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Friday, April 21, 2017

New Beer Friday, Homebrew Champs Edition (April 21)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

The Brewsquitos, a team of homebrewers representing Siciliano's Market, took top honors recently at the awards ceremony for the inaugural Home Brew League, a homebrewing competition organized and administered by Coldbreak Brewing Equipment. A total of thirty-two teams participated in the year-long competition with Siciliano's being one of four area homebrew shops sponsoring a division of eight teams in the event.

“We're honored to have taken home the inaugural Home Brew League championship, especially considering all the great teams we had to beat to win it,” said Brewsquitos captain Nick Rodammer.  “The Siciliano's division in particular was loaded with talented teams which led to fierce competition during the entire season, so just making the playoffs was something we were very proud of."

In addition to having bragging rights and their names etched on the beautiful HBL trophy, team members will get the opportunity to brew their winning Black IPA recipe at Cedar Springs Brewing Company.

Congrats to Phil Pierce, Chad Bocian, Nick Rodammer,
 Paul Arends, Pat Tkacz and Andrew Brouwers!

New and Returning Beer

  • Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Is a mind-bending whirl of the aromas and flavors of blood orange and Northwest hops" (source).
  • Deschutes Swivelhead, $2.09/12oz - "This twist on a traditional red ale gets its herbal hop character from European varietals added in American quantities, with a light melon accent from Australian hops, all resulting in a malty brew without the roast that’s sure to turn heads wherever it’s shared" (source).
  • Ommegang Fruition, $2.59/12oz - "A dry-hopped wheat ale with mango, kiwi and passion fruit." (source).
  • Boulevard Hibiscus Gose, $1.69/12oz - "Our version of an unusual, yet resurgent, beer style. It pays tribute to the pleasantly sour, slightly salty wheat beers that originated in Goslar and became popular in Leipzig, Germany around the late 1800’s. A great introductory sour beer, Hibiscus Gose receives coriander and sea salt during boiling, then we steep dried hibiscus flowers at the end to create a vibrant pink hue (really, though, it’s pink!). The result is a tangy, sweet and sour ale with a refreshing citrus character" (source).
  • Boulevard Changeling, $12.99/750ml - "Changeling is an enchanting blend of dark sour ales aged in whiskey and wine barrels that were inoculated with Brettanomyces and lactobacillus. It pours a deep ruby color with touches of gold at the edges of the glass. Leading with plum and toasty malt, the flavor transmutes into a soft tartness, with notes of earthy, funky Brett and a touch of lingering caramel to create a delicate balance" (source).
  • Lagunitas Lucky 13, $1.99/12oz - "From the first day of the first mash of the first recipe in the first brewhouse in the first space to these coordinates on the cone of space-time; We have worked hard to walk in the footsteps of our hero brewers- Chico’s brewer of California’s Best Pale Ale, the Noble Brewer of the planet’s only legal Steam Beer, and Oregon’s Rebel Brewer from Newport. Now we have found our own voice as brewers but our admiration for the Great Ones has not dimmed one bit. If we walked well down the hero’s path, perhaps we too have been an inspiration for others. Beer is a Bronze Age business and we feel honored to leave our footprints on it’s path into history- at the same time leaving our flavors on your buds. Obey those Buds! Thanks for your trust over the years and we hope you enjoy this specially brewed Hi-Gravity Auburn offering" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Smooth Sail, $1.89/12oz - "This is not your average summer ale. We've created the most refreshingly delicious American wheat ale. Brewed with lemon and orange peel, Smooth Sail finishes with a citrus kick. At 4.5% ABV you'll have your new pool beer. Available on draft and cans only, it's the perfect beer for trips to the park, hiking, or just sitting on the beach with your friends. A summer day. Kick back, relax, enjoy - a light breeze will take you to your happy place" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Pounder Pils, $1.89/16oz - "Made with German malts and an plethora of European hops, Pounder Pils is an American interpretation of a classic European Style. Exhibiting a crisp malt backbone and an herbaceous hop profile, this Pilsner is quaffable and refreshing. This year-round offering is smooth and elegant showcasing a bright yet zesty botanical aroma. Named for the weight of their shot, the most common naval cannons were called "six pounders". At Heavy Seas, that means a six-pack of crisp, clean Pounder Pils" (source).
  • Shmaltz Star Trek Klingon, $2.69/12oz - "Raise a goblet of Klingon Imperial Porter to the strongest warriors in the Galaxy. Discover the ruby undertones that pay homage to Klingon Bloodwine and fallen warriors who hold honor above life. “There is no honor in attacking the weak,” so take pleasure in besieging this 7.3% ABV Imperial Porter. But like this mighty elixir, Klingons also have a sweet side: Witness the wedding ritual where the gods forge two hearts so strong that once joined together cannot be opposed. (Just ignore the part of the ceremony where the groom swings his bat’leth at the bride!) A Klingon proverb states: “Death is an experience best shared,” and so is the first Star Trek limited release of 2017" (source).
  • Odd Side Troll Toll, $1.99/12oz - "Session IPA brewed with lactose" (source).
  • Anderson Valley GT Gose, $1.99/12oz - "Reminiscent of a classic cocktail, our G&T Gose showcases botanical flavors and aromas of lemon peel, juniper, lemongrass, and grains of paradise. With a juicy lemon-lime tartness and slightly peppery finish, we’ve given the gose style a unique spin that we’re sure you’ll enjoy" (source).
  • Ballast Point Tart Peach Kolsch, $5.99/22oz - "Our Tart Peach Kölsch is a fresh take on one of our very first beers. The juicy aroma and flavor of ripe peach complements the subtle fruitiness from the Kölsch yeast in this bright, refreshing ale. Add a tickle of tartness to round out the senses, and you get a new brew that’s interestingly delightful" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry, $2.59/12oz - "What you have here is a serious India Pale Ale shacking up and hunkering down with mango and apricots. At the same time! Romantic Chemistry is brewed with an intermingling of mangos, apricots and ginger, and then dry-hopped with three varieties of hops to deliver a tropical fruit aroma and a hop-forward finish" (source).
  • Bell's Mars, $3.09/12oz - "Notes of tropical fruit, citrus, pine, lemon, lime and pineapple are all present in both the aroma and flavor. Hopped at a ratio of about 3.4 pounds of hops per barrel, the recipe for Mars was developed from a trial batch called Larry’s Latest Double IPA brewed in our original brewery located adjacent to the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo" (source).
  • Blackrocks Lager Rhythm, $1.99/12oz - "American lager dry hopped with mosaic and bitter gold hops" (source).
  • Founders Palm Reader, $1.79/12oz - "A tribute to our beautiful state, this refreshing ale 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 Hophead 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).
  • Founders Sumatra Brown, $3.09/12oz - "This bold, imperial brown ale gets its body from a team of malts including Caramel malt for sweetness, flaked barley for dense foam, a bit of Chocolate malt for its deep color and Aromatic and Munich malts to add even more depth. German and Perle hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the malty sweetness. The addition of rich Sumatra coffee takes this perfectly balanced imperial brown ale to a decadent level" (source).
  • New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake, $4.29/12oz - "This reserve blend is aged in bourbon barrels for three months, with toasted chiles, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and cinnamon added during aging" (source).

Video of the Week | Farmhaus Cider


In honor of GR Cider Week, enjoy this video from one the area's many fine cideries.

Cheers!

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Beer Friday, The Vinyl Countdown Edition (April 14)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife Barb and I occasionally relax with a couple of Manhattans before supper. Over the winter we began enjoying our cocktails while listening to albums on old 1970’s era stereo equipment. The Yamaha receiver, Sansui turntable and EPI speakers had been sitting idle until last fall when we came across some albums that had been stashed in a box in the basement. The discovery prompted us to hook up the equipment, and despite a fair amount of snapping, crackling and popping, it was quite pleasant hearing Frampton Comes Alive on vinyl once again.

We had amassed a sizable album collection over the years but when we began buying cassettes and CD’s we packed the records away and forgot about them. Today I have no clue as to their whereabouts. Maybe we gave them away. Hell, we might have even thrown them away. Needless to say we’re wishing now that we had kept them.

Barb and I have been making periodic trips to used record stores over the past three months and we’re slowing building another collection. I’m not sure what exactly it is about our new found hobby that we find so enjoyable. Perhaps it has something to do with recapturing some of our lost youth. Or maybe we like listening to vinyl for the same intangible reasons that we like old cars, old houses, old boats and old barns and corked rather than screw top wine bottles.

A few nights ago Barb and I sipped our cocktails while listening to a pristine copy of Aja that we found last week at Dodds Record Shop. We agreed that Steely Dan never sounded as good and the Manhattans that I made with Bib & Tucker small batch bourbon never tasted better.

New and Returning Beers

  • Clown Shoes Path of the Angel, $14.09/22oz - "Imperial Brown Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels" (source).
  • Arbor Brewing Ypsi Gypsy, $1.89/12oz - "The Ypsi Gypsi is technically an American Pale Ale but we packed so much hop flavor and aroma into its 4.9% alcohol that we like to call it a session IPA.  Golden straw in color with a medium body and crisp carbonation, the Gypsi flaunts a rich flowery, citrusy character on the nose, palate and finish that comes from several late additions of classic American hops" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Plein de Vie Strawberry Rhubarb, $9.99/500ml - "A Belgian-weiss beer soured in a melange of barrels and aged with Strawberries and Rhubarb. Usher in Spring with this light and bright sour ale. Take a bottle home to enjoy with friends" (source).
  • Brooklyn Summer, $1.59/12oz - "Summer in Brooklyn is all about following your impulses, winging it from beaches and barbecues to stoops and rooftops. Brooklyn Summer Ale is a refreshing, flavorful pale ale made to accompany you on all your warm weather adventures. 100% British 2-row barley brings its famed bready flavors, capped off with German and American hops to provide a snappy, clean bitterness and a bright, floral aroma. It's a sunny pale ale, Brooklyn style" (source).
  • Green Flash Palate Wrecker, $2.89/12oz - "Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration. It’s the most complicated West Coast–inspired IPA we have ever brewed—mashing and sparging with hopped wort, in addition to our hop layering regimen for IPA. We use almost 6 lbs/bbl of Columbus and Centennial hops to create this very bitter hop monster (tested at 149 IBU and no extracts in case you were wondering). By popular demand, it is now released for the world to enjoy" (source).
  • Griffin Claw You Figure it Out, $2.19/16oz - "We had to beg Dan to make this and it turned out awesome! Coconut & Vanilla stand strong in this easy drinking Milk Stout" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill White DIPA Renegade, $2.99/12oz - "This Double IPA is the first in our “Renegade” series, a series of beers that meet stylistic requirements but aren’t afraid to be different. Renegade White is deceivingly light in both color and body. A West Coast style DIPA, Renegade White starts with pine and citrus in the nose. These elements then carry into the mouth with added notes of grapefruit and a pleasantly dry finish" (source).
  • Uinta Hop Nosh, $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 Hop Nosh Tangerine, $1.59/12oz - "A play on our flagship IPA, this beer features an aromatic menagerie of tropical hops and tangerine zest. Wraps up with a crisp, bitter finish" (source).
  • Uinta Lime Pilsner, $1.59/12oz - "Crisp, light-bodied, and immensely refreshing, our small batch Lime Pilsner combines a subtle malty sweetness with hints of fresh lime for a little splash of summertime in a can" (source).
  • Short's Freedom of '78, $2.39/12oz - "Freedom of ’78 is a medium-bodied IPA brewed with guava. This IPA is bright and clear with a pleasing bronze hue. The beer’s aroma is a unique fusion of citrus fruit and subtle pine. The distinct characteristics of the guava nectar are impossible to miss with flavors of tangerine, nectarine, and even faint honey detectable. The finish is bitter and dry" (source).
  • Left Hand Brave Heart, $2.29/12oz - "Super Smooth with soft caramel notes and bready maltiness" (source).
  • Left Hand Good Juju, $2.29/12oz - "Our beer is a pale ale brewed from a relative low gravity, with some of the hops which would normally be used in the beer replaced by freshly ground ginger root" (source).

Video of the Week | Play Ball!


This seemed like a relevant video now that the MLB season is in full swing.

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Hop Arrivals (April 2017)

By Max Spencer

Recently we brought in three new hops for homebrewers from Michigan Hop Alliance—Belma, Idaho7, and Tardif de Bourgogne. These hops are unique and can be used in your arsenal for a variety of styles! Below are descriptions of each hop, and some suggested styles to use them in. But don’t limit yourself — experiment as you see fit.


Belma™ ($1.79/1oz)

Belma is a hop strain grown exclusively on Puterbaugh Farms in Mabton, Washington. Described by Dr. Shellhammer — a professor of Fermentation Science at Oregon State University — after brewing a pale ale with Belma hops as follows: “A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical pineapple, strawberry, and melon aroma.”

    • Alpha acid content: 11.6%
    • Suggested styles: Pale Ales, IPAs, American Wheats, Saison, American Stouts

Idaho7 ($1.79/1oz)

A new experimental variety from Jackson Hop Farm in Wilder, Idaho. “Expect overtones of resiny pine needles with big notes of pungent tropical fruit and citrus (think apricot, orange, red grapefruit, papaya) and earthy/fruity suggestions of black tea leaves” – BSG hop profile on Idaho7.

    • Alpha acid content: 12.1%
    • Suggested styles: Pale Ales, IPAs, American Wheats, Barleywines

Tardif de Bourgogne ($1.79/1oz)

“Late Burgundy” in English, Tardif de Bourgogne is a rare hop grown in the Alsace region of France. It is described by Michigan Hop Alliance as having characteristics of “freshly-cut law, pronounced lemon zest, faint ripe melons, strawberries, and lemon ginger tea.”

    • Alpha acid content: 4.3%
    • Beta Acid content: 4.2%
    • Suggested styles: Saison, Bière de Garde, Belgian Ales, Pilsner, European Lagers, Wheat beers

Friday, April 7, 2017

New Beer Friday, Big Brew at Trail Point Edition (April 7)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you enjoy hand-crafted beer, if you like being around fun-loving people and if you're interested in learning about the process of homebrewing, we invite you to join a gathering of passionate homebrewers at Trail Point Brewing on Saturday, May 6 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.

Five years ago Siciliano’s Market sponsored its first Big Brew Day and the event has since become one of West Michigan’s most popular public homebrewing celebrations. This year twenty-six teams of dedicated hobbyists will be brewing batches of Beer City Oated Pale Ale in the brewery's back parking lot. Samples of hand-crafted, homemade beer will be available to those of legal drinking age and, of course, Trail Point's solid lineup of commercial offerings will be available for purchase in the pub.

Mashing.

Updates and Reminders

Online entry registration for the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Competition will be accepted through Sunday, April 9, or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. Bottles must be submitted by Sunday, April 9.

The Siciliano's Homebrew Party will be held this year on Saturday, May 20, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the enclosed shelter at Johnson Park. Tickets are now on sale. Seating is limited so if you plan on attending one of Beer City USA’s most popular beer-centric events you are encouraged to buy your tickets early.

New and Returning Beer

  • Blake's The Tonic, $2.09/12oz - "Infused with Cucumber and Ginger, this cider is the perfect concoction for those days you want a crisp, refreshing cider to match that feeling that comes along with spring" (source).
  • Pike 51 Sinister Sister, $8.09/22oz - "2017 imperial porter with hazelnuts & cocoa nibs" (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).
  • Avery Apricot Sour, $13.79/ 22oz - "Bushels of juicy apricots and bright bursts of barrel-aged tartness are seamlessly infused to cultivate this deliciously distinctive and succulent sour ale" (source).
  • Avery Maharaja, $3.99/12oz - "Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, meaning “great”, and rajan, meaning “king”. Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence" (source).
  • Tallgrass The Grizz, $2.59/12oz - "The Grizz comes out of hibernation in 2017, full-bodied and with pine and hints of grapefruit, orange, lemon and peach on the nose. Flavors of pine, resin, woody hops and citrus dominate the palate, while the 9.5% ABV and 80 IBUs make The Grizz roar" (source).
  • North Peak Original Hoppy Pale, $1.69/12oz - "Reminiscent of the traditional pale ale style of beer, North Peak is releasing Original Pale Ale. Brewed to be a lighter, more drinkable beer to be enjoyed all year round" (source).

Video of the Week | Mikkeller Beer


A fascinating video about Mikkeller. Bonus content: Rick Astley.

Cheers!