The Bossman submitted the following mini essay a few days ago and we thought it a rather fitting preamble for this week's New Beer Friday, especially with the final paragraph.
|Two new beers at Siciliano's|
By Steve Siciliano
T.S. Eliot states in the opening line of The Wasteland that "April is the cruelest month." I don’t know where Eliot was living when he wrote his famous poem about disillusionment and spiritual emptiness, but it probably wasn’t Michigan.
April in Michigan can certainly be capricious—it can tempt us with a few days of tropical warmth then smack us back to the chilling reality of a northern spring. April in Michigan can also be devious—it can bring us tornados or ice storms, monsoon rains or quickly disappearing, lead-heavy snow falls. But April doesn’t give us a solid week of twenty degree temperatures, bone-chilling winds and relentless lake effect snow squalls. No, the distinction of being the cruelest month in our part of the country goes to March.
When the weather we had this past week comes in November we diffidently accept it. When it comes in December the spirit of the holidays assuages it. In January and February we stoically endure it. But in March, when we are deathly sick of winter and are longing for spring, it simply deflates us.
A few nights ago Barb and I went to Founders. Winter was raging outside and there was no joy on the peoples’ faces. The scene reminded me of the dark hopelessness in the blank stares of the people in Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters” (see below).
Later that evening I stood on the back yard deck and lit my pipe. I noticed how the black starkness of the trees contrasted with the slate-grey of the sky. I looked at the big flakes of falling snow and at the high, brown tufts of the ornamental grasses swaying against the unbroken expanse of white. I saw a bright red cardinal land on a branch of a barren maple. “Beautiful,” I caught myself saying.
March in Michigan is indeed the cruelest month, but since in our lifetimes we have only so many Marches allotted to us, we might just as well find something we can appreciate about them, a comforting pint of ale, for instance.
New (and Returning) Beers at Siciliano's
- Boulder Mojo Risin', $3.29/12oz - "Only 120 precious barrels were brewed, adding more than half a ton of extra malt and twice the amount of Amarillo hops, so prepare your self for a full sensory explosion. The double dry-hop addition elevates the grapefruit-like aroma and flavor to an outrageous intensity, while the added malt raises the alcohol level from 7% all the way to 10% by volume" (source).
- Silly Barrel Aged Scotch Silly, $14.09/750ml - "Scotch Silly aged for six months in Bordeaux oak barrels" (source).
- Troubadour Stout, $14.59/750ml - "Imperial stout, refermented in the bottle,roasted malt and strong bitter finish, contains barley malt" (source).
- Castle Brewery Bacchus, $5.69/12oz - "A typical Flemish beer with a pleasant wine-like taste and a rich past. This dark brown beer, which is matured in oak casks, has a slightly acid aftertaste" (source).
- Bellegems Bruin, $10.09/750ml - "Originally called "Ouden Tripel", this ancient West Flanders Brown beer has found a new élan as a regional specialty under its current name: "Bellegems bruin". The main ingredients of our Bellegems Bruin are malted barley, wheat, hops, water, and caramelized malts. These are used to brew a bottom-fermented beer. Blending this beer with lambic beer aged in oak for 18 months results in this specific West Flanders Brown beer. Its typical flavour is characterized by a well-balanced, hardly noticeable sourness. This first flavour impression is soon followed by a second pleasant discovery: a slight bitterness followed by a hint of sweetness" (source).
- Paw Paw Black River, $1.79/12oz - "Black River Oatmeal Stout is a very smooth slightly chocolaty stout. Pleasing mild roast, rich bitterweet chocolate and chocolate ice cream flavor. Terrific mouth feel, clean & drying in the finish. For the stout drinker this is a must try" (source).
- Paw Paw Saint James, $1.79/12oz - "This session brew was crafted to be a true palate pleaser without compromise. English pale and caramel malts surrender their burnished golden hues and soft sweetness to the beer, while German-style Munich malt provides a delightful toasted malt complexity, and roasted oatmeal contributes its silky smooth texture and nutty flavor" (source).
- Theakston Old Peculiar, $1.99/12oz - "Its initial sweetness is, apparently, 'of roasted and vinous notes with a subtle bitter aftertaste'. Strong fruitiness, often with banana notes standing out, is derived from Old Peculier’s fermentation process" (source).
- New Holland White Hatter, $1.79/12oz - "Belgian Style White Pale Ale An innovative hybrid of styles landing between white ale and India Pale Ale. White Hatter brings spice, hops, and fermentation notes together flavorfully. Pairings: seafood, fennel, mushrooms" (source).
- Left Hand Good JuJu, $2.09/12oz - "Fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hop in this pale ale ancestor. Emancipate yourself from the dead of winter, none but the vernal equinox can free the light. A refreshing frivolity. Hey mon. Shuccha fwangaa! Better a witch doctor than a trouble maker. Quit yor’ bitchin’ an’ get to witchin’" (source).
- Dogfish Head Life & Limb Rhizing Bines, $9.59/750ml - "Rhizing Bines is a collaborative IPA using the best of both coasts: Carolina-grown red fife wheat and Dogfish Head’s continual-hopping from the East and Sierra Nevada’s estate-grown caramel malt and Torpedo dry-hopping from the west" (source).
- Epic Double Skull Doppelbock, $4.79/22oz - "Originally brewed as liquid bread by fasting monks this Doppelbock is rich and filling. Crisp and delicious for the winter months" (source).
- Shorts Hopstache, $1.99/12oz - "American Pale Ale dominated by citrus flavors and aromas. Focusing on hop varieties that offer the most fruity and floral characteristics with the addition of grapefruit concentrate" (source).
- Arcadia Whitsun, $1.79/12oz - "Brewed in the style of a mid-19th century English Festival Ale, this unfiltered wheat beer displays a translucent orange color topped with a creamy, white head. Wheat enhances the mouthfeel of the beer and produces pleasant bread-like notes while Michigan honey provides a caramelized sweetness in the flavor profile. This beer is spiced with orange peel and coriander and small amounts of three hop varieties perfectly counterbalancing the sweetness" (source).
Masterpiece of the Week
|"The Potato Eaters" by Vincent Van Gogh|