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Friday, December 2, 2011

New Beer Friday - December 2 Edition

It's early December, folks, and that means you only have so many days left to complete your holiday shopping. This year, instead of fighting through traffic and fighting off the unruly pepper-spraying masses, why not forget the mall and head straight to Siciliano's.

It makes sense really. Think how Grandma would love a fancy new stir plate and Erlenmyer flask for her yeast starters. Imagine the joy on Cousin Joe's face when he unwraps a six-pack of mixed Belgian triples. And what kid wouldn't want a jar of (alcohol-free) maraschino cherries*?

In all seriousness, we have a ton of good gifts for the beer enthusiasts on your list. For example, this one. Even if you can't forgo the mall completely, be sure to stop by and see us on your way home. A cold beer never tastes better than after a long day of Christmas shopping.

*Sorry kids. Maraschino cherries are currently out of stock. How about a big bag of chocolate covered espresso beans instead? My how your parents would love that.

New (and Returning) Beers

  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, $13.79/750ml - "A classic saison, a crackingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown on a single farm in Oregon" (source).   
  • Brooklyn Black Ops, $22.69/750ml - Extremely limited. So limited, in fact, it "does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly 'Black Ops' was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they're talking about" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas, $2.19/12oz - "Spiced for the holidays with honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and Santa's secret recipe" (source).
  • Lake Front Local Acre Lager, $4.89/22oz - "Local Acre is the first beer since prohibition that has been made with 100% ingredients that have been grown and processed in the state of Wisconsin. A distinctly wonderful home-grown flavor comes from the hops and barley being grown in the state’s beautiful summer climate and sandy loam soil that makes this brew a one of a kind Wisconsin original" (source).
  • Lake Front Bridge Burner Special Reserve Ale, $4.89/22oz - "The Bridge Burner pours a deep, fiery amber with a rocky off-white head. The assertive aroma is dominated by dry, earthy American hops: citrus, floral and pine tree notes all make a showing" (source).
  • Lake Front India Black Ale, 4.89/22oz - "This dark, coffee-colored beer pours a rocky, light tan head that leaves plenty of lacing on your glass. The hoppy pine and floral aromas ready your palate for an immediate bitterness. Instead, the sweet, caramely crystal malts blitz through, followed immediately by a sharp piney flavor from the Zeus and Cascade hops. The smooth body leaves a long-lasting hoppy finish" (source).
  • Saugatuck Brewing Co. Neapolitan Milk Stout2.59/12oz - "Neapolitan Stout is a unique blend of milk sugar, chocolate, vanilla beans, and strawberries" (source).
  • Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale, $1.69/12oz - "OMW 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 [7.7%], Old Man is a heady brew that encourages sipping and pondering its essential richness. Drink it fresh now, or cellar a few bottles to see how this old man becomes wiser with age" (source).
  • Samichlaus Helles 2007, $19.39/750ml - From the label, "Samichlaus is brewed only once a year on December 6 and is aged 10 months before bottling. It may be aged in the bottle for many years to come, as older vintages become more complex. Brilliant deep amber, complex dry toasted malt nose and huge intensely sweet palate."
  • Blue Point Brewing Company, Long Island, New York - New to the Grand Rapids market, this brewery was established in 1998. Read their story here. Buy their beer at Siciliano's.
    • Toasted Lager, $1.69/12oz, $3.59/22oz - "Copper in color, our most popular and unique brew is made from six different malts, including English Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carapils, Wheat, and Belgian Caravienna. Toasted Lager’s balanced flavor of malt and hops makes for easy drinking and the special lager yeast we use produces an exceptional, long-lasting smooth finish" (source).
    • Blueberry Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Our fresh Blueberry Ale offers an unusual twist on brewing that turns out to be a wonderful blend of fresh blueberries matched with a distinctive, thirst quenching ale. We carefully add 732 pounds of fresh, plump and juicy, handpicked, USA Northern Highbush Blueberries to every batch. Even before your first sip of Blueberry Ale, a strong, refreshing sweet fruit aroma emanates from the bottle, kicking your taste-buds into overdrive" (source).
    • Hoptical Illusion, $1.89/22oz - "Our classic, American-style India Pale Ale (IPA) features a rare hop grown exclusively on a small farm in Oregon. One taste and you’ll understand why we bought the entire crop. Our Hoptical Illusion IPA is brewed with a generous amount of this select hop that’s added five different ways for maximum hop flavor. The delicious, resiny, citrus-burst that you taste is the “Essence of the Hop” which is balanced by a malty backbone yielding an intense, golden ale" (source).
    • Rastafarye Ale, $4.69/22oz - "A hearty rye malt, blended with fresh West Coast hops resulting in a delicious, deep copper ale with just the right amount of rye flavor to offset the spicy, floral characteristics of the hops" (source).
    • Pale Ale, $3.59/22oz - "Top-fermented and hopped at four different stages throughout the brewing process, this ale has a light-golden color that explodes with a rich, full-flavor. English pale malt lends complexity while small amounts of wheat and Carapils round out the malt bill. Brewed to satisfy hop lovers, it has an immediate floral-citrus flavor that pervades the overall character of this quenching microbrew" (source).
  • Short's Chocolate Wheat, $1.69/12oz - "A Porter where chocolate malt, wheat malt and well chosen specialty grains combine to create a deep black, full bodied beer that provides subtle hop flavors and rich malt tones. This beer balances delicious flavors of roasted caramel, coffee, and chocolate that finish smooth with a pleasant lingering presence" (source).
  • Short's Good Humans, $1.99/12oz - "As a dry hopped double brown ale, Good Humans is unique in part due to the ample dry hopping that takes place after fermentation, giving the beer a floral fragrant hoppy aroma uncommon to most big sweet malty beers. As you take your first sip, sweet malty aromas harmonize with toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The caramel sweetness is mingled with the slightly fruit-like flavors and aromas of hops. The finish is dry and satisfying, making this a beer that pairs well with food. Crackers and cheese, especially topped with a sweet or spicy jam, really bring out the flavors in Good Humans" (source).
  • Short's Cup of Joe Coffee Creme Stout, $2.19/12oz - "A brew uniquely different from most coffee stouts, we cram Higher Grounds roasted fair trade espresso beans into every facet of the brewing process. Prominent aromatics of malt, espresso, and cocoa are abundant and create a flavor robust with big malt characters fused with cream and coffee. The perfect morning night capper" (source).
  • Fort Collins Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado - Another newcomer to the Grand Rapids market. See what they're all about by clicking here.
    • Red Banshee, $1.79/12oz - A "tempting combination of crystal and wheat malts for an impeccable soft caramel flavor" (source).
    • Chocolate Stout, $1.79/12oz - "Subtle hop bitterness rounds out the character of roasted barley and chocolate malt" (source).
    • Z Lager, $1.79/12oz - An amber lager "crafted to be smoky and palatable. Slight caramel undertones and a bright amber color compliment the lingering smoke flavors" (source).
    • Rocky Mountain IPA, $1.79/12oz - Made by "dry-hopping for an intense floral aroma" (source).
    • Kidd Lager, $1.79/12oz - "Chocolate malt lends Kidd its color while German Tettnang hops create the minimal bitterness of the this brew" (source).
    • Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat, $1.79/12oz - "Brewed with real pomegranates and filtered to bright finish" (source).
  • Weihenstephaner Vitus, $3.39/500ml - From By the Pint beer blog: "Vitus is Weihenstephan's winter seasonal. It's like a traditional Bock only in the sense that it's a bigger beer with a bit more alcohol that will keep you warm through the cold winter months. Where the Vitus differs from other Bocks is that that it's based off of Weihenstephan's delicious Hefe-Weissbier. Rather than starting with a malty dark lager base like Bocks and Doppelbocks, the Vitus starts with a sweet and sour Weiss base."
  • Petrus Aged Pale Ale, $4.79/11.2oz - As reviewed on Beer Advocate: "This is my go to affordable sour beer. It is simple, yet soul satisfying. When I am in the mood for a sour, this always does the trick. The mouthfeel pushes this beer into fantastic treat territory. Also, I love that this beer is over 7% ABV! It drinks like a much lighter sour" (source).
  • Brewery Rinkuškiai, Lithuania - Yet another newcomer to the Grand Rapids market, established in 1991 in the Biržai region, known as Beer Country in Lithuania. This according to their website.
    • Werewolf Beer, $2.89/16.9oz - "Simple amber that is crystal-clear and bright" (source).
    • Lobster Lover's Porter, $2.89/16.9oz - "Pours with a tall lingering froth. Beautiful caramel, copper color. Wispy beige head. Complex smell. Aromas of sweet malts, spicy hops, wet hay, plum, brown sugar. Taste is complex too. Flavor of rich sweet malts, caramel. Lots of toffee" (source).
    • Missing Elf Double Bock, $2.89/16.9oz - "Brilliantly crystal clear. It's a golden honey color with little bubbles floating up. A light creamy head forms at first, then fades to small clumps of bubbles around" (source).
    • Before-After Premium Lager, $2.89/16.9oz - "Golden yellow color. Decent white head. Light lacing" (source).
  • Nektar Beer, $1.79/12oz - "For its balanced bitterness, rich foam, and refreshment, Nektar beer has soon become favorite beer to many of beer connoisseurs" (source).
  • Saku Originaal, $2.49/16.9oz - "Saku Originaal gets its special taste from a unique crystal filtration technology, which ensures that every beer is a bottle of pure freshness. It also means that it can be enjoyed lightly and is of the utmost quality" (source).
  • Saku Tume, $1.89/16.9oz - "For the preparation of Saku Tume, in addition to pilsner malt, Munich and caramel malt, as well as burnt sugar is used. This gives the beer its special dark colour, unique sweet taste and a rich fragrance bouquet" (source).
  • Rock, $1.89/16.9oz - "Rock has character. Rock has power. Compared to other lager beers, Rock packs a stronger taste of hops, more punch and not a drop of mildness. A beer for true beer lovers who are not willing to make compromises" (source).
  • Lomza, $2.29/16.9oz - "Lomza Wyborowe has a yellowish-gold coloring with wet grain aromas along with floral hop notes. A smooth, effervescent entry leads to a light-to medium-bodied palate with dry, somewhat light pale malt flavors and alcohol coming through on the finish, along with light, spicy hop flavors" (source).
  • Kalnapilis Original, $2.49/16.9oz - "In creating Kalnapilis Original, our brewers selected the finest Saaz hops. The beer has an especially rich and harmonious flavour while its foam is sturdy and long-lasting. Feel the unique flavour and aroma that seems like it is straight out of the keg."(source).
  • Kalnapilis 7.30, $2.49/16.9oz - "Our strongest beer, Kalnapilis 7.30 has an especially strong aroma. The distinct flavour marvellously matches the higher volume of alcohol."(source).
  • Kalnapilis Grand, $2.49/16.9oz - "We produce Kalnapilis Grand step by step, patiently and thoroughly, from clear water, select hops, and the highest quality barley. By slowly aging the beer, we get a grand, mature flavour" (source).
Picture of the Week

The corner of Wealthy & Henry Avenue, Grand Rapids

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