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Friday, October 20, 2017

New Beer Friday, Taylor Ridge Edition (October 20)

Brian Taylor (left) & Steve Siciliano
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It had been a few years since my wife Barb and I made a batch of homemade wine from Michigan grown grapes, so last week we took a quick drive down to Allegan to pick up 100 pounds each of Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc from Taylor Ridge Vineyards.

We usually hit a few watering holes on our fall visits to Taylor Ridge but we had to make this a short trip due to a late start and the unappealing prospect of crushing and de-stemming 200 pounds of grapes in the dark. But the Tom Petty tunes on satellite radio and the rural landscape awash in autumn colors made for a pleasurable late afternoon drive to the heart of West Michigan’s grape growing region.

It was good seeing Brian Taylor again. He made it a point to tell us that he’s going to be 79 in a few weeks and his age doesn’t appear to be slowing him down. After I loaded up and paid for our grapes, Brian talked about the spring frost and the summer drought and a late season bout of downy mildew.

Later that evening, after our winemaking work was done, Barb and I relaxed with a Manhattan on the backyard deck. The setting sun had dipped behind the line of trees and the warmth of the Buffalo Trace helped ward off the chill. Every so often a breeze would rise and shake loose a few more leaves from the old backyard maples. Before calling it a night we lingered for a moment on the deck to watch a V of high-flying geese heading south.

New and Returning Beer

  • Jester King & Fantome Del Rey, $18.99/750ml - "The Texas version of Fantôme Del Rey is a bière de coupage where old, barrel-aged beer is blended with young beer. The older component of the blend was brewed at Jester King in August of 2014 with malted barley, dark candi syrup, ground coriander, and black peppercorns. It was initially fermented in stainless steel with truffle honey, and then racked to oak for extended maturation. We brewed the younger version in November of 2015, and blended the old with the young" (source). 
  • Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA, $16.99/750ml - "India Pale Ale brewed with nearly three pounds of hops per barrel and 15% malted rye. Dry, flavorful, drinkable beer with vibrant notes of citrus, tropical fruit and pine" (source). 
  • Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break, $8.39/16oz - "Did the flavors of sugar and bitter sweet almonds and coffee in Imperial Biscotti Break also make you sentimental? Now we topped it off with insane amounts of doughnuts. This all time American favorite is making it’s way back into the spotlight and we at Evil Twin Brewing are not letting a tasty trend pass us by without taking it to the next level. Drink it with great gusto - Forza Doughnuts" (source). 
  • Evil Twin Tropical Super Itchy, $4.09/12oz - "Berliner weisse style ale with passionfruit added" (source). 
  • Mönchshof Schwarzbier, $4.59/500ml - "With an irresistible, flowery hop bitterness that sets it apart from all others, Mönchshof Schwarzbier is relatively light in body – but bursting with character. Its dark, roasted, slightly chocolatey and warming palate is astounding for such a refreshing and drinkable beer. The hearty taste and seductive burt sienna color come from the deep-roasted barley used in every batch" (source). 
  • Founder Backwoods Bastard, $11.99/750ml, $3.99/12oz - "Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate" (source). 
  • New Holland Mocha Mint Dragon's Milk, $4.49/12oz - "Dragon's Milk Reserve Mocha Mint is a festive blend of chocolate & peppermint flavors, with just a hint of coffee. The perfect brew for a cozy night in" (source). 
  • Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.79/12oz - "Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this stout is one of the cornerstones of our stout portfolio" (source). 
  • Epic Sour Pineapple, $13.59/375ml - "The intense and complex sour character is developed in oak foeders containing select cultures of Pediococcus and wild yeast. Then we blend the soured beer into oak barrels with pineapple, where it undergoes additional sour fermentation and aging" (source). 
  • Epic Common Interests, $13.59/375ml - "Common Interests is a light-straw color with just a hint of green in the highlights. Sweet honeydew rind, clean earth and oak hit the nose. The first sip is bright with citrus-tartness, lime and pith, that fades quickly to a cooling ripe-melon-sweetness with hints of cereal grain, tilled earth and root cellar. The effervescence lifts quickly off the palate taking the acidity but leaving hints of honeydew and the harvest season" (source). 
  • Epic Big Bad Baptist, $13.39/22oz - "One Big Bad Imperial Stout with Cocoa nibs and Coffee beans. Each season's release uses a different dark roasted coffee" (source). 
  • Short's Bloody Beer, $2.39/12oz - "A lighter bodied beer with an appealing ruby red glow and aromas of spicy tomato juice. Fermented with Roma tomatoes and spiced with dill, horseradish, peppercorns, and celery seed lead to an astounding initial tomato flavor, followed by a lingering finish that allows each additional ingredient a chance to resonate on the palate. Decant carefully, and let this 2009 GABF silver medal winner warm slightly in order to appreciate the full magnitude of flavors" (source). 
  • The Lost Abbey Devil Went Down to Georgia, $15.99/12.7oz - "Bourbon Barrel-aged Ale with Peaches and Black Tea" (source). 
  • The Lost Abbey Ghosts in the Forest, $15.99/12.7oz - "There's an aura of mystery that occurs when we close the doors to our barrel room. No one can say for sure what happens each night but it's obvious there are spirits (ghosts if you will) working their magic. We're not sure how many inhabit our oak forest. At present there are five large foeders and more than 1200 oak barrels for them to hide in, around, and behind. to this day, no one has managed to see one during the day but our night time brewers hear whispers and the sensation of unnerving drafts of wind arriving out of thin air. It's as if the ghosts want to be seen or at a minimum acknowledged. After 11 years, we felt it was time to give them their due" (source). 
  • Lagunitas Born Yesterday, $2.19/12oz - "Born Yesterday is a newborn version of our re-born Pale, a Newer New Dogtown Pale with a fresh addition … We added some wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops for your immaculate reception. This Un-Freakin-Filtered, wetter-than-wet beer has 11lbs-per-barrel of Simcoe, Equinox, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus. Whoa" (source). 
  • Kona Pipeline, $1.69/12oz - "Hawaii is home to the North shore of Oahu, a seven mile stretch of coastline where big wave surfing was born. The Bonzai Pipeline is a particularly revered surf break that serves up steep, curling waves with a rush that leaves surfers wide-eyed and grinning. Kona Brewing Co. honors this mecca of surfing with a beer that delivers a little kick and thrill of its own. Brewed with Hawaiian Kona Coffee, Pipeline Porter has a boost of flavor with a smooth style that makes it as awesome as the waves that inspired it. The dark chocolate color, rich roasted malt flavor and smooth coffee finish takes the edge off when the waves are high and the wind is blowing. Pipeline Porter’s pronounced roasted malt character and rich Kona coffee flavor and aroma will curl around your tongue like Hawaii’s famous Pipeline surf break itself" (source). 
  • Virtue Cider Cherry, $1.79/12oz - "Our cherry cider is a blend of hand-pressed heirloom Michigan apples and local cherries aged in French oak barrels. The final cider is tart and rich with a touch of sweetness" (source). 
  • Virtue Cider Honey, $1.79/12oz - "Michigan Honey is our homage to the bees, which are imperative for pollinating the new blossoms on fruit trees in the spring. Fresh apple and honeysuckle aroma, finishing crisp with just a hint of sweetness from local honey" (source).

Video of the Week


Congrats to Bell's Brewery, NBWA Brewer Partner of the Year.

Cheers!

Monday, October 16, 2017

October Brew of the Month: Hayden's Three-Week Märzen

By Hayden Shelley

The onset of autumn has my taste buds pleading for a classic fall beer, the Märzen. Better known by its alternant name — Oktoberfest — this malt forward, rich and refreshing beer pairs perfectly with the crisp fall air. However, many homebrewers are unable or just don’t want to go about dealing with the style because it falls into the lager category.

Homebrewers love their fancy gadgets. One of my first big upgrades to my system was an old chest freezer which I fit with temperature control. However, even after this occurred, the longer grain to glass time of lagers kept me away from making them. This changed once I stumbled upon Marshall Schott’s lagering technique on brulosphy.com.

This “quick lager” method starts out as any other brew by setting the temperature at the recommended range for your yeast strain. For my Märzen, I started at 53°F. After the beer reaches 50% attenuation, typically within one week, ramp the temperature up to the mid to high 60s and leave until no acetaldehyde or diacetyl is detected and you have reached your final gravity. This is usually another week for me. Finally, lower the temperature to around 32°F and condition for one final week. I usually do this all in the primary fermenter. Once the final week is complete, package the beer with your normal method. I primarily keg and will usually add gelatin to clear my beer even further at this time.

Using this method, I can go from grain to glass with most of my lagers in just under 4 weeks. This is much more appealing to most homebrewers when compared to the traditional Märzen method of brewing in March and getting to enjoy your creation six months later. Therefore, I hope this inspires you to strap up your lederhosen, turn on some polka music, and try your hand at brewing my Märzen recipe.

All Grain ($29.13)

    • 6.25 lbs. Light Munich Malt
    • 6.25 lbs. Pilsner Malt
    • 0.625 lbs. Carahell Malt
    • 0.625 lbs. Melanoidin Malt
    • 2 oz. Hallertau @ 50 min.
    • 0.5 oz. Hallertau @ 15 min.
    • 1 package Wyeast Octoberfest Lager Blend (2633)
    • Mash in for a 60-minute rest at 154°F.  Perform a 90-minute boil.  
    • OG: 1.064 FG: 1.014
    • ABV: 6.3% IBUs: 27.6
    • SRM: 9.8

Extract ($40.03)

    • 5 lbs. Munich Liquid Malt Extract 
    • 5 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract 
    • 0.625 lbs. Carahell Malt
    • 0.625 lbs. Melanoidin Malt
    • 2 oz. Hallertau @ 50 min.
    • 0.5 oz. Hallertau @ 15 min.
    • 1 package Wyeast Octoberfest Lager Blend (2633)
    • OG: 1.064 FG: 1.016
    • ABV: 6.3% IBUs: 26.7
    • SRM: 11.1

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Beer Friday, Trail Point Cigar Event Edition (Oct 13)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

On Friday, October 27, Siciliano's Market is teaming up with Trail Point Brewing to host a beer and cigar event at the brewery's Allendale location at 6035 Lake Michigan Drive. Perdomo Special Craft Series Churchills in the Pilsner, Amber and Stout wrappers will be featured at this event and attendees will be able to pair these premium, hand-crafted smokes with Trail Point's solid offerings of premium, hand-crafted beer. The event will be held on the outdoor patio and will begin at 6:00 pm. There is no admission fee but please note that the patio will be open that night only to those of legal drinking age.

The Perdomo Special Craft Series is a premium line of cigars that Tabacalera Perdomo recently created to complement the aromas and flavors found in various styles of craft beer. We will be selling the cigars on site for $7.00 each and will be offering the following deals on quantity purchases.

    • Buy 4, Get One Free
    • Buy 10, Get 3 Free
    • Buy a Box, Get 8 Free
The Dalty Raes Hawaiian Food Truck will be at the brewery during the course of this event.

New and Returning Beer

  • Elk Brewtus, $1.79/12oz - "A dark style beer brewed with coffee beans - it’s a great way to enjoy your coffee" (source).
  • Moonlight Meadery Them Little Apples, $2.59/12oz - "A hard Cider, made with the finest New Hampshire apples that were available to us, which we had fresh pressed into apple cider" (source).
  • Oedipus Polyamorie, $4.99/12oz - "This beer is a blend of a Berliner Weiße and a US style Pale Ale. Slightly sour and much tropical fruit flavour and aroma because of the mango and Citra, and Amarillo dry hops" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Vic Secret Space Cake, $3.89/16oz - "Why are Miracle Mike and his kangaroo, Boomer, being chased by blue laser beam shooting cupcakes and two giant cake mother ships?  Let’s just say it’s an intergalactic walkabout turned ding bat wonky.  To commemorate this weird alter-dimensional  variation of Space Cake, we used Vic Secret hops from Australia to dry hop, giving a bright grapefruit note to our favorite DIPA.  Enjoy Jackaroos and Jilaroos" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Cosmic Farmer, $3.39/16oz - "Michigan only. Our buddy [and former Siciliano's employee] Steve Smith launched himself and his green thumb from Grand Rapids up into the cosmos, where he dutifully tended to a crop of red wheat planted within a commune of asteroid green houses. We found that to be very quirky and also amazing, so we brewed this IPA with red wheat malt from Michigan’s own Pilot Malt House (because Steve’s space crop wasn’t ready yet) and used copious amounts of dank, citrus hops. Enjoy" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Sonata, $14.19/22oz - "The beer is Double Chocolate Sonata, a 10 percent ABV imperial stout brewed with cacao nibs before being aged in bourbon barrels" (source).
  • Arbor Treebeard, $1.89/12oz - "This resinous and dank SPA is straight our of the tropical forest with notes of mango, pineapple, and orange citrus. It has a woodsy, piney, and light bisquity finish with a lingering yet smooth bitterness. Designed by IPA lovers, for IPA lovers" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Hop Field, $2.69/12oz - "This IPA follows our farmhouse roots while honoring Michigan’s love of hops. Featuring a blend of Michigan-grown hops, this beer celebrates hop flavor on a wholistic level, not solely the bitterness. A rustic, unfiltered cloudiness and farmhouse yeast allows the bright, fruit-forward hops to shine. Well balanced and refreshing, this farmhouse IPA boasts complexity and comfort all in one" (source).
  • North Peak Hail, $1.69/12oz - "Pale ale with Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, and Crystal" (source).
  • Saugatuck Oak Wizard, $1.79/12oz - "An Oak Aged Imperial Brown Ale with tons of oaky, woody flavors. The base brown malt profile provides a huge caramel, coffee and chocolate body with minimal hop bitterness matched perfectly with the complex flavor profile of the oak chips" (source).
  • Uinta Hop Nosh Grapefruit, $1.59/12oz - "Our flagship IPA boasts an assertive bitterness and vibrant hop aromatics. Expect notes of pine, lime zest, and grapefruit supported by caramel malts" (source).
  • Uinta West Coast, $1.59/12oz - "Our bold and citrusy West Coast-style India Pale Ale—brewed using four different hop varieties—features pronounced aromas of pineapple, mango and pine" (source).
  • Uinta Ready Set Gose, $1.59/12oz - "This tart and salty ale smells of fresh lemon rind and coastal sea breeze. Wheat malts give this beer flavors of freshly baked bread and coriander" (source).
  • Uinta Anniversary Barley Wine, $2.69/12oz - "Anniversary Barley Wine uses a heavy dose of resinous Chinook and Centennial hops backed by a big malt body with nutty, dried fruit character" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche, $1.29/12oz - "In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic (or green apple-like) character. Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup" (source).
  • Tripel Root Quadruple Entendre, $14.99/750ml - "Deep burgundy, complex and layered. Hints of chocolate and Cognac with a clove spiciness that evolves into a hint of tobacco as it warms" (label).
  • Odd Side Black Citra, $1.99/12oz - "Just like our Citra Pale Ale with just a slight variation in flavor and of course color" (source).
  • Kentucky Ale Peach Wheat, $4.29/12oz - "Images of your real (or fanciful) old Kentucky home in bourbon country are conjured up with every sip, thanks to the brew’s six-week aging period in fresh Kentucky bourbon barrels. Our barrel-aging process balances hints of caramel and vanilla and subtle cereal notes with the juiciness of a fresh ripe peach, creating a golden color. Enjoy this light-bodied, refreshing offering before the bright rays of summer fade into fall" (source).
  • Big Lake Dark Star, $2.69/16oz - "A breakfast style stout brewed with Kona and Sumatra coffee aged on cocoa nibs" (source).
  • Greenbush Red Bud, $1.99/12oz - "Our signature copper wheat ale with a mind of it’s own. Apparently, a lot of our beers have a personality disorder and Red Bud is no exception. A directionally-challenged ale, hopped just enough to make it cross paths with a pale ale. RedBud- one sure way to get lost" (source).
  • Alesmith Sublime, $2.39/12oz - "The flavor is great and it has a craft beer flare with a true Mexican lager taste" (source).
  • Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro, $3.39/12oz - "Super smooth trifecta of cocoa, dried fruit and licorice notes" (source).
  • Odd Side Imperial Mayan Mocha, $2.69/12oz - "Imperial version of MMS. Chilis, chocolate, & coffee" (source).

Video of the Week | Wood & Wild 2017


Hop Cat GR's Wood & Wild Festival is October 22. Plan accordingly.

Cheers!

Friday, October 6, 2017

New Beer Friday, Limited Edition Edition (Oct 6)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Each year Winexpert releases five super-premium kits from the world’s great wine regions that are not part of the company’s regular portfolio.

These kits are available only on a pre-order basis and are released during the first four months of the year. Each kit yields six gallons of wine which translates into thirty 750-ml bottles.

We are now taking orders for this year's Limited Edition offerings. Please note that we must receive pre-orders by Sunday, December 3, 2017, either by phone (616-453-9674), email (steve@sicilianosmkt.com) or in person at Siciliano's.

The following are descriptions of the individual varieties along with the respective pricing and release dates.

Petit Ruby Cabernet: Available January 2018 ($159.95)

In the Lower Murray oasis of south Australia you will find the Riverland. Spanning across Victoria and New South Wales, and basking in the continental climate, bountiful vineyards ripen during the sunny dry days of the season, while the Murray River winds through this unofficial “super zone” providing much needed irrigation.

A true gem, Petit Ruby Cabernet is a blend of Petit Verdot and Ruby Cabernet. The Ruby  Cabernet takes the best qualities of its parents, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, creating a structured, robust wine with soft tannins, while the Petit Verdot brings intriguing flavors of dark berries and vanilla. Elegant fruit flavors of currant, juicy plum and dark berries complemented by notes of spicy ground black pepper with hints of herb and vanilla, make this medium full bodied wine a delight to enjoy with grilled meats. Try it with succulent rib eye steak for a wonderful weekend treat, or barbecue burgers for an equally delicious pairing. Having an Italian night and want to switch up the wine? Petit Ruby Cabernet is delicious with classics like meat lover’s pizza and spaghetti Bolognese.

Chardonnay Chenin Blanc: Available January 2018 ($153.95)

Permeating the white wine world, Chardonnay is refreshing to layer with lesser known varietals like Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s signature white. Grapes from the Rawsonville region, a small picturesque wine growing and farming community on the eastern flanks of the Du Toitskloof Mountains in the Western Cape province, make up this blend. The Mediterranean climate brings cool rainy winters and warm dry summers to the vineyards creating a fruit driven white wine with a high but pleasant natural acidity.

The thin skinned grapes soak in rays of sunshine to ripen and are carefully picked at just the right time to leave a crisp and bright juice. Carrying distinct cultivar characteristics, tropical fruit aromas marry with baked apple citrus zest and juicy peach. On the palate, the buttery complexity of Chardonnay is complemented by Chenin blanc's tart acidity to make a beautifully balanced wine. Delicious to sip on its own or to enjoy with food, this is a crowd pleasing and unique addition to any cellar. Enjoy with a variety of seafood dishes like grilled shellfish or salmon fish cakes. If feeling decadent, try chicken poached in a butter sauce, as the wine’s bright acidity and fruity character will complement the richness of the sauce wonderfully.

New Zealand Merlot: Available February 2018 ($159.95)

Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine producing region in New Zealand. The diverse volcanic earth varies between gravel, sand and clay offering an ideal environment for the vineyards flooding the hillsides and banks along the five rivers winding through the landscape. Hawke’s Bay’s beautiful climate offers lots of sunshine and pleasant conditions year round. The result is a region that produces some of the finest wines in the country and Merlot contributes to this well earned reputation.

This popular and enduring varietal produces a soft yet rich and fruity juice that is pleasing to the palate. The Merlot grapes thrive in a long growing season, with flavors concentrating as the fruit develops.

Ripe fruit with spice and soft tannins take precedence in this Merlot. The lingering finish brings dark oaky spice, as well as hints of mocha and licorice. Treat yourself and enjoy with slow cooked beef and lamb dishes or a gorgeous Ossobuco. Roasted, slightly caramelized tomatoes on crostini drizzled with balsamic reduction is a simple starter that is impeccable with this wine. Looking for a cheese to pair? Try Gouda or smoked cheddar.

Spanish Milagro Blanco: Available March 2018 ($153.95)

Muscat, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc are wonderful on their own but sing when blended together.
Muscat is fruity and crisp, Verdejo has mineral and citrus notes, and Sauvignon Blanc is herbaceous with pleasing acidity. When married, their unique elements create an off dry, soft, refreshing, fruit forward wine with a bright bouquet and a complex finish. Milagro Blanco carries notes of passion fruit and white flower on the nose, and is supported by juicy melon, peach, fresh lime and grass with a hint of honey on the palate.

La Mancha is steeped in history and is believed to have been producing wine since the Roman empire. A challenging place to grow grapes, the region is found in hot and dry central Spain, south east of Madrid where the rivers provide much needed water. Hard working vines planted in water  absorbing limestone and chalk sub soil produce grapes that boast concentrated flavors that burst on the palate. The fruity and floral character of this white wine pairs exquisitely with moderately spiced Szechuan, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Lighter meats like chicken and white fish with green salad dressed in light vinaigrette are natural matches for a fresh, tantalizing meal.

Italian Negroamaro with Grape Skins: Available April 2018 ($184.95)

Bellissimo Italia...delightful wine, delicious food and stunning sun soaked landscapes. Apulia (or Puglia in native Italian) exemplifies all of these things and more. Explore Apulia, the heel of Italy’s boot and follow one of the longest coastlines of any wine region in the country. The Mediterranean Sea graces the region’s vineyards with cooling winds maintaining ideal temperatures for growing. Sunny, warm and dry with some of the most fertile soil in Italy, the area offers the perfect environment for ripening grapes as well as olive trees and wheat fields that coexist with vineyards in this agricultural centre.

Negroamaro is richly jewel hued, full bodied and a classic varietal in Apulia. Mild hints of wood and spice on the nose play with fruity notes for a complex aroma. On the palate, ripe berry is complemented by ground baking spice and silky tannins with a long finish. Negroamaro is hearty, versatile and evokes feelings of the beauty of its home. This wine couples well with many cuisines, but Italian, of course, is a flawless pairing. Choose an antipasto with spicy elements like salami or pepper marinated vegetables like eggplant. A simple but delicious peperonata can be enjoyed with crusty bread or as a side to roasted and grilled meat.

New and Returning Beer

  • Brewery Vivant Lost Minds, $3.49/16oz - "Dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo, we kettle-sour this IPA to tease out different flavors from the hops and lend a refreshingly complex tart finish. A tart IPA? Have you lost your mind??" (source).
  • Dark Horse Five High Harvest, $2.69/12oz - "A fragrant blend of super fresh Cascade, Chinook, and Challenger hops are brought to us from High Five Hop Farm just ten minutes down the road here in Marshall, Michigan. We take freshness seriously when it comes to our Harvest Ale and do our part by hand selecting the perfect blend of wet hops right down the street. Please do your part by enjoying this beer while it’s fresh" (source).
  • Founders Breakfast Stout, $2.69/12oz - "The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and two types of coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever" (source).
  • Grand Armory Cloudy with a Chance of Hops, $2.49/12oz - "Cloudy With a Chance of Hops is a New England style IPA. We use oats and wheat to give a balanced body to this double IPA. Amarillo, Falconer's Flight, Centennial and Citra come together to produce a juicy, fruity hop aroma and flavor that is low on bitterness, and big on flavor" (source).
  • North Pier Buckrider, $2.69/16oz - "This hop-forward Belgian/American hybrid is a burnt orange brew with high bitterness. American hops give off huge peach aromas and are backed by the fruity, apricot character of the Belgian yeast. This devilish blend is named after the Buckriders of Northern Belgium, a gang of ghosts that soar through the sky on the backs of flying goats" (source).
  • North Pier Conjurer, $2.69/16oz - "Named after Belgium’s Morgana the Conjurer, the Belgian Golden Strong has a bright golden hue, light body, and low bitterness. Like our mischievous fairy, this beer will deceive your pallet and mask its strength" (source).
  • North Pier Happy Guy, $2.69/16oz - "Happy Guy is a light bodied, crisp, golden pilsner that is dry hopped with Michigan hops to create a bright lemon-citrus aroma. Happy Guy is low in bitterness, refreshing, and extremely crushable" (source).
  • Pilsner Urquell Lunchbox, $12.59/Lunchbox - "This edition of the classic beer is featured in an old school lunch box with 4 different classic looking cans" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 10/31, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "While freshness is a key component of many beers—especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs—we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this line of devastatingly fresh IPAs. You see, not only did we brew this beer with over 10 different hops, we’ve also gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this double IPA in your hands within an extraordinarily short window. That’s why the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message in the name of the beer itself—further proving that there is no better time than right NOW to enjoy this IPA" (source).
  • Arcadia Morning Nightcap, $2.49/12oz - "The beer lover’s consummate coffee beer; brewed with oat malt, which lends a powerfully silky body, and a hint of nuttiness. Brewed with Papa New Guinea coffee from our neighbors at Kalamazoo Coffee Company, there are rich notes of dark chocolate, dark fruit and tons of refreshingly intense coffee flavor. Suggested apparel pairing is your choice of smoking jacket, or bathrobe and favorite slippers the next morning. When the day drags on and the night’s too long , pick up a Nightcap" (source).
  • Elysian Dayglow, $1.99/12oz - "It drips with tropical, sunshiny Mosaic, and twinkles with touches of Eldorado and Centennial. A touch of wheat hazes the malt bill a bit around the edges and the IBUs are stuck in the mid-sixties" (source).
  • UV Fresh Hop Kambucha Beer, $4.29/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Boulevard Cranberry Radler, $1.69/12oz - "When Ginger Lemon Radler made its debut in the summer of 2014, it became immediately clear that we were on to something. Originally released as a Tasting Room beer in our Sample Twelve pack and on draft as a summer seasonal, Ginger Lemon Radler caught fire and became the summer beer of choice for #TeamRadler. In 2015, with the debut of our canned offerings, Ginger Lemon Radler was available on draft and in its own six-pack from April to August with that season expanding to be March through September for 2016. As fall approached, we found ourselves echoing the sentiment we were hearing from our fans, “We need more Radler!” To this end, our innovation team has been hard at work creating a Radler more suited to take over at the end of Ginger Lemon Radler season" (source).
  • Lagunitas Nighttime, $4.79/22oz - "Kinda like Daytime's big, dark and scary sidekick, this ale is packed full of highly roasted malts then bitterly balanced with fistfuls of the dankest hops. Not for the lunch crowd or the faint of heart" (source).
  • Lagunitas Brown Shugga, $1.99/12oz - "We believe this Special Ale is Something Unique. Feeding Brown Cane Sugar to otherwise Cultured Brewery Yeast is a'kin to feeding Raw Shark to your Gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without Human Intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened and now it's too Late" (source).
  • Tallgrass Vanilla Buffalo Sweat, $1.69/12oz - "Years ago we started our cask beer program to experiment with new flavors. Our very first cask creation was Buffalo Sweat oatmeal cream stout infused with whole vanilla beans. It was so well-received at its debut at a firkin festival that it quickly evolved into our winter seasonal. This variety adds the silky sweetness of vanilla to the original Buffalo Sweat, creating a rich and creamy, medium-bodied well-balanced beer" (source).
  • Tallgrass Strawberry Shortcake, $1.69/12oz - "With our second reach into The Goodie Bag, we find Strawberry Shortcake. A Wheat Ale with a beautiful aromatic strawberry flavor and a cake-like vanilla richness for a delicious experience with one of America’s favorite dessert treats" (source).
  • Incline Explorer, $2.19/12oz - "On the drier end of the scale while remaining very smooth and well balanced. The Explorer Hopped Cider is produced from our blend of Yakima apples. A hearty dose of hops is added in to create a extremely balanced, complex, and refreshing cider. NO added sugar, no concentrates, nothing funky" (source).
  • Incline Scout, $2.19/12oz - "On the dry end of the scale while still very balanced and smooth" (source).
  • Incline Compass Rosé Hibiscus Cider, $2.19/12oz - "Slightly dry while balanced and refreshing" (source).
  • Ballast Point Fathom IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Fathom IPA highlights our favorite characteristics of the west-coast IPA style. This crisp and clean brew features a touch of malt on the surface with an ocean of zesty orange and piney hops below. The result is a refreshing, easy drinking IPA with just the right amount of depth" (source).

Video of the Week | Shaded Pony Woodworks


The always-creative Darkhorse people put old barrels to good use.

Cheers!

Friday, September 22, 2017

New Beer Friday, Raw Apple Cider Edition (Sept 22)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

September is apple harvesting time here in West Michigan and that means there will soon be plenty of fresh juice available for beer and winemaking hobbyists looking to whip up a batch or two of hard cider.

This year two local cideries will be selling fresh juice on two separate Saturdays in the parking lot behind Siciliano's. We will be selling both Klein's and Vander Mill's cider for $3.50 per gallon. Please bring your own containers or feel free to purchase containers from us. Dates and times for the cider days at Siciliano's Market are as follows:

    • Klein Cider Mill, Saturday, October 7. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Vander Mill Cider, Saturday, November 4. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Go here for a good article on the process of making hard cider.

New and Returning Beer

  • Brewery Vivant Velvet Stud, $3.49/16oz - "Full-bodied stout with a kiss of oak from its brief time in the barrel" (source).
  • Grimm Sumi Cacao, $11.99/22oz - "Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla and cacao" (source).
  • Mahr's Hell Lager, $5.79/500ml - "The beer that most people who come to Mahr’s love best is the basic Hell, a light-golden lager. A Hell, or Hellesbier, is a Bavarian specialty, not to be confused with the omnipresent Pils that nearly every brewery, from the far North to the Alpine South, has on offer. The Helles bier is squarely focused on malt – rich, sweet, Munich malt with an impossibly fresh new-mown hay flavor — and doesn’t have a whole lot to do with hops. (There are hops in there, but you don’t taste them much.) This is a deep and faceted beer, but not a challenging one. It is welcoming, satifying, and perfectly refreshing. The stuff in the bottle (which is unpasteurized, keeping flavor alive) will transport you straight to Germany. This Hell is pure heaven" (source).
  • Pohjala Banger, $5.99/12oz - "A banging Imperial Stout brewed with prunes, vanilla and Habanero chillies" (source).
  • Greenbush He Bee GB, $1.99/12oz - "English Pale Ale" (source).
  • Odd Side Dank Frank, $2.59/12oz - "Imperial version of Dirty Dank Juice. Hazy NE style IPA" (source).
  • Odd Side P.O.G., $2.19/12oz - "Passion fruit. Orange juice. Guava" (source).
  • Odd Side Nut Bandit, $2.69/12oz - "Imperial Brown Ale with Hazelnut" (source).
  • Alaskan Mocha Milk Stout, $8.99/22oz - "Inspired by the coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest,this sweet stout has an added chocolaty creaminess. Sweet Stouts have lactose added to provide residual sweetness and body because beer yeasts cannot ferment lactose. The cacao nibs added to this beer bring a hint of chocolate. The Guatemalan Huehuetenango was chosen for its mellow and earthy roast character" (source).
  • Bells Hell Hath No Fury, $2.79/12oz - "Originally conceived along the lines of a Belgian Dubbel, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale morphed during development into something entirely different. Brewed with Belgian abbey-style yeast, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale is more akin to a roasty stout, offering warm, roasted notes of coffee & dark chocolate with fruity and clove-like aromas" (source).
  • Bells Third Coast Old Ale, $2.79/12oz - "Third Coast Old Ale starts with a rich, caramel base, and finishes with a heavy hop bitterness. Sharply intense at first, it will age gracefully, adding complexity and subtlety in your cellar. Go ahead, test your patience" (source).
  • North Peak Anniversary Barley Wine, $10.69/22oz - "American-style barleywine, brewed with lots of Michigan malts & hops" (source).
  • Saugatuck Stout Variety Pack, $19.69/12pk - "It’s good to be stout with the new Saugatuck Brewing Company Stout Pack! 3 bottles each of Beam Me Up Stouty, Darker Than Your Soul Stout, Neapolitan Milk Stout, and Blueberry Maple Stout" (source).
  • Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti, $10.79/22oz - "Much like its legendary predecessors, this Yeti is big, bold and dark.  The addition of rolled oats softens Yeti’s notoriously roasty backbone and the small amount of raisins added in the brew kettle create a unique dark fruit character.  Just as admired as those that came before it, Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout is a gentle beast" (source).
  • Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale, $2.59/12oz - "Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale is our take on a classic American style of beer. We took a cold-conditioned cream ale, brewed with a hint of flaked corn and bourbon vanilla beans, and aged it in freshly decanted bourbon barrels for a minimum of two months. Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale's medium body and 5.5% ABV make it the perfect barrel-aged beer for an all day event" (source).
  • Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, $3.49/12oz - "Our Kentucky Ale® is aged for up to six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s finest distilleries. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrels. Pleasantly smooth and robust, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale may also be served as an aperitif or after-dinner drink. Launched in 2006, it has grown to become the flagship beer of the premier name in barrel-aged beers: Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company" (source).
  • Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout, $3.79/12oz - "Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout® builds on the success of its barrel-aged brother, the beloved Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale®. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout is brewed and aged with Alltech® Café Citadelle Haitian coffee and aged in world-famous Kentucky bourbon barrels. The result is a complex stout with dark-roasted malts, hints of caramel and vanilla and a lightly roasted coffee finish" (source).
  • Nowhere in Particular Peachy Pants, $2.69/12oz - "It just wouldn't seem like summer without seeing people walking around in goofy colored pants. In deference of this time honored and strange tradition we decided to make a nice funky and sour peach beer. The use of Lactobacillus and Pediococcus invite a gentle pucker with a nice complex aroma. Come grab one of these bangin cans and enjoy it during a picnic or on a yacht or where ever it is that people wear peach pants" (source).
  • Shorts Barrel Aged Black Cherry Porter, $10.99/22oz - "Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Cherry Porter is Short’s Black Cherry Porter aged in bourbon barrels for 9 months. This Short’s brew is fermented with Northern Michigan sweet black cherries and eight different malts. Combined, the ingredients provide the deep radiant flavor profile and create the dark opaque color. A slight purple lace from the fruit puree enticingly leads into smooth soft hints of roasted chocolate and pleasurable black cherry and bourbon flavors" (source).
  • Victory Storm King, $2.59/12oz - "A thundering hop presence collides with massive espresso and dark chocolate flavors in our dense and full-bodied imperial" (source).
  • Boulevard Barrel Aged Stout, $3.99/12oz - "Like India Pale Ale, the classic Imperial Stouts were originally brewed with high levels of alcohol and hops to withstand the rigors of a long sea journey, not to India but to Imperial Russia and the Baltic States. Our version is an over-the-top riff on the style, with a huge grain bill featuring several kinds of malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt. Robust grain and coffee flavors are counterbalanced by date and plum notes from the Scottish yeast. To add extra complexity and depth, this Imperial Stout is made up of a blend of freshly brewed beer and several barrel-aged beers, carefully balanced" (source).
  • Boulevard Collaboration Number 7, $3.99/12oz - "Built on a base of two-row pale malt, Sonoran White Wheat, honey malt and corn grits, Collaboration No. 7 – Oak-Aged Lager showcases Riesling grape juice, peaches and lemon zest in a crisp lager hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Lemondrop and Hallertau Blancs. Following fermentation with the Ayinger lager strain, Collaboration No. 7 was briefly aged on Cuvee No. 5 Tank Staves, French oak staves that impart fruit, spice, toast and tannins similar to aging in a fresh/virgin French oak barrel" (source).
  • Avery Ginger Sour, $13.79/22oz - "Verdant fresh ginger is artfully rooted in radiant tartness, peaking in the unmistakable burst and bite of this bright barrel-aged sour ale" (source).
  • Lagunitas Sakitumi, $9.29/32oz - "Ale Punched with Sake Yeast and Rice" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Pecan Porter, $11.79/22oz - "The sun begins to set in Mongolia. Genghis Pecan leads a group of wild turkeys with blindfolded juggling skills as he maneuvers atop a barrel floating down a river. Why? Who knows, but he’s not smuggling hobbits. This year’s version of Pecan Pie Porter might be the most impressive yet, at 10.5% ABV and aged in 100% bourbon barrels" (source).

Video of the Week | Hops!


Coming soon to a pint glass near you.

Cheers!

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Beer Friday, Sam's Famous Kapusta Edition (Sept 15)

Customers enjoy kapusta
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It's tradition here at Siciliano's to treat our customers to German wieners and draft root beer on the Saturdays of our annual, week-long Customer Appreciation sales. There are many who would agree that nothing goes better with German wieners than homemade kapusta and for many years the kapusta that we served as a garnish for the locally sourced dogs was made by my late father Sam Siciliano.

Kapusta is the Polish word for cabbage and my father's version of this traditional Polish dish garnered universal praise. I'd like to think he came up with the kapusta recipe on his own but the more likely scenario was that he sweet-talked some lady who cooked in one of the Polish halls here in town into sharing it with him. I do know that he continually tweaked the recipe over the years and that his version of kapusta was decidedly unique.

Sam has been gone four years and there hasn’t been kapusta at our Customer Appreciation Days since his passing. This year my wife Barb and I decided it was time we revived that part of the tradition.

When I got home from the store last Friday Barb was already in the kitchen chopping onions and celery. I grabbed a big knife and a big wooden cutting board and began shredding the three big heads of fresh cabbage. I thought of my dad while I chopped. I could see him shredding the cabbage at the table in his small kitchen. I imagined him getting up every so often from his naps to stir and taste and tweak the seasonings. I remembered all the times I lugged the big roasting pan to my truck and how he would smile when I asked him how much of the kapusta he had eaten.

Barb and I got a lot of compliments for the kapusta last Saturday and more than a few customers asked if they could have the recipe. We made sure we told them whose recipe it was and that we were sure that Sam would would have been more than happy to share it with them. Here it is.

SAM SICILIANO'S HOMEMADE KAPUSTA

    • 2 lbs sauerkraut, drained
    • ¾ head of cabbage, shredded
    • 1 ½ cup onion, diced
    • 1 ½ cup celery, diced
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 15-oz cans chicken broth
    • pork steak, pork roast or spare ribs
    • 3 tsp brown sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

    • Saute onions, celery, garlic and pork in oil
    • Add drained sauerkraut
    • Add chicken broth, simmer 15 minutes
    • Add bay leaves, salt and pepper
    • Add shredded cabbage, simmer 1 hour
    • Add additional brown sugar to taste
    • Serve to friends with beer, brats, wieners, sausages and/or kielbasa

New and Returning Beer

  • Arcadia Jaw-Jacker, $1.79/12oz - "This spiced amber ale is our celebration of the arrival of Autumn. Brewed with cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg (a riff on Grandma Davies’ pumpkin pie recipe), and additions of Caramel and Crystal malt for balanced flavor, drinkability, and a brilliant orange-amber color, despite the absence of pumpkin in the recipe. A refreshingly spicy, season brew" (source).
  • Bell's Expedition Stout, $3.09/12oz - "One of the earliest examples of Russian Imperial Stouts in the United States, Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with aging in mind. A huge malt body is matched with a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruit and other aromas. The flavors will slowly meld and grow in depth as the beer ages in your cellar" (source).
  • Bell's Roundhouse, $1.89/12oz - "Substantial amounts of late-kettle hop additions and dry-hopping yields a heady blend of fruity aromas of pineapple, peach and citrus. Those aromas continue into a crisply bitter hop presence across the tongue, but the judicious use of toasted and caramel specialty malts prevents the hop intensity from overwhelming the palate. Locally sourced Michigan honey creates a smooth, dry finish that pulls everything together" (source).
  • Port Brewing Mongo, $7.19/22oz - "Our flagship Double IPA, Mongo harnesses the flavor of Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. Massive resinous aroma leads to citrus notes with a piney bitterness on the finish" (source).
  • Port Brewing Whipeout, $4.79/22oz - "Brewed to celebrate anyone and everyone who has ever paddled out into the best wave of the day, only to blow it and Wipeout in a blaze of glory" (source).
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, $1.69/12oz - "Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer is a lively, refreshing ale with a natural citrusy flavor and distinctive cloudy appearance. This easy drinking American-style wheat beer has become our most popular offering, and the best-selling craft beer in the Midwest" (source).
  • Czechvar Dark, $1.69/12oz - "Czechvar uses the noble Saaz hop variety, which contributes spicy and herbal aromas and flavours. Deep brown in appearance, with a thick, long-lasting head. Malt aromas are in the foreground, with notes of toasted nut, molasses, mocha and a hint of smoke. On the palate, it is full-bodied, with chocolate and coffee flavours" (source).
  • Czechvar, $1.69/12oz - "The result of our careful selection of ingredients, our traditional brewing process and the care we take during production is Czechvar’s irreplaceable and inimitable flavour" (source).
  • Lost Abbey Lost and Found, $8.39/750ml - "Lost and Found- Modeled after the great Trappist and Monastic beers that inspired the founding of our brewery. A richly deep garnet colored ale created from a blend of Domestic and imported malts. As part of our commitment to interesting brewing endeavors, Chef Vince created a special raisin puree for this beer. Malts, raisins and a fantastic yeast strain working in harmony produce a beer of amazing complexity and depth. Available in 750ml bottles and on draft at select inspired locations" (source).
  • Lost Abbey Devotion, $8.39/750ml - "A lighter bodied beer that immediately makes an initial hop impression followed by a brief thinning layer of malt which is swallowed in the driest finish by a driven hop expression" (source).
  • Southern Tier Rum Barrel Aged Pumking, $15.99/22oz - "rum barrel aged imperial pumpkin ale with notes of pumpkin pie spice" (source).
  • Beards Deez Nutz, $2.89/12oz - "Smooth and chewy with nutty caramel flavors and a medium body" (source).
  • High Water Campfire Stout, $10.19/22oz - "Stout brewed with graham crackers, molasses with natural flavor added. Campfire Stout evokes fond memories of wilderness and camping adventures. Notes of chocolate and graham cracker topped with a hint of marshmallow will leave you wanting s’more. Like any campfire experience, this beer is best shared with a warm circle of family and friends" (source).
  • High Water Aphotic Imperial Porter with Coffee, $10.19/12oz - "Formally defined as the depths in water beyond which less than one percent of sunlight penetrates. Aphotic is a beer with a very dark side. Just one sip and you will understand the true depths of its darkness as the deep, luxurious layers of malt rich-ness tantalize and tease your taste buds. Cold pressed coffee adds a slight citrusy, earthy flavor with floral aromas" (source).
  • High Water Breakfast Sour, $15.39/500ml - "Central Valley Breakfast Sour is aged in used wine barrels for one year with the finest fruit from the Central Valley of California. It is a bright and beautiful golden sour with an abundance of fresh pressed white grapefruit juice. The tart beginnings are rounded by the lusciousness from the pears and the delicate, exotic perfume of the lychee fruit. A pleasurable ale to enjoy with brunch or anytime of the day" (source).
  • Stillwater Shoegaze, $2.89/16oz - "Distorted farmhouse pale ale" (source).
  • Stillwater/Dugges Tropical Punch, $4.99/12oz - "Tropic Punch Ale is a joint effort with nomadic brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal. We brewed this sour ale with lactobacillus and let it ferment with plentiful mango, passion fruit and peach" (source).
  • Stillwater/Dugges Cocoa Cacao, $7.19/12oz - "In collaborating with Stillwater Artisanal we always focus on distinct, clear, punchy flavors. This beer is no exception. Inspired by everyone’s favorite candy, this is a chocolate bar in a bottle" (source).
  • Evil Twin/Jackie O's You're in the Jungle Baby, $4.99/12oz - "Imperial stout with Pasilla chili, honey, tangerine peel and cocoa nibs added" (source).

Video of the Week | Jaw-Jacker


Now available at Siciliano's.

Cheers!

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Beer Friday, Big Sale Reminder Edition (September 8)

Homebrew on home kegging system
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I’d like to remind everyone that our annual Homebrew and Winemaking Customer Appreciation Sale is currently in full swing and will continue through the close of business on Sunday, September 10.

If you are already a homebrewer or winemaker, you're going to want to take advantage of the 15% discount on most equipment and supplies. You'll also want to check out the items on the deeply discounted list (see below). If you've been thinking about taking the plunge into these life-enriching hobbies, now's the time to do it as the beer and winemaking equipment kits are both heavily discounted.

Don't forget that we will be offering free German wieners, sauerkraut and draft root beer to all our great customers on Saturday, September 9. See you then.

    • BEER EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $105.00, Sale $75.00
    • WINEMAKING EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $95.00, Sale $79.00
    • BREWERS BEAST EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $135.00, Sale $95.00
    • KEGGING SYSTEM/NEW KEG: Regular $289.00, Sale $225.00
    • KEGGING SYSTEM/RECONDITIONED KEG: Regular $239.00, Sale $180.00
    • ANALOG REFRIGERATION THERMOSTAT: Regular $75.00, Sale $65.00
    • DIGITAL REFRIGERATION THERMOSTAT: Regular $115.49, Sale $89.00
    • MASH/LAUTER TUN: Regular $125.00, Sale $100.00
    • ITALIAN FLOOR CORKER: Regular $142.00, Sale $109.00
    • PORTUGUESE FLOOR CORKER: Regular $63.00, Sale $50.00
    • CHAMPAGNE FLOOR CORKER: Regular $152.00, Sale $119.00
    • MILWAUKEE PH METER: Regular $85.00, Sale $64.00
    • BARLEY CRUSHER, 7LB HOPPER: Regular $169.00, Sale $139.00
    • BARLEY CRUSHER, 15LB HOPPER: Regular $189.00, Sale $159.00
    • REFRACTOMETER: Regular, $49.00, Sale $40.00
    • 8-GALLON BREWERS BEAST BREW POT: Regular $115.00, Sale $79.00
    • 16-GALLON BREWERS BEAST BREW POT, Regular $175.00, Sale $129.00

New and Returning Beer

  • Pux Cider Hornswoggle, $2.99/12oz - "Hard cider hopped with Mosaic and Jarrylo" (source).
  • Pux Cider Luck, $2.99/12oz - "Barrel aged cider with tart cherry" (source).
  • Pux Cider Ballyhoo, $2.99/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Pux Cider Boondoggle, $2.99/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Pux Cider Whippersnapper, $2.99/12oz - "Cider with ginger, cinnamon and pear" (source).
  • MobCraft Bat$hit Crazy, $2.69/16oz - "Bat$h!t Crazy is a Coffee Brown Ale. Balanced milk sugar sweetness gives way to robust coffee flavors, sure to drive you Bat$h!t Crazy" (source).
  • MobCraft Don't Worry Beer Hoppy, $2.69/16oz - "Beer Hoppy is a Session IPA with Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo hops that will have you wailin' for clear waters and sunny skies as the sweet melodies of reggae grace your ears" (source).
  • MobCraft Hoppy Hoppy Pants Pants, $4.19/16oz - "Hoppy Hoppy Pants Pants is a dank, juicy Double IPA featuring some far out hops - Dr. Rudi, Jarrylo, Idaho 7 and Amarillo. This well balanced double will have you hoppin in your pants" (source).
  • MobCraft Crimson Commander, $8.19/22oz - "Crimson Commander pours a foxy caramel hue and features a citrus and pine hop aroma followed by a clean bright pallet with a bitter and increasingly viscous mouthfeel. Its boozy character hides under malty hop forward tones making this beer a smooth 8.5%" (source).
  • MobCraft Helles Ginger Bock, $8.19/22oz - "Imperial Helles Bock with ginger. Malty on the front end with a crisp ginger finish, moderate body with a smoothness unbecoming of its alcohol content" (source).
  • MobCraft Mystique, $12.89/22oz - "Aromas of strong citrus and pine assault the nostrils followed by a nice bouquet from bourbon barrel. Flavor is noticeably malty with a slight sweetness that melds perfectly with the bitterness and strong dry hop flavors, finishing dry and oaky with not too much but enough bourbon on the backend. Although this beer is aged in barrels, it was dry-hopped post aging so drink fresh" (source).
  • Goose Island Fest Bier, $1.79/12oz - "Brimming with notes of toasted malt and freshly baked rye bread. This light bodied German lager is clean and crisp with a fine noble hop character and mild earthy bitterness that is the hallmark of Hallertau hops" (source).
  • Bell's Best Brown, $1.99/16oz - "A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown is a mainstay in our fall lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Velvet Stud, $3.49/16oz - "Full-bodied stout with a kiss of oak from its brief time in the barrel" (source).
  • Dark Horse Scotty Karate, $2.09/12oz - "For those of you who don’t know who “Scotty Karate” is… He is a local one man band who plays an amazing slurry of honky-tonk influenced, punk-country songs. (Check him out at www.scottykaratetime.com) A big bold musician deserves a big bold beer, that's why Scotty and our Scotch Ale are a perfect tribute to one another. Scotty Karate is brewed with cherry wood smoked malt instead of the traditional peat smoked malt offering up warming notes of coffee, caramel and sweet caramelized brown sugar. Scotty finishes earthy giving this beer a character all it's own, just like the man himself" (source).
  • Green Flash GFB Blonde, $1.99/19.2oz - "GFB is a light, refreshing, crushable blonde ale with hints of honey and orange peel complemented by a mellow malt character" (source).
  • Mountain Town Peach Gruit, $1.99/12oz - "This is a twist on our popular Sacred Gruit herbal ale. We added 100% pure Peach and Apricot juice for a unique, refreshing beer" (source).
  • New Holland Baltic Anomaly, $2.59/12oz - "Much like the alien mystery found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, this Baltic Porter boasts an anomaly of its own. Honey lends an extraterrestrial dimension to this earthly porter, balancing out the sweetness with a slightly dry finish" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill Oktoberfest, $2.09/12oz - "This lightly hopped beer has a semi-dry finish that nicely complements its light to medium body. A light caramel and malty sweetness provide a pleasing smooth flavor" (source).
  • Uinta Pit Stop, $9.49/22oz - "Brewed with apricots and an abundance of hops, this kettle-soured Apricot IPA entertains even the most sophisticated palates" (source).
  • Uinta Cahoots, $13.79/750ml - "Aged for 18 months in Port Barrels, our Cahoots Flanders Red is ready to take flight. Brewed with rich caramel malt and fermented with a blend of wild yeast and bacteria, this brew has a complex finish with bright notes of cherries and raspberries" (source).

Video of the Week | Scotty Karate


Now available at Siciliano's.

Cheers!

Friday, September 1, 2017

New Beer Friday, Special Recognition Edition (Sept 1)

Sarah, General Manager
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Whenever my wife and I get positive feedback about our business we acknowledge the kind words but quickly point out that it's really our employees who deserve recognition. Barb and I have been very fortunate to have had many dedicated and passionate people working for us over the years, and each in their own has been instrumental in helping us make Siciliano's the store it is today.

We feel that three of our long term employees deserve special recognition and for that reason we are giving promotions to Kati, John and Sarah. Effective September 11 Sarah will be our GM and Kati and John are being promoted to Assistant Managers.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Sarah, Kati and John for their years of dedication and service. Throw some kudos their way the next time you're in Siciliano's.

John, Assistant Manager
Kati, Assistant Manager

New and Returning Beer

  • Vivant No Whistling, $9.99/500ml - A Belgian golden strong ale aged in a 1792 Bourbon barrel. Exclusive to Siciliano's.
  • Vivant Pumpkin Tart, $3.49/16oz - "Traditionally Belgian brewers have been inspired by their local agriculture. Living in the midst of Michigan’s rich agricultural heritage our Vivant brewers find it quite natural to be inspired in this same way. This rustic beer is brewed with real pumpkin and a hint of spice, perfect for the anticipated crispness of Autumn. Using a kettle souring technique, our brewers blend just the right amount of tartness into this farmhouse pumpkin ale. Raise a glass to the bounty of the harvest" (source).
  • Austin Brothers Milk Route Stout, $1.79/12oz - "Chocolate and roasted caramel coffee taste create the perfect balance in this milk stout" (source).
  • Argus Apple Bomb, $2.79/12oz - "Apple Bomb is a demi-sec, or slightly sweet, full bodied cider that delivers a blast of fruit and finishes big with a tannic, fruity pucker. This is not a subtle cider, but a fresh apple explosion derived from a collection of fermentation techniques and patience. Cans and draft offerings available" (source).
  • Freigeist Geisterzug Quince Gose, $8.19/500ml - "Based on Freigeist’s ancient spruced Gose recipe, Geisterzug Quince & Geisterzug Rhubarb feature all the complexity, funkiness, and body of the of the original but go one step further by adding tart & flavorful real fruit & vegetable during fermentation.  The resultant brews are incredibly lively, characterful, and thirst-quenching" (source).
  • Prairie Vape Tricks, $2.89/12oz - "Sour ale aged on cherries" (source).
  • Destihl Synchopathic Apricot, $2.79/12oz - "Dry-hopped sour ale with apricot" (source).
  • Ballast Point Dead Ringer, $1.89/12oz - "Our Dead Ringer Oktoberfest lager is inspired by old-style Märzen brews customarily enjoyed during Bavaria’s world-famous beer festival. Thanks to an abundance of toasted malt and a lower hop bitterness, this dark reddish brown lager is loaded with sweet, caramel toffee flavors and aromas. All the taste and celebration of Oktoberfest packed into one bottle; no lederhosen required" (source).
  • Dinkelacker Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "A distinctive spicy, drinkable Märzen. Full salary and full-bodied in flavor, golden yellow in color. Original beer tastes just as before" (source).
  • Avery Nuttiest Professor, $13.99/12oz - "This creamy and colossal peanut stout is nuts. But, our resident archaeologist, historian, brewer, and professor...he’s really nuts. Mad peanut science" (source).
  • Short's Autumn Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Autumn Ale is an English-style Extra Special Bitter (ESB). It has a medium body, amber colour, and full flavor. This beer exhibits a wonderful balance of malty sweetness and earthy, herbal hop bitterness. Autumn Ale won a silver medal at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival" (source).
  • Southern Tier Salted Caramel, $4.99/12oz - "Dessert beer brewed with Himalayan sea salt and notes of caramel" (source).
  • Southern Tier Cold Press Coffee Pumking, $4.19/12oz - "Imperial pumpkin ale with cold pressed light roast coffee" (source).
  • Epic Oak and Orchard Plum, $13.59/375ml - "Started in Foeders then aged in whiskey barrels with plum" (source).
  • Epic Oak and Orchard Pinot, $13.59/375ml - "As a sister beer to the Syrah, is a Pinot inspired sour that features blueberry, boysenberry, cranberry, strawberry and plum. The fruity bouquet pops with red berries, French Oak and light cellar notes from the Brettanomyces. The beer is crisp and puckering with the tartness of unripe fruit and a complex vinous finish that any wine lover would admire" (source).
  • Arbor Mackinac Island Fudge, $2.89/12oz - "Each small batch is brewed with 5 different malts , real fudge, milk sugar, and a light dose of hops for a deliciously rich and complex chocolate flavor that’s not too sweet or too heavy" (source).
  • Arbor Violin Monster, $2.89/12oz - "A geographical approach to the werewolf legends results in the identification of a major werewolf area stretching from mid-Germany into the Netherlands and Belgium.  With this in mind, we have created a strong, dark, spiced using ingredients from those regions. Brewed with Midnight Wheat, warming spices, and a hint of brown sugar, the Violin Monster is black as night and packs a punch at 9.5%" (source).
  • Black Rocks Honey Lavender Wheat, $1.79/12oz - "A great combination creating a delicious creamy easy drinker" (source).
  • Revolution League of Heroes, $22.49/12pk - "The League of Heroes pack contains Anti-Hero IPA and a rotating selection of three Hero-Series IPAs. Each new iteration of the pack will contain one featured Hero-Series IPA that is debuting through the League of Heroes pack. Available at the tap room and retailers" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal, $2.29/12oz - "Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come" (source).
  • Stone Fruitallica, $8.99/22oz - "A tropical double IPA with a death metal kick to the codpiece" (source).

Video of the Week | Bell's Octoberfest


Now available at Siciliano's.

Cheers!

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Beer Friday, Get Your Grapes Edition (August 25)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you live in the environs of Beer City USA and are thinking about making wine from fresh grapes this fall, there are options available for home vintners who are looking to source locally grown fruit. Here is the contact information for Taylor Ridge Vineyards in Allegan and Morgan Vineyard in Coopersville, both good sources for fresh wine grapes:

    • Taylor Ridge Vineyards
    • 3843 105th Ave. Allegan, MI 49010
    • Email: bctaylor@btc-bci.com
    • Cell: 269-491-1512
    • Home: 269-521-4047
We will be offering the free on-site use of our fruit crushers and basket presses from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on four consecutive Sundays in the parking lot behind the store. Dates for the free use of the equipment are as follows:

    • Sunday, September 10
    • Sunday, September 17
    • Sunday, September 24
    • Sunday, October 1
Bryan Taylor, Taylor Ridge

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Oktoberfest, $1.89/12oz - "Crafted as a flavorful session beer and perfect for autumn, Octoberfest spends a full six weeks fermenting. With herbal hop aromas, this balanced amber lager focuses on lightly toasted malt that lends body without too much sweetness. Perfect for a week-long wedding celebration in Germany or the start of the Michigan autumn" (source).
  • Founders Mosaic Promise, $1.29/12oz - "Mosaic Promise showcases two unique ingredients: Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt. The versatility of the hop’s pleasing aroma and flavor characteristics and the traditional barley’s depth of flavor comprise this clean, rich, golden beer. We can brew complex beers with the best of them, but we recognize that there is also beauty in simplicity" (source).
  • Latitude 42 Party at the Moon Tower, $2.29/16oz - "Double IPA" (source).
  • Revolution Anti-Hero, $1.79/12oz - "Our flagship IPA is supremely aromatic, crisp, and drinkable. This iconic ale features a blend of Chinook, Centennial, Crystal, and Citra to create a crisp clean bitterness and imparts massive floral and citrus aromas. The Warrior hop is also used to add additional bitterness to the brew" (source).
  • Revolution Mosiac Hero, $2.19/12oz - "This speciality IPA is quite unique with a heavy usage of a rare and sought-after hop, Mosaic. Mosaic Hero is brewed with Pale and CaraFoam malts and Naked Golden Oats to yield a rich copper color and smooth mouthfeel. Finally, we dry hopped this unique IPA with Mosaic and a small amount of Crystal to enhance the aromas of tropical fruit, citrus, and fresh pine" (source).
  • Revolution Oktoberfest, $1.79/12oz - "Classic German-style Oktoberfest Lager that goes down smooth with a pleasant, toasty, malt flavor. 100% German malts establish a supple and flavorful base for this traditional Oktoberfest lager. Brewed with a hop called Hallertau Gold, grown on only one farm in the whole of Bavaria, to deliver a hop profile which is at the same time both classic and unique" (source).
  • Weihenstaphener Oktoberfest, $2.09/12oz - "A full rich bodied, hoppy, seasonal lager. Especially brewed for the Festbier season. This beer truly represents the Bavarian way of celebrating. Deep gold color, great mouthfeel and lots of flavor" (source).
  • Against the Grain Citra Ass Down, $3.89/16oz - "This is a very hop forward American style IPA. Brewed with Pale, Vienna, Munich and wheat malt for a solid base for all American hops, focusing mainly on the variety “Citra.” Citra hops are a relatively new variety introduced in 2008. It was bred as a hybrid of a number of different hops, including Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, U.S. Tettnanger, East Kent Golding, Bavarian, Brewers Gold, and other unknown hops. The resulting hop, Citra, has a distinct citrusy and tropical fruit flavor and aroma. In Citra ass down we used American Columbus for bittering and 11# of Citra at the end of the boil for late kettle addition flavor and aroma. Then we added 6 more pounds Citra and 5# Centennial post fermention for aroma. Rebrewed for your tasting pleasure" (source).
  • Pike 51 Onward and Upward, $5.79/12oz - "Session Wild Ale" (source).
  • Pike 51 Beer City Kolsch, $2.89/22oz - "Beer City Pro-Am collaboration with Jeff Carlson" (source).
  • Pike 51 Satisfied Mind, $10.79/22oz - "Double IPA" (source).
  • Odd Side Blood Orange, $2.19/12oz - "A hop forward IPA that boasts an abundance of hop aroma to go along with a blast of citrus and blood orange flavor" (source).
  • Odd Side Honey Blue Blue, $2.39/12oz - "Honey Ale with blueberries" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, $1.99/12oz - "A tart, refreshing wheat ale that is kettle-soured with lactobacillus and brewed with sea salt and coriander, featuring liberal additions of blood oranges" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Holy Gose, $1.99/12oz - "With a bright, golden color and tight creamy head, the earthy wood undertones in our Gose develop into a light mineral aroma with a hint of lemon zest and tropical fruit. Before boiling, the wort is kettle soured with lactobacillus, imparting an initial refreshing tartness that gives way to a subtle fullness. Flavors of guava and peach are followed by a slight sea salt dryness and lemon sourness that is enhanced by coriander and post-fermentation additions of salt. The finish is dry, effervescent, and lemon tangy, reminiscent of a fresh sea breeze" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose, $1.99/12oz - "Born from our passion for experimentation, our Briney Melon Gose boasts a thirst-quenching tartness that is perfectly balanced by subtle watermelon flavors and aromas.  Gentle additions of sea salt create a refreshing harmony between the acidity and fruity sweetness leading to clean, dry finish" (source).
  • Short's Peachy Pom Pom, $2.39/12oz - "Peachy Pom Pom is a rosy colored American Sour Ale brewed with peaches and pomegranate. Tart berry aromatics accentuate the sweet and sour fruit flavors within this beer. A huge tangy mouth feel with some initial acidic citrus qualities shocks the palate before a clean and lightly dry finish" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Tiny, $3.29/12oz - "TINY is a Belgian inspired Imperial Stout weighing in at 11.8% ABV. You’ll find big chocolate and roasted notes, balanced with the Belgian flavors from the Abbey yeast strain" (source).
  • Avery Coconut Porter, $13.79/22oz - "Copious quantities of coconut coupled with time basking in bourbon barrels complement the chocolaty and sumptuous nature of this delectable porter" (source).
  • Atwater Teufel Bock, $1.99/12oz - "Our Weizen Dopplebock is dominated with 60% wheat that imparts a nutty-bisquit flavour. Ir is complimented with Perle and Hersbrucker hops for a nice sweet finish. Our biggest beer yet" (source).
  • Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, $4.79/22oz - "Rich, smooth, dangerous, and chocolatey. It's a big ol' hoppy Imperial Brown Ale to help you with your slippery slide on into the heat of the night" (source).

Video of the Week | Green Zebra


Green Zebra is now available at Siciliano's.

Cheers!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August Brew of the Month: Paint It Red Pale Ale

By Max Spencer

Brewing is an ancient tradition — one as old as civilization itself. I am often humbled by the fact that we get to take part in a ritual our ancestors have performed for millennia when brewing at home. It’s amazing to think about the effort that went into making beer before the rise of modern malts, yeast labs, hop companies and homebrewing stores. Nevertheless, despite new technologies and suppliers, ingredients and methods haven’t changed much in the last few hundred years. Occasionally, something comes along and drives this point home for me — in this case, it was a yeast.

In 2014, a homebrew enthusiast named Lars Garshol went to the Stranda region of Norway during a trip to learn about Norwegian farmhouse ales, local homebrewing methods, and kveik yeast — you can read about this trip on his incredibly informative Larsblog. Louis Pasteur was the first scientist to show that yeast is the agent of fermentation in 1857, but brewers were unintentionally propagating yeast centuries before this realization. One of the most illustrative examples of traditional yeast propagation is the kveik Lars sought. Most brewers have heard old stories of straw wreaths and wooden logs being soaked in batches of fermenting beer and transferred to future batches — this is the origin of kveik. Good strains of kveik were passed down for generations and traded between families; they are living artifacts.

Lars was successful in his quest for kveik thanks to the generosity of Stranda homebrewer Stein Langlo in the form of two sour cream containers full of gray flakes. Lars sent this yeast to the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) in the UK for analysis. Despite difficulties in propagating the yeast, they managed to recover one strain from the sample. Omega Yeast Labs eventually purchased a culture of the strain from the NCYC and made it commercially available in 2015 as the HotHead Ale OYL-057. It’s an amazing yeast with high attenuation, medium-high flocculation and an insane fermentation temperature range (62-98°F). The large temperature range makes it an ideal house strain for any homebrewers with a lack of temperature control in their home. HotHead produces mild fruity esters, but otherwise has a very clean character that lends itself well to any modern ale styles.


I decided to use the HotHead in a pale ale — a Norwegian farmhouse ale may be the next experiment on the docket for this yeast. I used Calypso hops which provide aromas and flavors of red apple, pear, tea and earth. I also dry hopped a small amount of my beer (one gallon) for two days with 0.25 oz of rooibos tea — an African tea with flavors of earth and vanilla. I enjoyed both variations of the beer, and the rooibos is unnecessary unless it appeals to you. I would use one ounce of tea for a full 5-gallon batch. My fermentation temperature varied between 70-95°F to push the yeast. The result was a beautifully clean fermentation with slight citrusy esters — this yeast can really take a beating on the temperature front. Try out the HotHead for your next batch — not only is it a great yeast in terms of fermentation, but it’s a living fossil that echoes forth from generations of homebrewers.

All Grain ($26.68)

    • 5.5 lbs. Pale Malt
    • 4 lbs. Munich Malt 10L
    • 0.5 lbs. Melanoiden Malt
    • 0.25 lbs. Honey Malt
    • 0.25 lbs. Golden Naked Oats
    • 15g Gypsum in mash / sparge
    • 0.25 oz. Calypso first wort @ 60 min.
    • 0.25 oz. Calypso @ 30 min.
    • 0.50 oz. Calypso @ 15 min.
    • 1.00 oz. Calypso @ 0 min. 
    • 1 package Omega Yeast Labs HotHead Ale (OYL-057)
    • OG: 1.054 FG: 1.010
    • ABV: 5.9% IBUs: 41.0
    • SRM: 8.2
Mash Schedule: Mash in with 3.3 gallons of water @ 164°F (target temp for mash is 152°F). Drain mashtun, batch sparge with 4.75 gallons of water @ 175-180°F.

Extract ($39.17)

    • (Boil volume: 3.5 gallons; if boiling full volume, use all grain hop additions)
    • 4.25 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract
    • 3.3 lbs. Munich Liquid Malt Extract
    • 0.25 lbs. Honey Malt
    • 0.25 lbs. Biscuit Malt
    • 0.25 lbs. Golden Naked Oats
    • 0.25 lbs. Corn Sugar
    • 0.50 oz. Calypso @ 60 min.
    • 0.50 oz Calypso @ 30 min.
    • 1.00 oz Calypso @ 15 min.
    • 1.00 oz Calypso @ 0 min. 
    • 1 package Omega Yeast Labs HotHead Ale (OYL-057)
    • OG: 1.055 FG: 1.010
    • ABV: 5.9% IBUs: 45.5
    • SRM: 8.6