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Friday, January 31, 2014

New Beer Friday, Hop Rhizome Edition (January 31)

Photo courtesy of hop magnate, Tim Chilcote
By Steve Siciliano

Planting season in Michigan is still a few months away but if you're planning on growing hops this year it’s time to think about ordering rhizomes.

We will be taking rhizome pre-orders now through the end of business on Friday, February 28th. Those wishing to place orders may do so via email (steve@sicilianosmkt.com), by phone (616-453-9674) or in person here at Siciliano's. When ordering by email please ensure that you indicate the desired quantity of the specified variety. Price per each rootstock is $5.00 and payment will not be due until the time of pickup.

We anticipate that the rhizomes will be shipped from our Yakima Valley supplier during the first week of April. Those who placed orders will be personally notified when the shipment arrives. The following is our supplier’s list of the rhizome varieties available this year.

RHIZOME VARIETIES

*We have eliminated U.S. Fuggle and U.S. Hallertau only because the Tettnang is much more popular. All three varieties are a triploid.

    • Cascade: 4.5-7.0% alpha. Grows well in all climates. Susceptible to aphid.
    • Centennial: 9.5 -11.5% alpha. Grows well in all climates. Susceptible to downy mildew.
    • Chinook: 11.0-13.0% alpha. Grows well in dry, hot climates. Does not grow well in moist climates. Subject to spider mite. Great ornamental hop.
    • Columbus: 14.5-15.5% alpha. Grows well in dry hot climates. Vigorous but susceptible to mildew diseases.
    • Glacier: 5.0-6.0% alpha. Grows well in all climates.
    • Golding: 4.0-5.0% alpha. Grows well in mild, moist climates. Does okay in hot climates.
    • Mt. Hood: 4-5% alpha. Hybrid of a Hallertau. Grows well in all climates.
    • Northern Brewer: 8.0-10.0% alpha. Adequate in temperate climates but has difficulty growing when under heat stress. Susceptible to downy mildew.
    • Nugget: 12.0-14.0% alpha. Grows well in all climates.
    • Sterling: 6-8% alpha. Hybrid of Saaz. Grows wells in all climates.
    • *Tettnang: 4.0-5.0% alpha. Grows well in a moderate climate. Suffers a little in hot climates.
    • Willamette: 4.0-6.0% alpha. Grows well in all climates.

NEW MEXICO RHIZOMES

    • Amallia: Has an earthy smell. Great for a brown style beer or darker style ales. Estimated alpha is 5.5-9% with a beta of 4.2-8.3%
    • Neo1: Has a super lemon aspect and is citrus. Lots of a lighter style aroma and bitterness. Estimated alpha is 7-9% with a beta of 3-3.3%
    • Note: Both of these New Mexico hops are vibrant growers and like full sun.
Click here for some good information on rhizome planting and hop growing. See below for good information on a few of the beers you'll probably end up drinking this weekend.

NEW & RETURNING BEERS AT SICILIANO'S

  • Stone Matt's Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood Smoked Saison, $6.99/22oz - "Life is extraordinarily precious, joyous...and fragile. At Stone, we recently were reminded of this when we lost our dear friend and coworker, Matt Courtright. We felt that there was no better way to share with the world what an extraordinary person he was than by brewing this beer he created. Rather than a somber momento, please think of this as a celebration of Matt. We do. We can’t contemplate it any other way. Matt was by no means a shrinking violet. Quite the contrary. He was exuberant, courageous, outwardly positive, and the type of stalwart friend everybody who knew him was happy to have in their corner. Matt’s smile and voluminous laugh were infectious mainstays around the brewery. He was larger than life in every way...and he was without a doubt an incredible brewer" (source).
  • Kona Longboard Lager, $1.69/12oz - "Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer" (source).
  • Kona Big Wave, 1.69/12oz - "Our brewers wanted to make a beer that went down easy after a day out on the water. Big Wave Golden Ale is just the ticket. Big Wave is a lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor – a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and our special blend of hops provides bright quenching finish" (source).
  • Rogue Farms 7 hops IPA, $7.39/22oz (limit 1/geek) - "This is John Maier’s secret recipe that blends all seven hops grown in the hopyard of Rogue Farms. It is a true taste of the terroir of the Wigrich Appellation, the oldest hops growing region in Oregon" (source).
  • B. Nektar Kill All the Golfers, $8.19/500ml - "We’ve taken the traditional Arnold Palmer and meadified it. "Dry hopped" black tea with honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Maybe we should can this one so we can bring it to the golf course" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Spring Hornin' Spring IPA, $2.19/12oz - An American-style India Pale Ale.
  • Black Rocks 51k IPAm $1.79/12oz - "A true to form India Pale Ale, a crisp hoppy ale" (source).
  • Black Rocks Grand Rabbits, $1.79/12oz - "A refreshing, dry hopped cream ale. Ideal for the porch, beach, canoe or campfire. Made with pure Lake Superior H2O" (source).
  • Saugutuk Neapolitan Stout, $2.19/12oz - "Dark roasty notes balanced with creamy flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla" (source).

PICTURE O' THE WEEK | STRAIGHT CHILLIN' AT B. VIVANT

We found this picture of brewers Chris and Alex on Vivant's Facebook page.
Pic of the week? Ha! More like picture of the year.

Cheers!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Siciliano's Homebrew Competition Update: New Date & Venue for Judging

By Steve Siciliano

In a recent Buzz post we reported that the judging for the 11th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition was to be held at the Rockford Community Cabin on Sunday, April 20th. This past Friday afternoon I received an email from Isaac Hartman from New Holland Brewing Company. Did we realize, Isaac asked, that we had scheduled the judging to take place on Easter Sunday?

Nope, we didn’t.

After informing my wife Barb and staffers Sarah Derylo and Doug Dorda of the oversight we immediately went into crises mode. We discussed contingencies and decided that the best scenario would be rescheduling the judging for Saturday the 19th, provided we could still secure a venue. An email was sent inquiring whether the Rockford cabin was available. It wasn’t.

After coming up with a list of other possible locations we made phone calls and left messages. While I waited for the calls to be returned I fretted. Laura Sczcepanek, a caterer who operates out of the Guest House on Stocking Avenue in Grand Rapids, was the first to call back. Yes, she informed us, the venue was available on the 19th and yes, she would be able to provide a post-judging meal. That’s all I needed to hear. “Book it,” I told Sarah.

In the end the crises was averted and a valuable lesson was learned—when scheduling our competition judging on Sundays in April keep cognizant of the fact that Easter is a movable feast.

Anyone wishing to participate in this year’s competition on Saturday, April 19th , either as a steward or a judge, can contact Steve at steve@sicilianosmkt.com. A call for stewards and judges who have participated in past Siciliano’s competitions will be sent via email within the coming week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

High West Campfire Whiskey

A review by John Barecki

Located in Park City, Utah, High West Distillery makes its home in an historic group of buildings, including a livery and garage, that date back to the early 1900s. This distillery focuses its alchemy mostly on the creation of rye whisky, which before Prohibition was the most popular spirit in the land.

High West Distillery can lay claim to the the fact that it is the first legal distillery in Utah since 1870. The spirits produced and blended here are special because of the eccentric qualities and specific items that the distillers bring into the mix. For example, one product they make—Bourye—contains a blend of straight rye and straight bourbon whiskies, while other products—namely Rendezvous Rye and Double Rye—contain a blend of old and new rye whiskies.

The most eclectic offering from High West is called Campfire, which contains a blend of bourbon, rye, and a peated single malt whiskey. The back story on this whiskey is explained quite nicely on the back of the bottle: in short, a trip to Islay in Scotland provided the canvas for this product.

When you first nose the whiskey, the rye is initially what you notice. Following that, minty and herbaceous notes of eucalyptus and cola come up, musty damp wood, with a hint of smoke. Upon first sip, the mouth-coating quality of the single malt begins its journey, starting with a nice barley sweetness followed by a curious candy note reminiscent of fruit and a slight anise possibly brought on by all three elements combining in the middle. The flavor then goes into a dark chocolate/cornbread bourbon note and finishes with a savory smoke that lingers in a pleasant finish.

One would think that something like this would be just plain confusing to the palate. I find it to be more of a pleasant challenge, personally. The qualities of all three whiskies shine through enough to enjoy them on their own as well as intertwined, so even though this would not be my first choice to show a whisky drinking novice, I would highly recommend it to any experienced whiskey drinker.

Campfire from High West Distillery is available at Siciliano's Market for $55.75/750ml.

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Beer Friday, Homebrew Contest Edition (Jan 17)

The prestigious Siciliano's Cup
Attention home brewers!

How would you like to win a $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market? Do you think it would be cool to brew your own award-winning recipe on New Holland Brewing Company’s seven-barrel pub system and then be able to drink that beer with your friends and family at local craft beer bars? Have you ever dreamed of seeing your name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup? The $500.00 prize along with everything else we listed could be yours providing your beer wins Best in Show in the 11th Annual Siciliano’s Market Homebrew Contest.

Someone is going to win. Why not you!

See below for contest rules and regulations. Please note that the registration and drop off dates posted in The Buzz on January 6th have changed.
  1. Every homebrewer is allowed one (1) beer entry. All entries must be brewed by the registrant. Please do not submit entries under the names of significant others, etc.
  2. Beers are submitted according to the BJCP Style Guidelines. Ciders and meads are excluded from this contest. If you are unsure of which is the correct style for your beer, contact us and we will help.
  3. Entries require two (2) plain, unlabeled/unmarked 12-ounce amber bottles. Please no clear bottles or bottles of any other size.
  4. We will again be using the Beers to Fear online software for entry registration. More information regarding the online entry format will be detailed as we near the opening of registration, including the website URL, directions on how to enter your beer and label printing.
  5. The entry fee is $5.00, cash or check only.
  6. The total number of contest entries will be capped at 250. Don’t delay in submitting your entry. Once the cap is reached no additional entries will be accepted.
  7. Online registration for entries will be accepted from Monday, March 17 through Sunday April 6 or until 250 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first.
  8. You will have until Sunday, April 13 to drop off entries at Siciliano’s Market. Entries will not be accepted after that date. If mailing an entry, please include paperwork and submission fee. Ship in a well-packed box to: Siciliano’s Market // 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW // Grand Rapids, MI 49504
All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew contest will be judged by industry professionals and/or trained judges according to the standards of style, not in comparison to each another, with the exception of Best in Show. Entries that receive scores falling within designated point totals will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals. Best of luck everyone!

New and Returning Beer

  • Bells Hopslam, $2.99/12oz - "Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repetoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style" (source).
  • Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale, $1.69/12oz - "A malty beer with a notable toasty flavor derived from lightly roasted malt. Slight fruit and hop accents add to the overall complexity" (source).
  • Cheerday Lucky Buddha, $1.69/12oz - "Light aromas of hops with nuances of honey & malt, which pre-announces the transcending flavours across your palate with a silky easy finish" (source).
  • Berghoff Straight-Up Hefeweizen, $1.69/12oz - "A real hefe-weizen, with the creamy goodness of wheat, plus a fruity and spicy nose" (source).
  • Berghoff DortWunder, $1.69/12oz - "A classic and evenly balanced pale lager in the Dortmunder tradition" (source).
  • Berghoff Winter Ale, $1.69/12oz - "There is a long-standing tradition of brewers making special beers for winter, both as a little holiday present to their customers, and also because a bigger, stronger, darker beer simply tastes great in the dead of winter. This rich, smooth, copper-colored ale is brewed with six malts for a lot of aromatic complexity, with cookie, caramel, raisin and toasted marshmallow notes. New World versions of noble hop flavors bring a certain European elegance, but with a little more brash personality, topped off with the floral-and-citrus that the all-American hop—Cascade—delivers" (source).
  • Berghoff Germaniac, $1.69/12oz - "Scratch the surface of the German beer tradition and you find gems like this: a crisply bitter golden ale from Northern Germany that faded into obscurity a hundred years ago. With its subtle honey notes and small dose of molasses which gives it a lightly nutty character, this is a beer that deserves a much wider audience. We follow the classic recipe, with a mix of three types of malted barley, plus wheat and a dash of oats for a creamy texture, plus tiny amounts of Wisconsin cranberry honey and light molasses, both of which add subtle shading of aroma. Hopping is vigorous, and along noble lines, but amped up a bit with some North American varieties as well, just to keep it fresh-tasting and bold. It’s an ale fermentation, so there is a hint of fruitiness that plays nicely with the honey and molasses notes" (source).
  • Cellar Brewing Uncle Krunkles, $1.79/12oz - "A somewhat fruity, caramely wheat ale that’s very easy to drink. Its light to medium body gives way to a bit of carbonation" (source).
  • Saugatuk Hop In Your Rye P.A., $2.59/12oz - "Aromas of rye malt and bright citrus. Just the right amount of grapefruity hop presence. A delightful mouthful" (source).
  • North Coast Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve 2011, $26.29/500ml - "Old Stock Cellar Reserve is a one-time, small batch, limited release that has been aged in oak whiskey barrels. The aging process gives this world-class beer an added layer of complexity. A memorable drink that should be enjoyed as a completely unique offering" (source).
  • Lagunitas Sucks, $1.99/12oz (No Limit!) - "Originally brewed in 2011 as a Brown Shugga’ substitute, due to construction-induced capacity issues. But we liked it so much it had to make a return trip" (source). 
  • Bloom Ferments Ginger Kombucha (Non-alcoholic), $3.99/16oz - "Bloom kombucha is 100% raw and free of any artificial additives, colorants, sweeteners, and preservatives. Although the term "lacto-fermentation" may seem to convey that lactose in the form of whey is in BLOOM's kombucha, we do not use any animal ingredients in any of our flavors" (source).

Video of the Week | "The Michigan Beer Film" Trailer



Cheers!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Siciliano's Rare Beer Drawing: In Pursuit of Fairness

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Every so often Siciliano’s is able to procure a few bottles of ultra-rare beers and spirits that have limited distributions in the West Michigan market. I want to place added emphasis on the word “few”. To cite some examples, we have never been allotted more than two Samuel Adams Utopias at one time, no more than one fifth of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old Bourbon and no more than six bottles of the special releases of the Goose Island Bourbon County varietals.

Obviously I am pleased that Siciliano’s is one of the handful of area stores that receive allocations (albeit minuscule) of these super limited releases; however, we have always struggled with the issue of trying to decide what to do with them.

It has been our policy to price these ultra-rare products at our standard mark-up and sell them on a first-come, first-serve basis. The intrinsic flaw of this policy is that only a lucky few ever get the opportunity to purchase them since they are invariably snatched up as soon as they go on sale. I’m sure that most of this snatching is done by customers who just happen to be lucky enough to be in the store at the time, but it’s probably true too that the rarities are sometimes purchased by savvy folks who monitor release dates, know exactly where to find them and, in some cases at least, may be acquiring them for reasons other than personal consumption (i.e., to resell them at a profit).

While I have always been cognizant of the shortcomings of the first-come, first-serve policy for the super rare products, I thought it was better than maintaining a “preferred” customer list or drastically inflating prices and leaving things up to the law of supply and demand. Recently, however, some of the Siciliano’s staffers convinced me that we should try something new.

After much pondering we have decided to begin drawing names for the few bottles we obtain of the ultra-rare beers and spirits. Starting immediately, those interested in acquiring one of these products can personally fill out an entry form in-store, and in February we will begin holding one monthly drawing for a single, random bottle from our cellared cache of ultra-rare products. That cache currently includes such rarities as Samuel Adams Utopias, Pappy Van Winkle 12, 15 and 20 Year Bourbon and Goose Island Halia, Juliet, Gillian and Backyard Rye.

Those wishing to participate in the monthly drawings need to only enter once and their names will be kept in the hopper for as long as we hold the drawings (or for as long as they wish to participate). Winners will have the option of either purchasing or declining the drawing’s predetermined item. If they choose to make the purchase they will have a specified time to personally do so. If they decline, another name will be drawn and their name will go back into the hopper for future drawings.

We think that a name draw will help level the playing field somewhat and give more folks at least the opportunity to acquire these ultra-rare products. We also think it’s going to be fun. We hope that you do too. Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section below.

Complete rules for the Siciliano’s rare beer and spirits drawing are as follows:

    • Drawings for a specific, predetermined, ultra-rare item will occur on the third Thursday of each month (provided there are bottles in the cellared cache) and the winner will be announced the following day on Facebook and in the New Beer Friday preamble. Winners will also be notified via phone and email.
    • Entrants must be at least twenty-one years of age.
    • No purchase is necessary to enter the drawings.
    • Entrants must personally fill out an entry form in the store. Only one entry is needed for all subsequent drawings. No names will be accepted via phone calls, emails, etc. Only one entry is allowed per person.
    • Entries will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
    • Winners will have the option of purchasing or declining that drawing’s predetermined, specified item. If the winner chooses not to purchase that predetermined, specified item, their name will go back into the pool. If the item is purchased, the winner’s name will be withdrawn from the pool for the next three drawings and then reentered.
    • Winners will have two weeks to personally purchase the item in-store and will be required to show a valid I.D. (No proxies allowed). If the item is not purchased within the specified time period, another name will be drawn.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Beer Friday, Rare Beer & Spirits Edition (January 10)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Every so often Siciliano’s is able to procure a few bottles of ultra-rare beers and spirits that have limited distributions in the West Michigan market. I want to place added emphasis on the word “few”. To cite some examples, we have never been allotted more than two Samuel Adams Utopias at one time, no more than one fifth of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old Bourbon and no more than six bottles of the special releases of the Goose Island Bourbon County varietals.

Obviously I am pleased that Siciliano’s is one of the handful of area stores that receive allocations (albeit minuscule) of these super limited releases; however, we have always struggled with the issue of trying to decide what to do with them.

It has been our policy to price these ultra-rare products at our standard mark-up and sell them on a first-come, first-serve basis. The intrinsic flaw of this policy is that only a lucky few ever get the opportunity to purchase them since they are invariably snatched up as soon as they go on sale. I’m sure that most of this snatching is done by customers who just happen to be lucky enough to be in the store at the time, but it’s probably true too that the rarities are sometimes purchased by savvy folks who monitor release dates, know exactly where to find them and, in some cases at least, may be acquiring them for reasons other than personal consumption (i.e., to resell them at a profit).

While I have always been cognizant of the shortcomings of the first-come, first-serve policy for the super rare products, I thought it was better than maintaining a “preferred” customer list or drastically inflating prices and leaving things up to the law of supply and demand. Recently, however, some of the Siciliano’s staffers convinced me that we should try something new.

After much pondering we have decided to begin drawing names for the few bottles we obtain of the ultra-rare beers and spirits. Starting immediately, those interested in acquiring one of these products can personally fill out an entry form in-store, and in February we will begin holding one monthly drawing for a single, random bottle from our cellared cache of ultra-rare products. That cache currently includes such rarities as Samuel Adams Utopias, Pappy Van Winkle 12, 15 and 20 Year Bourbon and Goose Island Halia, Juliet, Gillian and Backyard Rye.

Those wishing to participate in the monthly drawings need to only enter once and their names will be kept in the hopper for as long as we hold the drawings (or for as long as they wish to participate). Winners will have the option of either purchasing or declining the drawing’s predetermined item. If they choose to make the purchase they will have a specified time to personally do so. If they decline, another name will be drawn and their name will go back into the hopper for future drawings.

We think that a name draw will help level the playing field somewhat and give more folks at least the opportunity to acquire these ultra-rare products. We also think it’s going to be fun. We hope that you do too. Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section below.

Complete rules for the Siciliano’s rare beer and spirits drawing are as follows:

    • Drawings for a specific, predetermined, ultra-rare item will occur on the third Thursday of each month (provided there are bottles in the cellared cache) and the winner will be announced the following day on Facebook and in the New Beer Friday preamble. Winners will also be notified via phone and email.
    • Entrants must be at least twenty-one years of age.
    • No purchase is necessary to enter the drawings.
    • Entrants must personally fill out an entry form in the store. Only one entry is needed for all subsequent drawings. No names will be accepted via phone calls, emails, etc. Only one entry is allowed per person.
    • Entries will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
    • Winners will have the option of purchasing or declining that drawing’s predetermined, specified item. If the winner chooses not to purchase that predetermined, specified item, their name will go back into the pool. If the item is purchased, the winner’s name will be withdrawn from the pool for the next three drawings and then reentered.
    • Winners will have two weeks to personally purchase the item in-store and will be required to show a valid I.D. (No proxies allowed). If the item is not purchased within the specified time period, another name will be drawn.
Until the first official drawing in February, please enjoy this week's list of new beers at Siciliano's.

New (and Returning) Beer

  • Innis & Gunn Oloroso Cask Aged, $7.09/22oz - "We have sourced rare oloroso sherry casks to mature this limited brew. The casks started their life in Spain but were also used to mature some pretty tasty scotch whisky before they came to us. The beer is rich and spicy with lots of nutty caramel sweetness drawn from the wood" (source).
  • Smuttynose Durty, $1.69/12oz - "Smuttynose is proud to introduce our eighteenth Short Batch Beer, "Durty," a brown IPA! There’s no denying that IPA is king of the craft beer world right now. The style is getting so popular that even the big brewers are attempting their own versions, while IPA sub-styles, like session IPA, double IPA, white IPA and black IPA, continue to be created and defined. Brown IPAs combine the caramel and nutty-biscuity flavors of a brown ale, with an American IPA-sized does of hops; it’s pretty straight-forward, but pretty delicious. On to the beer...Durty is a big beer (8.4% abv, 55 IBU) packed full of big hops. We’ve used Polaris, a new German high alpha variety for bittering, followed by American hop icon, Nugget, for the flavor additions and finally, a boatload of Simcoe post-fermentation for dry-hopping. The malt selection isn’t too different from Old Brown Dog, but it’s a bit heavier on the nutty character and dark cocoa notes" (source).
  • Newport Storm Yoko, $1.79/12oz - "Cyclone Yoko is like enjoying a day at the beach… in a 12oz bottle! The latest in the Cyclone Series by Newport Storm, Yoko is a dark ale with coconut flakes, reminding one of warm beaches and sunny surf. Using a „depth-charge‟ method, much like a French press, schemed up by Brew Master Derek Luke, we were able to take the floating bits of real coconut and sink them to the bottom of the bright tank to craftily infuse the natural flavor into the beer, that would bring out the tropical essence, without using any extracts. “We discovered that by “dry flaking” a beer with an insane amount of shaved and toasted coconut after fermentation, we achieved a coconut flavor and aroma that paired perfectly with the darker base beer,” explains Luke. “The addition of German Chocolate Wheat enhances the richness and compliments the silky mouth-feel of the coconut" (source).
  • Newport Storm Xavier, $1.79/12oz - "Not afraid of a challenge, we created our most complicated and technical brew yet! With the help of some gumption, nerve and a microbiology background, we were able to do in just 2 months, what it normally takes brewers years to accomplish! The brewing crew at Newport Storm craftily cultivated this tricky scientific process to make a beer that your taste buds will dancer over! Essentially the same sciences behind what makes sour cream or yogurt sour are working in Xavier, where we use other microorganisms other than yeast to purposely give the beer a tart flavor. Sour ales are a very distinct style of beer that isn’t super common just yet, but is definitely gaining in popularity" (source).
  • Newport Storm Winter Ale (Blizzard Porter), $1.79/12oz - "A full bodied, dark porter with a profound toasted flavor balanced with ample hopping. Dedicated to the Blizzard of 1978, this porter is perfect for a winter day. A hint of roasted chocolate and a spicy aftertaste warm the soul of this brew" (source).
  • Mendocino Smoked Double Porter, $6.09/22oz - "This extra select brew is hand crafted to perfection. A premium American classic from a pioneer brewing legend" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, $1.59/12oz - "Ruthless IPA is brewed with this rustic grain for refined flavors – combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to Spring" (source).
  • Tri-City Charity Island IPA, $1.69/12 oz - "Charity Island IPA has a bold and assertive hoppy characteristic. Brewed with 100% malted barley, the five hop additions give an aroma with a rich citrus, floral, and resinous bouquet. The crisp flavor is in perfect harmony with the malt backbone with a refreshing, clean, and dry finish" (source).
  • Saugutuk Continuum Imperial IPA, $2.59/12oz - "A continuously hopped Imperial American IPA brewed with Centennial, Cascade, Nugget,and Summit hops. Experience the beauty of bitter and the serious of citrus" (source).
  • Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Drawn from one of our oldest recipes, Smitten Ale began as part of a series of rye beers at our Eccentric CafĂ©. The combination of sharp citrus & resinous flavors from the hops with the earthy, rustic overtones of the rye malt contribution yield an interesting take on the American Pale Ale" (source).
  • Sam Adams Rebel IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Introducing Rebel IPA, the first all-American hops, West Coast style IPA from the same brewers that started a craft beer revolution in 1984." (source).

Video of the Week | Sierra Nevada Big Foot Ale

Coming soon to a Siciliano's Market near you!

Cheers!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Save the Dates: Siciliano's 2014 Homebrew Events

By Steve Siciliano

Big Brew on Calder Plaza 2013
November and December are always busy months here at Siciliano’s, and I am pleased to report that this year was no exception. Judging from the number of beer and wine equipment kits that were sold over the holidays, the staff and I will be having a busy January helping many new hobbyists take their first tentative steps into the enriching hobbies of home beer- and wine-making. 

The first week of January is also the time when we begin turning our attention to the new year’s upcoming events. The dates have been set for our annual homebrew competition, the eleventh annual homebrew party and our second annual Big Brew at the Calder. Given the fact that the American Homebrew Association will be holding its annual conference in Beer City USA in June, 2014, it is certainly shaping up to be a busy and an exciting year.

The following is a list of pertinent dates for our upcoming events. Stay tuned to The Buzz for further information and periodic updates.

    • Siciliano’s Annual Homebrew Competition – Entries will be accepted from Monday, March 24th March 17 through Sunday, April 13th April 6, or until 250 entries are submitted. Judging will be held on Sunday, April 20th at the Rockford Community Cabin Saturday, April 19th, at the Guest House on Stocking Avenue.
    • The Second Annual Siciliano’s Big Brew at the Calder – Saturday, May 3rd at the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.
    • The Eleventh Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party - Saturday, May 17th at Townsend Park.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Beer Friday, New Year Edition (January 3)

Whiskey on New Beer Friday? Yes.
By Chris Siciliano

For the first time ever, two wholly individual editions of New Beer Friday are appearing on The Buzz in the very same week. (Click here to see this week's first NBF.)

Two New Beer Fridays? But how could that be? Is it a glitch in the time-space continuum, an egregious error by one Buzz writer still reeling from the festivities of a particularly raucous New Year's Eve, or is it just a happy result of the way the holidays fell on the calendar this year?

Whatever the case, we hope it's a sign of things to come. After all, you can't have New Beer Friday without new beer, and the fact we have enough this week for two NBFs suggests that health, vibrance and variety are hallmarks of the current craft beer scene in America.

Here's to another great year in Beer City, USA.

New and Returning Beer (and Whiskey)

  • Sam Adams Cold Snap, $1.69/12oz - "Stirring from the haze of winter, this refreshing unfiltered White Ale awakens its smooth wheat with the bright snap of spring spices.  From the subtle sweetness of orange peel and plum to the peppery bite of fresh ground coriander, the blend of spices creates just the right refreshing kick to signal that spring is on its way" (source).
  • Smutty Nose Finestkind IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Smuttynose IPA is a physical salute to the glory of the American hop grower. The citrusy hop flavor coming from a mixture of Simcoe and Santiams is pleasantly balanced by a smooth bitterness from the Amarillo hops. The beer itself is light bodied and crisp with a golden color that will throw a slight haze, as we bottle it unfiltered. At 65 IBU’s, this is definitely not a training-wheels IPA, but is meant for hop lovers looking to satisfy their craving in a way that’s not easy to find. We think they’ll be quite pleased" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Burton Baton, $4.09/12oz - "The elusive brew is made from pilsner malt and amber malt with an original gravity of 26.5?P, yielding an 11% abv. It's hopped with Warrior and Glacier varieties. Primary fermentation takes place in open vessels using two yeast strains, one American and one English. For added complexity, the beer is conditioned on barrel staves of French Oak for four months before being dry hopped with Glacier at the rate of a half-pound per barrel. This elixir is then blended 50/50 with 90 Minute IPA. After blending, the beer will measure 80 IBU and 10% abv. Bottled in corked bottles through Michael Jackson’s rare beer club by late November 04 and available in 12 ounce full distribution in early January 05" (source).
  • Dogfish Head My Antonia, $10.19/750ml - "This here beer is a lagerific departure for our ale-centric brewery. A marriage of old world tradition and new world innovation, My Antonia is brewed with pilsner malt and continually-hopped with a blend of Noble and West Coast hops" (source).
  • Epic Double Skull Douplebock, $5.09/22oz - "Originally brewed as liquid bread by fasting monks this Doppelbock is rich and filling. Crisp and delicious for the winter months" (source).
  • Odd Side Ales Chocolade Koffie Stout, $2.59/12oz - "Stout with coffee added" (source).
  • High West Distillery, Park City, Utah - "High West Distillery crafts spirits for people who want great taste and appreciate quality ingredients, small batches, and the owner’s personal touch. We use the best local, mountain ingredients and distill in a traditional copper pot still. Our passion is making products that are so exceptional you’ll come back for more and hopefully tell your friends about us" (source).
      • Son of Bourye, $41.90/750ml - "A blend of straight Bourbon and rye whiskies, sure to attract even the most finicky of jackalopes. The bourbon (mashbill: 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt) is a minimum of 5 years old. The rye (mashbill: 95% rye, 5% barley malt) is a minimum of 5 years old. By the way…Son of Bourye® is best enjoyed around a campfire while looking at the Milky Way."
      • Double Rye, $36.96/750ml - "Marriage of two straight rye whiskies that combines the feisty properties of a high rye 2-year-old and the saddle smooth richness of a 16-year-old. The 2-year-old has a 95% rye 5% barley malt mashbill. The older rye has a "barely legal" rye mashbill of 53% rye and 37% corn. The extra age and corn provides some extra sweetness to calm the "bite" of the younger rye for a relationship that works."
      • Rendezvous Rye, $51.45/750ml - "Rendezvous® Rye is a blend of two exotic straight rye whiskies; one old, and one young. It marries the rich aromatic qualities of a 16-year-old rye with the bold spicy properties of 6-year-old rye to create a full flavored, very complex whiskey. The 6-year-old boasts an uncommonly high 95% rye mash bill. Almost every other straight rye whiskey you can buy today is barely legal, with 51-53% rye in the mash bill. Not Rendezvous® Rye. It honors the way rye whiskey used to be made, with a high rye content and full, uncompromised flavor. With Rendezvous® Rye, you get a taste of authentic rye whiskey. We hope you enjoy it."
      • American Prairie Reserve, $41.90/750 - "The liquid in this bottle is a premium blend of Bourbons, one of America’s native spirits. It’s a great sipper and thinking whiskey. High West pledges to donate 10% of our after tax profits from the sale of this bottle to the American Prairie Reserve."
      • Campfire, $55.75/750ml - "High West Whiskey Campfire® is the world’s only, and possibly first, blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys. A very unusual, distinctive, yet delicious whiskey."

Video of the Week | "The Proper Release"




Cheers!