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Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Beer Friday, Big Weekend Edition (October 4)

By Chris Siciliano

Just in case the 20 beers gracing this week's edition of New Beer Friday aren't enough to keep you occupied for the next few days, we're also passing along news of two great events happening this weekend in West Michigan. The first is Brewery Vivant's 3rd Annual Wood-Aged Beer Festival, described thusly on their Facebook page:
[Wood-Aged Beer Fest] is back and bigger than ever. It's our fall gathering celebrating 20+ Wood Aged and Sour beers! Expect old favorites and newcomers alike, along with fantastic festival style eats from the Vivant kitchen. This is the big one folks, not to be missed.
The cost for the festival is $10.00/person payable at the door. It's a small price to pay for the chance to mingle with friends over some of Vivant's finest beers.

Now, if barrel-aged suds don't tickle your fancy, we suggest you attend Vander Fest 2013 in Spring Lake, Michigan, instead. This annual celebration of cider is...
...a very unique festival for Michigan. We feature more Michigan ciders than most other festivals you might attend. We also require our brewing participants to bring with them a sepcialty product that they design just for our festival. All of these specialty beers will either contain cider, or have a similar fall theme to them. The food that we offer you is like no other festival you have experienced. We are bringing some of the highest quality crafted food that Michigan has to offer. You aren't going to find "typical festival food" here.
Among the cideries participating in Vander Fest this year are Vander Mill, Sietsema, Virtue, Robinettes, Tandem and many others. To see the complete list of cideries and breweries attending the festival, visit the Vander Fest Facebook page, where you'll also find instructions for purchasing tickets.

New and Returning Beer (and Cider)

  • Virtue Sidra de Nava, $21.59/750ml - "Virtue’s Sidra de Nava is more tart than the dry ciders of England or funky cidre from France. It’s lemony nose and bracingly tart dry finish are a happy intersection of cider, dry white wine and fresh squeezed lemonade. It’s the most refreshing of drinks, pure sunshine in a glass" (source).
  • Green Flash West Coast IPA, $2.89/12oz, $6.19/22oz - "This West Coast-Style India Pale Ale is extravagantly hopped, full flavored, medium bodied and copper colored. A menagerie of hops is combined throughout the brewing process to impart specific characteristics. Hops used include Simcoe for a unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for strong hop pungency, Centennial for pine and citrus notes, and Cascade for floral aroma" (source).
  • Green Flash Green Bullet, $3.59/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "A full-bodied Triple IPA, Green Bullet combines New Zealand grown Pacific Gem and Green Bullet hops. Significant pine and citrus hoppiness hit the palate at first sip, accentuated by tropical notes of mango and pineapple, ending with a moderately aggressive, bitter finish" (source).
  • Green Flash Le Freak, $7.99/22oz - "Le Freak is a modern ale created by converging two beer styles, Belgian Trippel and American Imperial IPA. The use of two yeast strains further marries the styles and American hops give the beer its modern flare" (source).
  • Green Flash Imperial IPA, $6.79/22oz - "San Diego-style IPA, as it has come to be known by many, is a super-hoppy, high gravity, yet highly quaffable ale. Green Flash Imperial IPA is created in this new tradition, with intense hop flavors and aromas from a unique blend of Summit and Nugget hops. It’s all about the hops!" (source).
  • Green Flash Hop Head Red IPA, $2.89/12oz - "Resinous hop characteristics emerge from an enormous hopping with Columbus, Nugget and Amarillo overtaking the rich caramel malt base. To add luscious
hop flavors and enticingly floral hop aromas, we dry-hop the brew with bucket loads of Amarillo hops. Welcome to the world of Red IPA" (source).
  • Green Flash Double Stout, $2.89/12oz - "Golden naked oats mashed with dark crystal and robust roasted malts create a luscious black brew with a satin smooth finish. Layering UK Target hops in the boil adds a pleasant, earthy complexity while higher fermentation temperatures enhance the overall flavor with fruity esters. An old-world style, done the Green Flash way. Big, bold, flavorful and complex – Double Stout" (source).
  • Bell's Wheat Love Ale, $2.09/12oz (limit 2/person) - "Bell’s Wheat Project (2005) is an experimental foray into the development of complex flavors in beer. The Project comprises five new ales, four in series and one specialty strong product. The first four, Wheat 2, Wheat 4, Wheat 6 and Wheat eight are all made using 55% Wheat (either wholly or mostly malted) and 45% Barley malt. The barley malt makeup is exactly the same in each of the four and consists of three different malts. The total amount of grain in each of the four is also exactly the same, so each of them should have a virtually identical original gravity. The type and amount of hops in each of the four is exactly the same. And the processing through the brewhouse and fermentation is also exactly the same. The changing factors between the ales are the composition of the 55% of wheat used and the type and number of yeast strains used. In Wheat 2 the 55% of wheat is made up of two different kinds of wheat malt, and this ale is made with two different yeasts. Wheat 4 is made with four different wheats and four yeasts. Wheat six and eight made with six and eight wheats and yeasts respectively. The final product, Bell’s Wheat Love Ale, is made with the eight yeasts of Wheat eight and is a strong, but relatively light colored, “wheatwine.” 2. Basic Content List for the Wheat Series Wheat Two Wheats: White, Dark Yeast: Bell’s house ale strain, WLP410 Belgian Wit II Wheat Four Wheats: White, Victory, Toasted sprouts, Torrefied Yeast: WLP550 Belgian, WLP570 Golden, Wheat Two blend Wheat Six Wheats: White, Dark, Toasted sprouts, Torrefied, Red, Caramel Yeast: WLP500 Trappist, WLP530 Abbey, Wheat Four blend Wheat Eight Wheats: White, Dark, Victory, Toasted sprouts, Torrefied, Red, Caramel, Chocolate Yeast: WLP4000 Belgian Wit I, WLP565 Saison, Wheat Six blend" (source).
  • Bell's Expedition Stout, $2.99/12oz - "The darkest beer we make; this Imperial stout contains double the malt and five times the hops of our Kalamazoo stout and is perfect for cellaring as its complex character will evolve over time. Available October-March" (source).
  • Bell's Double Cream Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Sweeter and smoother than Kalamazoo Stout. A beer for special winter occasions. Great with chocolate desserts. Available October-March" (source).
  • Bell's Java Stout, $2.69/12oz - "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).
  • New Holland Pilgrim's Dole, $3.99/12oz - "It is a barleywine-style ale made with fifty percent wheat malt, or what we at New Holland call wheatwine. Pilgrim’s Dole blends warming and slightly sweet flavors with a unique caramelized character" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Citra Dog, $2.19/12oz - "American IPA bursting with citrus aromas and flavors. You’ll find evidence of tangerine, grapefruit, orange and mango in the aroma from the multiple additions of a single hop variety, Citra. There is also a nice malt balance in this bitter, full bodied, doglicious IPA that is a citrus lovers delight" (source).
  • Harpoon Saison Various, $6.69/22oz (limit 1/person) - "Barrel aged blend of six different saisons" (source). 
  • New Belgium Le Terroir, $9.19/22oz (limit 1/person) - "Le Terroir is a French term meaning ‘Of the Earth.’ Used to reference the environmental conditional that affect the brew, we like to think about the terroir of our foeders. These wooden barrels age our sour beer in varying temperatures, humidity and vibrations. The terroir of New Belgium, so to speak. Add in another variable by dry-hopping with peachy, mango-like Amarillo hops, and we created a beer that changes every time we brew it" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, $2.59/12oz (limit 4/person) - "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).
  • Shorts The Village Reserve, $1.49/12oz (limit 2/person) - "Fermented as “beer” from wort extracted from fully modified two-row pale malt which provides a beautiful straw color. This beer is aggressively hopped with Perle and Centennial hops. Its light body and low alcohol allow the hops to become more prominent throughout the beer. The floral aroma is attributed to heavy handfuls of centennial hops at the finish of the boil. Hearty handfuls of hops lend a grape fruity tone in the flavor and finish of the beer" (source).
  • Shorts Kind Ale, $1.99/12oz (limit 2/person) - "A seasonal beer made each fall to celebrate a successful growing season. True to tradition, we commemorate the earth’s agricultural environment by using freshly picked hops to “wet hop” this brew. Straight from the fields on Leelanau Peninsula to our kettle, local hops impart a mellow earthiness to this ale that lead to moderate bitter tones and a subtle sweetness in the finish" (source).
  • Odd Side Ales Black Citra Not So Pale Ale, $1.99/12oz - "A perfect collision of juicy tropical notes with a roasted malt finish" (source).
  • Right Brain Northern Hawk Owl, $2.59/16oz - "This amber ale is malty with a rich biscuity finish. Brewed using Maris Otter malt which lends a nice floral & slightly sweet finish. Delicious, expecially when you are on the prowl for hawks!" (source).

Two-Part Question of the Week 

1. What's your all-time favorite beer?
2. Would you rather have only that beer for the rest of your life, or
any and all other beers EXCEPT your favorite?
Please leave your answer in the comments section below.


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