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Friday, January 20, 2017

New Beer Friday, Guest Preamble Edition (January 20)

Steve in Nicaragua on
official store business (cigars).
Preamble by Harry Winston

Last Saturday Steve informed me that he and Barb were going out of town for a few days and he asked whether I’d be willing to write the preamble for this week’s New Beer Friday.

“So that’s why you invited me over,” I said looking over at him before taking another bite of herb-roasted Cornish hen.

“Not at all,” Steve said. “Barb mentioned she saw you in the store the other day and said you were whining about us not having you over for dinner in a while. She said it was pathetic the way you were carrying on.”

“Barb said that, huh?”

“I said what?” Barb asked. She had just walked back into the dining room after going to the basement for another bottle of wine.

“Here Barb, let me open that,” Steve said. “That you saw Harry in the store last week. How’s the Burgundy, Harry?”

“For the sixth time, it’s good,” I said. “Didn’t you tell me that you were saving the Pommard for a special occasion?”

Steve leaned over and patted my arm. “What can be more special than having dinner with you? Right, Barb?”

“That’s right, Harry.”

“So what do you say, buddy?” Steve asked. “Going to do that favor for me?”

“Gee I don’t know,” I said. “I’m awfully busy right now.” I swirled my glass of Burgundy and savored the aroma of rose petals and ripe red fruit. “By the way, got any more of those Westy 12’s laying around?”

Steve put his fork down and sighed. He looked at Barb and then looked back at me. “One,” he said finally.

“Only one, huh? Got any more of those Cubans?”

Steve’s countenance took on the same doleful expression that it did when my straight flush beat his four Jacks last November at deer camp. “Only one,” he said again.

Later that night I was sitting in front of a fire in my den when I noticed a green light blinking on my cell phone. It was a text message from Steve.

“So what u goin to write about?” Steve asked in the text.

I smiled and took a sip of the Westy and a long pull off the Montecristo.

“Don’t know yet,” I texted back a few minutes later. “I’ll think of something.”

New and Returning Beer

  • To Øl Don't Gose Towards The Light, $5.19/12oz - "When you’re afraid of the dark, it’s easy to look for the light. Alas, we must say no, “Don’t Gose Towards The Light”, for after all, the dark brings many joys as well! We have taken the classic pale Gose style and thrown in some dark malts, to drive this beer into darkness. The addition of Carafa Special and Cara Aroma gives this salty sour beer a touch of rich bitterness. We then add Blackcurrants to add a touch of balance with sweet and tart fruit flavours" (source).
  • Sahtipaja Rott Men Inte Sott, $3.89/12oz - "Raspberry Berliner" (source).
  • Prairie 'Merica, $2.89/12oz - "For Merica, Nelson Sauvin hops have been selected at a rate of 3lbs per barrel. Nelson Sauvin, a New Zealand grown hop, is known for its Sauvignon Blanc grape aroma and flavor. Merica is heavily dry hopped for an intense hop flavor. Merica has a bitterness of 35 IBUs. The malt used in this beer is a highly specialized and traditional Bohemian Pilsner malt. This malt is produced in the authentic, traditional “Floor Malted” fashion. The color of the beer is very light in color, yet has an authentic, Bohemian flavor and aroma. Merica is fermented with Prairie" (source).
  • Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Stout, $4.09/12oz - "The "Brewer’s Reserve" label is used only for limited edition beers. No time or expense was spared to create these beers! This is a good expression of our passion for brewing" (source).
  • Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Number one in a series of five stouts produced to help ease you through the cold and grey Midwestern winters. This beer is full bodied and made with oats. You will find hints of chocolate, roasted barley, and coffee flavors. With a nice creamy head and a big mouth feel, our oatmeal stout is sure to satisfy" (source).
  • Founders Frootwood, $3.99/12oz, $11.99/750ml - "We took a crisp, light-bodied cherry ale and hid it away in oak barrels that have held both bourbon and maple syrup. After a lengthy stint, it emerged a changed beer, blanketed in notes of warm vanilla and earthy sweetness. The wood proves itself the star of this beer, adding depth and taming the tart cherry while the maple imposes a velvety texture that lingers for not a moment too long" (source).
  • New Holland Blue Sunday, $8.39/22oz - "This unique anniversary libation, heritage-blended from our library of barrel-soured beers, exhibits deeply layered flavors of malt and oak, with a tart finish" (source).
  • Shipyard Chocolate Milk Stout, $2.29/12oz - "Chocolate Milk Stout is a creamy sessionable ale with notes of roasted chocolate malt and a rich, dark chocolate sweetness contributed by the cocoa nubs" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 2-14-17, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "It’s not unusual to see pronouncements of “I Heart Hops,” “I Heart Chocolate” or “I Heart Coffee” throughout #socialmedia, printed on T-shirts and, natch, emblazoned on coffee cups. Over the past couple of decades we have helped add “I Freaking Heart IPAs” to that lexicon. Today, passionate people can’t imagine a world without all of the above. For this special edition, we added chocolate and coffee to make this devastatingly fresh IPA even more seductive to the palate. We humbly suggest that you use this libation to proclaim your love for someone... and we suggest that someone be you. Loving yourself is exactly what this libation is all about. Love now; remember forever" (source).
  • Arcadia Hop Rocket, $3.49/12oz - "This Imperial IPA has an assertive aroma of sticky, resinous Summit hops. A complex flavor profile includes notes of grapefruit, lemon peel, and spruce. Though the flavor focus is on hops, a trio of malts provides a balance to the beer, creating a delicious level of palatability. Hints of caramel, toffee and freshly-baked biscuits are also apparent in the flavor profile" (source).
  • Heavy Seas TropiCannon, $2.19/12oz - "Our brand new citrus IPA is exploding with bright citrus aroma and flavor. Creating an exciting new variation on our flagship Loose Cannon, TropiCannon clocks in at the same 7.25%ABV as it's cousin, but packs a full blast of blood orange, grapefruit, mango and lemon flavor. We've downplayed some of Loose Cannon's piney-ness and amped up the citrus by swapping Centennial and Palisade hops for Amarillo and even more Simcoe. We've introduced dried grapefruit, orange and lemon peel in the brewing process and added mango, blood orange and more grapefruit post-fermentation" (source).
  • Left Hand Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter, $2.09/12oz - "Innately predisposed to be smooth when Poured Hard, this nitro coffee porter builds a pillowy, toffee-sweet head. Coffee and flavors of caramelized sugar, cacao and hints of blueberry lead to a light, smoky finish" (source).
  • Abita Macchiato Milk Stout, $4.39/22oz - "Macchiato is made with pale, caramel, chocolate, and roasted malts. Oats and lactose are added to give the beer a more robust and sweeter taste. The sweetness of the lactose helps balance the bitterness of the brew just like in the coffee drink, which is our inspiration. The roasted malts give the beer its dark color as well as its intense flavor and aroma. Willamette hops are added to balance out the sweetness of the malts. Finally, PJ’s Coffee espresso dolce beans are added to the aging tank. This gives the beer a strong coffee flavor and aroma that compliments the existing flavors of the malt" (source).
  • Abita Bourbon Imperial Stout, $9.29/22oz - "Bourbon Street Stout is an Imperial Stout that is aged in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon barrels. Our Imperial Stout is brewed with a combination of pale, caramel, chocolate and roasted malts. Oats are also added to give the beer a fuller and sweeter taste. The roasted malts give the beer its dark color as well as its intense flavor and aroma. After fermentation the beer is cold aged for 6 weeks. This is necessary for all of the flavors of the malt and hops to balance and produce a very smooth flavor. After the cold aging the beer is transferred into the bourbon barrels. It is then aged for another 8 weeks to absorb all of the flavors from the barrels. The result is a strong stout that brings out the roasted flavors from the malt and the warming toasted, vanilla, and bourbon flavors from the barrels" (source).
  • Tallgrass Brewing King Buffalo, $2.59/12oz - "It looks like Buffalo Sweat. It has the same dense, foamy head — though it’s a little darker — and it leaves the same sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is spot-on. Coffee. Chocolate. Roasted barley, hints of toffee and a little bit of booze. Take that first sip. The familiar coffee and chocolate flavors are there, but they’re bigger, bolder and more complex. The body is thick and robust, with a velvety texture and a bitter, dry and warming finish. There’s no residual sweetness like that of Buffalo Sweat – because there’s no lactose in this brew – but an earthy, herbal hop character that bounces beautifully off the dark roasted malts. It’s the perfect silky-smooth stout to get you through the cold months ahead. One Buffalo to rule them all" (source).
  • Tallgrass Brewing Zombie Monkie, $1.69/12oz - "A relentlessly tasty robust porter crafted with loads of chocolate malt and other dark-roasted specialty malts, Zombie Monkie also is inoculated with enough hops to add a floral, citrus character to the finish. It’s hearty and complex, brewed for the post-apocalyptic world. Grab a can and take a stand" (source).
  • Tallgrass Brewing Vanilla Buffalo, $1.69/12oz - "In 2013, two nine-gallon casks were filled with Buffalo Sweat and a handful of vanilla beans, and were stored in Tallgrass founder Jeff Gill’s office. A few weeks later, Jeff entered his office to find one of casks had exploded, spraying beer all over his office and leaving a hole in the ceiling above his desk shaped exactly like the cork bung used to seal the cask. Thankfully, the other cask did not explode. That night at an event in Wichita, Kansas, the beer was so well-received, it immediately got the call to become the brewery’s winter seasonal" (source).
  • Tallgrass Brewing Buffalo Sweat, $1.69/12oz - "We often hear from fans who swore they’d never enjoy a stout — until they tried Buffalo Sweat. Some have described its rich taste, creamy mouthfeel and sweet, lingering finish as liquid chocolate chip cookies made with espresso. If you only try one dark beer in your life, Buffalo Sweat will change your entire perception of how a stout should taste" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Beerito, $1.69/12oz - "Beerito is a light bodied, amber Mexican lager brewed with premium German and coloRADo sourced craft malts and featuring a crisp accent from noble hops. The mouth feel is incredibly smooth with flavors of walnut, toasted bread, plum, honey and cocoa - 4% ABV doesn't always come with this kind of character" (source).
  • Big Sky Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout, $3.29/12oz - "Big Sky Brewing’s Ivan the terrible Imperial Stout is brewed according to the traditional style using english hops and the finest american malt. It’s aroma and flavor balance well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight bourbon presence" (source).
  • Ballast Point Manta Ray, $2.59/12oz - "We’ve developed many IPA recipes in our R&D program, but right from the tank, our Manta Ray Double IPA was a winner. Aromas of fresh, citrusy tangerine, melon and light pine leap from the beer and linger over a smooth finish. Like its namesake, this brew can sneak up on you – a big beer without a bite" (source).
  • Kona Wailua Wheat, $1.69/12oz - "On Maui, follow the old Hana Highway and you will find such a place – Wailua Falls. This plunging cascade of clear water is the inspiration for Wailua Wheat. This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrus flavor that comes from the tropical passion fruit we brew into each batch" (source).
  • Kona Koko Brown, $1.69/12oz - "Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of the island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste. Before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re on a crescent beach, ringed with feathery palm trees swaying in a light ocean breeze and basking in the warm sun" (source).
  • New Belgium Citradelic, $1.69/12oz - "Tune in and hop out with New Belgium Citradelic. Set adrift on a kaleidoscopic wave of hoppiness brought to you by a mystical marriage of Citra hops and tangerine peel, which elevates each sip onto a plane of pure tropical, fruity pleasure. Citradelic’s namesake hop and fruit combine to jam with visions of additional hops like citrusy Mandarina Bavaria, tropical Azzaca, and fruity Galaxy for a colorful explosion that’s grounded by just a touch of malty sweetness. Bored by the status quo? Expand your palate with a pour of Citradelic." (source).

Video of the Week | Dark Horse One


Now available at Siciliano's!

Cheers!

Friday, January 13, 2017

New Beer Friday, Pertinent Dates Edition (Jan 13)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Each year, during the first few weeks of January, the Siciliano’s staff takes advantage of the relative calm after the holiday storm to restock depleted shelves and get some New Year’s projects completed around the store.

While the employees have been busy reorganizing, reconfiguring, cleaning and reloading, my wife Barb and I have been doing some preliminary planning on our annual trifecta of homebrew events.

The following is a list of this year’s pertinent dates. Stay tuned to The Buzz for further information and periodic updates.

    • Siciliano’s Fourteenth Annual Homebrew Competition – Entries will be accepted from Monday, March 20, through Sunday, April 9, or until 200 entries are submitted. Judging will be held on Saturday, April 22, at the Guest House on Stocking Avenue. Please note that registration for judges & stewards is now open. Go here if you are interested in being a judge or steward at this year’s event.
    • The Fifth Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew Day – Saturday, May 6. 
    • The Fourteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party – Saturday, May 20, at Johnson Park on Butterworth.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arbor Brewing Espresso Love, $2.39/12oz - "Oatmeal and 20 pounds of fresh roasted coffee from the Ugly Mug Café contribute to a mildly chalky espresso character balanced by a rich, sweet creamy maltiness. Coffee finish dissolves into chocolate with a slight roasty bitterness" (source).
  • Arbor Brewing Mr. Delicious, $2.89/12oz - "This beer leads off with a stiff round-house punch of citrusy hops, follows up with a quick kick of bready malts and warming alcohol, and finishes with a powerful and lingering bite of complex layered hops" (source).
  • Founders Imperial Stout, $3.09/12oz - "Brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, $2.59/12oz - "Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress" (source).
  • Brewery Ferment TC Black, $24.99/22oz - "At Ferment, we offer small batch bottles of our more unique concoctions. We will release a new brew every month. These exclusive libations will have a very limited quantity available" (source).
  • Brewery Ferment Rhythm & Ryem, $19.99/22oz - See above.
  • Brewery Ferment Noel de Miel, $19.99/22oz - See above.
  • Brewery Ferment Wild Rhythm & Ryem, $19.99/22oz - See above.
  • New Belgium Clutch, $15.99/22oz - "It started as chance, a sandwich shop encounter between a band and a fan. It ended as the Clutch Collaboration. This pleasing, two-part potion was brewed with chocolate and black malts for a rich and roasty overtone, then fused with a dry, substratum of sour for a bold and audacious flavor. Black as night, this beer is blended at 70% stout, 30% dark sour wood beer for a collaboration that begins with a sour edge and finishes with a big, dark malt character, lingering, sweet on your palate" (source).
  • Short's Wishful Sinful, $11.79/22oz (1 per) - "Wishful Sinful is an American Sour Ale brewed with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and flaked rye. Ruby red with a bubbly white head, at first glance Wishful Sinful looks like the Soft Parade we know and love, but a sinful secret awaits. A fruity aroma of fresh berries and just a hint of sourdough bread meets the nose. Sweet berry and spicy rye flavors reminiscent of Soft Parade are accompanied by a bright, sour acidity" (source).
  • Greenbush Indispensable, $2.19/12oz - "Using German Madarina hops, this beer balances powerful citrus flavor with strong caramel backbone, making it a brew you can't do without" (source).
  • Southern Tier Raspberry White, $1.69/12oz - "Over the years, we’ve fine-tuned our house brew into a beautifully crisp & slightly sweet wheat beer brewed with malted barley, unmalted wheat & raspberry puree. Perfectly balanced, light bodied & raspberry tart, Raspberry White is ready to take on the world one bottle at a time" (source).
  • Odd Side King of Tarts, $9.69/500ml - "Soured wheat ale, barrel-aged with apricots" (source).
  • Bell's Hopslam, $3.09/12oz - "Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire" (source).

Video of the Week | What is Hopslam?


Get yours while supplies last!

Cheers!

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Beer Friday, Steve's Manhattan Edition (January 6)

Steve's Manhattan
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife and I occasionally enjoy a cocktail or two before dinner and when the weather starts turning cold we transition from refreshing gin and tonics to a bone-warming variation of the classic Manhattan cocktail.

Most cocktail purists concede that a classic Manhattan can be made with either bourbon or rye and they agree that maraschino cherries, lemon peels and orange peels are all acceptable garnishes. They do, however, claim that the concoction is not a true Manhattan unless the ingredients are stirred or shaken with ice and then strained and served neat in a stemmed cocktail glass.

I prefer my Manhattans in a rocks glass over ice so in deference to the purists I’ll refrain from calling my rendition a classic Manhattan. Give the following recipe a try if you’re looking for a cocktail to ward off the chill during the frigid winter months.

Steve’s Manhattan

New and Returning Beer

  • New Belgium Whizbang, $1.69/12oz - "A complex hoppy blonde ale bursting with Mosaic hops and a malty backbone for a full-flavored taste explosion" (source).
  • New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop, $1.69/12oz - "Brilliantly balanced for easy drinking, this pale ale is packed with citrus and tropical fruit flavors from eight different hop varieties" (source).
  • New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, $1.69/12oz - "A rare blend of choice hops creates an explosion of fresh-cut pine and citrus flavors for a complex, rich and delicious flavor" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Sidecar, $1.69/12oz - "We love hops with a bright, citrus-heavy character. We always wondered what it would be like to punch up the citrus while maintaining a crisp hop bite and balance. The result is this new take on the hoppy pale ale brewed with Cascade, Equinox, and Mandarina hops with a hint of orange peel from additions in both the brew kettle and the fermenter that tweak the classic hop profile and add a zesty pop of bright orange flavor" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo, $1.69/12oz - "Inspired by the island life, we created an IPA completely disconnected from the mainland. We used our one-of-a-kind Hop Torpedo to deliver an intense rush of hop flavor and the lush aromas of mango, papaya, and passionfruit with every sip. Enjoy our tropical twist on the American IPA" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Golden IPA, $1.69/12oz - "We’ve always had a passion for hops, but in today’s hop-heavy beer landscape it’s easy to forget where that passion came from. In the early days, one variety changed everything—the Cascade hop. It captured us then, and the flavor is still gripping: floral and grassy with a pronounced resinous pine and grapefruit aroma. Our Golden IPA pays homage to the mighty Cascade and wonderful world of hop flavor it inspired" (source).
  • Stone Ripper, $1.99/12oz - "When it came to creating Ripper, we drew inspiration from the coastal surf cultures of SoCal and Oz. Sourcing classic Cascade from the Pacific Northwest and Australian Galaxy hops from…yes…Australia, we made a beer both lovers of frothy peaks and hoppy green buds will be stoked about. At the same time, we stayed true to our San Diego roots by pushing the hop boundaries of this style. While some might think it lingers on an edge far closer to an IPA, with all the dry-hop flavor and aroma, it’s actually right in line with the current-day interpretation of a West Coast pale. Ours just so happens to have an Aussie accent that’s cascading with a juicy amount of grapefruit and passion fruit hoppiness. So veg out or venture out. Either way, rip one open and taste this awesome golden nectar" (source).
  • Perrin PYP, $1.89/12oz - "Upon first tasting this beer, our brewers declared that it was so chocolaty they thought they might poop their pants. This unique beer is made using a blend of fine chocolates, cacao, and specialty malts, which deliver a pleasing taste for every beer lover" (source).
  • Brooklyn Bel Air Sour, $1.59/12oz - "Lead by our James Beard Award-winning Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, our brewers put their collective minds together to conjure up one tasty magic trick—a thrilling jolt of tartness up front opens onto a riot of tropical fruit, courtesy of our lacto, our ale yeast, and a generous helping of Amarillo dry-hopping. Soft barley and wheat malts keep things dry and refreshing, and the whole thing comes together to close with a fine dry finish. Brooklyn Bel Air Sour is racy and maybe even a little bit dangerous, but also effortlessly cool, breezy, and undeniably compelling" (source).
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, $4.49/12oz - "We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a DOUBLE should be made. Big hops balanced with tons of malt give this beer a huge body. Enjoy right away or let it mellow and smooth with some age" (source).
  • New Holland Pilgrim's Dole, $4.29/12oz - "A barleywine-style ale made with fifty percent wheat malt, or what we at New Holland call a wheatwine. Pilgrim’s Dole blends warming and slightly sweet flavors with a unique caramelized character" (source).
  • North Peak Stormy, $1.79/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Weyerbacher Quad, $3.29/12oz - "Big and delicious, QUAD is an elegant dark ale. Rich with complexity and flavor, try savoring it with a fine dinner. You also might enjoy it as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to a dessert, but QUAD stands alone quite well. We recommend enjoying QUAD in a brandy snifter or wine glass so you can drink in the aroma of this fine ale" (source).
  • Great Lakes Conway's Irish, $1.69/12oz - "A pint for Pa Conway! Our co-owners’ grandfather and policeman who’d likely uphold that an Irish Ale with full-bodied caramel malt flavors is just the ticket" (source).
  • Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, $4.79/22oz - "Brewed with boatloads of roasted coffee in each batch for that extra Krunk… this Mondo Coffee Stout will leave you wondering whether you're coming or going. Available in 22oz bombers mid-winter…ish" (source).
  • Lagunitas Citrusinensis, $1.69/12oz - "We took some fresh Sanguinello Blood oranges, juiced 'em, concentrated that juice (without heat) and threw it into a wheatier version of our New Dogtown Pale Ale. The end result? A refreshingly hopped pale-ish ale with a huge citrus burst" (source).
  • Oddside Sini9ster Vertigo, $2.49/12oz - "A spunky imperial stout" (source).

Video of the Week

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree is now available at Siciliano's.

Cheers!

Friday, December 23, 2016

New Beer Friday, Traditions of Christmas Edition (Dec 23)

San & Anita on Christmas Eve
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Up until a few years ago it was a long standing Siciliano family tradition to gather on Christmas Eve at my parents’ house on the lower west side of Grand Rapids. The small house that Sam and Anita Siciliano bought in the 1950s got progressively smaller over the years as a son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren’s’ spouses and great grandchildren joined their growing family.

I have many fond memories of those crowded and chaotic holiday get-togethers. The table in the cramped dining room was always packed with traditional Sicilian Christmas Eve fare — broiled fish drizzled with fresh garlic, olive oil and oregano, fried calamari, sautéed calamari, mussels in white wine sauce, pasta in a red sauce with sardines and raisins. In later years there was homemade stromboli for the children. With every bottle of wine that was opened the talking and laughter got louder.

While the adults lingered at the table the children would impatiently eye the gifts piled around the Christmas tree in the tiny living room. Every so often they would scamper back into the dining room and fidget beside their parents. “Can we open presents now?” they would always ask. “Not until grandpa is done eating,” would always be the answer.

Grandpa Sam is gone now and two years ago we finally decided that our family had outgrown that little house. We now hold our holiday gatherings in a hall and we no longer have them on Christmas Eve in deference to family members who want to establish Christmas Eve traditions of their own.

Our holiday gatherings understandably have a different feel to them now. But the holiday tradition that Sam and Anita started so long ago remains alive and that is a testimonial to the enduring values that they instilled in their close-knit and ever expanding nuclear family.

New and Returning Beer

  • Greenbush Delusion Imperial Cream Stout, $5.69/12oz - "Our Imperial Cream Stout is aged in whiskey barrels for months for a mind-blowing experience. This concoction will make you ponder the randomness of the universe" (source).
  • Greenbush Remnant of Dragon Imperial Red IPA, $3.49/12oz - "Ever wake up on the wrong side of the cave and start breathing fire at anyone who crosses you? Grab a pint of our Imperial Red IPA. Because you're not you when you’re a dragon" (source).
  • Short's Aorta Double Red Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Aorta Ale is a Double Red Ale with bold flavors of Cascade hops and sweet malt, and a dark reddish-brown color. Subtle aromas of candy, brown sugar, and toasted malt are released from the depths of this full-bodied beast. Raisins, figs, and burnt caramel are among the sweeter and more forward flavors found in Aorta Ale. This brew finishes with a roasted cocoa like bitterness which is magnified by the high alpha hops" (source).
  • Dutch Girl Dirty Boots Imperial Milk Stout, $9.59/22oz - "One of our most popular beers! Imperial Milk Stout made with seven types of light and dark roasted grains hand milled on site. Named after the owners' dog, Bo" (source).
  • Odd Side Jared's Mom Belgian Style IPA, $2.29/12oz - "Love Belgian IPAs? So does Jarod's Mom. Nelson Sauvin hops are the highlight in this IPA" (source).
  • New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Bursting with tropical aromas and juicy fruit flavors from Mosaic and Amarillo hops, this golden IPA is perfectly bitter with a refreshing, sublime finish" (source).
  • Elk Brewing Blonde Express, $1.79/12oz - "A Blonde Ale with Rowster Coffee's Ethiopian coffee beans" (source).
  • Elk Brewing Dankalicious IPA, $1.79/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Elk Brewing Brewtus, $1.79/12oz - "Coffee Porter, cold seeped with Rowsters Ursa Major coffee" (source).

Picture of the Week | Single-Barrel 1792

Siciliano's Single-Barrel 1792 Bourbon ($53.99) is now in stock.
Get your bottle(s) while supplies last!

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Brew of the Month: Mark's Ginger Cream Ale

By Mark Iacopelli

The holidays can be a very expensive time of year, but for a homebrewer the beer must flow on. My goal with this recipe was to create something that had a subtle twist on a crowd pleaser style. So I felt like an American Cream Ale would be a simple clean beer for your family members that are not yet initiated to craft beer. I then add a little bit of ginger root to add a zesty and savory element that would pair with most any holiday dish. This is also a budget friendly brew.

The resulting beer is straw in color with almost perfect clarity. The head is snow white with medium retention. On the nose the ginger shines through initially with an almost citrus quality. The corn balances the citrus aroma to round things out. Up front the flavor is bright and savory with a touch of spice both derived from the ginger and from target hops. In the finish it is predominantly a sweet earthiness from maize, however, it still manages to finish dry. The dry finish is a key part to making this beer crisp and sessionable despite being at the peak ABV for the style.

Overall, I am very pleased with this beer, and it is likely going to be a recipe that will stay on rotation in my brewhouse. The base beer recipe will work well with whatever extra flavoring you wish or on its own if ginger is not your thing. Ginger is found so frequently in preparing a huge range of dishes and it is because of that and this beer's crispness that I think it would pair well with almost any food dish.

Vital Statistics

    • OG: 1.048
    • FG: 1.005
    • IBUs: 20.1
    • ABV: 5.6%
    • SRM: 2.8
    • Efficiency: 72% (all grain only)

All Grain ($12.35/5-Gallon)

    • 5 lbs Avangard Pils
    • 1 lb Corn Sugar
    • 1.25 lbs Flaked Maize
    • 1 lb Pilot 6 Row
    • .5 lbs Rice Hulls
    • .25 oz Nugget (60 mins)
    • 1 oz Ginger Root (12 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (10 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (4 day dry hop)
    • 1 pkg Safale American US-05

Extract w/ Steeping Grains ($22.80/5-Gallon)

    • 6 lbs Light Liquid Extract
    • 1 lb Corn Sugar
    • 1 lb Flaked Maize
    • .25 oz Nugget (60 mins)
    • 1 oz Ginger Root (12 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (10 mins)
    • .5 oz UK Target (4 day dry hop)
    • 1 pkg Safale American US-05
Water additions base on Grand Rapids city water (optional): 4 ml 88% lactic acid (mash pH),15 g gypsum (mash pH, hop flavor)

Friday, December 16, 2016

New Beer Friday, Gift Idea Edition (December 16)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It appears likely that the landscape in the environs of Beer City USA will be covered in white this year for Christmas. According to the National Weather Service, parts of the West Michigan area received up to a foot of snow over the past few weeks and weather forecasters are saying that ten more inches could fall this weekend.

Speaking of Christmas, there’s only nine shopping days left and our hardworking staff of elves (see below) have been busy keeping the shelves at Siciliano’s well stocked with hand-crafted beer, fine wine, quality spirits and premium cigars. We have plenty of bulk coffee and tea on hand for stocking stuffers and our book racks are chock-full of how-to tomes on beer making, winemaking and other DIY hobbies. Of course Siciliano’s gift cards are always a good option for those hard to buy for folks on your Christmas list.

Just a reminder that our beer and wine making equipment kits will remain on deep discount through the end of business on Christmas Eve. Go here for complete details.

Hardworking elves at Siciliano's

New and Returning Beer

  • Dark Horse Plead the Fifth, $3.29/12oz - "Our Russian Imperial Stout is pitch black in color with a faint tan head that immediately identifies this beer as BIG. Aromas of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roast also make it even bigger. Roasted coffee and fruity chocolate notes are just the beginning of this beers complex flavor. You have the right to enjoy or remain silent (ha, ha!)" (source).
  • Goose Island Winter Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Layered with rich, nutty chocolate notes and malty, roasted caramel flavors, our brown ale gives you plenty to contemplate on long winter nights" (source).
  • Alesmith Double Red IPA, $3.19/12oz - "AleSmith’s Double Red IPA, previously known as Winter YuleSmith, offers up an intense hop aroma combined with a well-balanced, full bodied, caramel-malt sweetness. A variety of American hops burst with flavors of pine and citrus complimenting the substantial malt backbone to deliver a full-flavored ale with layers of complexity" (source).
  • Gonzo's Big Dog Brewing Yummy Hoppy, $3.39/16oz - "This hoptastic double IPA creation showcases 100% Hop Head Farm’s Hops! Its fruity nose and hoppy spice flavor finish with a juicy bitterness that lingers just right" (source).

Video of the Week


Now available at Siciliano's!

Cheers!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sacred Springs Kombucha, Coming Soon!

By Matt Ross

Geoff Lamden and Joel Andrus are kombucha wizards. They care for scobys as if they were their children. When they announced the opening of Sacred Springs, their kombucha business, we were more than excited. They are right around the corner in Lowell, Michigan and will be going into distribution soon.

For those not familiar, kombucha is a fermented tea drink. What yeast is to beer, a scoby is to kombucha. Scoby stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria Yeast and is responsible for digesting simple sugars to create tasty beverage with additional health benefits. Like homebrewing, the only thing that limits you regarding flavors is your own imagination. Fortunately, Geoff and Joel have pretty wild ones.

When people are in positive environments they are happier and work more effectively. Sacred Springs is taking this concept to another level. People, animals and even plants respond to positive stimulus. Geoff and Joel are infusing their scobys with positive feelings and good vibrations. Literally. They are blessing their scobys with singing bowls, sacred geometry and didgeridoo. It is an amazing sight to see. Sacred Springs is essentially a 5-star scoby resort, complete with a free breakfast buffet and an all-inclusive pass. Their combination of happy scobys, creative recipes and fresh ingredients makes for a remarkable drink.

They will be starting out with Kalmboocha as their green-tea-and-holy-basil-based flag ship product. Kalmboocha is a light, refreshing drink with crisp effervesces that is designed to cleanse organs of toxins and promote the relief of stress as it passes through the body. It is full of white wine and tropical fruit flavors has a subtle tart on the finish. Expect to see Sacred Springs on our shelves soon.

Geoff and Joel