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Friday, May 26, 2017

New Beer Friday, Jeff Carlson's Big Win Edition (May 26)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

A Kolsch brewed by Jeff Carlson has taken top honors in the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. The Grand Rapids resident and longtime member of the Prime Time Brewers homebrew club was presented with the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup last Saturday at the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party at Johnson Park. The competition’s top prize also includes a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market and the opportunity to brew the award-winning recipe at Trail Point Brewery’s seven-barrel system.

Joining Carlson in the Best of Show round in the competition’s judging on April 20 were West Michigan homebrewers John Britt, Mike Finnochio and James Lewis.

“It’s a thrill to win the Cup,” Carlson said after the awards ceremony last Saturday at the Homebrew Party. “This is a tough competition and to win Best of Show is very gratifying. Today I tasted the Best of Show round beers that were brewed by John and Mike and they were outstanding. I think I might have had a little luck on my side.”

While this is the first time Carlson has won a competition with one of his hand-crafted beers, he has garnered numerous accolades for his homemade cider. He has won the American Homebrewers Association Cider Maker of the Year award five times and this year five of his cider entries were awarded medals in the Chicago Regional and are moving on to the Nationals.

This is the second year in a row that a member of the Grand Rapids-based Prime Time Brewers has won the Siciliano’s Cup. Jeremy Gavin won the award last year with a Dark Czech Lager.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bee Ryder Mead Orange Grove, $20.89/375ml - "Mead fermented with Florida orange blossom honey, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon" (source).
  • Bee Ryder Mead Always Maple In The Banana Stand, $24.19/375ml - "Mead fermented with local wildflower honey, bananas and maple syrup" (source).
  • Anchor Blackberry Daze IPA, $1.79/12oz - "Blackberry Daze IPA™ is a synergistic union of blackberries and hops. Because the blackberry was once wildly rampant in California, it is our ideal choice for this singular Anchor brew" (source).
  • Blackrocks Honey Lav, $1.79/12oz - "This is our summer seasonal beer. An American wheat brewed with Michigan honey and full lavender flowers. A fresh and flavorful ale with a great balance between the floral lavender and sweet honey" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Nawt A Cawp, $3.59/16oz - "A bitter, moderately strong American pale ale that uses its clean, supporting malt to showcase its hop character" (source).
  • Central Waters Barleywine, $4.09/12oz - "An American Barleywine Ale aged in used oak Bourbon barrels, this beer develops rich flavors that deepen over time" (source).
  • Central Waters Brewhouse Coffee, $5.49/22oz - "A coffee lover’s delight! A wonderful stout infused with coffee that is specially roasted for us by Emy J’s (www.emyjs.com) in Stevens Point, WI" (source).
  • Prairie Birthday Bomb, $8.99/12oz - "Birthday Bomb! was conceived to celebrate three wonderful years of experimentation and fun loving flavors like the current incarnation with caramel sauce. Made in house by our brewers with nothing but black gloves and a propane tank. The rest is the complex mix of hops and malt with a healthy dose of the signature coffee and spices. You know exactly what we’re talking about" (source).
  • Stillwater Yacht, $2.59/16oz - "Canned beer has made a serious return in the craft brewing world. Prior to this resurgence, the only beer found in cans were industrial lagers. So as a nod in both directions we present an elegantly crisp and hoppy new world lager. The light and refreshing pilsner malt body delivers an abundance of floral, spice, and grass driven hop flavors and aroma. Perfect for those luxurious cruises through the Caribbean" (source).
  • Stillwater On Fleek, $2.89/12oz - "Big, overhyped imperial stouts, amirite? This one on fleek tho. The most amazing collaboration ever with Casita Cerveceria" (source).
  • Evil Twin and Two Roads Geyser Gose, $2.89/16oz - "Two Roads and Evil Twin sourced local ingredients during a trip to Iceland for this collaboration including: Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt to create a Two + Evil twist on a gose beer; a sour wheat-style ale with a hint of smoke, light lemon color, dry finish and thirst quenching appeal" (source).
  • Evil Twin Aurantiaco, $2.89/12oz - "Ale Brewed With Blood Orange Added" (source).
  • Evil Twin Nomader Weisse, $2.89/12oz - "Nomads; constantly moving, 'round and 'round; sometimes settle, if just for a bit. Perhaps the muse moves one to brew a sharp and clean session beer, one inspired by the Berliner-weisse of old, and the nomad rests. Enjoy this beer, here, there, perhaps north of Madison Square Park, in lovely New York City. Wherever you are, this beer was made nice, simply for you" (source).
  • Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, $3.99/16oz - "An oatmeal stout with 25.0% oat-based ingredients and a nice touch of gourmet coffee. A beer that goes extremely well with breakfast" (source).
  • Mikkeller California Dream, $2.99/16oz - "Hoppy Pilsner" (source).
  • Mikkeller Waves Bolger, $2.99/16oz - "American IPA" (source).
  • Green Flash Ideal Belgique, $12.89/750ml - "Our Belgian-style Dark Ale is inspired by traditional Abbey ales to deliver the richest roasted malt flavors. Dual-yeast fermentation, spicy hops, and the addition of Muscovado brown sugar provide increased complexity and depth of flavor which effortlessly combine to present a delicious, balanced brew with a velvety smooth texture that pleases the palate" (source).
  • Green Flash Divine Belgique, $12.89/750ml - "Rich, pale malt flavors provide a solid base for zesty Czech Saaz and Styrian Golding hops. Monastery Ale Yeast lends a fruity, spicy profile reminiscent of classic, Trappist ales—a time-honored monastic brewing method. Our Trippel is a luscious, fiery, golden brew—a contemporary Green Flash interpretation of the historic Belgian style" (source).
  • Green Flash Blonde, $1.79/12oz - "GFB has an approachable flavor with hints of honey and orange peel complemented by a mellow malt character" (source).
  • Ridge Hop'd, $1.99/12oz - "Hop’d uses three varieties of hops to impart a bright citrusy flavor to this dry gem" (source).
  • Ridge Porch Sittin, $1.99/12oz - "Perfect for a fall evening of “porch sittin’,” this cider is comprised of a blend of vanilla and cinnamon that comforts you like a warm blanket.  Enjoy warm or cold with caramelized cinnamon sugar on the rim of your glass" (source).
  • Short's I got 5 on It, $1.99/12oz - "I Got 5 On It is a medium-bodied American India Pale Ale brewed with five different hop varieties.  A blend of earthy and sweet citrus hop aromas softy rise from this hop forward brew.  Bready malt and fruity tangerine flavors lead into a prominent bitterness that resonates pleasantly and finishes dry" (source).
  • Short's Nicie Spicie, $1.99/12oz - "Northern Michigan spiced wheat ale. A 50% mixture of premium two-row malted barley and malted white wheat makes golden wheat ale balanced with Ahtanum and Cascade hop varieties. This ale is spiced with fresh grated lemon and orange rind, coriander, and black peppercorns. It’s truly a fermented wonder of the Short’s Brew formula family" (source).
  • Short's Melt my Brain, $1.99/12oz - "Melt My Brain is an experimental Golden Ale brewed with coriander, juniper berries, limes and blended with tonic water to create the tasting experience of drinking a gin and tonic cocktail.  Delicate aromas of citrus and pine flow into bold bright flavors of sweet lime with a slightly sticky bitterness.  Refreshing and clean, a tasty tonic effervescence provokes the palate for more" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Nawt A Cawp, $3.59/16oz - "Imperial IPA" (source).
  • Ommegang Behind the Knee, $9.99/750ml - "When fans last gripped their glasses at the end of Game of Thrones' sixth season, the great houses of Westeros were on the brink of an epic conflict. Cersei had ascended to the Iron Throne as the first queen of Westeros, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark had just reclaimed the North, and Daenerys Targaryen had set sail for the Seven Kingdoms. To commemorate the coming mêlée in the Emmy® Award-winning show’s epic seventh season, Brewery Ommegang and HBO Global Licensing are excited to announce a new beer in their collaborative series: Bend the Knee Golden Ale" (source).
  • Deschutes Cultivator, $17.19/22oz (1 per) - No commercial description.
  • Goose Island Lolita, $9.29/12oz - "Lolita is a pink rose colored Belgian style pale ale fermented with wild yeast and aged on raspberries in wine barrels. Aromas of fresh raspberries, bright jammy fruit flavors and crisp, refreshing body make Lolita ideal for beer drinkers fond of Belgian Framboise" (source).

Video of the Week | Beer City Whisky


Doesn't sound like this will be available at retail outlets (aka Siciliano's),
but do visit our pals down at Long Road for a taste!

Cheers!

Friday, May 19, 2017

New Beer Friday, Buyer and Cellar Edition (May 19)

By Steve Siciliano

After a pleasant drive through the rolling hills and blossoming orchards of northern Kent County this past Tuesday, my wife Barb and I decided to check out Cellar Brewing Company's new digs in downtown Sparta. We're glad we did. Solid beer, well prepared food and a comfortable taproom made for an enjoyable late afternoon visit to this nicely appointed brewpub located in the heart of west Michigan's fruit-growing region.

Cellar Brewing's new facility is only a short distance away from the old, but in terms of a comfortable and inviting space the two locations couldn't be more different. The old location was windowless, dark and somewhat gloomy. The new facility is bright and airy and has a large, triangular-shaped bar situated in the middle of the large taproom. Patrons can look down through a glass wall at the basement brewhouse, two large windowed garage doors face the street and five gleaming 10-gallon fermenters are lined against one of the walls.

Guests also have the option of enjoying head brewer Adam Mill's excellent beers and chef Nathan Ingersoll's solid cuisine in another large and nicely appointed dining space adjacent to the taproom.   The facility offers cider and a large selection of wine, and owner Chuck Brown plans on having locally produced Bier Distillery spirits available in the near future. Visit Cellar Brewing Company's website for hours and additional information.

Cellar Owner Chuck Brown and Steve Siciliano

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Pooltime, $1.89/12oz - "Pooltime Ale is a refreshing Belgian-inspired Wheat Ale with light clove notes. The truly distinguishing feature is the use of 100% Montmorency tart cherries grown in the Traverse City region of Michigan. These cherries add a subtle tartness and bright counterpoint to the other flavors, enhancing Pooltime’s fruity character and making it the perfect beer for all summer activities" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Devastation, $6.59/16oz - "Devastation is a curious experiment of what happens to hops when aged in wood. Tree Bucket, our Belgian inspired DIPA, is aged in freshly drained bourbon barrels until the balance of hops and wood is just right. This hedonistic pairing of huge mango aromas from Citra hops and rich vanillin from charred wood will make your wonder why it's dark beers that get the barrel time" (source).
  • Founders Doom, $3.89/12oz, $11.99/750ml - "Doom may be impending but that doesn’t mean you have to fear it. A collision of worlds, the intense hop character of our imperial IPA mingles with the warm vanilla and oak notes imparted from time spent in our favorite bourbon barrels. Like all good things, Doom comes to those who wait" (source).
  • Grand Armory Mother Schmucker, $2.09/12oz - "A blonde ale with 100 pounds of raspberries added to the fermenter. Try pairing with Nutter Your Business for a Grand Armory PB&J! Or as we like to call it, "Nutter Your Business, Mother Schmucker"" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, $1.29/12oz - "Our brewers selected the finest, most flavorful hops, pushed them beyond their limits and forged them into this all-new triple IPA. This reimagined Hoptimum is our hoppiest beer yet, providing a blend of tropical and citrus hop aroma that delivers a refined yet aggressive character" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Ovila White, $2.29/12oz - "The monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux hold themselves to a higher standard. So when they challenged us to create a beer that transcends all others, our brewers blended Old World tradition with modern-day mastery to deliver the perfect expression of Belgian witbier worthy of a goblet but comfortable in a pint" (source).
  • New Belgium La Folie 2017, $15.99/22oz (1 per) - "La Folie, French for "the folly," is a beer steeped in New Belgium brewing tradition. This wood-aged, sour brown spends one to three years in big, oak barrels, known as foeders. And when the beer finally hits the glass, La Folie is sharp and sour, full of green apple, cherry, and plum-skin notes. Pouring a deep mahogany, the mouthfeel will get you puckering while the smooth finish will get you smiling. Not a beer for the timid, La Folie is a sour delight that will turn your tongue on its head. Find out why it's considered one of the best sour beers around" (source).
  • Deschutes Hop Slice, $1.79/12oz - "A trio of hops come together in this crisp session IPA. Brewed with Meyer lemon, Hop Slice balances floral hop notes and a subtle citrus kick. Malt: Pale, Honey malt, C 60, Munich. Hops: Galaxy, Azacca, Amarillo" (source).
  • Right Brain Spinal Tapper, $1.79/12oz - "A medium bitterness IPA using only Calypso hops, a new crossbred variety from the West Coast. Expect an earthy hop flavor accented by subtle notes of pear and green apple and showcasing a beautiful copper/orange color similar to that of Oktoberfest style beers" (source).
  • ROAK Beach Lord IPL, $1.69/12oz - An India Pale Lager.
  • Avery The Reverend, $3.29/12oz - "A divinely complex and beautifully layered beer with hints of dark cherries, currants, and molasses, complemented by an underlying spiciness. Sinfully smooth considering the high alcohol content" (source).
  • Ommegang Pale Sour, $3.29/11.2oz - "A beautifully clean and balanced sour beer that drinks like a fine white wine, Pale sour pours a bright golden hue with a brilliant white head. The flavor is an elegant interplay of subtle sweet malt, and clean lactic sour. With a soft mouthfeel, a delicate body, and a bright clean finish, Pale Sour Ale is eminently drinkable" (source).

Video of the Week | La Folie


The history of New Belgium's sour program.

Cheers!

Friday, May 12, 2017

New Beer Friday, Big Brew Day Revisited Edition (May 12)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

The sun was just coming up when I pulled into Trail Point's parking lot last Saturday but homebrewers were already busy setting up tents, pots, propane burners, mash tuns, gas grills and portable kegerators at their designated brewing stations.

After helping our handyman Rod unwind fire hoses and offload buckets, immersion chillers, PVC pipe, a sink, garden hoses and the six manifold Scorpion wort chiller, I left the setup of the chilling and cleaning stations in Rod's capable hands, grabbed two power strips and two long extension cords and walked over to where Barb had placed the brewing teams that needed electric. “You guys are here early,” I shouted to the Rivertown Homebrewers.


Steve Morren looked over at me and smiled. “Of course. It's Big Brew 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 and celebrate the national recognition of their hobby. AHA Big Brews are now 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. Last Saturday twenty-five teams of dedicated hobbyists brewed batches of Beer City Oated Pale Ale at the Trail Point location and a steady stream of visitors were able to sample a wide variety of homebrewed, hand-crafted beer.


When Barb and I approached Trail Point owners Gary Evans and Jeff Knoblock about the possibility of hosting a Big Brew event at their brewery they immediately said yes. Gary and Jeff are both former homebrewers and they recognize the importance of staying in touch with the homebrewing community.

It was late morning before I had the time to sample my first beer — an excellent Flanders Red that Rich Lord brought to the event. I tasted many great home brews that day, many of which were awarded medals at this year's Siciliano's Homebrew Competition.


Shorty before 1 p.m. I crawled up on the bed of my truck, grabbed the microphone and asked the assemblage to gather around in preparation for the simultaneous, country-wide toast. I kept an eye on the time while sipping on one of Nick Rodammer's excellent hand-crafted brews.

“Here's to the life enriching hobby of homebrewing,” I shouted into the microphone at the top of the hour. It was wonderful knowing that all across the country thousands of homebrewers were cheering.



New and Returning Beer

  • Batch Brewing Handsome Stranger, $13.19/750ml - "Hibiscus Saison. Floral. Slightly Tart. Balanced" (source).
  • Batch Brewing Second to Last Word, $13.19/500ml - "Our tribute to the classic Detroit cocktail. A kettle sour brewed with gin botanicals from Two James distilling. Served with a cherry and lime rim" (source).
  • Evil Twin Mission Gose, $2.289/12oz - "Effortlessly cool, popping up up in a cultish fashion and constantly on a tasty mission. This is mission Gose: our take on a old-fashioned and slightly odd German style beer that is with good reason trending as the tastiest right now. It’s tart, salty, low in alcohol and probably the most refreshing beer you’ll have. Perhaps enjoy this beer in a restaurant with a mission near you. Wherever you are we made it stylishly good and exclusively well balanced just for you" (source).
  • Evil Twin Geyser Gose, $2.89/16oz - "Our first ever collaboration brewed with Jeppe from Evil Twin. Two Evil twist on gose with ingredients sourced from Iceland including Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr and birch smoked sea salt" (source).
  • Evil Twin Falco, $2.59/16oz - "What makes a great leader? First of all a perfectly balanced blend of qualities, the ability to stand out,be authoritative without overpowering. Sho courage and endurance, you will lead the way and set the standards. Very important, be appealing and refreshing to the people. This stereotypical portrait applies whether referring to politics, religion or maybe even this outstanding IPA" (source).
  • New Holland Tasmanian Hatter, $1.79/12oz - "Tasmanian Hatter brings you flavors from the region of the Tasman Sea. Hops from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest combine to present bright, tropical flavors of mango and citrus, beautifully framed with biscuity malt character" (source).
  • Short's Slurm, $1.99/12oz - "Slurm is a hazy, juicy New England style India Pale Ale. Light orange in color with a prominent haze, Slurm has aromas of pineapple and mango. Big tropical fruit flavors hit you up front and carry through to the finish. This easy drinking, medium-bodied New England style IPA has a slightly bitter, dry finish" (source).
  • Southern Tier Nu Skool, $1.69/12oz - "We spent over a year prototyping R&D versions of Nu Skool. This final version is one special beer. It is an IPA with a slight malty sweetness, but overall balanced & brimming with tropical, fruity, spicy, piney & citrus character. To contrast our IPA, which most closely resembles a traditional English IPA in malt & hop bills, we wanted to brew an India Pale Ale in a new way. West Coast brewers have been brewing lighter, more “Americanized,” yet still full of hop character & our brewers wanted to try their hand by brewing their take" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Isla Estrana, $14.29/750ml - No commercial description.
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bière de Mars, $14.99/750ml - "A sustaining beer that is brewed to comfort in the gusty ides of March and welcome in a wealth of warmer weather" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Clementina, $14.99/750ml - "Brewed with clementine, yuzu peel, lime peel, pink Himalayan salt, and coriander" (source).
  • B. Nektar Death Unicorn, $8.19/500ml - "Hard cider with black currant" (source).
  • Ommegang Brunetta, $3.29/12oz - "A new collaboration beer coming from Ommegang and Liefmans.  This is Brunetta and it is an Oud Bruin ale that will hit 5%-AbV" (source).
  • Odd Side Grapefruit Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "A wheat beer brewed with grapefruit" (source).
  • Odd Side Wheatermelon, $2.19/12oz - "The perfect summer treat. A wheat ale brewed with tons of fresh cut watermelon" (source).
  • Odd Side El Dankerino, $2.49/12oz - "West Coast IIPA" (source).
  • Odd Side Lemon Party, $1.69/12oz - "No commercial description" (source).
  • Kona Lemongrass Luau, $1.69/12oz - "Ale brewed with ginger with lemongrass and ginger added" (source).
  • Arcadia Berry Vice, $2.09/12oz - "A sweet, tart refreshing fruit wheat beer fermented with red and black raspberries as well as blueberries. Hazy fuchsia in color topped by a white head with a hint of pink, this beer looks as sweet as it tastes. Aromas of raspberries, blueberry skins and bready malt match its slightly dry flavor while wheat malt accentuates the tartness of the berries. Its medium-light body and effervescent carbonation make it a perfect summer refreshment" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Ninja Turtle Milkshake Stout, $2.39/16oz - "Our efforts toward continuous improvement have paid off with the latest batch in the Flavored Mikshake Stout series. Complex layered notes of chocolate, caramel and toasted pecans mix with the familiar taste of the original Milkshake Stout and raise the decadance of this dessert beer. Ninja Turtle pours jet black with an off white to tan colored head" (source).

With Special Guest Star

We were pleased and honored to have this special guest show up
at our Big Brew event. See you next year!
Cheers!

Friday, May 5, 2017

New Beer Friday, Perdomo Special Craft Edition (May 5)

Perdomo Special Craft Series
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Warm weather will soon be here and I'm looking forward to evenings on the deck sipping beer, smoking cigars and watching my crazy dog chasing fireflies across the backyard. Those summer evenings on the deck will be even more enjoyable this year because I'll be pairing my premium, handcrafted beer with premium, handmade cigars blended specifically for the craft beer enthusiast.

Offered in three distinctly different blends, 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.

The Special Craft Series Connecticut features a creamy Connecticut wrapper, a sweet Nicaraguan binder from the Jalapa Valley and rich, aromatic Nicaraguan fillers from the Condega Valley. The mild to medium-bodied cigar pairs well with pilsners, wheat beer and cream ales.

The Special Craft Series Sun Grown is blended with a spicy-sweet Cuban-seed sun-grown wrapper from Jalapa, a rich Nicaraguan binder from Condega and robust Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers from the Esteli Valley. The medium to full-bodied cigar pairs well with amber ales, pale ales, IPAs and malty lagers.

The Special Craft Series Maduro features a dark, oily Cuban-seed Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper from the Jalapa Valley, an aromatic Nicaraguan binder from Condega and Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers from Esteli. The cigar is medium to full-bodied and pairs well with stouts, porters and brown ales.

Each blend of the Special Craft Series is offered in the following four sizes.

    • Robusto 5 ½ x 54
    • Epicure 6 ½ x 54
    • Churchill 7 x 54
    • Gordo 6 x 60
All four sizes of each blend will be in our walk-in humidor by early next week. They will also be available for purchase at the Homebrew Party on Saturday, May 20 at Johnson Park.

Just a reminder that if you're planning to attend the Homebrew Party and would like a commemorative t-shirt, you must purchase tickets by Tuesday, May 9. Tickets are $45.00 and can be purchased by phone (616-453-9674). Shirtless tickets may still be purchased after the May 9 deadline for $40.00.

New and Returning Beer

  • Moonlight Meadery Sensual, $15.99/375ml - "This award winning recipe is a showcase of honey that is aromatic, flavorful, and deliciously sweet with a long lasting smooth finish" (source).
  • Moonlight Meadery Red Dress, $15.99/375 - "This little number is sweet and sexy, just the right balance between the honey and the red currants. Enjoy this with a variety of complex dishes, like Durban curried chicken (a South African favorite), Moroccan lamb or Beef stew" (source).
  • Against the Grain Kamen Knuddeln, $4.59/16oz - "Originally brewed as a conceptualization from our friends at the Nachbar....This historical anomaly is one of the only styles of beer indigenous to the USA and it was originally brewed right here in the Bluegrass!  Much like our more beloved and covet cousin sour mash bourbon, this ale is brewed in the manner of 'souring the mash'.  First we start with a blend of grains similar to your favorite spirit, barley, rye, and corn and we start the sour mash.  In that process, we are able to achieve a deliciously complex tart flavor that plays with the spiciness of rye, while finishing with a dry crispness from the corn.  Moderately hopped to balance the sweetness of this Kentucky Common, one will get notes of dry fruit, sweet tarts, and hints of tannin from a very small amount of barrel aged character" (source).
  • Evil Twin A is for Apricot, $2.89/12oz - "Gose-style ale brewed with salt and apricot added" (source).
  • Prairie Apricot Funk, $11.39/500ml - "The beer in question is Apricot Funk, a 7.5 percent ABV sour ale that was brewed late last year before conditioning on apricots for “quite some time.” This is the second time Prairie has bottled a fruit beer with the Funk moniker, after Cherry Funk (7.5 percent ABV) was released in 2013" (source).
  • Stillwater On Fleek, $2.89/12oz - "Big, overhyped imperial stouts, amirite? This one on fleek tho. The most amazing collaboration ever with Casita Cerveceria" (source).
  • Stillwater Extra Dry Saison, $2.59/16oz - "Brewed with rice and designed to mimic the subtle and drinkable flavors of sake, this low alcohol saison is the softer side of Stillwater" (source).
  • Dark Horse Smells Like a Safety Meeting, $2.19/12oz - "S.L.A.S.M. is our most Aromatic IPA. This India Pale Ale is very reminiscent of the hop’s cousin in the Mulberry family. Lots of hop aroma with just the right amount of bitterness as we like to keep balance around here. Between the secret blend of the most DANK hops we can get our hands on and a "more than healthy" dose of double dry hopping, this beer can be announced to the nose from across the room that someone is definitely having a Safety Meeting" (source).
  • North Peak Double Diabolical, $2.39/12oz - "North Peak Diabolical IPA has hops from nose to tail. This IPA is unfiltered and dry-hopped with Michigan grown Chinook and Cascade hops. It has a smooth malt character and citrus pine aroma" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 5/29, $2..99/12oz - "Our all-important, hop-driven quest to deliver the most devastatingly fresh IPA on the planet facilitated a paradigm shift in 2012 with the launch of Stone Enjoy By IPA. Not only did we brew this beer with more than 10 different hops, we brewed it specifically NOT to last. Acclaimed for its groundbreakingly short shelf life, this intense double IPA brought forth a whole new concept of what constitutes “fresh” — guaranteeing fans the ultimate level of hoppiness" (source).
  • Petoskey Cranium Crush, $2.39/16oz - "This unique ale has actual waffle cones added into the mash. Very slight hints of this ingredient can be picked up in the finished beer. More prevalent are the fruit notes from the addition of fresh raspberries added during fermentation. the low IBU makes this an easy drinking ale" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Finally Legal, $4.29/12oz - "Finally Legal is a big stout brewed with Munich malts, smoked malts, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and vanilla. Rolling in at 13.5% ABV, Finally Legal has rich chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla and a touch of smoky bacon. As if that’s not enough, we blended this tasty brew with its bourbon barrel aged counterpart before packaging it for your enjoyment. Available NOW at The Tap Room and throughout our distribution area" (source).
  • Great Divide Claymore, $1.99/12oz - "Named for a medieval Scottish sword, CLAYMORE SCOTCH ALE is our tribute to the legendary “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it’ll still make you feel like nobility" (source).
  • Great Divide Titan, $1.99/12oz - "A big, aggressively hopped India Pale Ale brewed for hop disciples. It starts out with piney hop aromas and citrus hop flavors, and finishes with a nice rich, malty sweetness that is balanced with crisp hop bitterness" (source).
  • Great Divide Hercules, $3.49/12oz - "HERCULES DOUBLE IPA is not for the faint of heart. It is, however, fit for the gods. HERCULES delivers a huge amount of hops from start to finish. Its hefty backbone of nutty, malty sweetness balances its aggressive hop profile" (source).
  • Great Divide Yeti, $3.49/12oz - "YETI IMPERIAL STOUT is an onslaught of the senses. It starts with big, roasty malt flavor that gives way to rich caramel and toffee notes. YETI gets its bold hop character from an enormous quantity of American hops. It weighs in at a hefty 75 IBUs" (source).

Video of the Week | Dark Horse


Now available at Siciliano's!

Cheers!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Brew of the Month: Max Spencer's Flux IPA

By Max Spencer

Spring is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. Weather is not the only herald in this time of transition—the beer we brew and drink also reflects the changing of the seasons. I love to brew and drink stouts, quads and barleywines during the winter — and while they still have a place in my heart during the warmer months, I begin to crave different fare. IPAs tend to be a year-round choice for many beer drinkers, but nothing makes me itch for an IPA quite like spring weather. There is just something about the emergence of fresh greenery, kind-of-warm weather and sunlight that ignites my thirst for hoppy goodness.

In honor of that thirst I brewed an IPA with a fun assortment of hops. I chose Galaxy as my core hop for bittering and aroma additions. Galaxy is an Australian hop known for imparting flavors of passionfruit, peach and citrus. Along with Galaxy I added Wai-iti and Citra hops as aroma additions. Wai-iti is a New Zealand hop which gives flavors of peaches and other stone fruits. Citra is a hop most brewers and beer drinkers are familiar with, providing tropical fruit and citrus flavors.

The finished product was a beautiful deep gold. The nose was rife with fruity goodness — including a healthy dose of peach, citrus and tropical fruit tones. On the palate, I detected more of the passionfruit and peach with a background of citrus and tropical fruit supported by a pleasant dry malt character. The finish was pleasantly bitter and dry with lingering fruitiness. I enjoyed this beer immensely. This malt build has quickly become my go-to for IPAs, and really showcases the hops without being chewy or too overbearing.

All Grain ($45.50)

    • 12 lbs. Golden Promise
    • 1 lbs. Golden Naked Oats (or Carahell)
    • 0.75 lbs. Melanoidin Malt (or Gambrinus Honey Malt)
    • Mash @ 154 for 60 minutes
    • 0.5 oz. Galaxy @ First Wort (60 minutes)
    • 0.5 oz. Galaxy @ 30 minutes
    • 1 oz. Galaxy @ 15 minutes
    • 1 oz. Galaxy @ 0 minutes
    • 1 oz. Wai-iti (or Vic’s Secret) @ 0 minutes
    • 1 oz. Citra @ 0 minutes
    • 1 oz. Galaxy Dry Hop for 4 days
    • 1 oz. Wai-iti (or Vic’s Secret) Dry Hop for 4 days
    • 1 oz. Citra Dry Hop for 4 days

Vital Statistics

    • OG: 1.066
    • FG: 1.010
    • IBUs: 66
    • SRM: 7.1

EXTRACT ($50.99)

    • 9 lbs. Light LME
    • 10 oz. Caramunich I
    • 7 oz. Gambrinus Honey Malt
    • 8 oz. Corn Sugar
    • 1 oz. Galaxy @ 60 minutes
    • 0.5 oz. Galaxy @ 30 minutes
    • 1 oz. Galaxy @ 15 minutes
    • 1 oz. Galaxy @ 0 minutes
    • 1 oz. Wai-iti (or Vic’s Secret) @ 0 minutes
    • 1 oz. Citra @ 0 minutes
    • 1.5 oz. Galaxy Dry Hop for 4 days
    • 1 oz. Wai-iti (or Vic’s Secret) Dry Hop for 4 days
    • 1 oz. Citra Dry Hop for 4 days

Vital Statistics

    • OG: 1.068
    • FG: 1.010
    • IBUs: 59.7
    • SRM: 8

Variations

I used OYL-052 for my yeast — Omega’s “Conan” DIPA strain. Their DIPA strain produces esters that taste like peaches and complemented the hops well. You can also use Safale 05 for a dry yeast, or any other American ale strain that you prefer. An additional option is Wyeast 1318 London Ale III, which many people are using for New England style IPAs.

Friday, April 28, 2017

New Beer Friday, A Winner is Born Edition (April 28)

Jake "The Judge" Brenner
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Last Saturday a panel of BJCP judges chose an entry from a local homebrewer as the Best of Show in the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition, making this the second year in a row that a homebrewer from the Grand Rapids area gets to hoist the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

The BOS winner will be announced during the awards ceremony at the Siciliano’s Homebrew Party on Saturday, May 20 at Johnson Park. The grand prize also includes a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market and the opportunity to brew the award winning recipe on Trail Point Brewery’s seven-barrel system.

Out of the 143 entries submitted in this year’s competition, a total of 100 were awarded medals, with the breakdown as follows: 37 gold, 38 silver and 25 bronze.

All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition are judged by industry professionals and/or trained judges according to the standards of style, not in comparison to each another, with the exception of Best in Show. Entries that receive scores falling within designated point totals are awarded bronze, silver or gold medals.

Just a reminder that tickets for the Homebrew Party are now on sale. Tickets are $45.00 and must be purchased in advance at Siciliano's Market or with a credit card over the phone by calling 616-453-9674.

New and Returning Beer

  • Blackrocks American Pils, $1.79/12oz - "The finest German malt, American hops and Lake Superior water collide to create our take on the world's most popular style. As crisp and refreshing as the Great Lakes, this beer is a nod to European tradition with a distinct American disobedience" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Tree Bucket, $4.29/16oz - "Big, bold, and balanced. Lots of Citra hops in the kettle on brew day, along with Belgian candi sugar to add dimension. Lots of hop flavor without the bitterness that shreds your tastebuds" (source).
  • New Holland Incorrigible Reserve, $6.19/22oz - "Michigan blueberries & blackberries fuel a second flavorful fermentation of this beer after its residence of several months in our House of Funk sour cellar" (source).
  • Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.69/12oz - "This tart, refreshing brew is our take on the Bavarian Radler, named for cyclists who inspired it. Traditionally a mixture of beer and lemonade, our version combines a crisp golden Helles with a blend of real lemons to create a fresh-squeezed flavor, perfect for the long yet fleeting days of summer" (source).
  • Virtue The Mitten, $3.69/12oz - "This Michigan cider is a blend of last season's pressed apples, aged in Bourbon barrels for up to one year, then back sweetened with this year's fresh pressed apple juice. The Mitten has notes of vanilla, caramel, and charred oak" (source).
  • Shiner Ruby Red Bird, $1.69/12oz - "Shiner Ruby Redbird is brewed with genuine Texas Rio Red Grapefruit, the signature sweet citrus of the Rio Grande Valley, and ginger. This lager beer features grapefruit tartness and finishes with a ’lil kick of ginger. With Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit and Ginger, Shiner Ruby Redbird is a crisp and refreshing summer beer" (source).
  • Newaygo Brewing Death Rye, $9.99/22oz - "A heavily hopped Rye Ale with spice, fruit, and a lingering bitterness" (source).
  • Newaygo Brewing Himalayan Gose, $9.99/22oz - "German Sour Ale with corriander and pink salt. Quenching and tart" (source).
  • Newaygo Brewing Riverhouse, $9.99/22oz - "A mixed style Belgian/Norwegian Farmhouse Ale. Juniper boughs add a sweet and piney finish to an otherwise simple wheat saison" (source).
  • Right Brain Looping Owl, $12.89/22oz - "Amber ale aged in whiskey barrels. Sophisticated. Surprising. Tasty. Our Looping Owl is a medium bodied Amber Ale, brewed with Maris Otter Malt and Northern Brewer & Golding Hops, then aged in Grand Traverse Distillery Whiskey Barrels. A masterfully balanced and satisfying flavor with a slight ’whiskey kick’ and surprising hint of Oak. The owl may be the wisest bird in the forest, but even he needs to kick back and take a break every once in a while" (source).
  • Right Brain Blue Magic, $1.79/12oz - "Blue Magic Lavender Wheat Ale is a uniquely different & refreshing brew. Did we mention it’s magical too? It’s brewed with local honey from Honey Pot Priory & fresh local lavender from Light Of Day Organics. This is a straight forward wheat with dried lavender. This brew has a floral nose and a wheat finish" (source).
  • St. Ambroise IPA, $2.59/16oz - "McAuslan presents its New World take on the classic IPAs of the 19th-century England. In those days, the beers was brewed extra-strong and generously hopped to help it survive the long journey to India. Inspired by that history and today’s blod American IPAs, we’ve married Cascade and Chinook hops with a subtle blend of malts -anyone who appreciates strong ale will love it. Hop bitterness and malt smoothness: it’s a journey your taste buds will enjoy time and again" (source).
  • Victory Kirsch Gose, $2.59/12oz - "Excite your senses with a sharp, sweet burst of fresh cherries. Sublime and effervescent, this bold and bright session ale has an enticing cherry-fruit character" (source).
  • Southern Tier 2XUnfiltered, $1.99/12oz - "Not quite an imperial, but certainly not a standard India pale ale. Our double IPA is a hop lovers dream. Citrusy and clean with an incredible finish" (source).
  • North Coast Cherry Berliner Weisse, $6.49//22oz - "North Coast Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse is made with the juice of Michigan Montmorency cherries, whose addition softens the lactic finish of the beer and gives it a springtime blush" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Cinnsanity, $4.29/12oz (4 per) - "We’ve taken Insanity and aged it in whiskey barrels with cinnamon. The result? It’s CINNSANITY! The addition brings a complementary note of cinnamon to the already present notes of bourbon, cherry and vanilla. This smooth 13.3% ABV brew is warming and balanced with a subtle sweetness and hint of spiciness thanks to the addition of cinnamon" (source). 
  • Weyerbacher Riserva 2016, $22.69/750ml - "Riserva is an American Wild Ale fermented on red raspberries. Riserva is fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces yeast, Brettanomyces yeast and lactic acid bacteria that produce funky, sour and fruity flavors and aromas" (source).
  • Tallgrass Key Lime, $1.69/12oz - "First released in summer 2016 as an experimental draft-only release that was met with raving enthusiasm from fans, Key Lime Pie returns to the Tallgrass lineup as a summer seasonal in 6-packs of 12 oz cans. An American sour blonde ale brewed with lime peel, Key Lime Pie is true to its namesake, recalling the sweet, tart and refreshing dessert in beer form" (source).
  • Great Lakes Hop Madness Double IPA, $3.29/12oz - "Maniacally dry-hopped, with a frenzy of juicy aromas and formidable pine finish" (source).
  • Rogue Paradise Pucker, $7.39/22oz - "A Hawaiian inspired sour beer brewed with passion fruit, orange, and guava" (source).
  • Short's Ermagerdness, $1.99/12oz - "Ermagerdness is a light-bodied, golden-colored American India Pale Ale with zesty tangerine and pineapple aromatics.  A simplified malt bill, along with some signature American hops, allows for an awesome burst of tropical fruit flavors up front.  It then shifts toward an interesting herbal tasting bitterness, which builds and lingers on the back of the palate" (source).
  • Wolverine Vers L'Avant, $3.09/12oz - "Golden lager brewed with Michigan Bartlett pear juice and aged in chardonnay barrels" (source).
  • Ballast Point Unfiltered Sculpin, $2.59/12oz - "Our Unfiltered Sculpin IPA packs extra hops into every sip, enhancing the classic Sculpin notes of fresh apricot, peach, mango and lemon with a slight haze and less bitterness. Freshness is key to every beer, but especially true for this extra-hopped IPA—store cold and drink soon" (source).

Picture of the Week | The Judging

Somewhere in that long line of homebrew is the winner.

Cheers!

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!