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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Used Whiskey Barrels, Available Now at Siciliano's

Brace yourselves, folks. Barrels are back at Siciliano’s — for a limited time.

By Joe Potter

KBS. Bourbon County. Dragon’s Milk. No Rules — You know the beers. You know you want to clone them. Now, here’s your chance.

By a stroke of luck, Siciliano’s has acquired a very limited quantity of ex-whiskey barrels, retired by Journeyman Distillery of Three Oaks and Breuckelen Distilling of NYC. The barrels are 15 and 25 gallons in size, and are available for $175 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

However, if you’re like me, before you go out and drop $175, you want a little background info on barrels and what to expect:

First off, these barrels will need to be rehydrated before their first use. When a barrel is empty, the wood dries out and shrinks, causing leaks. When filled, the wood swells and the barrel becomes watertight again. To rehydrate a barrel, you can take it outside and fill it with clean water for a day, being sure to periodically replace water lost to leaking, evaporation or absorption by the wood. Alternatively, hot water can be used to speed up the process. If you don’t intend to fill the barrel with beer right away, a holding solution of 0.6 oz citric acid and 2 oz potassium metabisulfite (both available at Siciliano's) per gallon can be used to keep the barrel wet and promote sterility.  

Secondly, these are charred barrels that have previously housed cask-strength distillate of ~120 proof. This means they (theoretically) are sterile and free of any funkifying microorganisms.
However, if you would like to sanitize the barrel prior to use, I would strongly advise AGAINST using a burning sulfur stick (which is a common practice for treating wine barrels). The extremely high proof of the spirit leaves flammable alcohol vapors inside the barrel, and exposing them to an open flame could effectively create a bomb. If you do feel the need to clean and sanitize the barrel before use, I’d recommend a liquid-based method such as Barolkleen and Star San to avoid an explosion/fire/great personal harm.

Third, it’s important to note that barrels do have a shelf life (sort of, depending on what you’re into). Many homebrewers find that after one to three uses of a retired barrel, the beer stops pulling spirit character. Imparted oakiness will also diminish with use. Further, even with regular cleaning and sanitation between batches, many homebrewers note a perceptible tartness in their beer after a few barrel fills. This is due to wild yeast and bacteria which have begun to take hold inside the cask. It is, therefore, a common practice to age one or two “clean” beers in the barrel before retiring it as a souring vessel. If you’re a sour fan, that’s great news — you can get a couple batches of BBA beers and then continue to use the barrel for your funky beers. If you’re not into funk, sell your barrel to someone who is when you no longer have use for it. Everybody wins!

(At this point, a curious homebrewer might ask, “Isn’t it possible, that once a barrel stops imparting spirit flavor, one could simply refill it with high proof whiskey, replenishing its spirit character and wiping out any souring microbes harbored inside?” My answer is, “I think so?” It seems to me that it would be possible to “refurbish” a barrel by refilling it with distillate, but unless you or someone you know is running a still, that could prove expensive and impractical.)
A barrel-ager should also be aware that liquid can be lost from the inside of a cask due to evaporation and absorption by the wood. A practice called “topping up” is required to refill the lost space inside the barrel in order to prevent oxidation. A similar beer should be used for this, or you may even experiment with using a cheap whiskey. One could even employ a sort of solera system where, for example, five gallons of beer are removed from the barrel for consumption/bottling and 6 gallons of freshly brewed beer enter for aging. This mixing of both old and new is common for sherries and ports.

One final note: with these barrels being smaller than the standard 55-gallon cask used in most commercial operations, the ratio of barrel surface area to volume is much higher. This means that barrel will impart spirit and wood characters much more quickly (as little as a few months), and frequent sampling should be performed to avoid overdoing it.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Brew on.

Friday, April 29, 2016

New Beer Friday, Hinting at a Winner Edition (April 29)

Judges, judging.
West Michigan Homebrewer is Best-of-Show Winner in 2016 Siciliano’s Competition. Story by roving freelance reporter Joseph P. Sprinklehead.

A West Michigan homebrewer has won Best of Show (BOS) in the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition according to an unnamed source involved in the competition’s judging last Saturday at the Guest House in Grand Rapids. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source told this reporter that the 2016 winner of the Siciliano’s Cup resides in West Michigan and is very active in the local homebrewing community.

“I’m sorry but I can’t tell you anything more than that. I can't give you a name,” the source recently told me over a few beers at Trail Point Brewing Company, looking nervously over his shoulder from time to time. “There will be hell to pay if The Boss finds out I talked to you.”

Stewards, stewarding.
Siciliano’s Market owner and competition organizer Steve Siciliano wouldn’t confirm or deny the information but did agree to provide some details about the 2016 competition. Out of the 172 entries submitted, a total of 121 were awarded medals with the breakdown as follows: 21 gold, 38 silver and 62 bronze.

“It was a strong competition,” Siciliano said. “There were some very high scores and the BOS round was very close. Folks will just have to wait until the party to find out who won the Cup.” The BOS winner will also have the opportunity to brew on Trail Point’s seven-barrel system and will receive a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market.

The awards ceremony and the presentation of the Siciliano’s Cup will be the highlight of the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party on Saturday, May 21 at Johnson Park. Tickets are $45.00 and must be purchased in advance at the store or with a credit card over the phone by calling 616-453-9674.

Homebrew, homebrewing.

New and Returning Beers

  • Texas Corners 1st Anniversary Ale, $9.99/22oz - "Double IPA crafted for our 1 year Anniversary. Brewed with Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops lending tropical fruit tones" (source).
  • Green Flash Cosmic Ristretto, $8.49/22oz - "Live long and drink Cosmic Ristretto. This highly revered brew will go down in history as one of the first graduates of our Genius Lab program into our front line. Marvel at its rich black appearance with bruleed edges and mocha-colored beer foam. Breathe in its coffee aroma and sweet malts, and savor its smooth, espresso, chocolate flavor. Don’t fight its gravitational pull. This bold, complex, java-centric Baltic Porter with Espresso is irresistible. Houston, we have a problem, my glass is empty" (source).
  • Shipyard Blood Orange Wit, $1.99/12oz - "Shipyard Blood Orange is a crisp, refreshing Belgian style wheat ale with a subtle orange aroma and hints of coriander and citrus on the finish" (source).
  • Shipyard Blue Fin Stout, $1.99/12oz - "A classic Irish stout.  Full-bodied yet smooth and spectacular in appearance" (source).
  • Shipyard Melon Head, $1.99/12oz - "This beer is a crisp, quenching wheat ale with a refreshing essence of fresh watermelon" (source).
  • Shipyard Monkey Fist, $1.99/12oz - "Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA is edgy, aggressive and unique in style.  This beer is brilliant copper in color and exploding with flavorful hop character but able to maintain a beautiful balance" (source).
  • Shipyard Smashed Blueberry, $2.99/12oz - "A hybrid between a Porter and a Scotch Ale, this beer has a rich mouth feel and a body of complex intensity.  Up front, there are notes of coffee and chocolate; beautifully accentuated by the aroma of blueberries.  The finish features a delicate balance of sweet fruit and dry hops.  To fully experience all the flavors, this beer is best enjoyed at 55 degrees Fahrenheit" (source).
  • Stone Encore 6th Anniversary, $8.59/22oz - "We celebrated our first five years in business by releasing anniversary India pale ales, with each subsequent IPA brewed to be hoppier and more intense than the previous. For our 6th anniversary in 2002, we extended this concept by making an intensified version of Stone Smoked Porter. We cranked up the malts and hops a notch or three and conditioned it on French and American oak, which accentuated our porter’s distinctive smokiness and amplified its chocolate and roast coffee flavors while also adding subtle notes of toffee, cherries, dried berries and vanilla. We’re proud to give those who missed out—as well as those who didn’t—a fresh shot at experiencing this smoky, dark-as-night wonder" (source).
  • Shiner Prickly Pear, $1.69/12oz - "Doubly good in triple digits, our unique summer seasonal is made with the fruit of the prickly pear, a cactus native to Shiner, Texas. With a tart, citrusy flavor and a crisp finish, it’s the best use of cactus yet" (source).
  • Shiner Wicked Ram IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Over the past hundred years, our brewers have certainly engaged in their fair share of mischief. This beer, however - our first India Pale Ale - has taken a dose of wickedness to brew. Starting with 2-row, caramel, and wheat malts, which provide a bright copper color and fuller body, we then add Crystal and Bravo hops for aroma and a classic IPA bite. We finish it off by dry hopping with Centennials for an even more aromatic flavor" (source).
  • New Belgium Heavy Melon, $1.69/12oz - "Hot summer nights, jam out to the cooling waves of Heavy Melon Ale, our newest seasonal track. Brewed with juicy watermelon and zesty lime peel, this crushable ale rips with a blast of melon notes. Ripened fruit aromas of melon, papaya and citrus climax with an enticing aroma, and set up an invigorating wash of fruity sweetness, grassy bitterness and the slightest touch of tartness. Super crisp and refreshing from start to finish, Heavy Melon Ale shreds through the summer heat" (source).
  • Big Sky Shake A Day, $1.69/12oz - "This beer is Big Sky’s interpretation of an American IPA (BJCP 21A).  It’s a hoppy, bitter, strong pale ale showcasing some of our favorite hop varieties.  The balance of this beer is definitely hop-forward with just enough malt to support the aggressive hopping rates.  We used Simcoe, Cascade and Galaxy hops throughout the process at a rate of 3lb/bbl imparting aromas of citrus, pine and tropical fruit.  The base is a combination of Pale 2-row and light Munich malt for a subtle grainy-malt flavor with a clean, dry finish.  Fermented with an American yeast strain, this beer was a true departure from our regular brand portfolio" (source).
  • Rogue 4 Hop IPA, $2.09/12oz - "An approachable and aromatic session IPA" (source).
  • Rogue 7 Hop IPA, $2.59/12oz - "A bold and balanced IPA" (source).
  • Abita Bourbon Street Coffee Stout, $9.29/22oz - "Bourbon Street Stout is an Imperial Stout that is aged in small batch bourbon barrels. Our Imperial Stout is brewed with a combination of pale, caramel, chocolate and roasted malts. Oats are also added to give the beer a fuller and sweeter taste. The roasted malts give the beer its dark color as well as its intense flavor and aroma. After fermentation the beer is cold aged for 6 weeks. This is necessary for all of the flavors of the malt and hops to balance and produce a very smooth flavor. After the cold aging the beer is transferred into the bourbon barrels. It is then aged for another 8 weeks to absorb all of the flavors from the barrels. The result is a stout that brings out the roasted flavors from the malt and the warming toasted, vanilla, and bourbon flavors" (source).
  • Odd Side Havana Lime, $1.99/12oz - "Ale with lime and habanero added" (source).

Video of the Week | Bell's Brewery

Brace yourselves — Summer is coming.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Anchorage Brewing Company Whiteout Wit

Review by Matt Ross

To pick up where we left off with Anchorage Brewing, I present my review of their Whiteout Wit. Traditionally this is a pretty straight-forward style that thrives on subtly: pilsner and wheat malt, conservative hop additions and wit yeast. Spices are optional. Anchorage took these basic guidelines and indulged in all departments. They added lemon peel, coriander and black peppercorn. They also added brettanomyces. It is aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels. It is also 6.5% ABV. Up front it seems like there is a lot going on.

The first thing you notice is the pour. This beer is very carbonated. Pleasantly carbonated. The color is stunning. It is a beautiful hazy pale straw in color. The aroma is subtle but dramatic. If you are not paying much attention it would be easy to overlook. Up front it had a wonderful bright sour pineapple from the brett. Upon closer investigation I found earthy and mild citrus character mixed with white wine. The first sip was a roller coaster. For everything that was put into this beer I was shocked at how well it was balanced. The brett was not too tart. You could taste each spice’s unique addition. Overall I found this beer to be incredibly quaffable and fun to drink.

Witbier is a style that is notoriously tough to make well. In my opinion Anchorage knocked this one out of the park. They did their own take on a classic and it paid off. This is a great beer for sitting on the porch and watching time pass with friends. Siciliano’s is currently selling the Whiteout Wit in 750-ml bottles for $14.39 while supplies last. Despite this beer referencing a “whiteout,” it is perfect for shaking off the cobwebs from winter hibernation and to welcome spring. Brew on.

Friday, April 22, 2016

New Beer Friday, Siciliano's Cup Edition (April 22)

The Siciliano's Cup
By Steve Siciliano

Tomorrow a group of BJCP-certified judges, commercial brewers and industry professionals will gather at the Guest House in Grand Rapids to judge the 172 entries that were submitted in the 13th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Each of those entries will be evaluated according to BJCP style guidelines, many will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals, and the name of another Best of Show winner will be added to the Siciliano’s Cup. The BOS winner will also have the opportunity to brew the winning recipe on Trail Point Brewery’s seven-barrel system and will receive a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market.

The awards ceremony and the presentation of the Siciliano’s Cup will be the highlight of the 13th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party on Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park. If you entered the competition but will not be attending the party you may pick up your score sheet (and medal) at Siciliano’s Market beginning on Sunday, May 22. If you live outside of the Grand Rapids area and would like your score sheet and medal mailed to you, contact me at this address:

Tickets for the 13th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party are $45.00 and may be purchased in person at the store or with a credit card over the phone by calling 616-453-9674.

In other news, everything is set for the Fourth Annual Beer City Big Brew on the Calder sponsored by Siciliano’s Market, Coldbreak Brewing and Gravel Bottom Brewery & Supply. On Saturday, May 7, forty-eight teams of homebrewers will be brewing up batches of Beer City Saison on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Samples of homebrew will be available for those who have attained the legal drinking age and food will be available for purchase from Patty Matters food truck. The Big Brew event is free of charge and is open to the public. Watch the video below for more information.

Finally, we have a few hop rhizomes left from this year’s pre-order that we are selling on a first come first serve basis for $5.00 each. Call 616-453-9674 for the specific varieties.

New and Returning Beer

  • Founders Palm Reader Pale Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Palm Reader is made with Michigan-grown Crystal and Zuper-Saazer hops. Derived from Saaz, a traditional noble hop hailing from the Czech Republic, these Zuper-Saazer hops, grown locally at Hop Head Farms, impart intense and fruity aromas. Combined with the citrus notes of the Crystal hops and the simple malt bill, this beer is crisp, bright and delicious" (source).
  • Alaskan Kicker Session IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Inspired by 24 hours of daylight, Kicker Session IPA is an anytime brew with fruity Citra and Amarillo hops and a burst of bright citrus Simcoe hop aroma" (source).
  • Left Hand Good Juju, $2.09/12oz - "Fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hop in this pale ale ancestor. Emancipate yourself from the dead of winter, none but the vernal equinox can free the light. A refreshing frivolity. Hey mon. Shuccha fwangaa! Better a witch doctor than a trouble maker. Quit yor’ bitchin’ an’ get to witchin'" (source).
  • Southern Tier Three Citrus Peel Out, $7.79/22oz - "3 Citrus Peel Out is an Imperial Wheat Ale brewed with blood orange juice, tangerine and grapefruit peels. 3 Citrus Peel Out is the newest in the company’s seasonal Imperial Series. It features an 8.5% ABV, a grain bill consisting of 35% wheat, CTZ & Mosaic hops and a walloping amount of citrus. Over four and a half pounds of tangerine & grapefruit peel per barrel accompany tropical flavors from Mosaic hops and an added boost of blood orange juice during fermentation. This refreshing brew sits around 30 IBU and its nice citrus pith complements the bitterness. Residual sweetness helps accentuate the fruity character and masks the 8.5% ABV well" (source).
  • Lagunitas Lucky 13, $2.19/12oz - "An ultra-mega-mondo red ale first made for our anniversary in 2006 to celebrate thirteen years of brewing ultra-mega-mondo ales" (source).
  • Odd Side Chilling The Most, $1.99/12oz - "Dry hopped lager" (source).
  • Odd Side Troll Toll, $1.99/12oz - "Session IPA brewed with lactose" (source).
  • Short's Melt Your Brain, $1.99/12oz - "Melt My Brain is an experimental Golden Ale brewed with coriander, juniper berries, limes and blended with Short’s made tonic water to create the tasting experience of drinking a gin and tonic cocktail. Delicate aromas of citrus and pine flow into bold bright flavors of sweet lime with a slightly sticky bitterness. Refreshing and clean, a tasty tonic effervescence provokes the palate for more" (source).

Video of the Week | Big Brew News


R.I.P. Prince

Monday, April 18, 2016

Brew of the Month, April Edition: Spencer's Spring Porter

By Max Spencer

To me, spring is about earth. I cherish when the wind first carries the scent of wet dirt and the herbaceous aroma of freshly emerged plants every year. With the first days of spring here I wanted to create a beer that I felt embodied the primal essence of the season. After a fair amount of deliberation, I decided to make a dry porter with mint and star anise in honor of spring.

While mint is primarily used in winter beers, I feel it is more appropriate in a springtime ale. In addition to a cooling sensation on the palate, fresh mint adds a lot of herbaceous flavors beyond the one-note taste found in mint gums and toothpastes. Star anise adds another layer of complexity by providing earthy and spicy tones reminiscent of licorice or fennel.

The resulting brew poured opaque dark brown with a solid beige head. The mint and anise dominated the nose, lending the pleasant spice and earth tones I was looking for. Anise and chocolate flavors from the malt kicked off the palate, finishing strong with bold herb and spice notes derived from the mint. The body was dry and effervescent from the addition of honey, which I felt was appropriate in attempting to illicit the effect of a cool spring breeze. I enjoyed this brew and the process of designing it. The mint and anise worked great together and added a level of complexity without taking away from the beer itself.

All Grain ($38.87)

    • 5 lbs. of Munton’s Maris Otter
    • 5 lbs. of Breiss Pale 2-Row 
    • 1 lbs. of Crisp Pale Chocolate
    • 0.7 lbs. of Breiss Caramel 60°L
    • 0.5 lbs. of Breiss Chocolate 
    • 1 lbs. of Non-Pasteurized Honey

Extract w/ Specialty Grains ($39.26)

    • 5 lbs. Breiss Pilsen Light LME
    • 1.5 lbs. Breiss Amber LME
    • 0.8 lbs. of Crisp Pale Chocolate
    • 0.6 lbs. of Breiss Caramel 60°L
    • 0.5 lbs. of Breiss Chocolate 
    • 1 lbs. of Non-Pasteurized Honey

Boil / Hops

    • 0.25 oz U.K. Challenger @ 60 minutes
    • 0.5 oz U.K. Challenger @ 30 minutes
    • 0.75 oz U.K. Challenger @ 15 minutes
    • 0.5 oz U.K. Challenger @ 5 minutes
    • 2 oz fresh mint @ 5 minutes
    • 2 oz star anise @ 5 minutes
I preferred the beer as is without extracts, but if the two ounces of mint and anise are not enough for your own tastes I would recommend using the anise and/or spearmint extracts from Beanilla ($7.59 each). Be careful when adding these extracts as a little goes a LONG way. I suggest investing in a pipette ($0.99) and adding a few drops at a time followed by a gentle stir until it tastes how you want it.

The staff at Siciliano's is always eager to answer your homebrewing questions. Stop by for help developing custom-made recipes like this one!

Friday, April 15, 2016

New Beer Friday, Bottle Some Delicious Edition (April 15)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Winexpert has announced that two new port-style wines are being added to the company’s portfolio of seasonal releases. Peppermint Mocha and Red Velvet are the latest offerings in the company’s popular dessert wine category and will debut with perennial favorite Chocolate Raspberry in special releases this fall.

Each of these three gallon kits will retail for $109.00 and are available only on a pre-order basis. Orders may be placed in person at Siciliano’s Market, by calling 616-453-9674 or via email at this address. Deadline for ordering is Tuesday, May 10th.

Descriptions for the 2016 Winexpert dessert wine offerings are as follows.

    • Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Wine: Warm cherries and plums are supported by a racy zing of bright raspberry and luscious chocolate.
    • Peppermint Mocha Dessert Wine: Dark chocolate and cool peppermint blend seamlessly with the rich coffee notes and dark fruit.
    • Red Velvet Dessert Wine: Rich and velvety notes of dark berry with a hint of moist sponge cake enveloped in decadent cocoa.


The Siciliano’s Homebrew Party will be held this year on Saturday, May 21, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the enclosed shelter at Johnson Park. Tickets are $45.00 and are now on sale. Seating is limited so if you plan on attending one of Beer City USA’s most popular homebrewing events you are encouraged to reserve your spot early.

We have been busy making final preparations for the Fourth Annual Beer City Big Brew on the Calder. On Saturday, May 7, forty-nine teams of homebrewers will be brewing batches of “Beer City Saison” on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Beer City Big Brew on the Calder, sponsored by Siciliano’s Market, Coldbreak Brewing and Gravel Bottom Brewery & Supply, is free of charge and open to the public.

We have a few hop rhizomes left from this year’s pre-order that we are selling on a first-come first-serve basis for $5.00 each. Call 616-453-9674 for the specific varieties.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Oatsmobile, $1.79/12oz - "Aromatic. Approachable. Unique. Intriguing. Happy-go-lucky. Full-bodied. And we’re not just talking about the horse. This hop-forward session pale ale uses a blend of classic and modern Pacific Northwest hops, including Mosaic, Equinox and Glacier, for a pungent blend of peach, mango and tropical aromas. The signature ingredient - oats - are what makes Oatsmobile Ale stand apart, and gives it a body that you don’t see in most other session Pale Ales" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Clubhouse, $2.19/16oz - "In addition to their line of signature favorites, Griffin Claw is now making something super special for baseball season. Their Clubhouse Cream Ale, a new brew concocted in honor of our home team, will be available in cans inside Comerica Park all season long" (source).
  • New Holland Dragon's Milk Chocolate Coffee, $4.29/12oz (4 per) - "“Indulgence” is Dragon’s Milk aged with coffee and chocolate. Rich, indulgent chocolate flavors are seductively punctuated with dark and roasty coffee bitterness" (source).
  • New Holland Incorrigible, $5.49/22oz (1 per) - "Incorrigible celebrates the beauty of mischief. Wild yeasts and bacteria run free in our sour-aging cellar, the House of Funk, creating vibrant sour and acidic character in this delicate, yet complex wheat beer. The refreshingly tart session beer will tease your palate with a subtle, layered nuance" (source).
  • Saugatuck Daze on Saison, $1.79/12oz - "Go to a whole new dimension with this off the wall Farmhouse Ale. Dry hopped with copious amounts of Mandarina & Mosaic hops for an interesting twist" (source).
  • Moosehead Raddler, $13.99/12pk - "A hugely popular beer-based mixed drink in Eastern Europe, Radlers are seen as an incredibly refreshing alternative for beer drinkers looking to try something new. Moose Light Radler is Moosehead’s take on the traditional Radler - a recipe developed using award winning light lager infused with a hit of natural fruit flavours" (source).
  • B. Nektar Tuco-Style Freakout, $8.19/500ml - "Tart lime engulfs the tongue followed by a creamy sweetness of honey and agave. Medium bodied with a lime pith bitterness on the semi-dry finish. A zip of acidity adds to the wonderful balance of the sweet, tart, and bitter flavors" (source).
  • B. Nektar Stupid Man Suit, $8.19/500ml - "Crisp apple and cherry forward. The sides of the tongue garner the tartness of dry apple and unripened berries while a mild sweetness rounds and balances. Medium body with a dry, refreshing finish" (source).
  • Abita Shotgun IPA, $4.69/22oz - "The shotgun house is a New Orleans classic. Fire a shotgun through the front door and it will pass out the back door and never touch a wall... or so the story goes. Shotgun Double IPA is wall-to-wall hops with plenty of pale malt. First hopped in the brewhouse with multiple varieties, including Amarillo, then dry hopped with Simcoe, Sitra and Cascade. A blast of intense flavors and aromas of pine, citrus and tropical fruit" (source).
  • Boulevard Heavy Lifting IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Heavy Lifting is our newest year-round beer based on our popular Tasting Room beer Mid-Coast IPA. Mid-Coast became a favorite among hopheads for its big, bold hop presence. Heavy Lifting takes that legacy further in fine style, exploding with flavor and a huge helping of five remarkably zesty and piney hops" (source).
  • Boulevard Sixth Glass, $9.99/750ml - "Our quadrupel ale, also meant for the mature connoisseur, is a deep and mysterious libation, dark auburn and full-bodied, its sweetness deceptive" (source).

Video of the Week | Bell's Oatsmobile

Now available at Siciliano's.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mellow Corn Straight Corn Whiskey Review

In a mellow mood
By John Barecki

Corn plays an integral role in the world of whisk(e)y, helping create well-known flavors in American sprits thanks to its high utilization in Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and the evolving moonshine category. The use of this grain is also explored on the soil of many other countries including Japan, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa.

The flavors and aromas of corn whiskies can range from sweet and creamy to earthy and savory. They open your palate to what one integral part of the whole can do and they allow you to experience the multiple facets of a single grain. Mellow Corn is an interesting example of the effect corn can have on its own and also teaches your tongue to recognize its flavors in whiskeys you taste later on. 

One other reason you should think about trying Mellow Corn is that it is bottled in bond. The Bottled in Bond Act was created to ward off imposters in the early days of American distillation and continues today. In short it is a set of rules enacted in 1897 that must be followed while producing whiskey. The spirit must be made from one distillation season, by one distiller at one distillery. The spirit must also be aged in a bonded warehouse (under U.S. government supervision) for no less than four years. Outside of adding water to proof down the new spirit, the law prohibits the addition or subtraction of any substance (flavoring and colorant) or the utilization of any process to alter the original character of the end product.

Most often the products that fall under the Bottled in Bond Act are quite good. Rittenhouse Rye and Old Grand Dad come to mind and there are some higher-end examples as well, for example (when you can find it), the Colonel E.H. Taylor line made by Buffalo Trace Distillery. 

I took my time with Mellow Corn, enjoying all the interesting things going on inside this retro bottle, from the sweet to the savory to the earthy. It is in a sense similar to an eau de vie or un-aged fruit brandy in that it really shows the eccentricities of the single ingredient. 

    • Nose: New leather, woodsy spices, nutmeg, vanilla with a touch of a solvent-like aroma that is more pine sap, with a sour but slightly fruity note.
    • Palate: Medium to thin body, sweet corn front, earthy, lightly cooked maple syrup, tree sap, vanilla and light caramel; reminiscent of early season sweet corn with a dash of pepper. 
    • Finish: Relatively short, the earthy tones hold on with a light menthol mist; slight fruity notes linger in the middle.
Overall, Mellow Corn is a fun and feisty whiskey, featuring flavors you will find in most Bourbons, being that Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn and because the barrels in which they age Mellow Corn were once reserved for Bourbon. On its own, Mellow Corn has complexities that dance across your tongue. A touch of water will help bring out the earthy characteristics of the grain.

This whiskey has been in Heaven Hill's arsenal for quite some time now. Sadly it often gets pushed to the wayside because of its outdated look (which is making a comeback) or the oddball color, which is natural (see Bottled in Bond Act). But there is now a resurgence in the market mainly thanks to the emerging cocktail scene. This is a whiskey for those of you who either want to enjoy bourbon to its fullest extent or to expand your knowledge of the effect individual grains can have on whiskey. It's also a good way to create interesting but familiar flavors in your mixed drinks.

If you are interested in furthering your experience with single-grain corn spirits, I would suggest the Bains Cape Mountain single grain whiskey from the James Sedgwick Distillery in South Africa as well as the Nikka Coffey grain whisky from Japan and the single grain expression from the Teeling Distillery in Ireland, which uses old wine barrels for further aging.

Mellow Corn Straight Corn Whiskey (Heaven Hill Distilleries) is available now at Siciliano's Market for $12.99/750ml.

Friday, April 8, 2016

New Beer Friday, Beer City Saison Edition (April 8)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you enjoy hand-crafted beer, if you like hanging out with fun-loving people and if you won’t be too busy on May 7 celebrating National Paste Up Day or National Roast Leg of Lamb Day, we invite you to join a gathering of passionate homebrewers on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids in a country-wide observance of National Homebrew Day.

In 1988 the United States Congress decreed that the hobby of brewing beer be added to the list of National Days and in that same year the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created The Big Brew Day as a way for homebrewers to gather together and celebrate the national recognition of their hobby. AHA Big Brews are held each year at hundreds of venues around the country on the first Saturday in May.

Four years ago Siciliano’s Market sponsored the first Big Brew on the Calder in downtown Grand Rapids and the event has since become one of West Michigan’s most popular public homebrewing celebrations. This year fifty teams of dedicated homebrewers will be brewing batches of Beer City Saison on this highly visible stage. Samples of hand-crafted, homemade beer will be available to those of legal drinking age and at 1 p.m. mayor Rosalynn Bliss will lead the gathering in a simultaneous, country-wide toast to this life enriching hobby.

We are pleased that Coldbreak Brewing and Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply have signed on this year as co-sponsors of the event. The Beer City Big Brew on the Calder is free of charge and open to the public.

Last year's Big Brew toast

Updates and Reminders

Online entry registration for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition will be accepted through Sunday, April 10, or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. Entries must be received by Sunday, April 10, and will not be accepted after that date.

The Siciliano’s Homebrew Party will be held this year on Saturday, May 21, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the enclosed shelter at Johnson Park. Tickets will go on sale Monday, April 11. Seating is limited so if you plan on attending this homebrew event — one of Beer City USA’s most popular — you are encouraged to buy your tickets early.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arbor Strawberry Blond, $2.39/12oz - "Rich and flavorful medium bodied beer with a fresh, floral strawberry aroma. Citrus, spice, and fruit are blended seamlessly for a subtle yet distinct flavor that never turns too sweet" (source).
  • Blackrocks American Pils, $2.09/12oz - "With German malt, American hops and Lake Superior water, it’s a crisp and refreshing nod to a European tradition with a distinct American disobedience" (source).
  • North Peak Arch Angel, $1.79/12oz - "North Peak Archangel is an American wheat beer brewed with Michigan cherries. Subtly hopped with Pele and Vanguard hops, Archangel is refreshing, clean and crisp" (source).
  • Amager/Against The Grain: Pocketful of Dollars, $9.99/500ml - "Although they were painfully humiliated when they came to brew with us a couple of years ago - an episode that would later be known as "The Great, Big Kentucky Sausage Fest" - the friendly dudes of Against The Grain Brewery were kind enough to invite us in for a second round of brewing when Morten and Jacob of Amager Bryghus last visited the US. In spite of a house in mayhem - ATG was in the midst of constructing a new brewery AND some crazy Scotsmen from a company named Brewdog were running around making a lot of noise - big Sam Cruz and his cohorts were all their usual calm, kind and hospitable selves, as Southern folks are. We ended up brewing a somewhat unusual style, an Imperial Rye lager - rustic and robust - of course with a more than solid hopping. Once again a beer we believe is perfectly suited for sturdy and smoked meat dishes" (source).
  • Amager/Crooked Stave: Chad the King of Wild Yeast, $10.79/500ml - "After long years of the beer community discussing hops to exhaustion, yeast is finally getting a glimpse of the spotlight following what seemed to be a lengthy Batman-like existence: outcast, living in the shadows, not getting enough credit for his work. However, the importance of fermentation is no news to Chad from Crooked Stave, a.k.a. the king of Hipsters, who has been fondling with various fermenting agents for longer than most people have been drinking. So it was that on a beautiful – yet excruciatingly hungover – Wednesday Mr Yakobsen came to Amager to bombard us simpletons with his knowledge on all things yeasty, and especially, bretty. Due to stubbornness from our end, we still insisted the brew carried a motherf#&@ of hops, despite intents of a brett forward beer. The answer to what ingredient won the battle lies within this bottle. But in our opinion, we are all winners" (source).
  • Amager/18th Street: Lawrence of Arabica, $10.09/500ml - "One day we received an email from the Mikkeller HQ saying that they had an American gentleman coming to Copenhagen. The name of this gentleman was Mr. Drew Fox who not only happened to have his own brewery close to Chicago back home, but who also would love to come visit Amager Bryghus to brew a beer. That kind of proposal is simply impossible to turn down, so we found an open slot in our brewing schedule. For quite some time we had been curious about brewing a beer that had both coffee and orange zest, and since Drew has created several excellent coffee beers at his 18th Street Brewery we sat down to create Lawrence of Arabica, a Coffee Orange Porter. A mild and easygoing Porter, with an orange twist. We don’t hesitate to call Drew one of the kindest and friendliest dudes in the craft beer world, and we are honored to have created this beer with him" (source).
  • Brewfist/Prairie: Spaghetti Western, $6.59/330ml - "Imperial Chocolate Coffee Stout" (source).
  • Cervesa de Montseny Mala Vida Chili, $6.49/12oz - "A lot of malt and long hours of cooking lead to this beer that leaves no one indifferent. The taste is sweet and palatable, while aromas and flavors very pronounced roasted clear. Bad Life is a beer cup, ideal to taste it alone" (source).
  • Fantôme Pissanlit, $14.39/750ml - "Dany, the offbeat brewer at Fantôme, will try anything, and the results are always interesting. A beer made from dandelions would be worth a try if only because no one has ever brewed one before, but the great news is that this is actually a very good beer. Dany and some cohorts get busy every spring picking bushels of dandelions that grow in the fields around the picturesque farmhouse brewery. The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion “tea” that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there" (source).
  • Fantôme Saison, $14.39/750ml - "This is a tremendously delicious, textural, and fizzy county ale, bright gold colour, citric and sour, reminiscent of a good champagne or lambic but in a class all its own" (source).
  • Fantôme/Grimm: Belgian Beer, $17.89/750ml - Description not available.
  • Freigeist/2cabelas: Teresa's Eau de Janeiro, $11.49/500ml - "Gose with Mango" (source).
  • Freigeist Abraxxxas Pear, $11.49/500ml - "Sour-Ale brewed with pear juice" (source).
  • Prairie Standard, $2.69/12oz - "Prairie Standard is our everyday beer. Its a light, crisp saison with a hoppy finish. This beer is dry hopped 1lb per bbl with Motueka hops. A lovely New Zealand hop with a spicy lime like flavor and aroma" (source).
  • To Øl F*ck Art Lets Dance, $21.49/750ml - "A 8,3% Belgian Tripel aged on Saint Emillion Grand Cru oak barrels for 8 months (aka it’s red wine barrel aged) with lacto bacteria which gives notes of farm and leather. The oak barrels gives a vinous sweet vanilla oakyness and the yeast adds levels of fruit and flowers" (source).
  • Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.69/12oz - "Samuel Adams is currently in the process of brewing up a German style called “radler.” The name radler translates to “cyclist,” A 50/50 (ish) blend of beer and lemonade. (Like a shandy). Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker was inspired by traditional Bavarian Radlers that mix beer with German-style lemonade. For our bright and citrusy Radler, we blended a Helles beer with lemon for a fresh-squeezed lemon taste, effervescent sweetness, and slightly tart, refreshing finish. A light malt character and hint of hops balance out this summer brew" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake Milkshake Stout, $2.29/16oz - "One of our fan favorites from the 12 Days of Milkshake Stout, Blueberry Pancake Flavored Mikshake Stout™ is a unique brew that surprises the senses combining the distinct scent and taste of blueberries layered with the familiar taste of Milkshake Stout™ and a pleasant aftertaste of pancakes. Blueberry Pancake bridges the gap and appeals to non-beer drinkers as well. Limited Release and by special arrangement" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Tongue Tied Cherry Saison, $2.29/16oz - "Inspired by Head Brewer, Bill Wamby’s award winning saison (farmhouse ale) recipe, Tongue Tied Cherry Saison (6.2 percent alcohol-by-volume) is a traditional Belgian-style saison ale brewed with over a thousand pounds of both tart and sweet Michigan cherries. An unfiltered, slightly creamy ale with a pale reddish amber color and nice luscious white head. The distinctiveness of unmalted wheat is enhanced by the addition of lemon, orange peel and coriander, which provides herbal spiciness to this refreshing, pure Michigan summer ale. Slightly fruity and very refreshing, with a subtle tartness and tremendous drinkability" (source).
  • Right Brain Dead Kettle, $2.59/16oz - "A classic American Style IPA dominated by citrus aroma and flavor. It has strong grapefruit notes and a sharp finish" (source).
  • Right Brain Pig Porter, $17.19/22oz - "Porter Brewed with Real Pig Parts. Who would have thought that what started as an inside joke amongst the Right Brain brew team would evolve into out most acclaimed beer ever? Brewed with REAL Mangalitsa pig heads and bones, this rich and chocolaty porter is infused with a symphony of salty, smoky, and savory flavors. Some have hailed it as the ’quintessential bacon beer’ while others call it a true breakfast brew. Regardless of what you call it, this imaginative and complex beer has to be tried to be understood" (source).
  • Roak Blow Your Face Out, $3.29/12oz - "A double IPA loaded with Mosaic and Chinook hops" (source).
  • Perrin Grapefruit IPA, $1.89/12oz - "Grapefruit, malt and hops blend effortlessly to make a truly unique seasonal ale. Cheers to short sleeves and long days" (source).
  • Short's Mr. Fusion, $2.39/12oz - "Mr. Fusion is a green tea and mint infused India Pale Ale with light, sweet lemon-lime aromas.  Golden in color, this beer has bright green and grassy hop flavors followed by pleasant hints of mint.  A good sized bitterness builds and lingers, before ultimately finishing clean" (source).
  • Victory Summer Love, $1.79/12oz - "The brew has a vibrant and refreshing pale color derived from its lean and refreshing malt body. And the initially floral aroma of hops segues into a well integrated, refreshing hop dryness of European heritage" (source).
  • Great Lakes Chillwave, $3.29/12oz - "Inspired by the North Coast’s dedicated (and sometimes chilly) surf community, our Double IPA will melt the ice in your beard and never lose its balance" (source).
  • Southern Tier Choklat Oranj, $4.99/12oz - "Choklat Oranj is the fifth beer currently in our highly regarded Blackwater series. Warlock, Creme Brulee, Mokah and Choklat have RateBeer scores of 97, 98, 99 and 100, respectively. Choklat Oranj is a stout brewed with chocolate and orange peels, opaque black in color, 10.0% abv, and a delicious dessert beer. Perfect alone, or enjoyed as a float. Scoop organic vanilla bean ice cream into a snifter or pint glass and top with Choklat Oranj. It’s impossible to be disappointed" (source).
  • Ommegang Seven Kingdoms, $10.09/750ml - "Seven Kingdoms is a marriage of a traditional Belgian-style wheat and a hop-forward American ale – but unlike so many of the marriages on the show, the resulting hoppy wheat is pleasant, playful and inspired. Seven Kingdoms harmoniously weds citrusy and herbal American hops, with wheaty maltiness and moderate bitterness" (source).
  • Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, $2.99/12oz - "Most breweries have at least one piece of equipment that’s just a bit persnickity. Here at Boulevard it’s fermenter number seven, the black sheep of our cellar family. Ironically, when our brewers were developing variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in that very vessel. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a flavorful surge of fruity aromatics and hoppy, grapefruit notes (Amarillo hops), this complex, straw-colored ale finishes long, dry and spicy" (source).
  • Boulevard The Calling, $2.99/12oz - "Our most heavily hopped beer ever bursts forth with unmistakable tropical fruit and pine hop aromas and flavor supported with a slightly sweet malt character, tapering to a crisp, dry finish. Heed your call and enjoy" (source).
  • Boulevard Tell Tale Tart, $2.99/12oz - "Deriving its name from Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale of madness and murder, our newest Smokestack Series release takes a predictably lighthearted approach to the subject of sourness. The subtle acidity of Tell-Tale Tart is answered by a soft, biscuity malt character, making this a sour ale that suggests, rather than announcing its tartness. Beginning with a bracing sharpness at first sip, the ale mellows on the palate to a smooth and faintly lingering finish" (source).
  • Boulevard Lemon Ginger Radler, $2.9912oz - "Boulevard Ginger-Lemon Radler is a zesty, refreshing take on the tradition of mixing beer with soda or lemonade to create a light, thirst-quenching beverage ideal for warm weather. Radler (literally “cyclist,”) takes its name from active German sportsmen of a hundred years ago, but our version tastes just as good even if you do nothing more strenuous than lifting it to your lips" (source).
  • Victory Kirsch Gose, $2.59/12oz - "A bold and bright step outside the norm, the flavors of a unique, old world German brewing process excite your senses with the sharp and sweet burst of fresh cherries. Effervescent and sublime, this session ale has an enticing cherry-fruit character. European tradition and American ingenuity come together in the truest sense as you Taste Victory in Kirsch Gose" (source).
  • Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro, $3.19/12oz - "Super smooth trifecta of cocoa, dried fruit and licorice notes" (source).
  • Tapistry Kilting Me Softly, $12.19/22oz - "Strong dark scotch ale brewed with smoked wheat and noble hop" (source).

Video of the Week | Vander Mill Cider

Vander Mill grand opening set for April 18


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Matt's Chats: Picking the Right Yeast for Spring Brewing

Welcome to Matt's Chats, a new monthly Buzz series featuring the homebrew adventures of Siciliano's staffer Matt Ross.

I love my homebrew system but it is lacking temperature control fermentation. This has been a gift and a curse because it has made me become creative but has also caused me a sizable amount of heartache. There are few things more frustrating than having a perfect brew day spoiled by inconsistent fermentation temperatures. Needless to say it's for this reason that spring is my least favorite time of the year to brew.

I chewed on this for a while and decided I am probably trying to brew the wrong beers at the wrong time. More specifically, I need to use a flexible yeast that is alright with some change. Spring is a huge transition in weather. Everything is melting and the snow is gone but we still live in Michigan so there is always a chance to have 65° outside one day and 35° the next. My home generally sits around 62° this time of year but with outdoor fluctuations it is common for me to come home to 57°. This does not bother me but yeast is a little more temperamental.

I know that I am not the only one out there who has had yeast stall out or had an off flavor because of fermentation temperatures. I know what styles I like to make and am the first to admit that I can be stubborn about it. The yeast in my wheel house include saison and American ale yeast. Neither one of these has any business being pitched at 57° for the ambient temperature.

Part of working smart is using the right tool for the right job. In this case the right tool would be a different strain of yeast. Underneath this rant are 4 yeasts that can create very different beers and have a temperature range from the mid 50s up to the 60s (some into the 70s). I am making an effort to expand my fermentation horizons and brew a style of beer that I normally would not. As always, we at Siciliano’s encourage our patrons to do the same through experimentation. Try something new and make a recipe your own. Brew on.

  • Wyeast Kolsch - "This strain is a classic, true top cropping yeast strain from a traditional brewery in Cologne, Germany. Beers will exhibit some of the fruity character of an ale, with a clean lager like profile. It produces low or no detectable levels of diacetyl. This yeast may also be used to produce quick-conditioning pseudo-lager beers and ferments well at cold 55-60°F (13-16°C) range. This powdery strain results in yeast that remain in suspension post fermentation. It requires filtration or additional settling time to produce bright beers" (source).
  • Wyeast Scottish Ale Yeast - "Our Scottish ale strain is ideally suited for the strong, malty ales of Scotland. This strain is very versatile, and is often used as a “House” strain as it ferments neutral and clean. Higher fermentation temperatures will result in an increased ester profile" (source).
  • White Labs San Francisco Lager/Steam - "This yeast is used to produce the "California Common" style beer. A unique lager strain which has the ability to ferment up to 65 degrees while retaining lager characteristics. Can also be fermented down to 50 degrees for production of marzens, pilsners and other style lagers" (source).
  • Wyeast German Ale Yeast - "A true top cropping yeast with low ester formation and a broad temperature range. Fermentation at higher temperatures may produce mild fruitiness. This powdery strain results in yeast that remains in suspension post fermentation. Beers mature rapidly, even when cold fermentation is used. Low or no detectable diacetyl" (source).
Stay tuned for more articles on homebrewing from the Siciliano's staff. Have a question you'd like to see answered on the blog? Leave it on the comments section below.

Friday, April 1, 2016

New Beer Friday, Legends of Jim Edition (April 1)

(Photo by Andy Anderson)
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Back in the late 1990s, whenever I would spend a few days traveling in the Traverse City area, I would always make it a point to visit the rural watering holes and small town taverns on the Leelanau Peninsula. This routine was partly due to my conviction that one of the best ways of getting a true feel for a locale is by hanging out in its bars. But an ulterior motive for having a beer or two in those Leelanau County saloons was the hope that one day I would run into the poet and novelist Jim Harrison.

Jim Harrison was my favorite living author. He died last Saturday of heart failure at his winter home in Patagonia, Arizona. He was 78.

Harrison was born in Grayling, Michigan and lived on a farm in Leelanau County before moving to Montana in 2002. When he wasn’t distracted by hunting, fishing, drinking, eating or carousing with his artistic and literary cronies, he worked hard at his craft, often in a remote cabin in the woods in the Upper Peninsula. The northern Michigan landscape is woven into the fabric of much of his prodigious body of work: twenty-one volumes of fiction including the novella Legends of the Fall, fourteen books of poetry, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children’s book.

I was introduced to Harrison’s writing through a series of essays in Esquire magazine called The Raw and the Cooked. The pieces focused primarily on the author’s unabashed passion for food and drink and many are included in a volume of erudite, often witty, and sometimes deeply philosophical essays on a wide range of subjects entitled Just Before Dark. A worn copy, its dog-eared pages smudged with pipe tobacco ash, is among the books that have a permanent place on the table beside my easy chair in my den.

I never had the good fortune of meeting Jim Harrison but if I did I would surely have bought him a drink. Perhaps he would have been gracious enough to discuss literature and philosophy with me. The bartenders, waitresses and locals in those Up North saloons who knew him well had nothing but good things to say about him and it was obvious they liked him. I’m quite sure I would have liked him too.

New and Returning Beer

  • Pike 51 Wild Syd Dickerson, $19.39/22oz - "American Wild Imperial Stout" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy By 4:20, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "This is our own celebration of resinous green buds: Besides brewing this intense double IPA with more than 10 different hops, we hop-burst and dry-hop the beer to amp up its peach and tropical fruit notes and overall hop factor. Brewed specifically NOT to last, this devastatingly dank, golden beauty should be enjoyed by fellow hopheads within 37 days" (source).
  • Kona Koko Brown, $1.69/12oz - "Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste. Available Winter/Spring Koko Brown pairs well with coconut and caramel flavors, such as Thai curries, BBQ meats and carne asada. Its refreshing nutty aroma makes for the perfect beer after a day on the water" (source).
  • Dark Horse Sapient, $1.99/12oz - "Why is the Grim Reaper holding a mailbox? Well, that mailbox is from a dead Dark Horse beer. The Grim Reaper better know as "Death" was quite fond of our classic Sapient Summer Wheat Ale. When we changed it into a Belgian Style Triple, Death thought it would only be appropriate to bring something from that beer into this beer. So he picked the mailbox, and we weren’t about to argue with him. You can say what you want about him, but that Death sure has a big heart. So anyway...we brewed this beer with a Trappist yeast strain so it is very traditional. The flavors are incredibly complex with notes of mild fruit and finishes with a bit of clove. Although this beer is higher in alcohol it is very smooth and finishes dry on the palate" (source).
  • Bruery White Oak, $15.99/750ml (1 per) - "White Oak is a hardy, blended wheatwine-style ale, grafting elements reminiscent of caramel, vanilla, coconut and warm oak with the creamy complexity of wheat. Crisp effervescence spirals around sweet bourbon barrel-aged layers, expanding into a refreshingly robust ale" (source).
  • Bruery Terreux Batch #1731, $15.99/750ml (1 per) - "Batch No. 1731 is a 100% brettanomyces-fermented hoppy session ale created by homebrewer Kevin Osborne of Los Angeles. When we judged through all of our competition entries, his complex yet quaffable creation shouted WINNER! (as well as tropical!, funky! and dry!). It puts El Dorado, Mosaic and Chinook hops on a pedestal as much as one possibly could" (source).
  • Bruery Terreux Humulus, $12.99/750ml - "Humulus Terreux is the type of beer that gets our stomachs tied up in knots of excitement.  It’s a chance for us to experiment with both hops and yeast, creating unique, juicy & funky flavors with just these seemingly simple, earthen ingredients.  Each batch of Humulus Terreux will use a different hop varietal and one of the several strains of Brettanomyces yeasts that we have incubating in our laboratory to create a one of a kind, wildly traditional bière™.  The flavor possibilities are endless when combining possible hop notes of citrus, pine, flowers or grass with the barnyard funk, earth and tropics that can come from a 100% Brettanomyces fermentation.  While each beer will showcase a different, distinct character, the overall result will always be dry, funky and delightfully hoppy" (source).
  • 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).
  • Dogfish Head Squall, $10.19/750ml - "It's been such a stormy winter and windy spring we thought to ourselves, "let's brew a batch of Squall!" Continually hopped and brewed with three types of malts, this Double IPA weighs in at 9.0% ABV. Also dry-hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Palisade and a special hop, Squall is a citrus forward IPA" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Blasphemy, $9.59/750ml - "Blasphemy is our award winning QUAD aged in bourbon barrels. But not overaged, so we've picked up gentle vanilla oaky notes which complement rather than supercede the complex qualities that already make QUAD such an incredible beer" (source).
  • Rogue Cold Brew IPA, $7.39/22oz - "IPA with cold brew Stumptown coffee" (source).
  • Greenbush Doomslayer, $3.49/12oz (1 per) - "Brewed entirely with maple sap instead of water and naturally carbonated with maple syrup, this delightful maple brown ale will help you usher in a whole new season" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, $2.19/12oz - "Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is not just your average summer seasonal. This unique copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor" (source).

Picture of the Week | Jim Harrison

"Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness.
And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy ...
... or they become legend."
—Jim Harrison