|Rosy Mounds, Grand Haven|
One example of W. Mich's natural beauty
While I’m delighted that Lonely Planet named the Grand Rapids area the top tourist destination in the United States for 2014, I also have to admit that I’m a little surprised.
Let's think about this for a minute: At first blush, Grand Rapids is a medium-sized, Midwestern city with relatively few significant historical sites (compared to, say, Philadelphia or DC), no well known regional cuisine (yet) and only a developing arts scene. Nonetheless, our modest little city was crowned the nation’s top place to visit in the upcoming year by the world’s largest publisher of travel guides. I find that nothing short of amazing.
Lonely Planet’s editor-at-large Emily Wolman cited GR’s emerging art, food and beer cultures and the proximity of Lake Michigan’s beaches as the reason her staff named the city the most desirable place to spend a U.S. holiday in 2014. Taking nothing away from ArtPrize, the area’s many fine restaurants or the Big Lake’s beautiful beaches, I seriously doubt that this high honor would have been bestowed upon Grand Rapids if not for the twenty-five plus craft breweries in the West Michigan area that are producing world class beers.
Here at Siciliano’s, we constantly see travelers from other parts of the country. Every so often we see them from other parts of the world. Over the past three months folks from England, Brazil and Australia have stopped by the store and they all informed us that the reason they came to the area was for the Michigan produced beer.
No question the Grand Rapids area has a lot going for it. It's a wonderful place to visit, made so by the natural beauty of the shoreline, the interesting, friendly people who live here, and the improving food and art cultures. But the fact that someone would travel halfway around the world for a pint or two of beer, now that, my friends, is the definition of amazing.
New and Returning Beer
- Hof ten Dormaal Barrel-aged Project, $27.89/22oz - "With pride we want to introduce to you our unique Farm brewery At Hof ten Dormaal we go full circle. From the seed till the end product. Owner/brewmaster André Janssens and son Dries use only barley malt and bittering hops that they grow themselves on the farm. The Hof ten Dormaal brewery also uses oil from rapeseed produced on the farm as the primary source of energy for the boiling and cooling processes in their brewing, rendering the small farmhouse a uniquely self-sustaining brewery" (source).
- Original Belgian Dark aged in Cognac barrels
- Original Belgian Blonde aged in Moscatel barrels
- Original Belgian Blonde aged in Sauternes casks
- Original Belgian Blonde aged in Cognac barrels
- Original Belgian Dark aged in Madeira casks
- Original Belgian Dark aged in Armagnac barrels
- Original Belgian Dark aged in Sherry barrels
- Original Belgian Blonde aged in Brandy barrels
- Original Belgian Dark aged in Sauternes casks
- Thirsty Dog Barrel-aged Wulver, $6.99/12oz - "We made this beer specifically for bourbon barrels. The result is our most acclaimed bourbon barrel beer. Bourbon barrel aging and specialty malts create flavors of vanilla and carmel that blend in perfect balance" (source).
- Thirsty Dog Barrel-aged Siberian Night, $6.99/12oz - "We took our award winning Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout and aged it for 11 months in fresh bourbon barrels. The result blew us away. The dark chocolate malt yields a milk chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the vanilla flavor from the barrel. The bourbon aroma adds the finishing touch" (source).
- New Belgium Cigar City Collaboration, $9.19/22oz - "We’re about to light up Florida with this Cigar City collaborative brew. Our Belgian yeast tangos with Anaheim and Marash peppers along with loads of citrusy hops to create an ale full of spice. Aged on Spanish cedar to salute our mutual love for wood" (source).
- Green Flash Palate Wrecker, $3.59/12oz, $8.9/22oz - "Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration. It’s the most complicated West Coast–inspired IPA we have ever brewed—mashing and sparging with hopped wort, in addition to our hop layering regimen for IPA. We use almost 6 lbs/bbl of Columbus and Centennial hops to create this very bitter hop monster" (source).
- Cheboygan Winter Marzen, $1.99/12oz - "Brewed with 100% German Malt and Noble German Hops. This Lager is smooth and creamy with a pronounced malt character, similar to our Oktoberfest Marzen, yet stronger to help fend off the bitter cold of winter" (source).
- Cheboygan High Grade Export, $1.89/12oz - "Premium double-hopped pilsner that takes its name from one of the beers created by Cheboygan brewmasters more than 100 years ago" (source).
- Southern Tier Choklat, $9.29/22oz - "The Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, unfolds a complex web of mystery around a beverage known as xocoatl (ch-co-atle). At Southern Tier, we’re not surprised that hieroglyphs of the ancient Maya depict chocolate being poured for rulers and gods. Even through the many voyages of Columbus, the mystical bean remained nothing more than a strange currency of the native peoples. 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. We have combined the finest ingredients to tempt your senses & renew the power & interrelation of history in every bottle" (source).
- Odd Side Ales Hop Gobbler, $1.99/12oz - "An extra pale ale with hoppy characters throughout" (source).
- Dugges Hiphiphooray, $9.59/17oz - American pale ale (source).
- De Proef / Cigar City Tropical Tripel, $17.89/22oz - "Belgian ale aged on oak chips with coconut and peaches. Brewed with Belgian candi sugar, lactose, Magnum and Simcoe, fermented with Trappist Yeast and Brett Brux III" (source).
- Omnipollo Nautaulus, $8.89/12oz - "On a stop over in Baltimore we were hosted by an overwhelmingly hospitable man – Brian Strumke aka Stillwater. Getting hammered drinking his potions - made out of rice and corn - it was with a sense of inspiration that we drove of early in the morning to catch out flight back to Sweden. Nathalius is an imperial IPA brewed with rice and corn. However, fair and alluring as though she might seem this miss will whip you into submission" (source).
- Omnipollo Nebuchednezzer, $8.89/12oz - "'Neb' is a home brew recipe that has been scaled up with no consideration to economies of scale. Some say idiotic, and as an economist I would have to agree. Get fresh or die trying" (source).
- Hopfen Stark Biere de Siegel, $19.59/22oz - No description available.
- Hopfen Stark Biere de Amere, $19.59/22oz - No description available.
- Hopfen Stark Biere aux Herbs, $19.59/22oz - No description available.
- Hopfen Stark Boson de Higgs, $18.59/22oz - "It’s not a smoke beer. It’s not a tart Berliner Weisse. It’s maybe a weird saison. BerlinerRauchSaison. Yes! Low gravity beer with good presence of wheat. A small layer of smoke malt disaper after a few sip. And light tartness and spice from the Saison yeast. Refreshing and flavourful at the same time" (source).
- Sprecher Hard Rootbeer, $1.49/12oz - "An adult version of our famous Root Beer with a kick, sure to please the bootlegger in you" (source).
Picture of the Week
Customer Andrew Parsons sent in this photo with the following description:
"Our Christmas tree made with only bottles from Sicilianos!"
Nice work, Andrew. You are an inspiration to us all.