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Friday, April 12, 2013

New Beer Friday, Nostalgia Edition No. 1 (April 12)

Beer & baseball cards have more in common
that you might imagine, says staffer Doug Dorda
This week we're letting staffer Doug Dorda take a shot at the NBF preamble. Enjoy!

By Doug Dorda

The dust flew into the beam of sunlight that streaked through the window as I breathed a slow and hearty “wow.” The hairs on the back of my hand stood straight and I found that I could not close my mouth, though not for lack of trying. I held a time capsule of sorts, a portal to days gone by and ticket to a single seating of theatrical reminiscences: it was my old collection of baseball trading cards. A smile of yesteryear played upon my lips as I held the cards close to my nose and wafted that old familiar scent of synthetic dyes imbued into composite paper material. The effect left me dizzy with memory.

Suddenly, I was no longer standing in my boyhood closet; rather, I was was witnessing the spirited conversation I’d had years ago with Andy Bird about why Cecil Fielder was the greatest baseball player of all time. In a sort of ethereal experience I hovered above two youngsters who sat amidst a mass of trading cards splayed in disarray across the floor. What struck me most about peeking down memory lane was the feeling of camaraderie and joy that I felt surrounding those cards. There was a group of us at school that would get together, discuss the cards, baseball, and possible trades. I remember having once ridden my bike 10 miles to Billy’s house because he supposedly had a Babe Ruth rookie card. (I later discovered that this was not true, of course, but we had a hell of a time watching the game that night.) It struck me that many of the friends I had were the directly result of my love for collecting trading cards, and that many of the fond memories I have from childhood could in fact be linked, in one way or another, to the act of discussing or trading them. One particularly fond memory centered myself and all of my friends around a table as we lavishly drank soda and ate cracker jacks while we quoted lines from our then favorite movie, The Sandlot (I still love the movie).

Back in present time, I found myself on the phone with old friends I knew would be thrilled by my find. One friend was able to tell that I was drinking a beer while on the phone and inquired as to which it might be. The conversation quickly shifted from baseball cards to beer, and I found myself promising this friend a tour of the beer destinations in Grand Rapids should he come and visit. Hanging up the phone I realized that I had never stopped collecting commonalities with people. In truth, it wasn't the cards that created the memories I covet from childhood, it was the flesh-and-blood fellow human beings that made each moment so special. In fact, I now posit that what we collect as humans is actually a set of happy experiences that are often tied or linked to something. In the case of childhood it was cards, and into my adulthood it has become the appreciation and tasting of beer.

I still sit on floors with friends and discuss the issues of the day, oftentimes surrounded by a selection of libations meant for us to enjoy with one another. In place of riding my bike 10 miles I have planned road-trips with multiple breweries as my only destinations, and I have attended beer festivals that feel exactly like “the big game.” Each memory, though rooted in the common interest in beer, is colored by the faces of my friends and family that have and will continue to make each and every experience as valuable to me as a Babe Ruth rookie card...or a bottle of Westvleteran 12. It struck me that no matter what we collect at any given point in our lives, the effect will always be that we end up closer to those in our lives who collect similar things and in so doing become connected to one another in a way that lasts longer than paper or a favorite beer. May we never stop collecting one another. Cheers.

New and Returning Beer at Siciliano's

  • Hitachino Next XH , $5.89/12oz - "Strong Belgian Brown Ale matured in distilled Sake barrels.the final Maturation takes place in Shochu casks {distilled sake} for 3 months" (source).
  • J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (Port), $10.09/12oz - "Only available filtered and pasteurised in bottles. Matured in wooden casks of Willoughbys Crusted Port to impart sweetness and a heavy vinous characteristic. The tradition of port is very English and many of the port houses proudly trace their ancestry back to the U.K. Portuguese wines were fortified with brandy to improve their keeping properties during shipment. This fully fermented ale has been brewed by JW Lees as a celebration of the brewers’ art. Harvest Ale can be enjoyed now or laid down like a fine wine for enjoyment to come" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Summerfest, $1.59/12oz - "Summerfest is a delightfully refreshing example of a traditional style lager beer. While lighter in body than our ales, Summerfest displays significant hop aroma and a tangy hop bite. The long lagering period adds a smoothness that makes this beer a great summertime treat" (source).
  • Harpoon Summer Beer, 1.49/12oz - "Harpoon Summer Beer is a light-bodied, golden ale that is brewed in the Kolsch style. It originated centuries ago in the German city of Cologne. Clean, clear, and crisp - it makes an ideal summer beer. Available April thru August" (source).
  • Harpoon UFO White, $1.409/12oz - "Light, crisp, refreshing UFO White follows in the tradition of spiced wheat beers that have been brewed in Belgium for well over 300 years. Brewed with orange peel and a unique blend of spices, UFO White is the perfect choice for a summer’s barbecue, a night out with friends or any time you¹re thirsting for something a little different. Like UFO Hefeweizen and UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, we leave UFO White UnFiltered for a more natural taste and appearance" (source).
  • Leipziger Gose, $4.79/12oz - "Leipziger Gose is a top-fermenting wheat beer {60% wheat, 40% barley malt} with coriander, salt, and lactic acid bacteria added in the boil. It is a 4.6% alc/vol eclectic beer whose name evokes a close relationship to the renowned Lambic/Geuze breweries in the Valley Senne nearby Brussels, Belgium" (source).
  • Dark Horse Plead the Fifth, $3.29/12oz (4 bottle/customer limit) - "It's big and full bodied with lots of roasted malts and balanced with heavy hops to put this imperial in a league of its own" (source).
  • Tommyknocker Nice Saison, $1.89/12oz - "A bright golden effervescent brew that is slightly tart with a spicy aroma. This light bodied ale combines a blend of 4 Belgian Yeast strains with an addition of Perle hops. Golden Saison is brewed for summer refreshment in the traditional Belgian Saison fashion" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Ovila Quad, $3.49/375ml - "A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Quad brings the centuries-old monastery brewing tradition to America. Ovila Abbey Quad is rich and complex with layers of flavor including notes of intense dark fruits, and caramel-like maltiness. Rich and complex, this ale should be shared among friends in the true spirit of the season. A portion of the proceeds from this ale goes toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Ovila chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. This medieval building stood for nearly eight centuries in Spain. William Randolph Hearst purchased the monastery in 1931 and planned to use the stones for a castle even grander than his famous San Simeon. Although Hearst’s plans crumbled, these historic stones will rise again in a California Cistercian abbey" (source).
  • Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger IPA, $1.69/12oz - "India Pale Ale brewed with rye malt and loaded with hops" (source).
  • Blue Point Spring Fling, $1.69/12oz - "When the Winter is over, Spring is nature’s way of saying “hey, let’s party!” Spring Fling is how we welcome the warmer weather and spirits. Spring Fling Copper Ale strikes a perfect balance between the malty flavor of special German barley and the zesty spice of fresh American hops that results in a delicious, extremely easy to drink brew. The exquisite blend creates a harbinger of the new season with a delicate hop aroma which delivers a perfect pairing for your Spring Fever. Handcrafted from a unique blend of malts, Spring Fling Ale is a perfectly balanced copper ale that delivers a crisp and refreshing taste with subtle hints of nuts and honey. The arrival of Spring Fling means Winter has passed and Summer is right around the corner" (source).
  • Arcadia Thunder Trail ESB, $1.79/12oz - "Thunder Trail ESB (6.0% ABV): stays true to our English Brewing Heritage. With a strong backbone of Maris Otter and Crystal malts, this Extra Special Bitter is balanced by earthy, spicy, English hops. Our Ringwood yeast strain imparts a dis-tinctly fruity character that is accented by dry-hopping with a modest amount if Palisade hops. We hope you enjoy this quality session ale—wherever the Trail may take you" (source).
  • Shorts Ginger in the Rye, $1.99/12oz (6 bottle/customer limit) - "A most distinguished effervescent potable of total consciousness" (source).
  • He'brew Rejewvenator, $5.79/22oz - "How better to celebrate the evolution of the year than with recipes inspired by generations of the original craft beer warriors, the Monks! Top with a healthy dose of Shmaltz and witness the rebirth of Rejewvenator! "The winter of bondage has passed, the deluge of suffering is gone, the Fig tree has formed its first fruits, declaring all ready for libation." -Song of Solomon. Dates were used to sweeten beer in Ancient Egypt as early as 3500 BCE. Genesis 3:7: "Their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked; they sewed fig leaves and made themselves aprons." Queen Vic commissioned an 18" plaster fig leaf for her cast of Michelangelo's David. "The statue that advertises its modesty with a fig leaf brings its modesty under suspicion." -Mark Twain. Under a fig tree, Romulus and Remus, mythical founders of Rome, were nursed by a she-wolf and worlds away Buddha found enlightenment. Zechariah: "Nations shall beat their swords into plowshares - all will sit with their neighbor under a fig tree, never afraid." Mohammed: "Whoever eats seven Tamr (dates) at breakfast shall rise above magic and poison that day." The Hebrew word for Date palm "Tamar" connotes a woman's grace. "The only difference between a first date and a job interview is not many job interviews have a chance you'll end up naked." ├ÉJerry Seinfeld. Psalm 92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the Date palm." Thankfully all we need to do is pop open a bottle and rejoice... L'Chaim!" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu, $14.39/22oz - "Similar to a beer brewed in China some 9,000 years ago, Chateau Jiahu used a recipe that included rice, honey, and grape and hawthorn fruits. The formula was obtained from archaeologists who derived it from the residues of pottery jars found in the late Stone Age village of Jiahu in northern China. The residues are the earliest direct evidence of brewed beverages in ancient China" (source).

Great Lakes Eye of the Tiger IPA | Selected New Beer of the Week

Great Lakes Eye of the Tiger IPA, $1.69/12oz
"India Pale Ale brewed with rye malt and loaded with hops" (source). 


1 comment:

  1. Cecil Fielder was indeed the greatest baseball player of all time.