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Friday, June 20, 2014

New Beer Friday, Bland No More Edition (June 20)

Well, consider it again!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

“I used to buy beer in your store when I was senior at Grand Valley,” a middle-aged man named Eric told me when he stopped by our booth last Friday afternoon at the American Homebrewers Conference. “I was there this morning to buy some bottles to take home to Florida and I couldn’t believe how much it has changed.” He took a sip of the Siciliano’s AHA Amber Ale I had poured him and smiled. “But then again, I can’t believe how much this city has changed.”

It’s probably safe to say that the beer Eric was buying at our store back in 1994 were European imports or light American lagers. That was pretty much the extent of the selection that was available in the bars, restaurants and retail stores in West Michigan back then. But in the mid-nineties things were beginning to change. There’s a chance that Eric was still coming in when we began stocking six packs of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Perhaps he was among the first few customers to begin buying 22 ounce bottles of Solsun. Maybe he was still around when we added the three foot section of home brewing supplies.

In 1994, Siciliano’s Market was a struggling business, and my decision to stock craft beer and homebrewing supplies was a desperate attempt to bring customers into the store. Of course I had no idea that twenty years later Siciliano’s would be one of the area’s premier homebrew shops and that the store would become a destination location for craft beer.

In 1994, Grand Rapids had the reputation of being a rather boring community and its downtown was dying. No one back then knew that craft beer would play a major role in GR’s downtown revitalization and that it would give the entire West Michigan area a new identity.

Last week over three thousand people were in downtown Grand Rapids and they were there because of craft beer and the enriching hobby of homebrewing. On May 2, over three hundred homebrewers brewed beer on the Calder Plaza. Each year thousands of out of state tourists visit the area’s beer bars and breweries.

“We used to call this city Bland Rapids,” Eric said at our booth last Friday. “I’m kind of sorry now that I left.”

Yes, Eric. Both Siciliano’s Market and the city of Grand Rapids indeed have changed.

New and Returning Beer

  • New Holland Incorrigible, $4.79/22oz (limit 1/person) - "Incorrigible celebrates the beauty of mischief. Wild yeasts and bacteria run free in our sour-aging cellar, the House of Funk, creating vibrant sour and acidic character in this delicate, yet complex wheat beer. The refreshingly tart session beer will tease your palate with a subtle, layered nuance." (source).
  • Stone Stochasticity Project, Quadrotritricale, $.8.69/22oz (limit 1/person) - "Trappist ales as we know them have a proud lineage dating back nearly a century. Rather than follow the footsteps of the monks who forged the quadrupel—the warmest and darkest of monastery offerings—we aimed to test its inherent makeup. In doing so, we added triticale, a hybrid grain combining the pleasant flavor of wheat with the elemental durability and spice of rye, to breathe new life into the malt bill. Because of this, this reimagined brew comes across differently than its classic Belgian predecessors, and beautifully so. Lower in sweetness, but rich with flavors mirroring dried fruit, it’s a modern interpretation of one of the most historically sacred styles on Earth" (source).
  • Saugatuck Michigan Wheat Ale, $1.79/12oz - "Saugatuck’s latest release, Michigan Wheat, is a great beer to throw back - it’s light without compromising flavor. It has great balance and is crisp and refreshing" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche, $2.59/12oz (limit 4/person) - "A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse fermented with peaches" (source).
  • Great Lakes The Wright Pils, $1.79/12oz - "A classic pilsner style beer with a flowery bouquet and elegantly dry finish. Named after the brothers Wright who built the world’s first successful controlled airplane, this pilsner, like these local heroes, has all the Wright stuff" (source).
  • Motor City Honey Porter, $1.79/12oz - "A full bodied, creamy porter with distinct chocolate malt overtones. A touch of pure clover honey adds a subtle sweetness to this smooth, well balanced ale" (source).
  • Motor City Ghettoblaster, $1.79/12oz - "This accessibly great tasting beer, patterned after the English Mild style, is the lightest of the Motor City line up. But don’t let the adjectives throw you, its deliciously flavorful. The label was designed by Artist Glen Barr and there is rock CDs to go along with the beer" (source).
  • Motor City Nut Brown, $1.79/12oz - "This darker brew’s very subtle aftertaste, vaguely reminiscent of fine coffee, is derived from our blend of Wisconsin’s finest roasted barley malt. Its rich, velvety texture and creamy head make for an exceptionally drinkable beer. Motor City Nut Brown entices even those who traditionally stay away from darker beers" (source).
  • Motor City IPA, $1.79/12oz - "Motor City India Pale Ale is a classic example of an India style micro brewed Pale Ale. Brewed for 120 minutes to extract the fruity tartness from Warrior, Columbus and Simcoe hops" (source).
  • Epic Escape to Colorado, $1.79/12oz - "Epic Brewing has been making high-strength beers in the land of low-strength (Utah). Rather than expand their operations there, they chose to open a 2nd brewery in a more encouraging state, Colorado. This is their first batch of beer brewed here in Denver. Big, fruity hop aromas" (source).
  • Epic Hop Syndrome, $1.79/12oz - "This wonderful hoppy lager is a new addition to our ever-expanding Exponential (Seasonal) Series. The Crystal hops give it a clean spice while the Calypso hops give it a pleasant, almost fruity aroma. Easy to drink, perfect for a summer day out" (source).

Employee Picture of the Week

Edward, looking incorrigible with an Incorrigible
from New Holland Brewing Company
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