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Friday, April 24, 2015

New Beer Friday, Let's Party Edition (April 24)

There's always something good on tap
at the Siciliano's Homebrew Party
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

A few days ago a self-described “old fart who doesn’t know the first damn thing about making beer” asked me if being a homebrewer was a requirement for attending the May 16th Siciliano’s Homebrew Party at Johnson Park.

“Well it certainly appears that you like hand-crafted beer,” I said while eyeing the nice selection of Czech pilsners, German hefeweizens and Flanders Reds that he had placed on the sales counter.

“I love a good beer,” he said. “I spent six months overseas while I was in the army and I’ve got a few rare bottles of Belgians stashed in my cellar.”

“And I assume that you’ve attained the legal drinking age? Perhaps I should see an ID.”

“Hell,” he laughed, “I’m older than dirt.”

I explained that an appreciation of good beer and being at least twenty-one years of age were pretty much the only prerequisites for attending the homebrew parties and I proceeded to explain what these annual spring celebrations are all about.

I told him that attendees receive logoed Siciliano’s tasting glasses, a T-shirt and some other nice gifts and that if he goes to the party he’ll get to sample a lot of stellar homebrews.

“How does that work?” he asked. “Do you buy tokens or something?”

“Nope. There’s no charge besides the $40.00 entrance fee and homebrewers love sharing. You might think about sharing a few of your own bottles from that stash.”

“I could do that,” he said. “What else goes on at these parties?”

I mentioned that there will be plenty of good food, that Jimmie Stagger will be playing and I told him about the awards ceremony for the homebrew competition and the presentation of the Siciliano’s Cup.

“Sounds like a lot of fun,” he said. “Maybe I’ll ask my girlfriend if she wants to go. She likes good beer too and she loves Jimmie Stagger.”

“Is she over twenty-one?” I asked.

He picked up his case of beer, winked at me and smiled.

“Just barely,” he said.

Tickets for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party may be purchased by calling 616-453-9674 or in person at the store.

New and Returning Beer

  • Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.69/12oz - "Samuel Adams is currently in the process of brewing up a German style called “radler.” The name radler translates to “cyclist,” A 50/50 (ish) blend of beer and lemonade. (Like a shandy). Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker was inspired by traditional Bavarian Radlers that mix beer with German-style lemonade. For our bright and citrusy Radler, we blended a Helles beer with lemon for a fresh-squeezed lemon taste, effervescent sweetness, and slightly tart, refreshing finish. A light malt character and hint of hops balance out this summer brew" (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).
  • Smuttynose Haysead, $1.69/12oz - "Hayseed is our new summer seasonal offering. It is a delicious sessionable farmhouse ale, also known as a grisette. Light-bodied, yet flavorful, Hayseed is like liquid sunshine: perfect after a hike, floating in the lake, or while playing fetch with your old brown dog" (source).
  • Right Brain Pig Porter, $17.19/22oz - "Porter Brewed with Real Pig Parts. Who would have thought that what started as an inside joke amongst the Right Brain brew team would evolve into out most acclaimed beer ever? Brewed with REAL Mangalitsa pig heads and bones, this rich and chocolaty porter is infused with a symphony of salty, smoky, and savory flavors. Some have hailed it as the ’quintessential bacon beer’ while others call it a true breakfast brew. Regardless of what you call it, this imaginative and complex beer has to be tried to be understood" (source).
  • Dupont Forêt Libre, $12.99/750ml - "Forêt Libre is crafted to remove gluten and this process creates a beer lighter in body and cleaner on the palate. The result is a delicious beer that can be enjoyed by anyone seeking an extra crisp and refreshing classic Saison Ale from Belgium. Bottle-conditioned. Deliciously smooth bread and clove and pepper kick, bold, dry and herbal. The first Saison crafted to remove gluten to be imported from Belgium" (source).
  • Ommegang Fleur de Houblon, $2.89/12oz - "Nothing is more evocative of summer than the beautiful aroma of flowers, and the favored flowers of brewers are hops. Our brand new summer ale, Fleur de Houblon (Hop Flowers), is brewed to bring the many elements of summer into a refreshing and easy-to-drink Belgian-style ale. Fleur de Houblon is a rich gold color with distinct floral hops in the aroma that follow through in the taste. Whole-cone Bravo hops are used to impart their earthy, fruity, and floral aromas and flavors. The body and flavor are clean and dry, with pleasing complexity and spicy notes from both primary and secondary fermentation with our unique Ommegang house yeast" (source).
  • Ommegang Cooperstown, $2.89/12oz - "Lightly golden-straw hue with a lasting thick, white head. Aromas of sweet malt, floral with slight citrus are followed by delicate herbal notes. Faintly sweet giving way to mellow, lightly floral hop flavor and notes of banana and pears from our signature house yeast. Nicely balanced with a clean herbal-hopped finish makes this an enjoyably, quaffable ale" (source).
  • Victory Kirsch Gose, $2.59/12oz - "A bold and bright step outside the norm, the flavors of a unique, old world German brewing process excite your senses with the sharp and sweet burst of fresh cherries. Effervescent and sublime, this session ale has an enticing cherry-fruit character. European tradition and American ingenuity come together in the truest sense as you Taste Victory in Kirsch Gose" (source).
  • Southern Tier Sonnet, $8.99/750ml - "With the addition of lemongrass, one expects a spicy, peppery and lemon aroma, with citrus and subtle hop character. Looking at the beer through a stemmed glass, you’ll notice pale straw-gold color and a thick and rocky white head with persistent lacing. Of course, because the 750ml bottle is conditioned, some haziness is to be expected. When pouring the bottle, be aware that some sediment may be present. Pour carefully to avoid this, or don’t. The choice is yours" (source).
  • Southern Tier Right-O-Way IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Right-O-Way IPA is brewed as a Session India Pale Ale with citrusy hops and floral aromas. These flavors, with the addition of lightly kilned malts and moderate hop bitterness, make Right-O-Way a refreshing and easy drinking beer. The sessionable 4.6% abv makes this one of the “easier” beers we’ve ever made. Enjoy it in your favorite glass or straight out of the bottle. Either way, make it Right-O-Way" (source).
  • O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, $1.79/12oz - "That’s right, there’s hemp in this smooth, polished amber ale. To be specific, we use hemp seed - one of the oldest and healthiest of ingredients - to create a subtle toasted nutty flavor that compliments the hops (a botanical cousin to hemp) and rye. We use Cara Rye and Malted Rye for a subtle spiciness and rich ruby color and Victory Malt to tie together the flavors with a nuttiness that compliments the hemp seed flavor. German Hallertauer hops add seasoning and we finish with Cascade hops for a crisp citrus aroma and taste" (source).
  • OddSide El Dankerino, $2.39/12oz - "West Coast IIPA" (source).
  • OddSide Cuckoo Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "Wheat ale with coffee added" (source).

New Whiskey

  • Bib & Tucker Bourbon, $54.99/750ml - "During America’s rough and tumble early days, the term “bib & tucker” was used to describe your finest attire, the kind you’d wear to a wedding or special dance. Along those same lines of thinking, we’re putting forth our finest. BIB & TUCKER is a delightfully smooth bourbon sporting notes of chestnut, and it’s crafted with a sense of dedication that can only come when you know you’re making something truly special" (source).
  • Maker's Mark Cask Strength, $59.99/750m - "Straight from the barrel to the bottle at 108 to 114 proof, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength retains the signature front-of-the-palate flavors of Maker’s Mark® – while amping up the oak, caramel, vanilla and spice to create a remarkable new bourbon" (source).
  • Redemption White Rye, $21.96/750ml - "With their White Rye, you will find a spirit with bold Rye spice that combines beautifully with vibrant lush, tropical fruit on the finish. With just a hint of sweetness on the finish, this white whiskey is much softer than many would expect" (source).
  • Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, $21.96/750ml - "Deep copper (amber) colour. Bold aromas of toffee, nuts and spice. Dried stone fruits follow through on a smooth, supple entry.  Full bodied with rich brown spice notes and hints of marmalade. Finishes with a long, sensual fade. A whisky worthy savouring" (source).
  • Alberta Rye Dark Batch, $26.99/750ml - "Alberta Rye Dark Batch whisky combines contemporary flavor trends with classic notes of premium rye whisky, offering a one-of-a-kind whisky with a robust, sophisticated favlor" (source).
  • James Oliver American Whiskey, $29.99/750ml - "a 100-proof product made from a mash of 100% rye grain and aged at least four years in oak barrels whose insides are so heavily charred that the technical term for their char level is "alligator skin char." The actual location of the distillery is a mystery, but the product is proofed and bottled in Oregon by Indio Spirits Distillery" (source).

Video of the Week | Homebrew How-To's

A must-watch PSA on the dangers of over pitching yeast.

Cheers!

Friday, April 17, 2015

New Beer Friday, The Calm Before Edition (April 17)

Homebrew at the homebrew party
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

On the last Saturday in April a group of BJCP-certified judges, commercial brewers and industry professionals will gather at the Guest House in Grand Rapids to judge the 180 plus entries that were submitted in the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Each of those entries will be evaluated according to BJCP style guidelines, many of them will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals, and the name of another Best of Show winner will be added to the Siciliano’s Cup.

The awards ceremony and the presentation of the Siciliano’s Cup will be the highlight of the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party on Saturday, May 16th at Johnson Park. If you entered the competition but will not be attending the party you may pick up your score sheet (and medal) at Siciliano’s Market beginning on Sunday, May 17th. If you live outside of the Grand Rapids area and would like your score sheet and medal mailed to you, contact me at this address: steve@sicilianosmkt.com.

Tickets for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party are $40.00 and may be purchased in person at the store or with a credit card over the phone by calling 616-453-9674.

In other news, everything is set for the Third Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew on the Calder. On Saturday, May 2nd forty-nine teams of homebrewers will be brewing up batches of “Calder Red Ale” on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids from 9 am to 2 pm. The Big Brew event is free of charge and is open to the public.

Finally, we have a few hop rhizomes left from this year’s pre-order that we are selling on a first come first serve basis for $5.00 each. Call 616-453-9674 for the specific varieties.

New and Returning Beer

  • Founders Old Curmudgeon, $3.09/12oz - "This Old Ale conjures up thoughts of classic sea fairing ports, there local pubs and the weathered fisherman that frequent them. In traditional style Curmudgeon is brewed with an intense focus on the malt bill creating a very strong, rich, malty characteristic and a sweetness indicative of its cousin the barleywine. We are especially proud of the balance in this beer making it deceptively smooth and drinkable at 9.8% alcohol by volume" (source).
  • Anchor Saison Spring Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Saisons originated with the rustic farmhouse ales of Wallonia, a mostly French-speaking region of Belgium. Bière de saison was brewed during the saison froide (cold season) for consumption during the warmer months. Today saisons are made and enjoyed year-round. Anchor Saison Spring Ale (7.2% ABV) is a traditional Belgian-style saison with a California twist. The distinctiveness of roasted Belgian wheat malt is enhanced by the peppery, clove-like flavors of a locally cultured saison-style yeast. And, for this release, Anchor chose three California ingredients—lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger—whose synergy adds a tangy crispness and herbal spiciness to this sharply refreshing, uniquely Californian saison" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Gateway IPA, $1.39/12oz - "Consider Norm's Gateway IPA into becoming a hop head. A session IPA that is a combination of full hop flavor and lower alcohol, giving it wonderful drinkability. Crisp, clean, fruity and refreshing" (source).
  • Victory Summer Love, $1.79/12oz - "The brew has a vibrant and refreshing pale color derived from its lean and refreshing malt body. And the initially floral aroma of hops segues into a well integrated, refreshing hop dryness of European heritage" (source).
  • Lagunitas Equinox, $4.79/22oz - "A creamy, pale oat ale hopped up with a huge charge of Equinox and Simcoe hops for a piney, eucalyptusy, cedary, sprucey, foresty blast" (source).
  • Oddside Grapefruit Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "A wheat beer brewed with grapefruit" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Harvest Idaho 7 Hop IPA, $5.59/24oz (1 per) - "On our never-ending quest for exciting hop flavors we stumbled upon a pioneering hop grower in western Idaho working with a handful of new and interesting varietals. One of these captivating hops, Idaho 7, headlines the first of five bottles in our 2015 edition of the Harvest series. Complex fruity aromas of orange and apricot mesh with hints of black tea-like character and a pleasant fresh herbal bouquet. This IPA kicks off our 2015 series exploring diverse hopping methods: single hop, fresh hop, wet hop and wild hop" (source).
  • Epic Elder Brett Batch #6, $12.09/22oz - "This year’s release pours a crystal clear straw color with hints of green in the highlights. The aroma suggests bright under-ripe fruit, nectarine pit and tangerine peel, with a well cellared, chardonnay complexity. The Brettanomyces funk that defines this beer is more restrained this season, blending smoothly with the white oak of the barrel. The finish is sour and crisp but still allows both the pilsner malt and oats to surface before a light astringent bitterness sets in. Elder Brett is best enjoyed in a snifter glass at a cool, not cold, temperature. Pair it with lighter but complex dishes such as white fish, hard cheeses, salads with bitter greens or fruit based deserts" (source).
  • Ommegang Joemmegang, $17.19/750ml - "The beer begins as a malty brown ale, comprised of Belgian aroma, caramel malts, and oats. A bit of lactose adds body and some sweetness, and a heaping helping of cocoa nibs in the whirlpool provides further richness, and a deep chocolaty aroma.  Hop aroma is nonexistent, and bitterness is there just to keep the sweetness in check" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout, $4.29/12oz (2 per) - "Sunday Morning Stout, a barrel aged stout from brewmaster Chris Wilson and his team at Weyerbacher. Aptly named too, as SMS is a stout aged in bourbon barrels with coffee. The best part of waking up" (source).
  • Greenbush Sunspot, $1.99/12oz - "Hot. Drenched. Delightfully blinding. Right. We're not talking about that ball of fire in the sky, but our refreshing Hefewiezen. Skip the shade and down a glass or two and be cool." (source).

Picture of the Week | Ramps

Ramps aka wild leeks are up in Michgian, y'all.
Bring on the morels!

Cheers!

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Beer Friday, Help Wanted Edition (April 10)

Contemplate a job at Siciliano's
Introduction by Steve Siciliano

It’s getting to be crunch time for Team Siciliano. For the rest of the month Barb and I will be busy putting the finishing touches on our annual trifecta of spring homebrewing events, and I’m sure there’s going to be days when we feel like we’re moving in three directions at once. Running the homebrew competition, organizing the Big Brew at the Calder and preparing for the homebrew party may be a lot of work but we can’t think of more enjoyable ways to show our loyal customers how much they’re appreciated.

Just a reminder that the deadline is approaching for signing up for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party on May 16th at Johnson Park. Those who have attended the parties in recent years know that this annual celebration of the hobby of homebrewing has evolved into a mini outdoor beer festival. Barb has once again picked out some nice gifts for our guests, the folks from Two Men and a Grill will be serving up some delicious food and local music legend and good friend Jimmie Stagger and his bandmates will again be cranking out the tunes.

Space for the party is limited. Tickets are $40.00 and may be purchased in person at Siciliano’s or with a credit card over the phone by calling 616-453-9674.

Employment Opportunity

Are you passionate about craft beer, fine wine and quality spirits? Siciliano’s Market, one of West Michigan’s premier specialty stores, is looking for a friendly, hardworking individual to join our elite sales team. Candidates must be willing to work nights and weekends and knowledge of homebrewing and winemaking is definitely a plus. Please send cover letters and resumes to steve@sicilianosmkt.com.

New and Returning Beers

  • Boulder Beer Shake Chocolate Porter, $1.89/12oz - "Our twist on the traditional american porter, Shake chocolate porter is black in color with rich, dark chocolate aromatics and flavors and subtle coffee-like notes. This unique brew blends five different grains, including Chocolate Wheat, that along with cacao nibs create a devilishly delicious chocolate finish with a velvety mouth feel" (source).
  • Coronado Skull Wrapper IPA, $8.29/22oz - "West Coast style IPA - hopped to Hell and back, melding the pitchiness of Citra with evergreen character of Simcoe and high Alpha bitterness of Nugget hops to create a well-rounded hop bomb" (source).
  • Dark Horse Smells Like a Safety Meeting IPA, $2.19/12oz - "An extremely hoppy ale, that really does smell like weed" (source).
  • Founders Rubeas, $2.99/12oz - "Not another boring summer wheat beer or lemonade shandy—Rübæus is Founders’ way to celebrate the season’s warmest months. Optimizing the flavor of fresh raspberries added at multiple stages during fermentation, this stunning berry red masterpiece is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. No question about it, with a hefty malt bill and 5.7% ABV, this beer is 100% Founders" (source).
  • Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale, $4.29/11.2oz - See video below.
  • Oddside Mayan Mocha, $2.19/12oz - "Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, this smooth stout will keep you coming back for more! It is carefully blended with Dutch chocolate coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and habaneros which will leave you with the perfect balance of chocolate and heat" (source).
  • Anderson Valley The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose, $1.99/12oz - "Originating in the town of Goslar, Germany in the early 16th century, the Gose style (pronounced “Go-zuh”) was traditionallybrewed using salted water and 50% malted wheat and was spiced with coriander and hops.  It was fermented with both traditional yeast and lactic bacteria, giving it a slight tartness, similar to that of a Berliner Weisse.  The brewing of Gose eventually migrated to Leipzig, Germany by the turn of the 18th century and became the most popular style in the region by 1900, only to virtually disappear after World War II brought destruction to the breweries and hard economic times" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, $1.99/12oz - "Summer Solstice Seasonal Ale is not just your average summer seasonal. This unique copper colored ale is smooth, malty, and lightly sweet, with a delicate hint of spice for that oh-so-drinkable, extra velvety flavor" (source).
  • Ommegang Three Eyed Raven, $10.09/750ml - "Push through the thick brambles and present yourself to the Three-Eyed Raven. Abiding in the shadows of the Three-Eyed Raven lies this deceptive Dark Saison. The ominous Three-Eyed Raven inspired us to brew a Dark Saison ale, a hybrid style open to brewer’s imagination. In the end it is neither a pure saison nor your typical dark beer, but instead a delectable blend that both deceives and thrills the senses" (source).
  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, $1.99/12oz - "We brewed this especially bitter ale in dedication to all the world’s would-be astronauts, in remembrance of the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Massacre on the Brewery Party Grounds and also in joyous celebration of our 20-day suspension that following January. Do the crime. Do the time. Get the bragging rights" (source).
  • Shorts Freedom of 78, $2.39/12oz - "Freedom of ’78 is a medium bodied IPA with a wonderful, bright clarity and pleasing bronze hue. The aroma is a unique fusion of citrus fruit and subtle pine qualities. The distinct characteristics of the guava nectar are impossible to miss, and attributes of tangerine, nectarine, and even faint honey flavors are detectable. The finish quickly turns to an expected IPA bitterness that turns dry during prolonged tastings" (source).
  • New Belgium La Folie, $15.99/22oz - "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" (source).
  • Stone Old Guardian, $8.99/22oz - "Barley wines are traditionally hefty brews, but ours is downright excessive. The huge maltiness of this beer is only tamed by an equally prodigious addition of hops, creating a rich, slightly sweet, caramel-hued ale infused with assertive bitterness and bright hop notes, all culminating in a pleasing dryness. While it will evolve into an even more glorious brew with age, this beer's delicious onslaught of flavors will seriously challenge your ability to wait any longer to drink it" (source).
  • Stone Hoppy Old Guardian, $8.99/22oz - "2015 is an odd year, so we followed our five-year tradition of brewing a variation of the classic Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine recipe. This year we decided to focus on an extra-hoppy version, using the classic recipe as the base. We dry-hopped the beer with a new hop variety, Azacca…a dwarf variety with a name that sort of sounds to us like an all-powerful genie who lives in a bottle (coincidently enough) that was recently developed in Yakima Valley, Washington, and formerly known by the decidedly less genie-like name of "13-AD-483." We’ve used it before, most notably in last summer's Stone Collaboration beer Beachwood/Heretic/Stone Unapologetic IPA, but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to really showcase the Azacca hop at this level" (source).
  • Stone Imperial Stout, $8.99/22oz - "Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thick, rich and, well, sinful, you might worry that you'll be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about a sip. Rest assured, however, that even though this seemingly pernicious brew is indeed as black as sin, we guarantee that no actual sin was committed in making it...you'll have to add that on your own. This massive and intensely aromatic beer abounds with notes of chocolate, coffee, black currants, anise and roastiness, and its heavy palate is nothing to be trifled with" (source).
  • Frankenmuth The Hef, $1.69/12oz - "A sweet mixture of spices and fruit with hints of clove and banana, this refreshingly pale German wheat is top fermented, unfiltered and lightly hopped to achieve its smooth, pleasant flavor and unmistakable cloudy appearance" (source).
  • Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, $1.99/12oz - "This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer" (source).

Whiskey of the Week | WhistlePig

Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey, $77.00/750ml.
Now available at Siciliano's!

Video of the Week | Monk's Cafe


Cheers!

Friday, April 3, 2015

New Beer Friday, Grand Rapids Cider Week Edition (April 3)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you’re a fan of the excellent products being produced by Michigan’s commercial cideries you have got to be excited about the slate of events on tap during the inaugural Grand Rapids Cider Week.

Sponsored by the Michigan Cider Association (MCA), the series of events will run from April 8 through April 12 and will include educational workshops, cider tastings, cider pairings and cider dinners featuring cider producers and apple growers from around the state. All workshops and cider-related activities are open to the public.

On Wednesday, April 8 Siciliano’s Market will be co-sponsoring a home cider-making class with Tandem Ciders from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. The $35.00 fee includes cider tastings, appetizers and a complimentary MCA pint glass.

To register for the home cider-making class and for a complete schedule of the MCA Cider Week events go to MCA website.

In addition to the MCA sponsored events, there will also be a number of cider tastings at Siciliano’s Market. Dates and times for the free tastings are as follows:

    • Tuesday, 4/7: Vandermill 5-7 pm
    • Wednesday, 4/8: Farmhaus 5-7 pm
    • Thursday, 4/9: Tandem 5-7 pm
    • Friday, 4/10: Sietsma 5 -7 pm
    • Saturday, 4/11: Uncle John’s 1-3 pm, Blake’s 3-5 pm
Also on Saturday Klein Cider Mill will be selling fresh squeezed juice in our back parking lot between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm. The price for Klein’s award-winning cider will be $3.75 per gallon and you must supply your own containers.

Wyeast Private Collection Pre-orders

Available April through June 2015. Orders can be placed over the phone or in store. Orders will be made Monday morning for the following Thursday.

Wyeast 3191-PC Berliner Weisse Blend™

Beer Styles: Berliner Weisse, Lambics, Geuze, Fruit Lambic, Flanders Red Ale

Profile: This blend includes a German ale strain with low ester formation and a dry, crisp finish. The Lactobacillus included produces moderate levels of acidity. The unique Brettanomyces strain imparts a critical earthy characteristic that is indicative of a true Berliner Weisse. When this blend is used, expect a slow start to fermentation as the yeast and bacteria in the blend is balanced to allow proper acid production. It generally requires 3-6 months of aging to fully develop flavor characteristics. Use this blend with worts containing extremely low hopping rates. Alc. Tolerance: 6% ABV Flocculation: low Attenuation: 73-77% Temp. Range 68-72°F (20-22°C).

Wyeast 3538-PC Leuven Pale Ale™

Beer Styles: Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Dubbel and Tripel, Belgian Strong Golden and Dark Ales, Belgian Blonde Ale, Flanders Brown Ale

Profile: This vigorous top fermenting Belgian style strain produces a distinct spicy character along with mild esters. Phenolics developed during fermentation may dissipate with conditioning. 3538 is an excellent choice for a wide variety of Belgian beer styles. Alc. Tolerance 12% ABV Flocculation high Attenuation 75-78% Temp. Range 65-80°F (18-27°C).

Wyeast 5151-PC Brettanomyces claussenii™

Beer Styles: Old Ale, Historic Porters & Milds, Foreign Extra Stout, Wild & Sour Ales, Fruit Lambic, Flemish Red Ale, Belgian Specialty Ales

Profile: Notes of tropical fruit, pineapple and, to a lesser extent, peach and blueberry round out a classic Brett profile. Produces “horse blanket,” leathery, and smoky character, but at lower level than other Brett strains. Can be used as the primary strain for fermenting, but is often used after a primary fermentation with an S. cerevisiae strain, and in blends to produce sour beers. It is highly attenuative, given proper time to fully ferment out, and is known to create a pellicle during fermentation. Alc. Tolerance 12% ABV Flocculation low Attenuation 80%+ Temp. Range 65-80°F (18-27°C).

Reminder(s) of the Week

The window for entering the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Contest is now open. Rules and entry information can be found on the competition website.

We are returning to the popular Johnson Park on Saturday, May 16 for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party. Tickets are $40.00 per person and are now on sale. Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. Please note that party attendees will again be receiving T-shirts this year and we will be asking for sizes at the time you purchase your ticket. If you are purchasing tickets for a spouse, friend, family member or significant other, you will need to know the correct size. Please don’t guess.

New and Returning Beer

  • New Belgium Summer Skinny Dip, $1.69/12oz - "Skinny Dip is a full-bodied, figure-friendly tribute to the lightly attired summer months. This guilt-free lager’s frisky character and sunny flavor make it the perfect choice for kick-starting seductive summer fun. Lively Cascade hops and complementary peaches brighten a wash of bready malts with sunny citrus flavor and a slight fruity pucker, creating a crisp sip as invigorating as a frothy dip in a mountain pond. Shed your inhibitions this season and take the plunge: Grab a friend, go bottoms up, and share a Skinny Dip" (source).
  • Ace Pineapple Cider, $1.99/12oz - "Our Ace Pineapple is another first [thirst] for the California Cider Company. We believe it to be the original pineapple cider made anywhere in the world! We add pineapple juices to our fermented apple base to produce a 5% ABV cider that has a great pineapple nose and a semi-sweet initial taste with a tart finish. It is extremely refreshing and very quaffable for cider, beer, or wine drinkers. It is delicious when consumed ice cold. We got the idea for the cider on one of our many visits to the beautiful and inspiring Hawaiian Islands. It’s the ideal tropical drink especially in hot and humid climates" (source).
  • Tapistry Reactor IPA, $2.59/16oz - "This dry-hopped American IPA is brewed for those hopheads that appreciate the finer flavors in life. We use a blend of Chinook, Columbus, and Cascade to present you with a bitter IPA that finishes with a citrusy aroma. We love drinking this beer and we know you will too" (source).
  • Tapistry Mr Orange Wit, $2.59/16oz - "Belgian Oat Witbier brewed with Blood Orange, Chamomile and Rose Hips" (source).
  • Tapistry Bring Da Ruckus, $11.09/22oz - "Double IPA with Galaxy, Amarillo, Mosaic" (source).
  • Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger, $1.69/12oz - "This kitty has claws. Named for its one-two punch of fierce hops and sharp rye content,our Rye of the Tiger India Pale Ale is a thrilling ale with bite, handcrafted for the fighter in all of us. Like tigers creeping through tall grass, hopheads will stalk this majestic golden brew, rising to the challenge of its bold flavor attack. Full-bodied and loaded with hops, our Rye of the Tiger IPA is brewed with rye malt, adding a spicy complexity to every sip. It’s an ale meant to inspire feats of strength and skill, a worthy contender in the bout against the flavorless. If you can step into the ring with this hopped-up cat, you’ve earned your stripes" (source).
  • Great Lakes Spring Mixed, $19.99/12pk - "A twist on our Year-Round Variety Pack, the Spring Variety Pack will release in April, and will feature four lighter-bodied seasonal beers" (source).
  • Southern Tier 2xOne, $1.99/12oz - "Slightly nutty and bready notes from the malts, with citrus, tropical fruits, floral and herbal aromas. Elements of lemon, lime, papaya, apple and green pepper will be noticeable on the palate" (source).
  • Rogue Brutal IPA, $2.59/12oz - "Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping. The English malts used are floor malted Pipkin (a mellow cross of Maris Otter and Warboys, from an English company called Beeston), Cara Vienna and Cara Wheat" (source).
  • Anthem Hops Cider, $3.29/12oz - "Traditionally Fermented Cider finished with Oregon grown hops. Cider true to character; dominant notes of fermented apple accented with floral and mineral notes of dry hopping" (source).
  • Anthem Pear Cider, $3.29/12oz - "Anthem Cider finished with a blend of Barlett, Bosc and D’Anjou pears from Hood River, Oregon for the first 7 batches. Ripe pear aromas with a smooth unripe green pear skin finish" (source).
  • Wandering Aengus Oaked Dry Cider, $7.59/500ml - "Rich tannins and spicy aromas with a mild oak finish. Blend of English and French bittersweet apples rounded out with aromatic and sharp heirloom apples" (source).
  • Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider, $7.59/500ml - "At Wandering Aengus Ciderworks we craft intriguing ciders from blends of organically grown, heirloom cider apple varieties renowned for their complexity. Bloom Cider is an authentic medium sweet cider that offers an aromatic apple nose and a bright clean finish" (source).
  • Wandering Aengus Wanderlust Cider, $7.59/500ml - "WANDERLUST CIDER is an authentic semi-dry cider with a rich body and long ginger spice finish. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy with BBQ,pork,turkey or aged cheddar" (source).
  • Greenbush Doomslayer, $3.49/12oz - "And the maple shall make you happy With a nice hit of straight maple sap - no watery substitute here, this delightful brown ale will usher in a whole new season. Hasn’t winter been enough of a drag? Grain: Maris Otter Pale, Caramel Malt 40, Extra Special Malt, Chocolate Malt, White Wheat Malt Hops:North down, Brambling Cross, Nottingham Yeast: House yeast Extras: Maple Sap " (source).
  • Dogfish Head Black And Blue, $14.39/750ml - "Black & Blue is golden Belgian Ale made with over 300 lbs of fresh blackberries and blueberries. With a deep purple full body and a long-lasting lacy pink head, this ale is both attractive and delicious! It is tart and fruity, like our brewers! The subtle bitterness of Hallertau and Saaz hops shines through the fruit forward flavor and sets the palate aglow. (30 IBUs). This tasty brew has smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. Belgian yeast gives this brew a characteristically dry spicy finish. The beautiful interplay of fruit, spice, and alcohol is complimented by a soft malt profile, and a high level of carbonation" (source).
  • Southern Tier Mokah, $9.29/22oz - "As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with – or as – your favorite dessert" (source).
  • Duvel Tripel Hop 2015, $4.79/11.2oz - "Thanks to the third additional hop variety Equinox, our 2015 selection is characterized with the aroma of grapefruit, lemon and a hint of fresh green pepper" (source).
  • Chimay Dorée, $5.89/11.2oz - "Historically not sold in the commerce. Only available at Auberge de Poteaupré, Chimay, Belgium, as "Speciale De Poteaupré". This beer is usually reserved for the use of the Chimay Trappists" (source).
  • Alaskan Imperial Rye, $7.59/22oz (1 per) - "Our Imperial Rye IPA has a big fruity hop aroma with the drying clean taste of Rye that provides some spiciness especially in the finish. The dry hopping of Mosaic, Amarillo and Calypso provides notes of pine, tangerine and pears. This is a big beer with a strong bittering element of three hop varieties in the boil to bring focus to the flavor. It is a crisp and refreshing beer and the Rye flavor is a unique twist on a double IPA" (source).
  • Black Rocks Flying Sailor, $2.09/12oz (3 per) - "This beer has been an employee/pub favorite for the last few years. Falconer's Flight hops hold up against the spicy, peppery, full-body from the crystal rye malt. No lack of flavor here, so quit playing with your dingey and round the break-wall" (source).
  • Black Rocks Barbaric Yawp, $8.29/22oz - Please see video below.
  • Vivant Contemplation, $3.39/16oz (2 per) - "Clover honey added during the boil contributes color and complexity but adds no sweetness to the beer as the sugars are broken down during fermentation. Look for whispers of apricot and nectarine on the palate, mixed with the floral aroma of the hops grown in northern Michigan" (source).

Video of the Week | Yawp

The Barbaric Yawp Scotch Ale, a one time limited bottle release.

Cheers!

Friday, March 27, 2015

New Beer Friday, Meet Smiling Matt Edition (March 27)

Meet Smiling Matt
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It’s often said that location is critical to the success of a retail store but in my opinion nothing is more important than a staff of good employees. Back when I owned a 7-Eleven on Plainfield Avenue and then the little convenience store in Creston Heights—the first Siciliano’s Market—the hiring process was relatively easy. I conducted interviews, checked references and then hired the person I deemed to be the most honest, friendly and dependable. Being able to explain the difference between a lime and cherry Slurpee and being passionate about light American lagers weren’t prerequisites for employment.

Hiring staff members for the current incarnation of Siciliano’s Market is a little more complicated. I still first look for people who are honest and dependable but the specialized nature of Siciliano’s necessitates that the folks I hire are passionate about the products we sell as the store. It's a plus if they are homebrewers or winemakers; if they’re not they must be willing to learn.

I’m usually methodical when looking for new employees but every so often folks with just the right credentials come along and I pretty much hire them on the spot. Such was the case with our newest Siciliano’s staff member Matt Ross.

I know Matt is passionate about the products we carry because he’s spent a fair amount of time in the store over the past few years. He’s also an experienced homebrewer, and I know he has good communication skills because I’ve seen him in action—last winter he teamed up Siciliano’s staffer Ed Long to conduct a series of homebrewing classes at the Kent District Library. And last, but certainly not least, he’s such a personable young man that we have already tagged him with the nickname Smiling Matt.

I’m very pleased that Matt has joined the elite Siciliano’s sales team. I think our customers will agree that we found another good one.

Reminder(s) of the Week

The window for entering the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Contest is now open. Rules and entry information can be found on the competition website.

We are returning to the popular Johnson Park on Saturday, May 16 for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party. Tickets are $40.00 per person and are now on sale. Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. Please note that party attendees will again be receiving T-shirts this year and we will be asking for sizes at the time you purchase your ticket. If you are purchasing tickets for a spouse, friend, family member or significant other, you will need to know the correct size. Please don’t guess.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Oberon, $1.79/12oz, $1.99/16oz - "Bell’s Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer" (source).
  • New Holland Black Tulip, $2.59/12oz - "Mysterious, alluring and seductive, yet tantalizingly elusive; these are the storied characteristics of the Black Tulip" (source).
  • Delirium Red, $6.19/11.2oz - "Colour and sight: Deep dark red colour, with a light pink, compact and lacing head. Scent: Soft fruity aroma, with hints of almond and mildly sour cherries. Flavour: Sweet and fruity, with a nice balance between sweet and sour. An excellent dessert beer" (source).
  • Volkan Black Wheat, $3.69/12oz - "We condition the water for the beer with our proprietary Santorini basalt "Lava rock filter" and then blend the beer with flavourful ingredients of exotic hops, fragrant Santorini honey and Citrus Medica-a rare fruit brought to Greece from Persia by the army of Alexander the Great. For each 1€ of profit, Volkan will help reduce the Greek National debt by 50 eurocent" (source).
  • Lakefront Big Easy, $1.69/12oz - "This big bodied, blonde, doppelbock is brewed in celebration of that festival of all festivals, Mardi Gras. Generous amounts of malts are added to this beer to give it a sweet taste" (source).
  • Hofbrau Maibock, $2.09/12oz - "By tradition, the first barrel of Maibock is tapped in the Hofbräuhaus in the last week of April, in time for the merry month of May. The success story of Munich’s oldest bock beer goes back as far as 1614. With its powerfully aromatic flavour and its alcoholic content of some 7.2% volume, Hofbräu Maibock marks one of the high points in the beer-lover’s calendar" (source).
  • Left Hand Great Juju, $9.99/22oz - "Once beguiled by the master, this amber will take you to places where Good Juju can’t follow and you may just find yourself wanting to linger. A pungent ginger beer with a spicy aroma and noticeable ginger heat. The spicy heat is balanced out by a slight candied ginger sweetness with light caramel notes. Yes, it contains alcohol" (source).
  • Shorts Superfluid, $2.39/12oz - "Superfluid is an American Double IPA with a large, but basic malt bill that explodes with resiny hop aromas! The hop flavors are the focus of this beer due to the lack of sweet specialty grains. Tasty qualities of citrus fruit and berries explode on the palate. Superfluid’s perfect bitterness resonates across the palate, complementing the awesome hop intensity" (source).
  • Oddside Lolly Catcher Hefeweizen, $1.99/12oz - "A carefully crafted, comforting concoction of creamy cohesiveness" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy By 4.20.15, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz (1 per) - "You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. Freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, hoppy IPAs – but we've taken it further, a lot further, with this one. We brewed this IPA specifically NOT to last. We've gone to extensive lengths to ensure you get your hands on this beer within an extraordinarily short window, and we've sent a very clear message in the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right NOW to enjoy this IPA" (source).
  • Stone Russian Imperial Stout, $8.99/22oz (1 per) - "Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thick, rich and, well, sinful, you might worry that you'll be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about a sip. Rest assured, however, that even though this seemingly pernicious brew is indeed as black as sin, we guarantee that no actual sin was committed in making it...you'll have to add that on your own. This massive and intensely aromatic beer abounds with notes of chocolate, coffee, black currants, anise and roastiness, and its heavy palate is nothing to be trifled with" (source).
  • Stone Chai Spiced Russian Imperial, $8.99/22oz (1 per) - "Inspired by the savory flavors and aromas of chai tea, a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper and black tea was blended with batches of Stone Imperial Russian Stout, post-fermentation. The aroma primarily showcases the spice and tea qualities, followed by mild clove and roasted barley characters. 2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout carries rich cinnamon, ginger and cardamom characteristics, followed by flavors of sweet tea as well as coffee from the base beer. As it warms, cocoa and coffee notes will balance out the piquant tea-and-spice medley" (source).

Video of the Week | Tripelroot Stout Madness

Visit the Tripelroot website for more information.

Cheers!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Letter from Doug Dorda: Thanks for a Great Six Years!

By Doug Dorda

It may be said that the greatest gift one can be given is that of family, something I dearly lacked in Grand Rapids before accepting the position at Sicilianos. I hail from the other side of the state, as does my family, and their absence began to weigh heavily on me in the year previous to my employment.

I could have never guessed that this store, a place of my passion and fascination, would also become the birthplace of another family for me. This was a family built on camaraderie, a zeal for food and drink, a passion for infinitesimal details, and a love for the common man who holds the simple enjoyment of life sacred. I don’t just mean those with blood ties to the Siciliano’s, but all who have walked through its doors and shared a moments respite in the truest “mom and pop” environment I have had the good pleasure of knowing.

The words “thank you” have never, and will never, come close to capturing the gratitude I feel for having been welcomed into such a genuine and caring community. Though, after many years, I have decided to leave Siciliano’s as my place of employ, I know full well that, just like my blood family, I will always be a part of the family that embraced me so warmly even before my first days of work at the store. To know that is a gift worth more than all the precious metals on this earth.

From the bottom of my heart, I say this to customers, co-workers, Steve and Barb alike: Thanks for giving me a chance. I love you guys!

Friday, March 20, 2015

New Beer Friday, Farewell Doug Edition (March 20)

Good luck, Doug!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It is with mixed emotions that I am prefacing this New Beer Friday with the news that long time staffer Doug Dorda is leaving Siciliano’s Market to take a position as a cellarman at Founder’s Brewing Company.

While I’m pleased that we can add another name to the list of former Siciliano’s employees who are working in the local brewing industry I’m also sorry to see Doug go. His excellent customer service, his knowledge of homebrewing and his passion for craft beer, fine wines and quality spirits have been instrumental in helping Siciliano’s Market maintain its status as one of West Michigan’s premier specialty stores.

I would like thank Doug for his efforts over the past six years and I wish him much success in his future endeavors.

Just a reminder that the window for entry registration for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Contest will open Monday, March 23 at 8 a.m. and close Sunday, April 12 at 10 p.m. Complete details can be found on the competition website. Participants will be able to print entry forms and bottle labels off the site after registering their entry.

This year’s Best of Show winner will have the opportunity to brew a double batch of the winning recipe with 2012 contest winner and current pub brewer Russ Smith on Odd Side Ales’ one-barrel pub system. The BOS winner will also receive a $500 gift card to Siciliano’s Market in addition to having his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

Finally, we are returning to the popular Johnson Park on Saturday, May 16 for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party. Tickets are $40.00 per person and will go on sale Monday, March 23. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Please note that party attendees will again be receiving T-shirts this year and we will be asking for sizes at the time you purchase your ticket. If you are purchasing tickets for a spouse, friend, family member or significant other, you will need to know the correct size. Please don’t guess.

New and Returning Beer

  • Summit Hop Silo, $3.09/16oz cans - "Introducing Unchained #18, Hop Silo. Brought to you by Summit Brewer Eric Harper, it’s our first Double IPA. With an intense hop profile of citrus with herbal and pine undertones and a supporting backbone of imported UK malts. Available in 16 ounce cans (another Summit first!) and on draught at select bars, pubs and restaurants." (source).
  • Sam Adams Tetravis, $11.19/750ml - "Its deep complexity begins with a molasses sweetness with notes of dark fruits like raisin and fig and develop further with an undercurrent of tart spice from its distinctive Belgian yeast for a truly transfixing brew" (source).
  • De Proef Signature Ale, $17.19/750ml - "A stylish and artistic collaborative brewing effort that combines the enormous talents of Dirk Naudts, at Belgium’s De Proef Brewery, and Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing and Lost Abbey in southern California" (source).
  • Odd Side Paranoia, $2.49/12oz - "An imperial IPA" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Tango, $9.59/750ml - "Tango is a big, bold, Belgian-style dark ale brewed with 1,200 pounds of cherries! Tango pours a beautiful ruby color with a nice fluffy head, offering a very complex aroma of cherries and other dark fruits. The strong 750 ml glass bottle finished with a cork and cage allows the very robust bottle-conditioning responsible for Tango’s effervescence. Dark fruit flavors join the cherries to match up with the strong malt bill with the Belgian yeast adding its 2 cents along the way" (source).
  • Green Flash Green Bullet, $8.29/22oz - "A full-bodied Triple IPA, Green Bullet combines New Zealand grown Pacific Gem and Green Bullet hops. Significant pine and citrus hoppiness hit the palate at first sip, accentuated by tropical notes of mango and pineapple, ending with a moderately aggressive, bitter finish" (source).
  • New Holland Incorrigible, $4.79/22oz - "Incorrigible celebrates the beauty of mischief. Wild yeasts and bacteria run free in our sour-aging cellar, the House of Funk, creating vibrant sour and acidic character in this delicate, yet complex wheat beer. The refreshingly tart session beer will tease your palate with a subtle, layered nuance" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter, $1.69/12oz - "Hop Hunter IPA harnesses the complex flavors of just-picked hops through an all-new method of steam distilling wet hops before they even leave the fields. This revolutionary technique captures and intensifies the natural flavors, creating a unique and intensely aromatic beer. Our custom process gathers pure hop oil which, when combined with traditional whole-cone hops in the brew kettle and makes for an incredible IPA experience" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Nooner, $1.59/12oz or $18.39/12pk cans - "Gather your friends, pack the gear, and head out to wherever the day may take you. A midday go-to, Nooner is our take on the classic German-style pilsner—one of the original session beers. Nooner is easy drinking yet packed with the big flavor of spicy and floral whole-cone hops. Its brilliant golden color begs you to take a sip and sink your taste buds into an extremely welcoming beer, full of flavor and balanced by a crisp, dry finish" (source).

Early Sign of Spring | New Rosé Wines

  • Pellehaut Rosé, $9.19/750ml - "Salmon pink color, slightly pale. Intense nose, very fragrant, characterized by cherry and strawberry which mix of floral notes. Beautifully balanced palate, fresh but not excessive acidity. A beautiful "Harmony" between 5 varieties each bringing their qualities" (source).
  • Bargemone Rosé, $16.89/750ml - "Pale cherry color, the rosé wine of Bargemone offers aromas of flowers and red berries, which make it harmonious and balanced" (source).
  • Villa Des Anges Rosé, $9.89/750ml - "A light-bodied wine, intensely crisp and vividly fresh, it offers complex aromas of strawberries and red currants, with a hint of quince" (source). 
  • Lancyre Rosé, $18.09/750ml - "At Lancyre, rosé has its own special place, firstly because we enjoy it – and not just on summer’s evenings on the patio – but also because it’s a wine that needs attention, finesse and meticulous care. So we grow vines especially for our rosé on two plots of red clay for fruitiness and hard limestone for minerality" (source).

Infographic of the Week

View the expanded infographic on the Brewer's Association website

Cheers!