On November 2nd I received an email from Atlanta. In it a man named Seth explained how he and his wife would soon be moving to Grand Rapids. He found Siciliano's via Google, he had been reading The Buzz, and he was excited, if not for the dreaded Michigan winters, then for all the great beer to which he would suddenly have access.
Skip ahead to this past Tuesday. I met Seth at Siciliano's to trade a six-pack of Great Lakes Holiday Ale (not available in Georgia) for a six-pack of Terrapin Rye PA (not available here). We talked for a long time about craft beer in general, focusing periodically on breweries in and around GR. We talked also about the area restaurants he and his wife would most certainly enjoy—The Winchester and Graydon's Crossing, for example. Seth left with plans that night to visit Hopcat.
The vitality of Michigan's craft beer scene is never more apparent than at times like these. When one is asked to put in words all the good things going on here, one remembers for himself all the good things going on here. Thanks for helping me with that, Seth, and on behalf of all Michigan beer enthusiasts, welcome to Grand Rapids!
New (and Returning) Beer
- Goose Island Fleur, $2.99/12oz - "A Belgian style pale ale blended with hibiscus and kombucha tea, Fleur is a beautiful, rose-colored ale with an aroma of strawberries and hibiscus flowers. Her flavor balance starts with a hint of sweet, ripe berry and finishes tart" (source).
- Atwater Vodoo Vater Dopplebock, $2.69/12oz - "This one is black and sweet! Its malty character derives from two caramel malts, along with Munich malt, to create the smoothest high gravity beer this side of 'The Pond'" (source).
- Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Chocolate Stout, $9.29/22oz - "Moving through centuries, the circular journey of cacao has been realized in our brewing house, encompassing the complexity of the darkest, bitter-sweet candy together with the original frothy cold beverage of the ancient Maya to bring to you our Blackwater Series Choklat Stout" (source).
- Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, $1.99/12oz - "This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, Brown Shugga'. So this substitute beer is a ‘cereal medley’ of barley, rye, wheat, and oats. Weighing in at 7.6% ABV, joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor" (source).
- Schmaltz Brewing Jewbulation 15th Anniversary Ale, $6.49/22oz - "Brewed with 15 malts, 15 hops, and soaring to 15% ABV, Jewbelation 15 marks Shmaltz's boldest anniversary ale to date" (source).
- Schmaltz Holiday Gift Pack, $32.19 - "Includes eight different HE'BREW beers, a custom glass, and Chanukah candles with instructions to build and light your own beer Menorah" (source).
- Windmer Brothers Nelson Imperial IPA, $3.29/12oz - "New Zealand's legendary Nelson Sauvin hop gives us a powerful hoppy character, but none of the heaviness you sometimes find in Imperial IPAs. The result is a big brew with a sweet, malty character that perfectly balances the intense hop aroma and flavor" (source).
- Affligem Noel, $9.59/750ml - "For the season we offer you our best wishes and this especially delicious ale. Rich and dark like our Dubbel. Sumptuous and smooth like our Tripel" (source).
- Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza Special Ale, $13.79/750ml - "Deep mahogany and malty, layered hops, figs, raisins, sugar plums, cashews betwixt rum-laden truffles" (source).
Picture of the Week
|One stop on Fenn Valley's self-guided tour; our review|
of the entire tasting experience is located here