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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fifteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Competition

By Steve Siciliano

From its humble beginnings fifteen years ago, the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition has developed into one of Michigan’s most respected competitive homebrewing events.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s Best of Show brewer will again have the opportunity to brew his or her winning recipe at local brewery. The BOS winner will also receive $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market and, per tradition, will have his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

 See below for contest rules and regulations for the Fifteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Good luck, everyone!

    • Every homebrewer is allowed one (1) beer entry. All entries must be brewed by the registrant on a homebrewing system. Please do not submit entries under the names of significant others, insignificant others, siblings, offspring, distant relatives, estranged roommates, pets, fictional characters, imaginary friends or anyone else. 
    • Beers are submitted according to the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Ciders and meads are excluded from this competition. If you are unsure of which is the correct style for your beer, contact us and we will help. 
    • Entries require two (2) plain, unlabeled/unmarked 12-ounce amber bottles. Please no clear bottles or bottles of any other size. 
    • We are again using Reggiebeer as our competition website. Go here to enter your beer and print bottle labels. 
    • The entry fee is $7.00. 
    • The total number of contest entries will be capped at 200. Do not delay in submitting your entry. Once the cap is reached no additional entries will be accepted. 
    • Online registration for entries will be accepted from Monday, March 19 through Sunday, April 8 or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. 
    • Entries must be received by Sunday, April 8. Entries will not be accepted after that date. If mailing an entry, please include paperwork and submission fee. Ship in a well-packed box to: Siciliano’s Market // 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW // Grand Rapids, MI 49504
All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competitions 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 will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals. 

A reminder too that we are looking for judges and stewards to help us evaluate all that homebrew. Judging will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 17 Seward Avenue in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Registration for judges and stewards is now open. Please visit this page for sign-up information.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Beer Friday, Steve's Desk Edition (January 12)

"Office Space"
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Back when we were in the process of expanding Siciliano’s homebrew section, my wife Barb and our GM Sarah Derylo floated the idea of moving my desk into the store’s dingy basement. They maintained that the roughly twelve square feet of space that essentially serves as my office could be better utilized to display products, but I knew that was just a ruse. The two neat freaks thought it would be better if that perpetually disorderly corner of the store was hidden from public view.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a slob. If Barb leaves town for a few days it takes me about ten minutes to mess up the house. My storage shed at home is a catastrophe, the work bench in the garage at the cottage is a disaster and that corner of the store is in a constant state of disarray. I don’t usually win when Barb and Sarah gang up on me but there was no way I was going to let them banish me and my old wooden desk to the bowels of the basement.

I like my desk where it is because it allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of the store while I’m doing paperwork, answering emails, writing blog posts and working on homebrew competitions, homebrew parties and Big Brew days. If help is needed up at the sales counter I’m able to be there in seconds. When someone needs assistance in the humidor, the homebrew area and the wine room, I’m just a few steps away. I’m able to see when the staff needs help hauling carboys, cases of bottles and bags of grain out of the warehouse. I keep a folding metal chair around for when sales reps and customers want to hang out and chat.

A few days ago I did my annual January cleanup of my corner. I trashed a year’s worth of old price sheets and catalogs, windexed my computer monitor and wiped the grime off the desk and keyboard. I tidied up my bookcase and threw an old jar of peanut butter away. When I was done I sat back and resolved that this would be the year that I would keep my office space clean and orderly. If I’m lucky it might stay that way until the second week of February.

New and Returning Beer

  • B. Nektar Wildberry Pyment, $18.49/750ml - "In honor of B. Nektar's 10 year anniversary, we've decided to throwback to our first years in business and revive an original fan favorite. Thank you to all of our amazing patrons, and believers in all the weird things we love to share. We couldn't have done it without you. Cheers! Fermented with orange blossom honey and grape juice with natural wild berry flavors added. Every bit as delightful as it was the first time. Still pairs well with any dish and also makes a great sangria" (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).
  • Big Lake Barrel Aged Chinook, $16.19/22oz - "Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale" (source).
  • Breckenridge Twenty Five Imperial Vanilla Porter, $16.79/750ml - "Twenty Five is a special-release beer celebrating 25 years of craftsmanship from Breckenridge Brewery. The recipe starts with an imperial version of our popular Vanilla Porter, resulting in more prominent flavors and stronger alcohol. We then let the beer relax in Barbados rum barrels. In each barrel, we added incredibly rare, fresh, wet, vanilla beans from the Veracruz region of Mexico.  These beans come from small family farms - are hand pollinated and hand picked" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam di Castagna, $5.89/375ml - "A fall inspired version of Bam Bière - a richer, fuller recipe to start and of course we added a lot of chestnuts to the mash as well! Rich auburn, gently tart, notes of earthy chestnuts, flavors of cashew, taro, traces of autumn smoke and a slightly orange juiciness in the finish" (source).
  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, $2.09/12oz - "Our malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish truly defies style…Imperial Mild?...Uber ESB?... We do know for sure that it is Unforgiven and Unrepentant" (source).
  • Maui Imperial Coconut Porter, $22.69/750ml - "A deeper, more intense version of MBC’s flagship Coconut Hiwa Porter, Imperial Coconut Porter is brewed with hand toasted coconut, and subtle hints of cacao and coffee. The rich, slightly sweet and malty ale utilizes seven different malts, including black and chocolate, as well as raw and toasted coconut. It pours with a dark tan head and drinks with a silky smooth, yet warming finish" (source).
  • Revolution A Little Crazy, $1.99/12oz - "A Pilsner malt base provides a nice toasty flavor with hints of caramel and enough fermentable sugar to make this a rather substantial beer. The Belgian-Style Pale Ale is brewed with Magnum, Cascade and Citra hops in the brewhouse and then dryhopped with a blend of Citra and Cascade. This drives home the aromas of fresh citrus rind to make this a very drinkable and extremely aromatic beer" (source).

Video of the Week | Hopslam

Available at Siciliano's while supplies last!


Friday, January 5, 2018

New Beer Friday, Instant Pot Edition (January 5)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife and I have been laying low lately. With West Michigan in the tight grip of an extended deep freeze, neither Barb nor I have felt like braving the arctic cold to visit Beer City’s bevy of excellent restaurants, cocktail lounges and breweries. Other than daily trips to Siciliano’s and occasional excursions to the grocer, we’ve been hunkering down at home. We’re warding off cabin fever with antidotes of Manhattans, music and a glass or two of a warming red wine at dinner.

Barb has been preparing many of those dinners in a gadget called an Instant Pot, a small electric appliance that is a combination pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. Barb likes it because it decreases cooking time. I like it because I don’t have to grill in sub-freezing temperatures. We both especially like it because the food stays warm while we’re enjoying a pre-meal cocktail.

If saving time in the kitchen is appealing and saving your butt from freezing sounds alluring, you’ll probably like the Instant Pot too. Visit their website for more information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arcadia God Save the Pils, $1.99/12oz - "This unfiltered Pilsner-style beer is loaded with hops from the “Garden of England”, the name given to the famed Hop Yards of Kent, and brewed with 100% English malted barley. A very easy drinking lager with a hop character that will please both Pilsner and IPA fans" (source).
  • Deschutes Hop Henge, $2.19/12oz - "Hop Henge is a discovery. Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Galaxy hops come together to erect a hop sanctuary. Revere the almighty hop" (source).
  • Deschutes Red Chair, $1.99/12oz - "The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Several select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it’s an insider’s ride to fresh thrills" (source).
  • Ellison Galaxy Double Dry Hop, $3.29/16oz - "Excessive amounts of Australian Galaxy Hops are used throughout this beer to give it a tropical fruit and floral nose. It's murky and cloudy appearance give way to a creamy flavor bouquet of stone fruits, grapefruit and a touch of pine" (source).
  • Ellison Tiramisu, $3.29/16oz - "In Italian, Tiramisu means "pick me up." Inspired by the coffee flavored Italian dessert, this rich, full bodied stout is guaranteed to do just that" (source).
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, $4.89/12oz - "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).
  • Farmhaus Sweater Weather, $3.49/16oz - "Chai Spiced" (source).
  • Grand Armory White Chocolate Blonde, $2.19/12oz - "A Light, Crisp, Refreshing Blonde Ale With White Chocolate Added During Fermentation. The Creamy White Chocolate Adds A Nice Sweetness To An Already Delicious Beer For An Enjoyable Marriage Of Flavors" (source).
  • New Holland Blue Sunday, $9.09/22oz - "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).
  • Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, $.179/12oz - "As brewers, we get the privilege to sample our beers straight from the tanks in all their raw glory. Some beers need a little polishing to get ready to go out into the world, while others—the hop-heavy, rowdy, crowd-pleasers—should just be left alone. We wanted to share this brewery-only treat with you, so we present this Hazy Little Thing, our unfiltered, unprocessed IPA, straight from the tanks and into the can" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet, $.179/12oz - "Hops are the name of the game with a Double IPA, but we knew we had to take it one step further. With Hop Bullet, we’re using a new technique, hitting the beer with a double-barreled blast of Magnum hops and lupulin dust—pure, concentrated hop flavor—directly into the tank to emphasize the intense pine and citrus flavors of classic West Coast hops" (source).

Video of the Week | Double Crooked Tree


Friday, December 29, 2017

New Beer Friday, Westside Social Edition (Dec 29)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Over the last several months our customers have had to work their way around a slew of work trucks, piles of building supplies and a small army of construction workers in the parking lot adjacent to Siciliano's. I’m pleased to report that all that frenetic activity is dying down and that our new neighbor, the West Side Social Tavern, will soon be open for business.

According to owner Joe DiLeonardo, West Side Social will focus on made from scratch, affordably priced American comfort food and will have twenty-four beers on tap. The restaurant will also offer a selection of fine wines and classic cocktails.

The building that housed the Shawmut Inn for the last forty years has been given a comprehensive makeover inside and out. The nicely appointed interior has an open kitchen and a new wooden bar. In nice weather patrons will have the option of sitting on an outdoor patio accented with a stone fireplace.

Joe apprised me that the restaurant should be open by mid-January. Go to West Side Social’s Facebook page for updates and further information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Spruce IPA, $1.79/12oz - "India Pale Ale brewed with spruce tips" (source).
  • Brouwerij De Molen Cease & Desist, $6.49/12oz - "Cease & Desist is a sweet imperial stout with lots of chocolate and coffee notes accompanied by plums. Strong yet not overwhelming, very flavorful and powerful. Try aging it for a couple of years to get it’s full complexity" (source).
  • Cambridge Brewing Arquebus, $12.99/375ml - "Named for the 15th Century firearm which was successor to the Blunderbuss, this barrel-aged barleywine aspires to change the way you think of strong beer. Intended for sipping on these sultry summer evenings on our patio (or inside, with the AC), it is at once light and drinkable yet boasts significant body, and is almost syrupy smooth in texture without being cloying. Arquebus presents beautiful, complex notes of concentrated peach and apricot fruit, wildflower honey, toast and coconut oakiness, and a soft, tannin-hinted, white wine-like finish. Aged in French oak chardonnay barrels acquired from the Silverado winery in Napa, the residual flavors contributed by the wood offer a mellowness of character not provided by stainless steel fermentation.This honey-hued, ambrosial beer, beheld in a simple stemmed glass, pours with just a mild effervescence which accentuates its myriad nuances of flavors and aromas. Several more barrels of this elixir await release in the coming years" (source).
  • Estrella Jalisco, $1.69/12oz - "Estrella Jalisco is a premium, 4.5% ABV Mexican pilsner with a pale, beautiful golden yellow color and a refreshingly light, crisp flavor with no aftertaste" (source).
  • Ginger Libation, $8.19/500ml - "Ginger Libation is an effervescent, pre-prohibition style ginger beer with a pleasant sweetness and distinctive ginger zing!  Artisan Beverage Cooperative has been making this popular beverage since 2010" (source).
  • Mikkeller Mastodon Mother Puncher, $6.49/16oz - "A tribute to the metal band Mastodon, this farmhouse IPA ​balances notes of brettanomcyes with the sweet and tart notes of passionfruit creating a deliciously funky and fruity IPA" (source).
  • Mikkeller/Omnipollo Prince and Pauper, $6.59/16oz - "Dry-Hopped Grisette. Collaboration brew with Omnipollo" (source).
  • New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Hazy IPA, $1.99/12oz - "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).
  • New Holland Night Tripper, $4.49/12oz - "An abundance of roasted malts and flaked barley create rich, roasty stout with deeply intense, lush flavors" (source).
  • Pasteur Street Passionfruit Wheat, $3.39/12oz - "It is the tangy sweetness of Passionfruit that dominates this otherwise mild beer. Light bodied with a crisp taste and refreshing mouthful" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill Grapefruit Renny, $2.29/12oz - "Ever met a crushable Double IPA? Now you have. We took our Renny “session” DIPA, added grapefruit, and turned it up to 11. The addition of grapefruit pairs perfectly with the citrus aroma and flavors that come from the use of Amarillo and Simcoe hops. Warning: It’s way too drinkable" (source).
  • Stone Tangerine Express, $2.09/12oz - "An India pale ale packed with whole tangerine & pineapple" (source).
  • Struise Barrel Aged Rio Reserva, $8.99/12oz - "Collaboration ale with brew master Ryohei Sugawara from Rio Brewing & Co Japan. Belgian dark golden blond quadruple with an enormous potential of aromas and flavors, and added complexity due to oak barrel aging. First aging took place in St.-Emilion oak wine barrels from Tour Baladoz. Bourbon barrels from Kentucky were next due to their very special soft roast quality and noble vanilla flavors" (source).
  • To Øl Sur New England Shandy, $6.99/16oz - "Sour Mashed Session India Pale Ale Brewed with Lime & Lemon" (source).
  • To Øl Tropical Rumble, $6.99/16oz - "Session India Pale Ale brewed with Mango, peach & passionfruit. Enjoy our fruity acquaintance. Heaps of fruity mosaic hops paired with the best fruits we could find" (source).

Video of the Week | Alaskan Brewing

The story of Alaskan Brewing


Friday, December 22, 2017

New Beer Friday, Uncle Andy Edition (December 22)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I can’t tell you how many times customers asked if I was related to Andy Siciliano over the years but I can unequivocally state that my affirmative replies always elicited the same response. “He sure is a nice guy,” they would invariably say after I told them Andy was my uncle.

My uncle Andy, universally acknowledged as a nice guy, passed away last week. He was seventy-three.

I’m sure that the majority of folks who had asked me about Andy in the store had met him through his work as a real estate agent. His clients liked him and they rewarded him with referrals. His competitors respected him and they had nothing but good things to say about him.

When I heard that Andy had passed I thought about the day he told me he was going into real estate. He was in his late forties and for the second time in his life he had lost a job because of a factory closing. He was excited to be starting a new career but I remember wondering about his qualifications. I worried he didn't have the chops needed to be successful in real estate sales. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

He had been in the business for about ten years when my wife and I decided to sell our house in Grandville and buy one closer to the store. He was doing well so Barb and I gave the listing to a friend who had recently gotten his license. I could sense Andy’s disappointment but he handled it graciously. He never mentioned it again but I regretted that decision for years.

A few days ago good friend and store handyman Rod Lawrence came in for a cup of coffee. Rod had purchased a house a number of years ago and Andy was his agent. When I told him about Andy he offered his condolences.

“He sent me a Christmas card every year,” Rod told me.

“That sounds like Andy.”

“He sure was a nice guy,” Rod said after a few moments.

New and Returning Beer

  • Goose Island Noel, $3.79/12oz - "A Belgian Style Dark Ale" (source).
  • Perrin Foudre, $2.19/12oz - "Black Currant Sour is the first batch in the Perrin Foudre Series. This beer was soured with Brett Trios yeast & Labtobacilus Brevis than aged for 9 months in an oak foudre" (source).
  • Odd Side Fight Milk, $2.79/12oz - "For bodyguards, by bodyguards" (source).
  • Odd Side Mango Dan, $2.79/12oz - "IPA with mango" (source).
  • Odd Side Beer Me, $1.49/12oz - "Lager" (source). - "" (source).
  • Tapistry Northern Trippin, $3.19/16oz. - "Very Juicy New England Style IPA. Get on board the haze craze with this IPA" (source).
  • Shorts Woodmaster, $2.59/12oz - "Woodmaster is a high gravity, American Brown Ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans. This dark brown, full bodied ale is rich with sweet malt and syrup flavors. These flavors are complemented by the presence of hop aromas and a faint nuttiness" (source).
  • Southern Tier Raspberry White, $1.89/12oz - "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).
  • Southern Tier Blueberry Sour, $4.59/12oz - "Blueberry Tart is the result of two beers blended into one. The first beer is a kettle soured blonde ale. The second is a simple imperial wheat ale into which we add a whole lot of blueberry puree. This process achieves a bright and juicy blueberry aroma and a complex flavor character throughout each sip. At first it is bright and juicy, followed by sweet and round in the middle, and ending with a mild tartness that en-courages another mouthful. Slight notes of pie crust emerge in the aftertaste of this imperial ale" (source).
  • Southern Tier Thick Mint, $5.49/12oz - "Inspired by the legendary cookie, Thick Mint joins our world-class rated Blackwater Series of dessert beers alongside Crème Brûlée, Choklat Oranj, Salted Caramel & Choklat in 2017. This imperial stout is a mouthful of perfectly balanced mint & chocolate. Roasty malts coalesce with notes of Belgian dark chocolate, sweet mint & just a touch of sweet caramel. So decadently delicious, you’ll wish you’d bought another box… er, bottle" (source).
  • New Holland Tangerine Space Machine, $2.79/12oz - "There once lived a bitter soul, with a fruitful life as his goal, hopped in his space machine, went to New England to find his queen, came a haze of tangerine" (source).
  • Latitude 42 Lucifer Cuvee, $2.59/12oz - "Dangerously devastating, Lucifer’s Cuvée is our Double Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Intense hearty rye, along with a decadent gourmet of chocolate essence, and balanced by the addition of Cascade hops" (source).
  • Central Waters BBA Stout, $4.39/12oz - "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).
  • Against the Grain Sho'Nuff, $4.19/16oz - "This Belgian table bier is a traditional entry into the Session category. It is meant to be consumed with food but also stands well on its own. When you need to drink the whole meal and want something with plenty of flavor but don’t want to get shit-twisted from the alcohol, this is a great choice. Look for a smooth malty body with hints of biscuit and rye. The hops are subdued and mostlyp resent as a bittering agent. The yeast plays a prominent role in creating bready and lightly fruity notes" (source).
  • Against the Grain/Stillwater Found Word, $4.19/16oz - "What's going to happen when Stumke comes to town? That's always the question for one of beer's biggest rock stars or maybe he's hip hop, I'm not sure. Whatever it is it's always about more than the beer with this collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal. So this hoppy guava lager is going to be good to drink but that's not all. The can is a word find so you can interact with Strumke and I without the lingering side effects" (source).
  • Lindemans Ginger Gueuze, $33.39/750ml - "Breaking the mold among existing beer styles, Lindemans developed the Botanical Lambics, a collection of old gueuzes with a twist. Third in this series, GingerGueuze is based on a blend of 12 month-old lambic with two- to three-year-old lambic, fermented in oak with fresh ginger. Bottle-conditioned, GingerGueuze has a golden color and combines the sourness of lambic with the subtle flavors of fresh ginger. Ideal as an aperitif, it is also perfect for food paring" (source).

Video of the Week | The Lindeman's Family

A cool video from an old brewery — enjoy!


Friday, December 15, 2017

New Beer Friday, First Big Snow Edition (December 15)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Before going to work last Sunday morning I paused for a few moments on the back deck. The first substantial snow of the season had covered up the monotonous hues of early December and had transformed the backyard landscape into a stark but lovely picture painted in tones of black and white. When I’m in the right frame of mind I can see beauty in the monochromatic shades of winter.

Unfortunately that right frame of mind lasts only until about the second week of January. By then I’ve grown weary of stark sceneries and I begin looking forward to the time when the yard will be painted with a palette of bright colors again.

The black and white photographs of Ansel Adams are nice to look at but I’d much rather spend time gazing at the blues, reds, yellows and greens of Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

New and Returning Beer

  • Brewery Vivant Wizard Burial Ground, $7.19/16oz - "Brewed once a year, this special quadrupel is aged in freshly drained bourbon barrels and disappears into the shadows for a full year of cellaring. This year's brew becomes next year's release. We've been wood-aging beers and experimenting with wild fermentation since we opened in 2010. We encourage those in search of funky flavors to join us at our annual Wood-Aged Beer Festival each Autumn to find out more" (source).
  • Avery Tweak, $15.19/12oz - "Our very own Parker, of the cartoon and cat loving variety, created this cult classic character back in our 17th season. Appearing in several episodes under another stage name that was deemed inappropriate, our executive producers and editors decided that a name change and further character development— a 4-month hiatus in Bourbon barrels—were necessary to satisfy our most ardent and demanding viewers" (source).
  • Ballast Point High West Barrel Aged Victory at Sea, $4.09/12oz (1 per) - "A 12 percent ABV imperial porter brewed with coffee beans sourced from Caffe Calabria, vanilla and peanut butter before being aged in barrels that previously held High West bourbon and rye. The porter has been aged in various brands of barrels and released in bottles over the years, including Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrel-Aged Victory At Sea (12.2 percent ABV), Heaven Hills Bourbon Barrel-Aged Victory At Sea (12.2 percent ABV) and Rum & Rye Barrel-Aged Victory At Sea (12.4 percent ABV), among others" (source).
  • Ellison Tailgate Crusher American Lager, $2.59/16oz - "Tailgate Crusher Light Lager 4.25% A pre-prohibition American light lager brewed specifically for hot Summer days and Fall tailgating. Brewed with barley/corn this lager has moderate hops and a smooth finish that makes you want to crush pint after pint" (source).
  • Ellison Dawn Street, $3.29/16oz - "A tribute to the street that the brewery is located on, this hazy pale ale starts with a tropical aroma and then bursts forward with citrus and pine flavor. Deceptively easy to drink, this beer finishes clean and makes you ask, "where has this been all my life?" (source).
  • Ellison Relativity, $3.29/16oz  - "A big late hop addition and big dry hop fills your mouth with a juicy, well-rounded nectar. This Vermont style IIPA is brewed with only Michigan grown hops and is surprisingly sweet and approachable" (source).
  • Evil Twin I've Always Felt Closer to IPA's Than to People, $3.69/16oz - "Double dry hopped with Galaxy, Citra, Simcoe, and Falconers Flight hops" (source).
  • Greenbush Delusion, $6.69/12oz (1 per) - "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).
  • Incline Spiced Winter, $2.39/12oz - "Rooibos, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper" (source).
  • Lost Abbey Dead Man's Game, $17.79/375ml - "A blend of Rum Barrel-aged and Bourbon barrel-aged beer, Dead Man's Game begins with heavy aromas of bourbon and dates, leading to rich notes of caramel and cocoa, finishing with a sweet kick of rum and spices" (source).
  • Lost Abbey Devil Went Down to Georgia, $17.49/375ml  - "Bourbon Barrel-aged Ale with Peaches and Black Tea" (source).
  • New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Salted Caramel, $4.69/12oz - "An 11 percent ABV imperial stout brewed with salt and caramel as well as glacier and nugget hops before being aged in bourbon barrels for six months" (source).
  • Ommegang Lovely Dark, $1.79/12oz - "Welcome to our winter seasonal – Oatmeal Stout, brewed to keep you company on a winter’s eve sitting beside a crackling fire, wit this fine beer in hand , the woods will always look Lovely, Dark and Deep, enticing you to a rendezvous with your winter dreams. Deep with roasty aromas, coffee with cream and chocolate notes, Ommegang House yeast imparts light fruit and spice character" (source).
  • Right Brain Naughty Girl Stout, $1.99/12oz - "Thin mint cookie, meet John Niedermaier A stout made with organic locally-grown whole leaf mint. She’s just back from a stint in the cooler for being too naughty. She might have mellowed out but this stout is still naughty at heart" (source).
  • Roak Hopgazer, $4.09/16oz - "Prepare to be assimilated. Ekuanot, Citra and Amarillo" (source).
  • Short's Fload, $2.59/12oz - "FLOAD is a Dark American Sour Ale brewed with raspberries. Very dark in color with a red hue and mauve head, this beer smells of fresh fruit, sour raspberries, and a hint of chocolate. Leading with an intense raspberry tartness, FLOAD is complemented with a light chocolate malty backbone. The finish is dry with lingering sourness" (source).
  • Short's Speedcult, $1.89/12oz - "Speedcult Black Lager is a dark, black-colored Lager with an alluring tan lace. Enticing aromas of cocoa and burnt marshmallows lead into big flavors of chocolate in this Lager. Speedcult Black Lager’s finish is clean and dry with a slight hoppy bitterness" (source).

Video of the Week | Tailgate Crusher

Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, December 8, 2017

New Beer Friday, Stickers Just Everywhere Edition (Dec 8)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

When it gets too cold for backyard deck sitting my wife, Barb and I go back to our cold weather routine of enjoying our pre-dinner Manhattans while listening to albums in our basement.

While our house was built in the 1920s, our basement isn’t one of those dank, low-ceilinged, subsurface spaces common in older homes and generally known in these parts as a “Michigan basement.” We use one room for a beer and wine cellar, another for storage and the laundry is in another. We set up the turntable and speakers in the largest room where there is also a small television set, an easy chair, an end table and a collection of exercise equipment.

It’s a fairly cozy space despite the fact that when Barb and I are listening to music we have to take turns sitting in the easy chair and on the exercise bike. If friends happen to stop over the seating options are the chair, the bike, the steps, the rowing machine and the carpeted floor.

After last May’s homebrew party, a small group of homebrewers came over for an after party on the back deck. When it began raining we moved to the basement. It was a fun night. I had so much fun in fact that I fell asleep in the easy chair. When I woke and went upstairs to remove my contacts I saw that I had a Primetime Brewers sticker plastered on my forehead. A picture was posted on the internet the following day.

My forehead wasn’t the only thing that got tagged that night. We now have both Primetime and Brewsquitos stickers on our exercise machines, on storage racks and on the furnace ducts. A couple of months after the party Barb found a Primetime sticker on a jar of stewed tomatoes in the freezer. A few nights ago she spotted another one on the hot water heater.

There’s probably a pretty good chance that we’ll find a couple more.

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Smoked Porter 2015 and 2016, $3.29/22oz - "Known as “rauchbier” in Germany, smoke-flavored beers were virtually unknown in the U.S. until Alaskan Smoked Porter was developed in 1988" (source).
  • Dark Horse Plead the Fifth 2016 and 2017, $3.59/12oz - "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" (source).
  • Dogfish Head 120 Minute, $10.99/12oz - "Clocking in at 15-20% ABV, 120 Minute IPA is continuously hopped with a copious amount of high-alpha American hops throughout the boil and whirlpool, and then dry-hopped with another pallet of hops. Unfiltered and abundently hoppy, it's the Holy Grail for hopheads" (source).
  • Great Divide Barrel Aged Gift Set, $34.89 - "As Great Divide prepares to enter a new chapter with their Barrel Aged & Sour program, they are offering a limited edition box set ($30) that includes a compilation of their Barrel Aged Classics: Hibernation, Old Ruffian and Yeti" (source). 
  • Great Divide Yeti Gift Pack, $28.99 - A three-pack featuring Oatmeal Yet, Chai Yeti and Barrel-Aged Yet. 
  • Griffin Claw Dark Passenger, $19.29/22oz - "If our beyond oblivious and flying buffalo stout had a baby...this would be it. Add some spices and you have a dark passenger. A tart blast with a rich sweet finish" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Figure it Out, $2.39/16oz - "We had to beg Dan to make this and it turned out awesome! Coconut & Vanilla stand strong in this easy drinking Milk Stout" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Flying Buffalo Barrel Aged Chocolate Raspberry, $19.29/22oz - No commercial description.
  • Griffin Claw Flying Buffalo Barrel Aged Cinnamon Vanilla, $19.29/22oz - No commercial description.
  • Griffin Claw Flying Buffalo Barrel Aged Coffee Stout, $19/29/22oz - "Bourbon-barrel-aged one year with coffee" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Flying Buffalo Barrel Aged Stout, $19/29/22oz - "This award winning ale has a big malt profile with coffee, dark chocolate and coconut notes, accented with American hops. This ale was first brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court. We add American hops to the recipe and dry-hop it for a more balanced profile" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Oblivious, $19.29/22oz - "Our Oblivious Wheat Wine & Coffee beans aged in Bourbon Barrels for 9 months" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Rye Hipster Brunch, $8.09/12oz - "Rye Stout brewed with maple syrup, aged in rye whiskey barrels with coffee and bacon added" (source).
  • Odd Side Falcon Punch, $2.39/12oz - "A \"super\ S.M.A.S.H. IPA! A single malt and single hop Imperial IPA. Made with Falconer's Flight hops and French pale malt" (source).
  • Odd Side Hipster Brunch, $6.49/12oz - "It’s morning somewhere! This delectable stout has been aged in bourbon barrels with coffee, maple syrup, and bacon" (source).
  • Odd Side Pretentious, $10.39/500ml - "Sour Brown Ale" (source).
  • Omnipollo Shoutao, $4.09/16oz  - "Shoutao Peach Slush IPA is an IPA brewed with peach and lactose sugar. Very limited" (source).
  • Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper, $3.99/12oz - "Santa’s Little Helper, our Imperial Stout, starts with an emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee aromatics. The finish lends hints of sweet crystal malt, warming tones of alcohol and a touch of hops, making a perfect accompaniment to leftover fruit cake and sugar cookies" (source).
  • Short's Liberator, $2.59/12oz - "The Liberator was made as a 30th birthday gift to Joe Short. As a double IPA, this beast employs a sizable malt bill, but it is the crazy amount of hops added to the boil every 4 minutes, for 120 minutes, that really make this beer special. Fruity, floral, and piney hop flavors penetrate throughout the caramelized malt profile. The Liberator is a well-balanced, full bodied brew that has a bitter finish due to the post fermentation addition of lemon and orange zest" (source).

Video of the Week | 120 Minute IPA

Available for a limited tim at Siciliano's!