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Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Beer Friday, Bending Cane Edition (February 7)

A road in Michigan, winter
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I have to confess that I was a bit deflated when I heard that the legendary Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Groundhog’s Day and caught a glimpse of his shadow. Of course I don’t believe this is an absolute indication of a late spring any more than I believe that there are pots of gold at the ends of rainbows. But when you’re mired in the depths of an interminable winter you have to fight off the fear that there might be some truth in weather prognosticating rodents.

Despite Phil’s decidedly unscientific methods of weather-casting, it does appear that his forecast will be accurate this year. That’s unfortunate because I’ve been bending under the weight of this winter.

A few nights ago, after once again unburying the mail box and digging out the driveway, I trudged through the knee deep snow out to the stand of bamboo at the edge of our backyard. When the first ice storm came back in early December the tall standing bamboo canes began bending. Now in this first week of February even the tallest of the slender canes are bent down to the ground, but not one of them is broken.

“The stiffest tree is most easily cracked while the bamboo survives by bending,” Bruce Lee said. So too it is with us humans. We may indeed be facing six more weeks of ice storms, snow and bone-numbing cold, but we’ll continue to bear the load of this brutal winter. We’ll continue to bend, but when spring finally does come, not one of us will be broken.

New and Returning Beer

  • Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Brewed with all malted barley and peat malt (smoked malt). This beer is full bodied with chocolate, roasted barley flavors, and a smokey almost BBQ finish" (source).
  • Green Flash Hop Odyssey Black IPA, $6.19/22oz - "This American-style Black IPA is nearly jet black and perceived to have high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. The appearance may trick you into thinking you are about to enjoy a traditional stout beer when in fact your senses are about to be overwhelmed with our Black IPA. Juicy, fruity, floral, and pine from Pacific Northwest hops gives the beer a classic West Coast IPA hop character. The Black IPA is further characterized by a balanced and moderate degree of caramel malt and subdued dark roasted malt flavor and aroma" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Siberian Night, $6.89/12oz - "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).
  • O'Hara's Irish Red, $2.69/12oz - "A traditional light hop flavour balances the sweet malty caramel taste. The addition of a pinch of roast barley during the brewing process lends a distinctive roast bite which is balanced by a crisp dry medium bitterness" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Stout, $2.69/12oz - "This stout has a robust flavour with a ful bodied and smooth mouth feel. The roast flavours lead to a dry espresso like finish. A generous addition of fuggles hops lead to a tart bitterness which mingles with the roast espresso flavours on the tongue" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale, $2.69/12oz - "Keg& bottles, regular.Dry hopped for extra aroma, this pale ale has a light malt base with just the right mouthfeel to allow the hop character to predominate. Grapefruit like bitterness is full and lasting and is balanced by a zesty citrus burst of aroma from two late additions of cascade hops" (source).
  • O'Hara's Leann Follain, $2.69/12oz - "Laden with complex chocolate and coffee flavours, balnced by a robust bitterness and delicate spicy aroma, O’haras Leann Follain is a full bodied extra Irish stout" (source).
  • Short's Controversiale, $1.99/12oz - "Toasted pale ale with tons of citrus hoppiness" (source).
  • Lagunitas Cappucino Stout, $4.79/12oz - "Our Original Stout, brewed with real Hardcore Coffee from Sebastopol" (source).
  • Atwater VJ Black Stout, $2.89/12oz - "Brewed in Detroit" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Siren Noir, $6.69/22oz - "This year’s Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout has been revamped. We’ve aged it for three weeks in bourbon barrels, which gives the beer darker notes of raisin and fig. We’ve also tripled the amount of chocolate nibs and added vanilla bean. A mix of dark malts gives Siren Noire a well-rounded body that is decidedly chocolatey—but without being extraordinarily sweet. Mt. Hood hops contribute a fruity hop profile, with notes of black currant" (source).
  • Arcadia Big Dicks Old Ale, $3.89/12oz - "Maltes: Crisp Pale Ale, Crisp Crystal, Crisp Chocolate. Hops: Mt. Hood, Centennial, Crystal" (source).
  • Arcadia Cereal Killer, $3.89/12oz - "Brewed in tradition of Englishstyle barley wines, Cereal Killer offers an explosion of full-bodied, liquid goodness. Robust malty flavors converge with caramel, toffee, molasses and dark fruit notes to produce a remarkably complex yet palate-pleasing beer. Its intense malt character is complemented by a subtle citrus finish from the hops. With cellar-aging Cereal Killer’s flavor evolves further, developing a sherry-like aroma and flavor similar to a cask-aged port. Winner of the Gold Medal for Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beers at 2009 GABF" (source).
  • Arcadia Coco Loco Triple Chocolate Stout, $2.69/12oz - "OG 1070, 39 IBU, 7.0% ABV Malts: Pale Ale, Munich, Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate, Crisp Chocolate, Flaked Barley. Hops: English Progress, Liberty, Summit" (source).
  • Arcadia Hop Rocket, $3.89/12oz - "Hop Rocket is a veritable constellation of hops… including some varieties that we haven’t used in other beers, and it’s delivered by the same booster of worldclass malt that our loyal fans have come to know and love with all Arcadia Ales" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Mayan Mocha Stout, $2.99/12oz - No commercial description available.
  • Victory Hop Ranch Imperial IPA, $2.69/12oz - "To our hop ranchers, who coax and cultivate our enticing and flavorful hops, we raise this glass. Selecting the finest varieties in their natural, whole flower form, we craft our Hop Ranch Imperial India Pale Ale, as a celebration of their successes. Pungent, floral and intense, this represents America’s best, in every relaxing sip" (source).
  • Saugutuk Big Swingin Richard, $15.39/22oz - "Barley Wine aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels" (source).

Cartoon of the Week | By Mark "The Funny Uncle" Siciliano

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