled around in his stool and looked up at Ralph. 'Maybe. Pete was a friend."


"And I don't like how he's being treated. How about I take him with me?"

"Fat chance," Ralph said. "I paid for him just like I paid for the tables and stools. He came with the joint."

Harry reached around for his beer and looked down at the floor. "Tell you what," he said after a few moments. "Let's you and I play a dart match. Two out of three. Cricket and 401. If I win I get Pete."

"And what if I win?" asked Ralph.

Harry finished his beer and placed the empty on the bar. "If you win you get 500 bucks."

"Get me a bottle," Ralph told the bartender while keeping his eyes glued on Harry. He poured and drank a shot of Jack, poured another, drank that, poured another and then pulled at his lower lip. "Alright buddy," he said. "Show me the damn money."

By then the whole bar had gotten wind of what was going on and everyone followed us to the dart boards. After some practice throws Harry insisted that the cigar box holding Pete's ashes be placed on the high-top table I was sitting at and Ralph insisted that the five C-notes be placed under the box. Harry won the cork and the cricket game was nip and tuck. When he closed it out with a triple fifteen and a bull, double bull, you could hear a pin drop. Ralph won the cork and immediately hit a ton forty. He followed that up with a ton and two fat 60s. When he threw a two-dart out to even the match everyone but me and the passed out Santa cheered.

"Show me a cork, sport," Ralph said after some hard slapping high fives and another shot of Jack.

"In a minute," Harry said and walked over to the high top.

"Well, what do you think?" Harry said to me in a low voice.

"I think you better win the next cork," I said back.

"Then what?'

"Then you better call cricket."

"Think so?"

"I know so."

Later that year on a day in early June Harry and I fished the Au Sable and the Pine in the morning and the Manistee in the afternoon. After a shore lunch we drove down to Bowman Farm and fished the Little Man until just before dark. When fireflies began blinking in the stands of tag alders I found Harry and told him I would meet him back at the truck.

"I'll be there in a few minutes," he said.

I made my way up the steep hill and when I got to the top of the bluff I sat on a big pine log and spotted Harry standing in the middle of the river. Then I watched while he gave Pete Hamlin a proper burial.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock, $2.99/12oz - "A traditional Doppelbock fermented with an old world yeast. Reddish brown in color with a mild hop profile, Consecrator is a well-balanced, full-bodied lager with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish after spending 3 months maturing in our fermentation tanks" (source).
  • Brooklyn Naranjito, $1.69/12oz - "Brooklyn Naranjito is a classic American pale ale pushed a tiny bit further. An extra burst of aromatic hops and a sizable helping of sweet orange peel create just the right pop of citrus. It elevates your favorite meals, brightens spices, and proves what a little orange can do" (source).
  • Decadent Ales Double Toasted Marshmallow, $4.99/16oz - "Our DIPA recipe with toasted marshmallows. A truly unique blend of hops and the roasted, mellow sweetness of campfire toasted marshmallow" (source).
  • Epic Brainless on Peaches, $13.99/22oz - "We took our double gold medal winning Brainless® Belgian, added peach puree and aged it in French Chardonnay casks. It develops nicely as it warms displaying more fruit and wine" (source).
  • Epic Son of a Baptist, $2.59/12oz - "Son of a Baptist is an 8% ABV imperial stout. It is not barrel aged like its father, Big Bad Baptist; instead its flavor profile was designed to highlight the complex and often unique flavors of small batch coffees. Instead of sourcing a coffee that would play well in a beer we sought out creative and innovative roasters, then asked them which beans they’re passionate about. Each resulting release of Son of a Baptist is widely different depending on the coffee selected. Some are fruity and sweet with notes of jam and chocolate, others are rich and earthy with a big roasted finish. Each limited release will return to the Roaster’s home market where the beer and the coffee can be sampled side by side" (source).
  • Evil Twin B is for Blueberry, $4.09/12oz - "B Is For Blueberry is a Gose-style ale brewed with salt and blueberry" (source).
  • Evil Twin Breaking the Waves, $4.39/16oz - "A double dry-hopped imperial IPA brewed with lactose" (source).
  • Evil Twin It's Like Having the Most Beautiful IPA and the Most Terrible Nightmare at Once, $6.99/16oz - "A 10.5% ABV Double Dry Hopped IPA with Galaxy, Simcoe and Citra hops" (source).
  • Great Lakes Hop Madness, $3.49/12oz - "Maniacally dry-hopped, with a frenzy of juicy aromas and formidable pine finish" (source).
  • Greenbush Jadis, $2.19/12oz - "A Winter White Ale because what else is Winter? The cold sets in and hangs for months it seems. Everything slows down. Time warps… and you’re covered with a wash of white. Thought I meant winter, didn’t you? Jadis will take you away from winter, even if temporarily" (source).
  • Goose Island Brassiere Noir, $22.99/750ml - "Imperial Stout aged in wine barrels for 11 months" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Gammadeluxe, $16.29/750ml - "GAMMADELUXE was brewed in collaboration with our good friends at Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas. We wanted to share knowledge and techniques that we had acquired from Henry of Monkish Brewing Co. and with that we brewed this sour Monkish inspired IPA. This IPA pours a beautiful bright yellow with just the right amount of haze. An aroma of funky fruit tannins in the nose. Packed full of seven different hop varieties giving notes of grapefruit, light Brett characteristics, a tannin dryness, and a touch of pineapple" (source).
  • Kona Kanaha, $1.79/12oz - "A bright, sessionable beer that will ease you ashore without weighing you down. Real mango fruit adds a juicy, tropical flavor that is easy like the islands. Pairs well with lighter fare including grilled fish, shrimp, and salads" (source).
  • Lagunitas Eroica, $2.29/12oz - "Stepping up to the podium, Brettanomyces collects his notes; fragments of ideas on melody, thematic development, recapitulation, mutation, thematic variation, restatement, and so on. Water, Hops, and Malted Barley sit first, second and third chair. The toasted oak walls await the sonic wort, anticipation fills the hall. The whole room watches, bated breath, as the Maestro, wiping phenol, guaiacol, and isovaleric acid off his brow, raises the baton and begins" (source). 
  • Maui Makawao Wheat, $2.39/12oz - "A hoppy pale wheat ale brewed with Denali, El Dorado, and Motueka hops for a tropical, fruity flavor" (source).
  • Melovino Midnight Jack, $23.39/500ml - "This is no silly rabbit. This eager and voracious beast forages through the dark midnight hour in search of only the darkest and sweetest of berries to devour. So we went as dark as we could by using blackberry, black currant, black raspberry, and black cherry to make the most bad ass, tart, sweet, and densely rich, fruit mead there is" (source).
  • N.I.P. Brewing Batch 17, $2.19/12oz - "We like to weird stuff. Whether it's the beers the make or the way we live our lives its just who we are. In that vein we decided to make this yellow hazy beast of an IPA. Shit tons of mango were added to complement the already tropical flavors of Galaxy hops, then lactose joined the mix to give a full sweet body, and vanilla finally jumped into the party to give that lovely milkshakey flavor. Crack one open with your crew or your main squeeze and ring the new year in right" (source).
  • North Peak Bolt, $2.59/12oz - "Imperial Amber Ale" (source).
  • Right Brain Thai Peanut, $10.29/22oz - "Spicy American Brown Ale made with peanut butter, cilantro, serano pepper and coconut oil" (source).
  • Short's Hot Loins, $2.59/12oz - "Hot Loins is an aphrodisiac-filled Experimental Specialty Ale. The ingredients rotate every year. Look for the next edition in February 2018. Hot Loins 2017 was an aphrodisiac-filled Experimental Brown Ale with honey, rose hips, and cinnamon. Light brown with an off-white head and ample lacing, this Experimental Brown Ale smells of cinnamon and toasted malts with floral notes. Flavorful and balanced, Hot Loins has a slightly sweet taste provided by the use of honey before turning slightly dry and floral in the finish" (source).
  • Short's Uncle Steve, $1.89/12oz - "Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied style. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors with a creamy drinkability everyone loves" (source).
  • Southern Tier All Is Well, $3.99/16oz - "This is a hop head’s dream at 80 IBUs, featuring Amarillo, Chinook, CTZ & Simcoe hops for big citrusy, stone fruit & earthy character with a dank edge. It is a remarkably drinkable double IPA as the malt bill leaves just enough residual sweetness to perfectly balance its hoppiness" (source).
  • Stone Loral & Dr. Rudi's Inevitable Adventure, $3.49/12oz - "Loral hops were released in 2016 and quickly became one of our brewers’ favorite varieties. It was highlighted in our single hop IPA series, Stone Hop Revolver IPA, and was the featured hop in the hugely popular Stone Ghost Hammer IPA. Then there’s Dr. Rudi, which has been around since 1976. Originally known as Super Alpha, this hop brings classic piney and herbal notes, which pairs it perfectly with the floral, citrusy aroma of Loral. A pairing like this was bound to happen. Some might even call it inevitable" (source).
  • White Flame Black Flame, $18.69/22oz - "Released at the end of January each year - This bourbon barrel aged imperial stout is brewed with copious amounts of Michigan Maple syrup and is a crowd favorite" (source).
  • White Flame Black Sheep, $3.29/12oz - "Black IPA. Very complex. Roasted and hoppy, this big beer is a favorite of the adventurous drinker" (source).
  • White Flame Red Shoes, $2.79/12oz - "Classic American Pale Ale aged on Fresh Habanero Peppers to give it a great pepper flavor with a kick that builds in the back of your throat" (source).

Video of the Week | Little Manistee River

No one in this video is affiliated with Siciliano's; we just think it's a
nice introduction to the Little Man for anyone unfamiliar.


Friday, February 2, 2018

New Beer Friday, Smoke 'Em If You Like 'Em Edition (Feb 2)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

During a recent visit to a cigar review website, I came across a blog post addressing the burning question of whether one should keep the cigar band on after lighting up a high end smoke. The blogger contended that those who don’t remove the band are guilty of “bad form” and that a cigar smoking “gentleman” would never be gauche enough to flaunt his ability to buy expensive cigars.

Perhaps it’s because I rarely smoke cigars north of the ten dollar range that I dismissed this writer’s sentiments as much ado about nothing, and while I have never accused my male cigar smoking friends of being gentlemen, I certainly wouldn’t think any less of them if I spied them puffing on a banded, thirty-dollar smoke.

When it comes to beer, wine, liquor, food and cigars my philosophy has always been drink, eat and smoke what you like. If you enjoy jug wine, inexpensive suds and liquor that has been aged for less than two days, more power to you. If you would rather eat hamburgers and hot dogs instead of filet mignon, who am I to judge. Conversely, it’s none of my business if someone would rather savor a twenty dollar Cohiba instead of a cheap gas station stogie.

Regardless of what your thoughts may be on the subject of cigar band etiquette, it should be mentioned that there is a practical reason for keeping the band on until the last third of the smoke. If the band is removed too soon there is the danger of ripping the wrapper which may cause the cigar to unravel. Wait until the ash is about a pinky width away. The heat will loosen any adhesives that might hamper the band’s easy removal.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arbor Faricy's Stout, $2.19/12oz - "We blend black malts with roasted and flaked barley to brew this Irish-style stout, giving it a full body, notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate, and smooth dry finish" (source).
  • Blackrocks Classic Pilsner, $1.99/12oz - "The finest German malt, American hops and Lake Superior water collide to create our take on the world's most popular style. As crisp and refreshing as the Great Lakes, this beer is a nod to European tradition with a distinct American disobedience" (source).
  • Blackrocks MyKiss, $2.19/12oz - "A well hopped, bright, bold, succulent American IPA with Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic" (source).
  • Blake's Santa Rosa Plum, $12.09/22oz - "Extended contact with plum skins and a long cold fermentation produces a cider of complex depth" (source).
  • Blake's Tonic, $2.19/12oz - "The Tonic is our spring seasonal that pairs well with warm weather, sunshine, and everything outdoors. The crisp cucumber notes meld well with the fresh ginger we juiced and added in at the end of fermentation. The Tonic is a fan favorite here on the farm and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome" (source).
  • Great Lakes Holy Moses, $1.89/12oz - "Refreshment or bust! Orange peel, coriander, and chamomile stake their claim in this unfiltered White Ale, named for our fair city's founder, Moses Cleaveland" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Project Clementine, $3.19/16oz - "A Double IPA brewed with e zest of clementines for a fresh orange flavor. The hops are balanced well by a malty, citrus taste. A perfect Summer DIPA" (source).
  • Innus and Gunn Kindred Spirit, $3.29/12oz - "Our smooth Scottish stout meets Tullamore D.E.W. triple distilled Irish whiskey barrel staves in our unique ageing process to create a flavour packed beer with notes of dark chocolate and coffee alongside hints of vanilla and oak" (source).
  • New Belgium Tartastic Raspberry Lime, $1.79/12oz - "Brewed with raspberry and lime purees for an irresistibly playful sweet-tart sip that’ll put a smile on your face every time" (source).
  • Saugatuck Uncommonly Tweaked, $1.89/12oz - "Kick off Spring with this beautiful Amber Ale brewed with organic Peruvian El Cautivo Coffee Beans from our friends at Uncommon Coffee Roasters (located in Saugatuck, MI). A smooth coffee flavor and kick bring out the rich malt characteristics of the Amber base" (source).
  • Tallgrass Velvet Rooster, $1.89/12oz - "The first Belgian-style Tripel ever released in a can, Velvet Rooster initially launched in 2011. After a brief hiatus in 2016, it’s back as part of our seasonal lineup! This clean and crisp tripel boasts big, fruity esters and slight peppery spice from Belgian yeast. It’s bubbly like champagne with hints of citrus fruit, earthy-grassy notes and a sweet, candy-like finish" (source).

Video of the Week | Blake's Tonic

Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, January 26, 2018

New Beer Friday, Perdomo Double Aged Edition (Jan 26)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I am pleased to announce that Siciliano’s Market is now one of only four Michigan retailers carrying a rare line of premium cigars manufactured by Tabacalera Perdomo.

The Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage is a blend of the company’s finest and rarest tobacco that was bale aged for ten years and then aged for an additional two years in charred, white oak bourbon barrels. This proprietary double aging process gives the fillers, binders and wrappers a unique color, texture, aroma and flavor resulting in a well-balanced and multi-layered smoke.

I had the opportunity to try one of these rare beauties last week during a visit to Perdomo’s manufacturing facility in Estelí, Nicaragua. The Sungrown Churchill was a smooth, spicy-sweet hour and a half smoke that went very well with a tumbler of single malt scotch. The full-flavored blend will pair just as well with bourbon, rye and barrel-aged rum.

We are stocking the Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage in the Connecticut wrapper in the following sizes:

    • Robusto 5 ½ x 54 
    • Epicure 6 ½ x 54 
    • Churchill 7 x 54 
    • Gordo 6 x 60 

New and Returning Beer

  • Abita Bad Mother Shucker, $2.39/12oz - "Deep in the oyster beds of Louisiana surfaces one Bad Mother Shucker - Abita's Oyster Stout. This big, bold oyster stout brings pale, caramel, roasted and chocolate malts to the party, balanced by crisp Willamette hops and the sweet, full flavor of oats. The magic happens near the finish, when we add fresh Louisiana oysters to infuse a sea-salty essence that really rounds things out. Pair this bad boy with a chilled dozen on the half-shell or even as a satisfying after-dinner brew" (source).
  • Abita Bourbon Street Baltic Porter, $9.99/22oz  - "Baltic Porter aged in Bourbon barrels" (source).
  • Alesmith San Diego Pale Ale .394, $2.89/12oz  - "In early 2014, Tony Gwynn’s team approached AleSmith to create a distinctive beer for the baseball legend. A meeting was called at the Gwynn household, which included a sampling of AleSmith beers to identify Tony’s preferences. He wanted the beer to be “light with a kick” which he elaborated further to mean full of hop character and light in body and color. The result of the Gwynn family’s feedback on test batches rendered a golden pale ale full of American hop flavor and aroma, with a subdued bitterness and a malty sweet finish. AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394 pays tribute to the city that Tony loved and the career high batting average that he achieved in ‘94. Discover what happens when a Hall of Fame perfectionist crafts a beer with a world-class brewery. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation (TAG)" (source).
  • Arcadia 21 Anniversary Ale, $17.39/750ml - "This golden, bright, funky sour ale is a celebration of flavors as well as Arcadia Brewing Company's 21st Anniversary! This unique ale started with a base of strong golden and brown ales, blended with barrel-aged sour ale, and a multi-strain culture pitched after primary fermentation. The addition of peaches and apricots during the aging process gives this ale strong flavors of tropical fruit, as well as a pleasant acidity, mild barrel flavor, and warming character. Funk aromas mimic fermented peaches and apricots, paired with a mild oak and alcohol heat. A dry mouthfeel with bright carbonation rounds out this unique and delightfully complex wild ale" (source).
  • Bell's Larry's Latest Sour, $2.19/16oz  - "The name “Larry’s Latest” is a nod to the spirit of innovation and experimentation that Larry started in 1985 and continues within the brewery to this day. Our latest sour recipe has a refreshingly bright, citrusy tartness combined with pungent tropical aromas" (source).
  • Boulevard Barrel Aged Stout, $4.49/12oz - "Over-the-top but surprisingly approachable, this twist on the classic style starts with several types of malted barley, rye, oats and wheat. Robust flavors of vanilla, espresso, whiskey, chocolate and roasted grain are balanced by hints of date and plum, with just enough hops to round it all out. Roughly one-third of the final blend is freshly brewed beer; the rest is aged for up to a year (or more!) in both first and second use whiskey casks" (source).
  • Boulevard Rye on Rye, $4.49/12oz - "Why Rye? This assertively flavorful grain is more often associated with whiskey than with ales. Even in that arena, it has largely been eclipsed by corn and barley, the sources of bourbon and scotch. But when we procured some seasoned barrels from our friends at Templeton Rye, we asked ourselves, “Why not?” Why not brew a rich, tawny rye ale, then mellow it in the warmth of charred oak rye whiskey casks? Two kinds of malted rye provide spicy sweetness, giving way to notes of vanilla, charred oak and the citrusy tang of Citra and Styrian Golding hops before easing into a dry, lingering finish" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry, $2.79/12oz - "What you have here is a serious India Pale Ale shacking up and hunkering down with mango and apricots. At the same time! Romantic Chemistry is brewed with an intermingling of mangos, apricots and ginger, and then dry-hopped with three varieties of hops to deliver a tropical fruit aroma and a hop-forward finish" (source).
  • Kickstand Birch Bark Porter, $3.19/16oz - "Brewed with an abundance of seven varieties of specialty malt, this porter is rich with notes of fresh roasted coffee and decadant chocolate. Named after the famed Birch Bark Canoe of Union Lake lore" (source).
  • Kickstand Pontoon Pale, $2.19/12oz - "This pale ale is well balanced with an ample malt and citrusy hop flavor. Perfect boat beer leaving us longing for summer" (source).
  • Mikkeller SD Hazed and Amused, $3.29/16oz - "Hazy Pale Ale with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Hall Blanc. A portion of the Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic are lupulin powder. Bright citrus, pine and tropical aroma, with the flavor to match. Medium body with a crisp finish that negs for another sip" (source).
  • Mikkeller SD Supah Sik Spells, $5.49/16oz - "American Imperial India Pale Ale" (source).
  • Mitten Brewing Country Strong IPA, $1.99/12oz - "This beer is Country Strong! An American IPA with a Country Strong citrus taste" (source).
  • Odd Side Diggity Dank, $2.39/12oz - "Our hazy IPA with a new, fancy blend of hops! Denali, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Simcoe makes this one super good" (source).
  • Odd Side Pineapple IPA, $2.39/12oz - "Fresh cut pineapples brewed in an IPA…need I say more?" (source).
  • Right Brain Imperial CEO Stout, $9.09/22oz (1 per) - "Classic CEO Stout Recipe, but brewed with 40% more malt. Thick, chocolately mouth feel, with a sweet coffee finish" (source).
  • Saugatuck Bourbon Barrel Aged Blueberry Maple Stout, $5.39/12oz - "A rich, sweet stout with classic malt characteristics with a bold, unique twist. This beer tastes like you crammed a fat stack of blueberry pancakes into a pint glass and smothered it with maple syrup. Channel your inner lumberjack, because it’s in for a real treat" (source).
  • Short's Machu Beechu, $2.59/12oz - "Machu Beechu is a Double India Pale Ale brewed with passion fruit and honey in collaboration with Rare Bird Brewpub. At first sniff this beer is an explosion of tropical fruit scents from mango to pineapple. Brewed with Vic Secret, El Dorado, and Mandarina hops, this beer is super dank and juicy. Initial tart and fruity flavors are followed by a dry and slightly bitter finish. With final flavors of mouth-coating honey, this IPA is a must taste" (source).
  • Southern Tier Concord Grape, $4.09/12oz - "The brewery is located just a short drive over the Chautauqua Ridge from Lake Erie, arguably the most ideal Concord grape growing region in the world.  So, it made sense for us to brew a beer with the juice of these classic grapes. The finished beer is a slightly cloudy, deep reddish purple color with a persistent white head, and durable lacing thanks to a large portion of wheat in the grist. The nose is defined by equal parts bright lactic acidity and grape aroma with a hint of coriander. On the palate, the strong lacto acidity is balanced by the natural sweetness of the Concord grapes" (source).
  • Victory Sour Monkey, $2.79/12oz - "Sour Monkey puts a tastefully tart twist on our Golden Monkey’s sweet, fruity essence. A sharp, citrus-laden tang makes this brew a Monkey all its own" (source).

Video of the week | Glengarry Glen Mitten

In honor of the Mitt's first canned beer, we're reposting
their ingenious spoof of Glengarry Glen Ross (mildly NSFW).


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fifteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Competition

By Steve Siciliano

From its humble beginnings fifteen years ago, the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition has developed into one of Michigan’s most respected competitive homebrewing events.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s Best of Show brewer will again have the opportunity to brew his or her winning recipe at local brewery. The BOS winner will also receive $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market and, per tradition, will have his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

 See below for contest rules and regulations for the Fifteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Good luck, everyone!

    • Every homebrewer is allowed one (1) beer entry. All entries must be brewed by the registrant on a homebrewing system. Please do not submit entries under the names of significant others, insignificant others, siblings, offspring, distant relatives, estranged roommates, pets, fictional characters, imaginary friends or anyone else. 
    • Beers are submitted according to the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Ciders and meads are excluded from this competition. If you are unsure of which is the correct style for your beer, contact us and we will help. 
    • Entries require two (2) plain, unlabeled/unmarked 12-ounce amber bottles. Please no clear bottles or bottles of any other size. 
    • We are again using Reggiebeer as our competition website. Go here to enter your beer and print bottle labels. 
    • The entry fee is $7.00. 
    • The total number of contest entries will be capped at 200. Do not delay in submitting your entry. Once the cap is reached no additional entries will be accepted. 
    • Online registration for entries will be accepted from Monday, March 19 through Sunday, April 8 or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. 
    • Entries must be received by Sunday, April 8. Entries will not be accepted after that date. If mailing an entry, please include paperwork and submission fee. Ship in a well-packed box to: Siciliano’s Market // 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW // Grand Rapids, MI 49504
All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competitions are judged by industry professionals and/or trained judges according to the standards of style, not in comparison to each another, with the exception of Best in Show. Entries that receive scores falling within designated point totals will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals. 

A reminder too that we are looking for judges and stewards to help us evaluate all that homebrew. Judging will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 17 Seward Avenue in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Registration for judges and stewards is now open. Please visit this page for sign-up information.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Beer Friday, Steve's Desk Edition (January 12)

"Office Space"
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Back when we were in the process of expanding Siciliano’s homebrew section, my wife Barb and our GM Sarah Derylo floated the idea of moving my desk into the store’s dingy basement. They maintained that the roughly twelve square feet of space that essentially serves as my office could be better utilized to display products, but I knew that was just a ruse. The two neat freaks thought it would be better if that perpetually disorderly corner of the store was hidden from public view.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a slob. If Barb leaves town for a few days it takes me about ten minutes to mess up the house. My storage shed at home is a catastrophe, the work bench in the garage at the cottage is a disaster and that corner of the store is in a constant state of disarray. I don’t usually win when Barb and Sarah gang up on me but there was no way I was going to let them banish me and my old wooden desk to the bowels of the basement.

I like my desk where it is because it allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of the store while I’m doing paperwork, answering emails, writing blog posts and working on homebrew competitions, homebrew parties and Big Brew days. If help is needed up at the sales counter I’m able to be there in seconds. When someone needs assistance in the humidor, the homebrew area and the wine room, I’m just a few steps away. I’m able to see when the staff needs help hauling carboys, cases of bottles and bags of grain out of the warehouse. I keep a folding metal chair around for when sales reps and customers want to hang out and chat.

A few days ago I did my annual January cleanup of my corner. I trashed a year’s worth of old price sheets and catalogs, windexed my computer monitor and wiped the grime off the desk and keyboard. I tidied up my bookcase and threw an old jar of peanut butter away. When I was done I sat back and resolved that this would be the year that I would keep my office space clean and orderly. If I’m lucky it might stay that way until the second week of February.

New and Returning Beer

  • B. Nektar Wildberry Pyment, $18.49/750ml - "In honor of B. Nektar's 10 year anniversary, we've decided to throwback to our first years in business and revive an original fan favorite. Thank you to all of our amazing patrons, and believers in all the weird things we love to share. We couldn't have done it without you. Cheers! Fermented with orange blossom honey and grape juice with natural wild berry flavors added. Every bit as delightful as it was the first time. Still pairs well with any dish and also makes a great sangria" (source).
  • Bell's Hopslam, $3.09/12oz - "Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire" (source).
  • Big Lake Barrel Aged Chinook, $16.19/22oz - "Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale" (source).
  • Breckenridge Twenty Five Imperial Vanilla Porter, $16.79/750ml - "Twenty Five is a special-release beer celebrating 25 years of craftsmanship from Breckenridge Brewery. The recipe starts with an imperial version of our popular Vanilla Porter, resulting in more prominent flavors and stronger alcohol. We then let the beer relax in Barbados rum barrels. In each barrel, we added incredibly rare, fresh, wet, vanilla beans from the Veracruz region of Mexico.  These beans come from small family farms - are hand pollinated and hand picked" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam di Castagna, $5.89/375ml - "A fall inspired version of Bam Bière - a richer, fuller recipe to start and of course we added a lot of chestnuts to the mash as well! Rich auburn, gently tart, notes of earthy chestnuts, flavors of cashew, taro, traces of autumn smoke and a slightly orange juiciness in the finish" (source).
  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, $2.09/12oz - "Our malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish truly defies style…Imperial Mild?...Uber ESB?... We do know for sure that it is Unforgiven and Unrepentant" (source).
  • Maui Imperial Coconut Porter, $22.69/750ml - "A deeper, more intense version of MBC’s flagship Coconut Hiwa Porter, Imperial Coconut Porter is brewed with hand toasted coconut, and subtle hints of cacao and coffee. The rich, slightly sweet and malty ale utilizes seven different malts, including black and chocolate, as well as raw and toasted coconut. It pours with a dark tan head and drinks with a silky smooth, yet warming finish" (source).
  • Revolution A Little Crazy, $1.99/12oz - "A Pilsner malt base provides a nice toasty flavor with hints of caramel and enough fermentable sugar to make this a rather substantial beer. The Belgian-Style Pale Ale is brewed with Magnum, Cascade and Citra hops in the brewhouse and then dryhopped with a blend of Citra and Cascade. This drives home the aromas of fresh citrus rind to make this a very drinkable and extremely aromatic beer" (source).

Video of the Week | Hopslam

Available at Siciliano's while supplies last!


Friday, January 5, 2018

New Beer Friday, Instant Pot Edition (January 5)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife and I have been laying low lately. With West Michigan in the tight grip of an extended deep freeze, neither Barb nor I have felt like braving the arctic cold to visit Beer City’s bevy of excellent restaurants, cocktail lounges and breweries. Other than daily trips to Siciliano’s and occasional excursions to the grocer, we’ve been hunkering down at home. We’re warding off cabin fever with antidotes of Manhattans, music and a glass or two of a warming red wine at dinner.

Barb has been preparing many of those dinners in a gadget called an Instant Pot, a small electric appliance that is a combination pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. Barb likes it because it decreases cooking time. I like it because I don’t have to grill in sub-freezing temperatures. We both especially like it because the food stays warm while we’re enjoying a pre-meal cocktail.

If saving time in the kitchen is appealing and saving your butt from freezing sounds alluring, you’ll probably like the Instant Pot too. Visit their website for more information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arcadia God Save the Pils, $1.99/12oz - "This unfiltered Pilsner-style beer is loaded with hops from the “Garden of England”, the name given to the famed Hop Yards of Kent, and brewed with 100% English malted barley. A very easy drinking lager with a hop character that will please both Pilsner and IPA fans" (source).
  • Deschutes Hop Henge, $2.19/12oz - "Hop Henge is a discovery. Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Galaxy hops come together to erect a hop sanctuary. Revere the almighty hop" (source).
  • Deschutes Red Chair, $1.99/12oz - "The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Several select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it’s an insider’s ride to fresh thrills" (source).
  • Ellison Galaxy Double Dry Hop, $3.29/16oz - "Excessive amounts of Australian Galaxy Hops are used throughout this beer to give it a tropical fruit and floral nose. It's murky and cloudy appearance give way to a creamy flavor bouquet of stone fruits, grapefruit and a touch of pine" (source).
  • Ellison Tiramisu, $3.29/16oz - "In Italian, Tiramisu means "pick me up." Inspired by the coffee flavored Italian dessert, this rich, full bodied stout is guaranteed to do just that" (source).
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, $4.89/12oz - "We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a DOUBLE should be made. Big hops balanced with tons of malt give this beer a huge body. Enjoy right away or let it mellow and smooth with some age" (source).
  • Farmhaus Sweater Weather, $3.49/16oz - "Chai Spiced" (source).
  • Grand Armory White Chocolate Blonde, $2.19/12oz - "A Light, Crisp, Refreshing Blonde Ale With White Chocolate Added During Fermentation. The Creamy White Chocolate Adds A Nice Sweetness To An Already Delicious Beer For An Enjoyable Marriage Of Flavors" (source).
  • New Holland Blue Sunday, $9.09/22oz - "This unique anniversary libation, heritage-blended from our library of barrel-soured beers, exhibits deeply layered flavors of malt and oak, with a tart finish" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, $.179/12oz - "As brewers, we get the privilege to sample our beers straight from the tanks in all their raw glory. Some beers need a little polishing to get ready to go out into the world, while others—the hop-heavy, rowdy, crowd-pleasers—should just be left alone. We wanted to share this brewery-only treat with you, so we present this Hazy Little Thing, our unfiltered, unprocessed IPA, straight from the tanks and into the can" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet, $.179/12oz - "Hops are the name of the game with a Double IPA, but we knew we had to take it one step further. With Hop Bullet, we’re using a new technique, hitting the beer with a double-barreled blast of Magnum hops and lupulin dust—pure, concentrated hop flavor—directly into the tank to emphasize the intense pine and citrus flavors of classic West Coast hops" (source).

Video of the Week | Double Crooked Tree