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Friday, February 28, 2014

New Beer Friday, Think Spring Edition (Feb 28)

Spring on the Musketawa Trail
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Because I’m in serious need of a psychological boost I’ve decided not to wait until the 20th of March this year for the arrival of spring. In past years I’ve always been content to wait stoically for the vernal equinox and spring’s astronomical beginning. But not this year. Not after this horrendous winter.

This year I’ve decided that I’m going with the meteorological beginning of spring which in the northern hemisphere always occurs on the first day of March. Of course I’m fully aware that the weather prognosticators are saying that for the next two weeks there will be temperatures in the teens and almost daily doses of snow showers in West Michigan. That’s certainly not a forecast that tells me it’s time to stow away my winter boots, my heavy winter coat and my wool-lined Stormy Kromer. But isn’t it almost always the case here in Michigan that springtime in March is really nothing more than an uplifting state of mind rather than an actual physical reality? This year I’m choosing to embrace that springtime state of mind just a tad bit earlier.

And so in spite of the fact that we’re in the grip of another polar vortex, tomorrow I’m celebrating the first day of spring. I’m going to drink a farmhouse ale, maybe Ommegang Glimmerglass (see below), and rejoice in the fact that from a meteorological perspective anyway this interminable winter finally is over. If you are in serious need of a psychological boost, why don’t you crack open one of your favorite springtime brews and join me?

New and Returning Beers

  • Ommegang Glimmerglass, $2.89/12oz - "Glimmerglass - The name given to our lake by James Fenimore Cooper - is a beautiful body. Nested between gentle mountains, it reflects any object held up to it, just as it reflects our joy at the arrival of each spring. To help celebrate, pour new spring saison offers a perfect balance of maltiness and hops, with a touch of yeasty fruitiness and a whiff of pepper" (source).
  • VanderMill Puff the Magic Cyser, $14.39/22oz - "Cider fermented in Michigan wildflower honey and aged in New Holland Brewing Company Dragon’s Milk Barrels" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Tripel, $4.29/16oz - "A classic golden ale with esters of banana and bubble gum. This beer pours with a creamy head and ends with a sweetness of light Belgian candi sugars. Our brewmaster aged this ale for an extended period to round out the flavors. A great traditional Belgian brew" (source).
  • Dark Horse Plead the 5th, $3.29/12oz (limit two 4-packs/person) - "It's big and full bodied with lots of roasted malts and balanced with heavy hops to put this imperial in a league of its own" (source).
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, $4.49/12oz - "Have you read the description for the regular Crooked Tree yet? Well this beer is almost the same just double. 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. Although this beer is as cool as "the Fonz" when first purchased, it gets really mellow and smooth with some age. After a year or two stored in a cool dark place you'll notice the heavy caramel and malt flavors are trying to sneak past the hops, they’re just not fast enough" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Normas Raggedy Ass IPA, $2.19/16oz - "Golden in color this pale ale features true English hop character, flavor and bitterness. Medium bodied with a slight malt character that compliments the fruity esters and intense hop aroma" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Grand Trunk, $2.19/16oz - "This classic beer style is brewed with Noble hops, Saaz and Sladeck, from the Czech Republic. Fermented with a classic lager yeast strain for a clean crisp taste. Big spicy hop aroma. Silver award winner at the World Beer Cup" (source).
  • Stone Old Guardian, $6.99/22oz - "When our illustrious brewing team spiked a few barrels of the Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine with our Belgian yeast strain last year, we absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that we knew we needed an excuse to make more. So, in our unending quest to constantly challenge the status quo (even our own), we came up with Odd Beers for Odd Years, a program to release odd beers – e.g. Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine – in odd years (2011, 2013, 2015…). It was met with a bit of resistance (to say the least) since we weren’t originally offering the traditional Old Guardian alongside it, but we’ve mended our ways and decided to make both. You’re welcome" (source).
  • Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Raspberry Pretzel Chocolate - The beer pretty much describes itself.
  • Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter, $1.89/12oz - "Our twist on the traditional american porter, Shake chocolate porter is black in color with rich, dark chocolate aromatics and flavors and subtle coffee-like notes. This unique brew blends five different grains, including Chocolate Wheat, that along with cacao nibs create a devilishly delicious chocolate finish with a velvety mouth feel" (source). 

Picture(s) of the Week

Meet Robin Iknayan, winner of our first-ever rare beer raffle.
Someone (the Boss' son Dominic) is very proud of his purple wolf shirt.
It was a big hit at the Winter Beer Fest last Saturday.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Siciliano's 2014 Big Brew at the Calder: Sign-Up Info

By Steve Siciliano

On Saturday, May 3, Siciliano’s Market will once again be sponsoring an American Homebrewers Association Big Brew Day at the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.

Last year’s inaugural Siciliano’s Big Brew at the Calder was a huge success and we think you’ll agree that with entertainment provided by local music legend Jimmie Stagger, this year’s event even better.

Minor alterations to our wort chilling station will result in reduced wort cooling times which will in turn allow us to constrict the times between the staggered starts for the brewing teams. This should enable every team to finish no later than 1 pm.

As the sponsor for the Big Brew at the Calder, Siciliano’s Market will be donating and providing the following:

    • The ingredients for forty-eight all grain batches of “Beer City Brown”.
    • Bottled water for brewing.
    • A chilling station capable of simultaneously cooling six kettles of wort.
    • Platform hand carts for moving brewing equipment to and from vehicles and transporting kettles of wort to and from the chilling station.
We are now asking those who wish to participate in this event to complete a sign-up sheet at Siciliano’s Market or contact us ( with the following information:

    • Whether you would like to brew one of the forty-eight batches of “Beer City Brown” with your own equipment (mash/lauter tuns, propane burners, kettles, etc.) and be designated as a captain of a brewing team.
    • Whether you would like to brew but are unwilling or unable to transport your equipment to the event. In this case you will be assigned to a brewing team.
    • Whether you would like to participate as a member of a specific brewing team. If so, indicate the captain you would like to brew with.
    • Whether you wish to participate as a volunteer helper.
While we will do our best to accommodate everyone who would like to participate as a brewer at this event, please keep in mind that the number of donated batches and the number of spots per team is limited.

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Beer Friday, Rare Beer Raffle Edition (Feb 21)

By Chris Siciliano

Not long ago we announced right here on The Buzz a new way to handle the extremely limited, ultra rare bottles craft beer and spirits that arrive at Siciliano's Market from time to time—think in terms of Pappy Van Winkle or Bourbon County Stout.

The idea was to raffle off the chance to purchase a single bottle of something from our small but well cared-for cache of ultra rare beer. Whoever won that month's raffle would have first right to refuse the rare beer or bottle of booze that had been selected for sale beforehand.

A raffle, we reasoned, was the fairest way to offer up ultra rare products in a way that ensured all interested parties had an equal chance of getting their hands on them. All you had to do was sign up (in person, of course) and then keep a close eye on Siciliano's Facebook page or blog for the results.

To that end, we're pleased to announce that on Thursday of this week Siciliano's customer Robin Iknayan was selected as the first-ever winner in our rare beer and spirits raffle. By having her named pulled from the hopper first, Robin has won the chance to purchase (or decline to purchase) a coveted bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias.

Because Robin is indeed exercising her right to buy the ultra-rare Utopias, we are officially putting to bed February's raffle. Had Robin declined the bottle, we would have selected another and yet another name from the hopper, pulling names until someone agreed to make the purchase.

For a better understanding of the ultra rare beer and spirits raffle, read this Buzz blog post. To see the list of this week's new beers, none of which you need to win a raffle to buy, just keep reading!

New and Returning Beer at Siciliano's

  • Right Brain Fat Lad Imperial Stout, $8.99/22oz - "Toasty-toasty chocolate stout with a big finish" (source).
  • Right Brain Debauchery Wheat Wine, $8.99/22oz - "Love is not for the faint of heart... Neither is Debauchery. This high gravity brew is our homage to anyone who wears their heart on their sleeve. Find yourself embraced by earthy flavors reminiscent of raisin and dried apricot. This decadent and indulgent brew pairs great with smoked meats, cheese, and sweets. As with any lover, Debauchery Wheat Wine Ale should not be taken lightly and is best enjoyed from your favorite sipping glass. Whether you’re looking to fall in love, or just want a quick fling, it’s always the right time for a little Debauchery" (source).
  • Southern Tier 2xOne, $1.99/12oz - "STYLE: Single Varietal Ale BREWED SINCE: 2014 ABV: 8.1% FERMENTATION: Ale yeast, 1 variety of hops, 1 variety of malt. COLOR: Deep gold EFFERVESCENCE: Ample carbonation NOSE: floral, tropical and fruity FLAVOR: Slightly nutty and bread notes from the malt, with pine, citrus, herbal mint and black pepper flavors from the hops. BITTERNESS: High BODY: Light SERVING TEMPERATURE: 40-45°F GLASS: Favorite pint or snifter CELLARING: 40-45°F" (source).
  • Odd Side Instigator, $2.59/12oz - "A bitter yet fruity IPA" (source).
  • Victory DirtWolf Double IPA, $2.59/12oz - "Wildly assertive, intentionally untamed and dangerously satisfying, DirtWolf Double IPA is the culmination of Victory’s double IPA series experiment with whole flower American-grown hops. With two-row German malts and a well-balanced combination of whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops, this 8.7% abv brew blends the powerful citrus aroma and fruity flavors, with the piney, earthy and mildly floral characteristics found in these intriguing hop varieties" (source).
  • Frankenmuth Heffeweizen, $1.69/12oz - "A sweet mixture of spices and fruit with hints of clove and banana, this refreshingly pale German wheat is top fermented, unfiltered and lightly hopped to achieve its smooth, pleasant flavor and unmistakable cloudy appearance" (source).
  • Stone Stochasticity Project, $8.69/22oz - "India pale ales harness the inherent flavor characteristics of hops to bring forward familiar flavors of pine, resin, spice and citrus. In some cases, those botanicals are so potent, they exactly mirror specific edibles. Such is the case with Centennial hops, which hail from the Great Northwest and come across on the palate like a mouthful of citrus fruit. The sensation is amplified with this, the first beer introduced via the Stochasticity Project, a double IPA brewed with Centennial, Chinook and Magnum hops as well as an immense dosing of fresh grapefruit peel. The result is over-the-top bittersweet grapefuit intensity that is at once refreshing and bracing in its citrusy bitterness" (source).

Beer Lesson of the Week

If you've ever wondered why people wear pretzel necklaces to craft beer festivals,
Hey Kevin has your answer -->

"The first known mention of 'pretzel necklace' is in an obscure German text from the year 1521. The pretzel, it seems, was the official emblem of the Sacred Order of Reinheitsgebot, a secretive sect of German monks who worshipped beer's holy trinity—barley, water, and hops
(remember, back then yeast hadn’t been discovered)."


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Peat Monster from Compass Box Whisky

A review by John Barecki

Several months back I did a review of the Spice Tree release from Compass Box. I really enjoyed the whisky and, over the holidays, I just happened to receive The Peat Monster, another whisky from the Compass Box lineup. To recap what this company is all about, they create blended malt and grain whiskies in an ultra premium sense, with John Glaser at helm, who has a background in wine making as well as whisky. The Peat Monster follows Spice Tree very well and is definitely not for the casual whisky drinker. Combining elements from the Highlands as well as from Islay, we have in front of us a beast with gilded edges.

The Peat Monster has all the smokey flair that a seasoned Islay drinker will love, but there is a softer underbelly to this one. On the nose there is vanilla and toasted coconut followed up by the phenolic yet savory smoke. With the first sip there are light caramels and dark chocolate flavors, with herbaceous notes of cilantro and spices on top of green chilies. This turns into lemon and lime citrus and lingers on, fading gradually to a slightly waxy, campfire ash and black pepper finish, albeit a clean one.

The overall characteristics of this whisky are bold but balanced, something I've come to expect from Compass Box. The rest of their lineup explores different wood combos for aging and plays around with older single grain whiskies. Each bottle they offer is dynamic and well worth seeking out if you are in the market for something a little different.

Compass Box The Peat Monster is available at Siciliano's Market for $59.99.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grand Rapids Beer Week: Siciliano's Tasting Scedule

By Doug Dorda

Imagine, if you will, a week unencumbered by limitations of libations. It is our hope here at Siciliano's that each morning of the forthcoming Grand Rapids Beer Week, you will rise with the knowledge that "aleventure" lies at the waning half of each and every 8 hour respite from enjoyment (work). We would see that you begin your evenings of Beer Week frivolity by making Siciliano's Market the first yellow brick on the road to each evening's celebration of Michigan Beer!

Each night from Monday, February 17, to Friday, February 21, Siciliano's will be host to one of five Michigan fermentation presentations. The beer tastings will take place between the hours of 5 and 7 p.m., and the tastings will be free. We ask only that you have your I.D. present and available for the pourer/presenter before you will be allowed to taste. The scheduled tastings are as follows.

    • Monday: Founders Brewing Company will be conducting a taste comparison between their Centennial and All Day IPA in cans versus bottles.
    • Tuesday: Frankenmuth will be tasting a seasonal as well as their 69 IPA and their Pilsner.
    • Wednesday: Right Brain will offer the Willpower pale ale, Firestarter, and Naughty Girl Stout.
    • Thursday: Short's will show off their Controversiale, Locals Light, and Chatterbox pale.
    • Friday Part 1 (3-5p.m.): Saugatuk will offer Bonfire Brown, Pathfinder pale, and Hop In Yer Rye.
    • Friday Part 2 (5-7p.m.): Vandermill will be tasting Totally Roasted, Hard Apple, and Puff the Magic Cyser.
For more information, please contact Siciliano's Market. Cheers!

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Beer Friday, Good Ol' Days Edition (Feb 14)

Vintage Siciliano's logo from the dart-obsessed
Creston Heights days.*
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

“Is this the same Siciliano’s that used to be on Plainfield?” a gentleman recently asked in a post on our Facebook page.

We told Robert Gaver that it is indeed the same Siciliano's that used to be on Plainfield, but that things have changed a little in the 21 years since we moved from Creston Heights to our present location on Lake Michigan Drive. We urged him to stop by the store if he was into craft beer, homebrewing and winemaking.

"I will," he replied, informing us that he is a mug club member at Osgood’s. “I threw darts with the Siciliano boys back in the 1980s.”

My Uncle Al, my two brothers and yours truly were on a steel-tip dart team sponsored by the old Beason’s Bar on Ottawa Avenue. On league nights when “The Bulls” weren’t playing cricket at Beason’s, we were at other area bars competing against other teams in the Grand Rapids Dart League. Many of those bars are now gone and others have since undergone name changes. If you’re as old as I am you might remember Jack’s Web on Bridge Street, People’s Lounge on Eastern, and The Make Believe on Remembrance.

Darts has traditionally been a game played in pubs and there are only a few other leisurely activities that have been so closely associated with beer throughout the years. Of course all the beer that we drank back in the old days was mass produced American lager.

I have no idea if the dart league is still active [Editor's note: it is], but I do know this—people are still throwing darts in bars and pubs these day and they are doing so while drinking better beer. Osgood’s, for instance, where Robert Gaver has a mug, has a good setup for this enduring pub game that seems immune to the vagaries of time.

Maybe I’ll run into him there someday and we’ll reminisce about the old days, drink a couple of hand-crafted beers and play a game or two of cricket.

*Editor's Note: The symbolic meaning of the kielbasa in the vintage Sicliano's logo has been lost to time, I'm afraid. That is, unless Steve would care to enlighten us to the meaning.

New and Returning Beer

  • Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Saison Variousm, $6.69/22oz - "In the spirit of collaboration, Jamie stayed true to the farmhouse tradition of brewing without spices while Ryan balanced East Kent Goldings hops with coriander and white peppercorn. Ethan’s American hops and a Trappist yeast strain complemented Rich’s citrusy hop profile, and the combined result is Saison Various: a refreshing blend of saisons, brewing sensibilities, and unique ingredients" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout, $2.59/12oz - "Narwhal Imperial Stout is the latest beer in Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude Series. This malt-forward monster is bold – with notes of baker’s cocoa, molasses, and dark roasted coffee. This massive imperial stout is incredibly complex, rich, and intense and will develop in the bottle for years to come" (source).
  • Stone Lucky Bastard Crime, $19.39/500ml (limit 1/person) - "Crime is Lukcy Basartd Ale (a blend of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale and OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale) brewed with freshly harvested peppers and aged in bourbon barrels. Like a criminal act, this capsicum-laced temptation—brewed with jalapeños and black nagas, to name but a few—provides entrée into the seedy underbelly of Stone’s pepper-induced purgatory" (source).
  • North Coast La Merle, $3.19/12oz - "A rustic ale, pale in color, inspired by the rich brewing traditions of the Flanders region. Abundant hops and a Belgian yeast strain contribute exotic aromas af tropical fruit" (source).
  • Breckenridge Ophelia Hoppy Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "Subtle hints of citrus round out the complex aroma of Mosaic hops, for a beer so drinkable, it’ll last through multiple acts" (source).
  • New Belgium Snapshot, $1.69/12oz - "Snap! You Just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a smile-inducing flash of tart at the finish" (source).
  • New Belgium Spring Blonde, $1.69/12oz - "Inspired by our anniversary bike trips through Belgium. Spring Blonde is a bright golden ale with a sweet lemony start, pedaling to a pleasantly bitter finish" (source).
  • Atwater VJ Black, $2.89/12oz - "Brewed in Detroit. Single Batch Series" (source).
  • Finch Black IPA, $3.29/16oz - This beer is dark with mahogany/burgundy highlights achieved by using generous amounts of Briess Midnight Wheat, as well as earthy and citrus hops. It comes in at 8% ABV with 80 IBU’s, and is named after the Egyptian gods representing a boar and a crocodile" (source).
  • Finch Pig in Wood, $11.49/22oz - "Imperial Red Ale aged 6 months in whiskey barrels from Koval Distillery" (source).
  • William Perry Sir Perry Berry, $2.69/16oz - "Pasteurized commercial pear cider" (source).

Video of the Week | Pure Michigan Craft Beer


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Siciliano's Upcoming Homebrew Events: Update

Sarah & Barb pick out door prizes
for the 11th Annual Homebrew Party
By Steve Siciliano

Team Siciliano has been busy lately touching base with merchandise vendors, T-shirt designers, caterers, entertainers, printers, banner makers, venue managers, food truck operators, the Grand Rapids water department, the Grand Rapids fire department, the Mayor’s office and the office of special events. We’ve been dotting our i’s, crossing our t’s and putting our ducks in a row. I detest using clichés, but I just couldn’t think of a better way of saying that right now we have a lot on our plates.

Here's what the team has been so busy working on of late: The upcoming homebrew competition and judging, the 11th Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Party, the 2nd Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew on the Calder and last, but certainly not least, our participation in the American Homebrewer Association annual convention.

We will be providing more details on each of these events in future Buzz posts. In the meantime here’s a plate of tasty appetizers:

  • Entries for the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition will be accepted from Monday, March 24th through Sunday, April 13th. This year’s Best-of-Show winner will receive a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market and will have the opportunity to brew the winning recipe on New Holland Brewing Company’s seven barrel pub system. Complete competition details can be found here.
  • Last year’s inaugural Siciliano’s Big Brew on the Calder was a huge success and we’re making a few changes that will make this year’s Big Brew Day even better. The 2nd Annual Siciliano's Big Brew on the Calder is scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd. Details on how to captain or participate on a brew team will be posted within the coming weeks.
  • We are returning to Townsend Park on Saturday, May 17th for our 11th Annual Homebrew Party. Tickets are $40.00 per person and will go on sale on Monday, March 24th. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. 
  • The American Homebrewers Association is bringing its annual convention to Grand Rapids in June and Siciliano’s Market will be participating in a big way—we have signed on as both the Keynote Speaker Sponsor and the Volunteer Sponsor for this year’s event. Information pertaining to the convention can be found on the AHA web site.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Beer Friday, Bending Cane Edition (February 7)

A road in Michigan, winter
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I have to confess that I was a bit deflated when I heard that the legendary Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Groundhog’s Day and caught a glimpse of his shadow. Of course I don’t believe this is an absolute indication of a late spring any more than I believe that there are pots of gold at the ends of rainbows. But when you’re mired in the depths of an interminable winter you have to fight off the fear that there might be some truth in weather prognosticating rodents.

Despite Phil’s decidedly unscientific methods of weather-casting, it does appear that his forecast will be accurate this year. That’s unfortunate because I’ve been bending under the weight of this winter.

A few nights ago, after once again unburying the mail box and digging out the driveway, I trudged through the knee deep snow out to the stand of bamboo at the edge of our backyard. When the first ice storm came back in early December the tall standing bamboo canes began bending. Now in this first week of February even the tallest of the slender canes are bent down to the ground, but not one of them is broken.

“The stiffest tree is most easily cracked while the bamboo survives by bending,” Bruce Lee said. So too it is with us humans. We may indeed be facing six more weeks of ice storms, snow and bone-numbing cold, but we’ll continue to bear the load of this brutal winter. We’ll continue to bend, but when spring finally does come, not one of us will be broken.

New and Returning Beer

  • Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Brewed with all malted barley and peat malt (smoked malt). This beer is full bodied with chocolate, roasted barley flavors, and a smokey almost BBQ finish" (source).
  • Green Flash Hop Odyssey Black IPA, $6.19/22oz - "This American-style Black IPA is nearly jet black and perceived to have high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. The appearance may trick you into thinking you are about to enjoy a traditional stout beer when in fact your senses are about to be overwhelmed with our Black IPA. Juicy, fruity, floral, and pine from Pacific Northwest hops gives the beer a classic West Coast IPA hop character. The Black IPA is further characterized by a balanced and moderate degree of caramel malt and subdued dark roasted malt flavor and aroma" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Siberian Night, $6.89/12oz - "We took our award winning Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout and aged it for 11 months in fresh bourbon barrels. The result blew us away. The dark chocolate malt yields a milk chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the vanilla flavor from the barrel. The bourbon aroma adds the finishing touch" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Red, $2.69/12oz - "A traditional light hop flavour balances the sweet malty caramel taste. The addition of a pinch of roast barley during the brewing process lends a distinctive roast bite which is balanced by a crisp dry medium bitterness" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Stout, $2.69/12oz - "This stout has a robust flavour with a ful bodied and smooth mouth feel. The roast flavours lead to a dry espresso like finish. A generous addition of fuggles hops lead to a tart bitterness which mingles with the roast espresso flavours on the tongue" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale, $2.69/12oz - "Keg& bottles, regular.Dry hopped for extra aroma, this pale ale has a light malt base with just the right mouthfeel to allow the hop character to predominate. Grapefruit like bitterness is full and lasting and is balanced by a zesty citrus burst of aroma from two late additions of cascade hops" (source).
  • O'Hara's Leann Follain, $2.69/12oz - "Laden with complex chocolate and coffee flavours, balnced by a robust bitterness and delicate spicy aroma, O’haras Leann Follain is a full bodied extra Irish stout" (source).
  • Short's Controversiale, $1.99/12oz - "Toasted pale ale with tons of citrus hoppiness" (source).
  • Lagunitas Cappucino Stout, $4.79/12oz - "Our Original Stout, brewed with real Hardcore Coffee from Sebastopol" (source).
  • Atwater VJ Black Stout, $2.89/12oz - "Brewed in Detroit" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Siren Noir, $6.69/22oz - "This year’s Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout has been revamped. We’ve aged it for three weeks in bourbon barrels, which gives the beer darker notes of raisin and fig. We’ve also tripled the amount of chocolate nibs and added vanilla bean. A mix of dark malts gives Siren Noire a well-rounded body that is decidedly chocolatey—but without being extraordinarily sweet. Mt. Hood hops contribute a fruity hop profile, with notes of black currant" (source).
  • Arcadia Big Dicks Old Ale, $3.89/12oz - "Maltes: Crisp Pale Ale, Crisp Crystal, Crisp Chocolate. Hops: Mt. Hood, Centennial, Crystal" (source).
  • Arcadia Cereal Killer, $3.89/12oz - "Brewed in tradition of Englishstyle barley wines, Cereal Killer offers an explosion of full-bodied, liquid goodness. Robust malty flavors converge with caramel, toffee, molasses and dark fruit notes to produce a remarkably complex yet palate-pleasing beer. Its intense malt character is complemented by a subtle citrus finish from the hops. With cellar-aging Cereal Killer’s flavor evolves further, developing a sherry-like aroma and flavor similar to a cask-aged port. Winner of the Gold Medal for Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beers at 2009 GABF" (source).
  • Arcadia Coco Loco Triple Chocolate Stout, $2.69/12oz - "OG 1070, 39 IBU, 7.0% ABV Malts: Pale Ale, Munich, Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate, Crisp Chocolate, Flaked Barley. Hops: English Progress, Liberty, Summit" (source).
  • Arcadia Hop Rocket, $3.89/12oz - "Hop Rocket is a veritable constellation of hops… including some varieties that we haven’t used in other beers, and it’s delivered by the same booster of worldclass malt that our loyal fans have come to know and love with all Arcadia Ales" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Mayan Mocha Stout, $2.99/12oz - No commercial description available.
  • Victory Hop Ranch Imperial IPA, $2.69/12oz - "To our hop ranchers, who coax and cultivate our enticing and flavorful hops, we raise this glass. Selecting the finest varieties in their natural, whole flower form, we craft our Hop Ranch Imperial India Pale Ale, as a celebration of their successes. Pungent, floral and intense, this represents America’s best, in every relaxing sip" (source).
  • Saugutuk Big Swingin Richard, $15.39/22oz - "Barley Wine aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels" (source).

Cartoon of the Week | By Mark "The Funny Uncle" Siciliano

For more cartoons like this one, 
visit the brand new Head Cheese Facebook page.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Matt's Burning Rosids

A Reflection by Doug Dorda

It is not my intent to review what is a breathtaking and beautifully realized cherrywood smoked saison from Stone Brewing Company. Rather, I want to comment on the message that this beer's very existence calls into sharp relief.

That message, being one we purveyors of ale know quite well, is that this community, tempered in the forges of the fermented arts, owes the sum of its whole to the passion and efforts of every individual. Alone, we enjoy making mead, beer and wine, but together we exist as a culture bolstered by the simple fact that all are welcome, and all are capable of greatness.

The accident that befell Matt Courtright was tragic indeed. But by simply enjoying a beer that he created, we can pay tribute to his contributions to the craft beer industry, and we can pledge to always remember that our so-cherished beverages are wrought by the hands of people just like you and me and Matt, neighbors (after a fashion). Sipping this ale may prove to be the easiest way to say thank you to not only those close to us in the industry, but to Matt Courtright as well.

Available at Siciliano's Market