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Friday, October 24, 2014

New Beer Friday, Slows Bar BQ Edition (Oct 24)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Slows Bar BQ. Coming Soon to GR!
If you live in the Grand Rapids area and you love authentic Southern barbecue you have to be excited about the announcement this week that Slow’s Bar BQ is opening a location in the Downtown Market next spring.

Slow’s has garnered national attention since opening in 2005 in a renovated building in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood a few blocks away from the massive vacant lot that once was the site of Tiger Stadium.

Barb and I visited the Detroit location a few years ago and were impressed by the restaurant’s quality of food and by its extensive selection of craft beer. Click here to read the review of our 2012 visit.

New and Returning Beer

  • New Belgium Accumulation, $1.69/12oz - "Accumulation White IPA was inspired by the white beauty that falls each winter from our Colorado sky. Flurries of Mosaic and Amarillo hops bring soft fruit and citrus flavor, followed by a layer of bitter. Piled high in IBUs, Accumulation will make your winter brighter" (source).
  • Sam Adams White Christmas, $1.69/12oz - "As crisp as the first snowfall of the year, this unfiltered white ale is blended with holiday spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, & orange peel. The familiar citrus and wheat characters of the ale are complimented by the warmth of the spices for a festive brew that’s perfect for the season" (source).
  • Sam Adams Merry Maker, $7.19/22oz - "This rich dark gingerbread stout entices with the aromas of the holidays. The flavor of gingerbread comes alive, beginning with the smooth sweetness and heartiness of dark roasted malts and a touch of wheat. But it’s the intensity and spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, & ginger that add a wicked kick for a jolly playful brew full of merry mischief" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Kvasir, $14.39/750ml - "With the help of biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern, we've re‐created another Ancient Ale, this time from the Nordic climes of Scandinavia. The recipe for Kvasir was developed with the help of chemical, botanical and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500‐year‐old Danish drinking vessel. The vessel, made of birch bark, was found in the tomb of a leather‐clad woman Dr. Pat says was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. The analysis pointed to the ingredients used in this unique brew: wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup. The base of Kvasir is a toasty red winter wheat, and the bog-grown berries deliver a pungent tartness. While a handful of hops is used, the earthy, bitter counterpunch to the sweet honey and birch syrup comes from the herbs" (source).
  • Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, $13.19/750ml - "Blend two Dogfish Head favorites, add maple syrup and carbonate the mixture naturally. What do you get? 75 Minute IPA. The carbon dioxide trapped during bottle conditioning gives 75 Minute IPA a soft and velvety mouthfeel. Dry-hopped with whole-leaf Cascades, this complex IPA has been known to inspire pilgrimages to our brewpub" (source).
  • Southern Tier Krampus, $7.79/22oz - "Dark malts and aromatic hops create the diabolical spirit of this brew. It is finished with lager yeast and aged cold for no less than 30 days. This Imperial Helles Lager will warm even the darkest hearts. This season, replace the cookies with a bottle of Krampus" (source).
  • Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale, $1.69/12oz - "With the onset of winter, the brewer’s mind turns to providing warmth. For our winter seasonal, Southern Tier offers Old Man Winter Ale, a rich and complex amalgam of hops and barley that will put the feeling back in your toes and lift your spirits above the snow. Old Man Winter throws a deep and inviting hue with a thickness that clings to the glass and the warmth of an open flame. Because of its high alcohol content, Old Man Winter is a heady brew that encourages sipping and pondering its essential richness. Drink it fresh now, or cellar some bottles to see how this old man becomes wiser with age" (source).
  • Greenbush Unicorn Killer, $2.19/12oz - "Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices" (source).
  • Left Hand Nitro Wake Up Dead, $3.19/12oz - "Wake Up Dead lurks in our cellars for over 4 months before being unleashed. Hints of raisins, black licorice, coffee and dark chocolate are followed by earthy, herbal hop notes. Any apprehensions about the rest of your day are quickly forgotten, for whatever the mind expects, it finds. Sometimes you’re not in the mood for what everyone else is having" (source).
  • Bells Winter White, $1.79/12oz, $1.99/16oz can - "A Wheat Ale brewed with American Wheat and a proprietary blend of Hefe and classic Belgian-style yeasts. A refreshing winter alternative created from the subtle fusion of two classic flavors" (source).
  • Leinenkugel Cranberry Ginger Shandy, $1.49/12oz - "Did you know that Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any state in America? Our hometown pride inspired us to brew Leinenkugel’s Cranberry Ginger Shandy. The combination of wheat beer, cranberry and ginger is as refreshing as a toboggan ride" (source).
  • Saugatuck Neapolitan Stout, $2.59/12oz - "A perfect blend of classic dry stout character with brilliant flavors of Neapolitan Ice Cream. Experience the nostalgic flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry all in one glass – because sometimes ice cream just isn’t enough" (source).
  • Shorts Lil' Wheezy, $1.99/12oz - "Lil’ Wheezy is a light bodied, heavily hopped, amber colored lager. Unique earthy hop characteristics are balanced slightly by the full grain attributes. The finish is bitter, and sharply resonates on the palate" (source).

Video of the Week | Dogfish Head Kvasir

Available now at Siciliano's (see above)


Friday, October 17, 2014

New Beer Friday, Local Watering Hole Edition (Oct. 17)

Local watering hole. Pullman, Michigan.
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

“How can you experience the rich fabric of life in a locale without visiting bars?”

—Jim Harrison

When you’re far from home and you go into certain bars you must be prepared to get the once-over by the regulars. I’m not talking about touristy bars or genteel bars or bars in big cities that see an unbroken stream of unfamiliar faces. I'm talking about those out of the way, hole in the wall bars where you go to get a taste of the local color.

The degree of scrutiny you get in these watering holes is directly proportional to the remoteness of the locale—a tavern, for instance, in the middle of nowhere in the Upper Peninsula—or the sheer inexplicableness as to why you are there— a seedy waterfront saloon, for example, a block off the Malecon in the sleaziest part of Havana.

You’re allowed to take mental photographs in these bars as long as you follow some common sense rules. You don’t brashly place quarters on the edge of the pool table the minute you walk in. If there’s country music playing on the jukebox you don’t replace it with heavy metal. You don’t sniffle about the drink choices or get friendly with the women unless they get friendly with you and you don’t stare back at a table of burly dudes after asking them what the hell they’re looking at.

I’ve gone to a lot of these bars over the years and have accumulated an album full of memories.

There was that bar in Seney many years ago where Harry Winston and I drank Blatz out of long neck bottles all night after fishing all day on the Two Hearted and where we ate pickled pigs feet, pickled eggs and pickled bologna. We were listening to an old guy who lost his leg in a mining accident talking about why the U.P. should be a separate state when a dwarf walked in with two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. The dwarf was wearing a tuxedo and the women were wearing evening gowns.

There was that night playing pool with a bunch of stoned locals at the Green Parrot Bar in Key West back before it was discovered by the tourists. No one could knock me off the table but no one cared because they were stoned and I kept buying the drinks. A warm spring breeze was coming through the open windows and Al Green was playing on the jukebox.

Then there was that time in Old Havana when Barb and I went into a bar down the street from the Plaza de la Catedral where street vendors hawked black berets and Che Guevara t-shirts and where an old woman smoking a foot long cigar asked us for money. We met a young doctor in the bar who told us there was never any food in the government ration stores. When I asked him what he thought of Fidel and Raul he smiled and looked away.

New and Returning Beers

  • Alaskan Smoked Porter, $8.49/22oz - "The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an adventuresome taste experience. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited "vintages" each year and, unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle, much like fine wine" (source).
  • Alaskan Winter, $1.59/12oz - "Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol" (source).
  • Brooklyn Black Chocolate, $2.19/12oz - "This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, our award-winning rendition of the Imperial Stout style once made exclusively for Catherine the Great. We use three mashes to brew each batch of this beer, achieving a luscious deep dark chocolate flavor through a blend of specialty roasted malts. We brew it every year for the winter season. It is delicious when newly bottled, but also ages beautifully for years" (source).
  • Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Number one in a series of five stouts produced for the fall and winter seasons. This beer is full bodied with hints of chocolate, roasted barley, coffee flavors and a nice creamy head" (source).
  • New Holland Hopivore, $2.59/12oz - "Michigan-grown hops are the story in this seasonal harvest ale. Hopivore is wet-hopped, with hops added to the brew just hours after harvest, creating rare, fresh flavors" (source).
  • Shorts Beard of Zeus, $1.99/12oz - "Beard of Zeus is a super hoppy India style Pale Lager. We heavily hopped the final runnings of a Peaches and Créme batch with Zeus hops and then lagered it. Small amounts of bitter orange peel was added to provide subtle sweet flavors to the beer and enhance the aromas of the Zeus hops" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Snowpack, $18.39/12-pack - "Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. filled its third and final seasonal mixed 12-pack of the year with beers that ward off winter’s bite. Aptly named, Snowpack features two brand new beers and two steadfast recipes. The variety pack starts heading to distributors this week and will be available through January 2015. Whether harnessing the comfort of coffee or borrowing a little bit of summer from the Southern Hemisphere, Snowpack helps uplift those hunkering down for the storm.
      • Boomerang IPA is a blend of American brewing style with Southern Hemisphere flavor. Sierra Nevada added heaps of vibrant Australian hops to this bold beer. With a light, balanced malt body and compelling floral and fruity hop aromas, Boomerang is an intriguing international spin on the classic IPA.
      • Coffee Stout combines the best of Sierra Nevada’s two favorite brews—coffee and beer. The brewery blended the hearty flavors of coffee with dark roasted malts to create a complex and layered mix of dark chocolate, caramel and light fruity notes punctuated with a roasty, dry finish for the perfect cold-weather drink.
      • Porter was part of Sierra Nevada’s inaugural lineup decades ago. Its big malt flavor earned it permanence, and craft drinkers continue to relish the rich, bittersweet and roasted gem. Medium bodied and balanced by crisp American hops, Porter is a great finale to a long winter’s day of work.
      • Pale Ale began as a home brewer’s dream, grew into an icon, and inspired countless brewers to follow a passion of their own. Its unique piney and grapefruit aromas from the use of whole-cone American hops have fascinated beer drinkers for decades and made this beer a classic, yet it remains new, complex and surprising to beer drinkers every day. It is—as it always has been—all natural, bottle conditioned and refreshingly bold." (source).
  • New Belgium Le Terroir Dry Hopped Sour Ale, $15.99/22oz - "Le Terroir: French, meaning ‘from the terrain, soil, land, ground, earth.’ You may have heard it as a wine term speaking of the environmental conditions of the vineyard, the pH of the soil, even the slope of the land. But beer has it too, especially a New Belgium sour beer, which oozes terroir from the pores of the wooden foeders we age it in. They produce a base beer that’s golden-colored with a soft overripe peach aroma and just the right amount of tart. And after 3 years in the foeders, you can bet it has some nice earthy tones. Round out that fruity base with even more unique fruity hops like Amarillo and citra, and this beer may just have more terroir than your classiest wine. And with the hop burp, compliments of the dry-hopping, Le Terroir is definitely classy" (source).

Picture of the Week | Blandford Nature Center

Less than a mile from Siciliano's, Blandford Nature Center
is a great place to walk off all the tasty suds from New Beer Friday.


Friday, October 10, 2014

New Beer Friday, The Road North Edition (Oct. 10)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

A shadow swept across the road just as he was turning off the roundabout and when he looked up he spotted a red-tailed hawk banking north above the apple orchard. While he followed the curve of highway around Half Moon Lake he imagined he was the hawk. He flew over fallow muck fields and roadside shacks with huge front yard satellite dishes. He gazed down at the farm with the weathered red barn and the ivy covered, yellow brick silo and the clapboard house with the rusted steel roof and fieldstone porch. He saw a village in the distance and when he was on the outskirts of Grant he circled down and landed at a gas station on the edge of a brown corn field. While he filled his tank he watched an old man slowly get out of a faded blue pickup and he wondered what the man did that day to get his overalls so dirty.

Driving through the tight cluster of buildings along the south bank of the Muskegon River in Newaygo, he remembered the day he sat with his father drinking dollar draughts at the Sportsman Bar. His father was dying but he was very happy because they were drinking dollar draughts and were heading up north. On the way out of town he remembered how bare the river banks looked after they took out the dam and how bad the traffic jams at the narrow steel bridge were before they straightened the road.

In White Cloud he smiled at the faded outdoor banner on the side of Charlie’s Pub announcing the arrival of Oberon. He knew the banner would be there until it was replaced by a bright orange one welcoming the deer hunters. He smiled again in Baldwin when he thought about the chain-smoking waitress in the Log Cabin Bar who told him he couldn’t smoke his pipe. When he was passing the boarded up Crossroads Tavern he remembered the time, many years afterward, when the tattooed bartender hid an ash tray because he thought he was a cop.

He turned west on 6 Mile and the autumn colors of the tall roadside weeds in the muted afternoon sunlight reminded him of Monet’s haystacks. He was thinking of the haystacks and wondering about this remarkable ability to see in color when it suddenly occurred to him that if humans could only see in shades of greys, blacks and whites, they wouldn’t even realize that there was this incredible beauty in the universe that they were incapable of seeing. This made him begin to wonder whether there was something else that he was not seeing.

He reflected on this while standing at the end of his dock that evening listening to the cries of the loons and while watching a V-shaped gaggle of honking geese flying south over the deserted lake. Later when he stepped outside into the enveloping blackness of the night he was momentarily blinded by the light of a billion blazing stars.

New and Returning Beers

  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter, $1.79/12oz - "With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It’s prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors" (source).
  • Deschutes Jubelale Winter Warmer, $1.79/12oz - "A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it’s like Yule fire and family" (source).
  • Deschutes Inversion IPA, $1.79/12oz - "Enter, if you will, all the glorious aromatic complexity of the hop. This big, bold IPA's intense multi-hop kick gets a subtle dose of restraint from select Crystal and Carastan malts. For discriminating hop heads" (source).
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale, $1.79/12oz - "Our most popular beer, Mirror Pond Pale Ale is the quintessential northwest pale ale. Cascade hops and more Cascade hops give this tawny colored ale delicious hop-forward aroma and flavor. Pale malt allows the hops to linger, not overpower" (source).
  • Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped" (source).
  • Smuttynose Robust Porter, $1.69/12oz - "A hearty ebony colored ale that starts with a rich malty palate finished with clean hops and notes of coffee and chocolate" (source).
  • Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.79/12oz - "This unique ale begins its life as a powerful and richly sweet stout to which Michigan tart cherries are added. The resulting black brew is complex, sweet and tart with a distinct cherry finish. It will improve with cellaring" (source).
  • Bell's Special Double Cream, $2.09/12oz - "Sweeter and smoother than Kalamazoo Stout. A beer for special winter occasions. Great with chocolate desserts" (source).
  • Bell's Java Stout, $2.79/12oz - "The satisfying elements of both stout and coffee come together in this full-bodied treat. A marriage of Sumatra's best with rich chocolate and roasted malt provides for a truly enlightening beer" (source).
  • Founders Harvest Ale,  $3.39/12oz - "This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a large puffy white two-finger head. First sip of this beer rewards with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh orange and lemon citrus then continues to introduce toasted malt undertones" (source).
  • Ommegang Valar Morghulis, $9.29/750ml - "Valar Morghulis possesses a deep chestnut brown color with a persistent and creamy tan head. Rich aromas of caramel, toffee, ripe fruits and burnt sugar, with a hint of cloves. The taste is delicately balanced with rich malty sweetness, caramel and just enough bitterness to balance out its malty backbone. A surprisingly dry finish is light on the tongue, which belies the initial aroma" (source).
  • Ommegang Scyth and Sickle, $2.79/12oz - "Scythe & Sickle Harvest Ale is brewed with barley, wheat, oats and rye. Scythe and sickle is a seasonal brew that celebrates the richness of the grain harvest. Brewed with barley, wheat, oats and – in a nod to traditional upstate New York grains – rye, this fine ale is malty and creamy on the palate. The flavors of the grains and earth shine through. Enjoy the refreshment of the season and joys of fine brewing" (source).
  • Oscar Blues Ten Fiddy, $4.19/12oz - "This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hide a hefty 98 IBUs underneath the smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY is the ultimate celebration of dark malts and boundary-stretching beer" (source).

Picture of the Week | Wood Aged Beer Fest

Thanks to Brewery Vivant for throwing a great event last weekend!


Friday, October 3, 2014

New Beer Friday, Limited Edition Edition (October 3)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you’re a home winemaker you know how rewarding it is to share the fruits of your fermented labor with others. Garnering kudos from a life enriching hobby is certainly gratifying. When that hobby saves you barrels of cash it’s definitely a bonus.

There’s no denying that stocking a cellar with commercial offerings from prestigious wine regions can get a tad pricey. Fortunately the industry’s leading concentrated kit manufacturer is continuing to provide us home winemakers with some unique and highly affordable options.

Each year Winexpert releases five super-premium kits from the world’s great wine regions that are not part of the company's regular portfolio. These kits are available only on a pre-order basis and are released during the first four months of the year.

We are now taking orders for the 2014 Limited Edition offerings. The following are the individual varieties along with the respective pricing and release dates. Complete descriptions are available here.

    • Australian Shiraz Viognier, $139.95 – Available January
    • German Riesling, $135.95 – Available January
    • Washington Triumph, $139.95 – Available February
    • California Trio Blanca, $135.95 – Available March
    • Super Tuscan with grape skins, $163.95 – Available April 
All these kits yield six gallons of wine which translates into thirty 750-ml bottles. When you do the math, that’s a pretty good price for two and a half cases of great wine!

Please note that we must receive pre-orders by Sunday, December 7, 2014 either by phone (616-453-9674), email ( or, of course, in person at the store.

New and Returning Beer

  • Brewery Vivant Pumpkin Tart, $3.39/16oz - "This rustic beer is fermented with real pumpkin and a hint of fall spices. Our Farmhouse yeast yields a delightful tartness that really sets this pumpkin beer apart" (source).
  • Odd Side Mayan Mocha Stout, $2.19/12oz - "Mayan Mocha Stout isn’t for the faint of heart. This brew is spicy — and by all means, is one of the spiciest drinks I’ve ever had. If you can get past the initial shock of the spice contained in Mayan Mocha Stout, you get to experience some wonderful chocolate and coffee flavors. But the bartender warned me that this was very spicy — and she certainly wasn’t kidding" (source).
  • Summit Unchained Series Hurkulean Woods, $2.09/12oz - "Herkulean Woods, Batch #16 in the Summit Unchained Series, is very much a product of its environment. With malts developed and grown in Minnesota. Maple syrup from Wild Country in Lutsen, MN. Spruce tips from Iowa. And a Lager yeast from the frontier days. All yielding a complex, hearty beer that lives large in both malt body and hop character with piney, earthy, spicy notes. This beer from Summit brewer Christian Dixon is only available for a short while, so get it while the getting is good" (source).
  • Frankenmuth Brown Hound, $1.69/12oz - "This traditional Munich-style Dunkel lager has a distinguished dark appearance and creamy off-white head highlighted by a smooth, nutty-sweet toasted flavor of malt and chocolate notes" (source).
  • Shiner Cheer, $1.59/12oz - "This holiday dunkelweizen practically unwraps itself with hints of Texas peaches and pecans. Caramelized malts give it a uniquely rich malt body that's perfect for the holidays" (source).
  • Atwater Cherry Stout, $1.79/12oz - "Cherry Stout is a blend of 6 malts combined with Montmorency Cherry concentrate from our home state of Michigan. A stout to be cherished" (source).
  • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is our homage to the craft and heritage of America’s brewers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins in beer date back to early colonial times, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and "pompions." In that spirit, we brew our ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original" (source).

Customer Quote of the Week

"I’ve never tried mead but I do have a Viking helmet, so…"


Friday, September 26, 2014

New Beer Friday, Walter Mitty Edition (Sept 25)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I guess I have a touch of Walter Mitty in me because I often have fantasies about being something a bit more exciting than a fine wine and craft beer merchant. I’ve daydreamed about being a suave CIA spy operating in some steamy third world country, an expatriated writer living in Paris, a hard drinking Key West charter boat captain trying to forget his shady past and a world weary bar owner in Tangier who constantly gets enlisted to help mysterious and beautiful women get out of jams.

Besides those completely improbable imaginative soarings, I’ve also daydreamed about being a pipe smoking, tweed wearing college professor who orates brilliantly on the prose of Hemingway and Faulkner to classrooms full of adoring students. And so when I was asked to teach a series of Wine Making 101 classes in the Kent District Library system this fall, my dreams of being an erudite, somewhat eccentric pedagogue resurfaced and I enthusiastically agreed. So far I’ve taught five of these classes at five different KDL braches and have two more to go.

I must confess that I’m surprised by how many folks are still using libraries. I used them a lot too before Al Gore invented the internet. The fact that all the branches have been packed with patrons when I was there is an indication that the folks at KDL are doing what it takes to keep libraries relevant and are using our tax dollars wisely.

I’d like to thank those fine folks for giving me the opportunity to fulfill, albeit on a very small stage, one of my Walter Mittyesque fantasies.

Now if only the director of the CIA would give me a call.

* * *

Heath MacDonald, the owner of Morgan Vineyards in Coopersville, Michigan, has informed me that he has a good amount of DeChaunac and Frontenac grapes available for purchase at forty cents a pound.

Winemakers may pick these grapes on Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, September 28th between the hours of 9am and 3pm. Please note that you are required to pick the grapes yourself and you must supply your own containers.

Contact Heath at 616-638-9353 for more information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Shorts White Falcon, $1.99/12oz - "White Falcon is a Belgian White Ale hopped assertively like an American India Pale Ale. Its pale yellow color is lightened further by an appropriate haze from the use of malted white wheat. An intense, fruit-filled nose comprised of notable hop aromas, distinctive yeast esters, and pronounced lemon and orange zest is prominent. Flavors of soft grain and earthy hops mingle with an overall fruitiness, amplified by coriander and other lively spice qualities. An agreeable bitterness heightens in the finish before turning unmistakably dry" (source).
  • Shorts Bonafide Legit, $1.69/12oz - "A light bodied American Pale Ale brewed entirely with Northern Michigan grown Summit hops.  An excellent sharp aroma of strong floral and fruity characteristics stings the senses with hop laced anticipation. A sticky hop filled mouthful of damp earthy pine with notable herbal accents coats the entire mouth, followed by a big resiny bitterness that lingers well into the finish, drying the palate and resonating boldly" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Oktoberfest Celebration Lager, $2.19/16oz - "A malty, German-style lager with low to moderate hop bitterness, featuring a medium body and brilliant amber color" (source).
  • Paw Paw Coconut Porter, $1.79/12oz - "Full bodied, smooth & creamy. Hand toasted coconut gives it that Almond Joy satisfaction" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Bernese Barley Wine Ale, $3.59/12oz - "Like Mr. Buck, the Bernese Mountain Dog on the label, this is a BIG beer. A complex, dry-hopped, and unfiltered barley wine ale that will only get better with age. The malt aroma, possible only in a barley wine ale, together with deep malty flavors melds perfectly with the hops for a truly unforgettable experience" (source).
  • New Holland Carhart Woodsman, $1.59/12oz - "Celebrates craftsmanship and hard work. Locally-grown Cascade hops bring a brightness to this barrel-aged American pale ale. Malt sweetness and toasted oak combine for a smooth, refreshing finish" (source).
  • Grizzly Peak Humongous, $3.39/12oz - "Just the way Paul Bunyan likes it: a huge-bodied beer with big flavor that's as smooth as his axe blade. Humongous follows its traditional imperial red-roots with multiple hop additions, adding complexity and layers of bursting hop flavors. Columbus, Citra, Michigan grown Cascade, and Michigan grown Chinook hops impart 69.9 IBUs that give Humongous balance and poise. A deep amber color, this 9.6% ABV brew could even knock Babe the Blue Ox on his butt with its smooth hoppy goodness" (source).
  • Founders Dark Penance, $3.09/12oz - "A heavy malt foundation includes Crystal malt for sweetness and just enough Midnight Wheat malt to push the color to black. The bitterness is huge, but balanced by malt sweetness and alcohol burn. The hop flavors and aromas range from citrus to floral to pine thanks to a delicious blend of hand-selected Chinook and Centennial hops" (source).
  • De Cam Oude Lambik, $45.09/750ml - "Aged in vats of more than 100 years old, De Cam's Oude Lambiek is a blend of unpasteurized 3 year old lambics specially selected by brewer/blender Karel Goddeau for their character and roundness. Still without a head, OUDE LAMBIEK should be chilled and enjoyed like a fine white wine but prized for the wondrful, rare, spontaneously fermented Belgian Ale that it is" (From the label).
  • Vanberg et Famille Lambikx Oak & Chestnut Barrel Aged, $30.09/750ml - "The first Kriek Lambic in our LAMBICKX line! This stunning ruby-colored lambic has a wonderful aroma of almonds, macaroon and cherry stones. It is dry, with an elegant fruit palate. Lightly sparkling to still" (source).
  • Vanberg et Famille Lambikx French Oak, $25.09/750ml - "The beer you hold in your hand reflects the specific conditions present when it was brewed and during its years of aging in cask. Those conditions cannot be replicated and this beer can never be made again. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience and is now all yours. Enjoy it!" (source).

Photo of the Week | Apple Crushing

Remember folks! Our fruit crushers and basket presses
are free to use for the next two Saturdays.


Friday, September 19, 2014

New Beer Friday, Klein Cider Edition (Sept 19)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

On the next three Saturdays (starting tomorrow), we will be offering the free on-site use our fruit crushers and basket presses in the parking lot behind the store. It’s generally been a good fruit growing season here in West Michigan so in addition to home winemakers, I expect to see a number of cidermakers showing up with bushels of apples.

I admire the enthusiasm of these ultimate do-it-yourselfers because using our equipment to extract juice from apples is not easy. The fruit must be first sliced and diced with the manual crusher and this most definitely is a two person job. While one person holds the crusher steady the other cranks the handle and it isn’t long before the one doing the cranking is sweating. Depending on how many apples you have and how many breaks you take, the crushing could take a few hours.

After the apples are crushed they need to be pressed, and unless you’re using commercial equipment, apples are rather reluctant to give up their juice. And then there are the bees. They generally leave you alone because they’re after the sweet juice not you, but if you have the slightest tinge of apiphobia it is disconcerting to have them constantly buzzing around in your space.

It’s a good thing that there are a number of commercial apple mills in West Michigan who are willing to sell their juice to those of us home cidermakers who would rather have someone else do all the hard and tedious work.

This year Klein Cider Mill will be selling fresh squeezed juice in our back parking lot on Saturday, October 11, and Saturday, October 26, between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm. The price for Klein’s award-winning cider will be $3.50 per gallon and you must supply your own containers.

For a directory of apple orchards and cider mills in West Michigan check out this link.

New and Returning Beer

  • Shorts Wowee Zowee, $1.99/12oz - "Wowee Zowee is a refreshing golden ale infused with fresh mint and mango. An abundance of green mint and fruity aromas pour off of this light bodied ale, opening up the senses with a tingling cool freshness. The first taste offers a minty blast up front, followed by some pleasant, fruity, mango sweetness. The enjoyable balance of both flavors turns slightly tart and bitter as it resonates, but with ample carbonation, the overall finish is crisp and clean" (source).
  • Founders Breakfast Stout, $2.69/12oz - "The coffee lover’s consummate beer. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee, this stout has an intense fresh-roasted java nose topped with a frothy, cinnamon-colored head that goes forever" (source).
  • North Peak Hooligan, $1.99/12oz - "With North Peak’s Hooligan Hoppy Pumpkin Ale you will never have to choose between your favorite pumpkin beer and IPA again. Hooligan is brewed with real pumpkin and fresh spices to give you all the spicy pumpkin goodness you could ask for. And did we mention the hops? Hooligan is brimming with hops! It is brewed in Traverse City, MI, on Old Mission Peninsula incorporating locally grown hops" (source).
  • Dark Horse Scotty karate, $2.09/12oz - "For those of you who don’t know who 'Scotty Karate' is… He is a local one man band who plays an amazing slurry of honky tonk influenced, punk country songs. His voice is amazing as well as his high energy shows. (Check him out So, we decided to make a beer and name it in his honor. This beer is a big, full bodied Scottish ale. It is 9.75% alc. but it is very smooth and balanced. " (source).
  • Goose Island Rambler IPA, $1.59/12oz - "A bold ale with a mix of herbal, woody, and citrus aromas from Mt. Hood and Amarillo hops" (source).
  • Goose Island The Muddy, $3.19/12oz - "Brewed with molasses, brewer’s licorice, and Belgian dark rock candi sugar, The Muddy is an imperial stout with amplified sweetness for a taste as distinctive as the Chicago blues that inspired its creation" (source).
  • Bells Third Coast Old Ale, $2.79/12oz - "Third Coast Old Ale focuses on malt, offering notes of burnt caramel & other earthy malt flavors. Designed with vintage aging in mind, the malt aspect is matched to a heavy complement of hops. Sharply bitter at first, this will fold into the malt character over time and balance out the maltiness" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Highway 128, $1.99/12oz - "The refreshing tartness in this divine, bright golden-colored ale gives way to earthy undertones and hints of citrus followed by a slight sea salt-like dryness and tangy, effervescent finish" (source).

Video of the Week | Brewery Vivant, WABF


Friday, September 12, 2014

New Beer Friday, The Big Sale Continues Edition (Sept 12)

By Steve Siciliano

I’d like to remind everyone that our annual homebrew and winemaking Customer Appreciation Sale is currently in full swing and will continue through the close of business on Sunday, September 14.

If you're already a homebrewer or winemaker, you're going to want to take advantage of the 15% discount on most equipment and supplies and check out the items on the deeply discounted list. If you're thinking about taking the plunge into these life-enriching hobbies, now's the time to do it as the beer and winemaking equipment kits are both heavily discounted.

Don't forget that we will be offering free German wieners, sauerkraut and draft root beer to all our great customers on Saturday, September 13. In the meantime, check out this week’s list of the new and returning beers that we have managed to squeeze onto the shelves of our still jam-packed store.

New and Returning Beers

  • Brewery Vivant Tree Bucket, $4.39/16oz - "Somewhere there is a Belgian Monk who’s head is spinning. A Belgian brewer would never put this much hop into a beer. However, we are not Belgian are we? We can do whatever we want. This is an unconventional beer. Belgian candy sugar, classic Belgian yeast, and a boat load of hops, plus some dry hopping in top of that. A very unique take on a Double IPA that will make it stand out in a crowd" (source).
  • Shipyard Pumpkinhead, $1.79/12oz - "Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale is a crisp and refreshing wheat ale with delightful aromatics and subtle spiced flavor" (source).
  • Founders Mosaic Promise, $1.79/12oz - "Mosaic Promise showcases a single malt—Golden Promise—and a single hop—Mosaic. The traditional barley’s depth of flavor and the versatility of the hops’ bittering, flavor and aroma characteristics are the strong pillars that comprise the structure of this clean, rich, golden beer. We can brew complex beers with the best of them, but we recognize that there’s also beauty in simplicity. The beer clocks in at 5.5% ABV and 50 IBUs" (source).
  • Right Brain Smooth Operator Cream Ale, $2.59/16oz - "Made with crystal clear water from Lake Michigan, but never watered down. We’ve searched around the world and have yet to find a beer quite like this. A brilliant straw-colored ale, with a crisp and clean body, subtle malty profile, and satisfying finish reminiscent of a honey-dipped biscuit" (source).
  • Dogfishhead Punkin' Ale, $2.59/12oz - "Punkin' Ale is a full-bodied, spiced brown ale brewed with baked pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale is named after the annual Punkin' Chunkin Festival held near Lewes, Delaware the weekend after Halloween" (source).
  • Motor City Brewing Works Pumpkin Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Motor City Pumpkin Ale is a special combination of oven roasted Detroit grown pumpkins and spices, along with a traditional Belgium yeast for a wonderful rich, earth and spicy undertone" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale, $2.19/12oz - "With a brilliant, deep copper hue and creamy beige-colored head, our Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale has inviting aromas of caramelized malt and baking bread with highlights of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin and seasonal spices. The pleasantly creamy mouthfeel and silky body embrace the sweet caramel flavors and tang of spices (with just a hint of hops) that ends in a smooth, round finish" (source).
  • Southern Tier Tier De Garde, $9.09/22oz - "Tier de Garde is a Belgian Style India Pale Ale brewed with grapefruit peel. It is the third in our acclaimed Belgian Style Series. Tier de Garde is akin to a Belgian Tripel crossed with an American IPA. Deep copper in color with a thick, rocket white head and persistent lacing. It is noticeably hazy with yeast and sediment visible. Carefully pour it into your favorite glass. Citrusy, hoppy and spicy with some sweetness in the aroma, while being dry and effervescent on the tongue. The flavor is bitter and spicy, peppery and grapefruit zest is apparent. Also expect floral and apricot/pear notes" (source).

Video of the Week | Advice for Homebrewers

Just beginning your homebrew career? Your pals at Founders have some advice.