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Friday, July 31, 2015

New Beer Friday, Trail Point Brewing Edition (July 31)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you’re over fifty and have lived in the environs of Beer City USA your entire life you might remember when the community of Allendale was nothing more than a scattering of buildings that you whizzed by on your way to and from the big lake.

That started to change in the mid-sixties when GVSU’s campus began taking root in the fields just west of the Grand River. Today there are a number of good bars and restaurants in the area and my wife Barb and I will often head out that way when we don’t feel like dealing with the traffic and congestion of the city.

Trail Point Partners (from L to R)
Gary Evans, Jeff Knoblock and Greg Evans
With the planned opening of Trail Point Brewing Company on the near horizon there will soon be another good reason to take that pleasant fifteen minute drive west on M-45 out of GR.

This past Tuesday Barb and I stopped at Trail Point to check the brewery’s progress on our way to dinner at the Embassy Bar (excellent enchiladas and a Shorts Bellaire Brown for me, a wet burrito, also excellent, and a Two Hearted for Barb). According to Trail Point partners Gary Evans, Greg Evans and Jeff Knoblock, there’s a good chance that there will be a soft opening in the tap room as soon as next week.

The Taproom at Trail Point
While I sat with head brewer Gary Evans at the bar sampling a very good cream ale and a nicely balanced Citra IPA his wife Lucy showed Barb around that beautiful, repurposed barn wood appointed tap room. Gary expects to have seven or eight beers ready when the brewery opens and plans to eventually have sixteen brews on tap. He is brewing on a seven barrel, steam-fired system.

Trail Point Brewing Company is located on 6035 Lake Michigan Drive. Go to or to their Facebook page for further details regarding the tap room’s official opening.

Preamble Steve enjoying a beer at Trail Point Brewing

New & Returning Beers

  • Volkan Blonde Ale, $3.69/12oz - "A nose of yellow plum, with light malt that develops into a rounded soft ginger tone" (source).
  • Southern Tier Warlock, $9.29/22oz - "Imperial stout brewed with pumpkins. Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own and also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet" (source).
  • Southern Tier Pumking, $9.29/22oz, $4.19/12oz - "Pumking is an ode to PĂșca, a creature of Celtic folklore, who is both feared and respected by those who believe in it. PĂșca is said to waylay travelers throughout the night, tossing them on its back, and providing them the ride of their lives, from which they return forever changed. Brewed in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow it’s alluring spirit to overflow. As spicy aromas present themselves, let it’s deep copper color entrance you as your journey into this mystical brew has just begun. As the first drops touch your tongue a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds making it difficult to escape the Pumking" (source).
  • Atwater Blocktoberfest, $1.79/12oz - "Octoberfest, a German tradition that celebrates harvest. Now Atwater carries on the tradition with our own special lager "Blocktoberfest". Brewed with 100% German malt for a rich taste and amber color" (source).
  • Atwater Pumpkin Spiced Latte, $2.19/12oz - No commercial description available. The name kind of says it all.
  • Berghoff Rowdy Rootbeer, $1.69/12oz - "Creamy, smooth and malty, Rowdy Root Beer is crafted from a flavorless porter mixed with all natural sugar cane root beer mix to retain the unforgettable aroma of draft root beer. As you sip on the brew, you’ll notice familiarly smooth root flavors along with an additional alcoholic kick. The finish introduces after tones of the delicious malts the beer is carefully brewed with. We worked with Northwestern Extract to achieve the iconic root beer flavor, testing out 15 different prototypes before choosing the final recipe. Your favorite soda can finally give you a great buzz. It’s almost time to grab your blow horns and get rowdy" (source).
  • JK Scrumpy Cider, $3.59/16oz can (new package) - "Orchard Gate Gold is fermented naturally in small artisanal batches from a proprietary blend of organic apples grown here at our Koan Family Orchards in Michigan. We have produced hard ciders here since the 1860s. This is the same traditional recipe that helped save our farm during the great depression. There will be slight variations from batch to batch, just as nature makes no two apples alike! Enjoy our authentic hand bottled American Farmhouse "Scrumpy" Cider with family, friends & food" (source).
  • De Proef Wekken Sour, $15.99/750ml - "Nearly black in color with the roasted malts contributing complex flavors of licorice and blackstrap molasses balanced by herbal hop notes" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, $1.69/12oz - "We’re on a mission to explore the roots of Germany’s festival beers. Each year, we’ll partner with one of a handful of incredible German brewers to create a traditional take on the most famous beer style in history. This year we’re working hand in hand with Brauhaus Riegele of Augsburg. Together we created an authentic Oktoberfest beer, true to the roots of the festival, that’s deep golden in color and rich with complex malt flavor from the use of traditional German Steffi barley" (source).
  • Epic Hop Syndrome, $1.79/12oz - "A deliciously hoppy lager, this clean, spicy, yet fruity addition is sure to quench your summer palate just right" (source).

Big News of the Week

Congrats to our friends/customers Jeff Carlson and Nick Rodammer,
two of only three homebrewers to medal in this year's U.S. Open Beer Championships,
a true pro-am event with over 4,000 entries from some of the best breweries
(and homebreweries!) in the world. Photo courtesy of Jeff Carlson.


Friday, July 24, 2015

New Beer Friday, Return of Sagnessagiel (July 24)

Preamble by Sagnessagiel

It’s been an eternity since I submitted anything to The Buzz and I’m sure some of you may be wondering whether I have fallen off the face of the earth.

Well in a way I have.

The last time I was down in good ol’ Beer City USA I got a little carried away, imbibed a little too much of the local breweries excellent beers and was late getting back to heaven for a rather important meeting with the Boss. And when I say the Boss, I mean the Big Boss. Tardiness is one of the Almighty’s pet peeves and He came down pretty hard on me. For the last four years or so I’ve been delegated to cleaning the golden commodes up here, my internet privileges were rescinded and I was forbidden to set a sandaled foot off of these hallowed grounds.

I’m quite sure this ungodly punishment would have continued but the Old Man got wind of a new product that He was keen to try and every last one of my compadres were off on other assignments. A few weeks ago He summoned me and quite literally told me to get my butt down to earth and pick Him up some Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Now the Old Man isn’t opposed to taking a drink now and then but He's really not much of an imbiber. A little sacramental wine now and then and that's about it. Though He doesn't drink a ton of beer He does hold creative brewers in high esteem and He absolutely loves what is going on with the craft beer movement. (You know that little quip attributed to Ben Franklin that beer is proof that God loves humans? Spot on!) That said, he is quite fond of root beer and I wish you could have seen the beatific look on His face after He took a hefty swig of the stuff from His chalice.

Personally, I don’t get why so many folks are going gaga over this root-beerish malternative. The Old Man let me have a sip and let me tell you that was plenty enough for me. Too sweet in my opinion. Does it taste just like root beer? Sure. But when I want a beer, and that’s quite often, I want the real stuff.

But you know what? If Not Your Father’s Root Beer makes the Old Man happy and some Siciliano’s Market customers happy, well, that’s good enough for me.

Like J. C. is fond of saying, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Peace and love,


New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Oracle, $3.09/12oz (2 per) - "Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first & foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt & balance. The fireworks start with the aromatic punch of dry-hop sessions with hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest. Resinous, citrusy hop flavors mixed with aggressive bitterness from a massive kettle addition deliver on that aromatic promise" (source).
  • Bell's Neptune, $2.09/12oz (2 per) - "With Neptune, our Planets Series comes to an end. Inspired by one of Larry Bell’s old homebrew recipes and the music of Gustav Holst, this complex, strong and spiced Imperial Stout offers prominent herbal notes along with flavors of chocolate, roasted malt, licorice/anise and pepper with a touch of heat. Reminiscent of a mystical creation brewed in days gone by, this beer is a good candidate for aging due to the robust characteristics of its ingredients" (source).
  • Vivant Tropical Saison, $3.39/12oz (2 per) - "Waves lapping the shoreline. The smell of sunscreen and dune grass. A day with nothing to do. This saison transports us to our summertime happy place, no matter what office cubicle we're trapped in, no matter what the weather is outside the window. A slight spicy character, light effervescence, and the addition of real pineapple & mango juice lift us out of our everyday and plop us, feet in the sand, to our beach front reverie. Not cloying, but refreshing and complex, this beer is a true “salut” to summer" (source).
  • Lakefront New Grist Ginger, $1.89/12oz - "We took our refreshing gluten-free beer, New Grist Pilsner, and brewed it with fresh ginger for a zesty, thirst-quenching flavor: introducing New Grist Ginger. This beer pours light gold with a rocky white head kicking out aromas of ginger and malted sorghum. The spicy-sweet ginger greets the palate first, before moving into the familiar flavor of New Grist: tangy green apple, light body, and crisp, refreshing finish. Overall, New Grist Ginger is a flavorful, easy-drinking, session beer with a snappy ginger punch. New Grist Ginger goes great with any variety of ginger-infused Asian dishes, like the sweeter broth of chicken Saigon pho, mild-to-spicy Thai gai pad king, or the spicy citrus notes of chana masala" (source).
  • New Belgium Long Table, $1.69/12oz - "The longer the table, the more room for friends. This season, our new Long Table Farmhouse Ale is the best excuse to pull up a chair with your closest companions for a few rounds. An ode to the bucolic, table-friendly Belgian saison, we’ve added a delightfully new hoppy spin to the style, creating a sip that whisks a taste of the tropics into the Old World. Traditional grains of Munich, pale malt and rye lend a wash of toasty, spicy bread, while exotic Nelson Sauvin and citrusy Chinook hops buoy the juicy fruit flavors of our Belgian yeast. So gather around and get ready to hoist this spritz complex farmhouse ale amongst the company of friends" (source).
  • Deschutes Stoic, $17.19/22oz - "A prized, potent, Belgian-style Quad of stirring depth and complexity. Four nuanced fermentations. Aged, sequestered, in select rye whiskey & wine casks. Ergo a stoically brewed quad, with the spellbinding complexity of its medieval ancestors" (source).
  • Ommegang 2015 Belgium Independence, $9.29/750ml - "Our limited edition belgian-style tripel honors Belgian Independence Day - July 21, 1831. In a new world twist on old-world style, we've joined Ommegang innovation with Belgian tradition in celebration of the Belgian revolution and the American craft beer revolution. Dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria hops, this unique beer offers fruity aromatics, well-integrated honeyed malt character and a delightful overlay of tangerine and sweet citrus notes" (source).
  • Short's Spruce Pils, $2.39/12oz - "Spruce Pilsner is an Imperial Pilsner, fermented with local, hand-picked blue spruce tips. The spruce presence, rooted in historical brewing practices, is enormous and gives the beer a refreshing gin quality. This beer is impressively light bodied, considering the immense spruce flavors and the prodigious additions of hops" (source).
  • Big Sky Pygmy Owl Itty Bitty IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Pygmy Owl is an IPA with full fledged hop taste and aroma, yet is remarkably low in alcohol. In fact, it clocks in at only 4.2% ABV. An IPA with full flavor, but without the harsh bitterness. And the best part, you can have more than one without getting that drunkied up feeling" (source).
  • B.O.M. Wild and Funky, $5.09/11.2oz - "The Wild & Funky is our response to the challenge to brew a new style of sour beer with mixed fermentation. Taste-wise, the beer fits perfectly within the Belgian tradition, but the brewing method is different than usual" (source).

Video of the Week | Harmony Hall

A first look at Harmony Hall on Bridge Street in Grand Rapids


Friday, July 17, 2015

New Beer Friday, The Return of Twinkie Edition (July 17)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Last week’s front page news that Hostess Twinkies are back on retailers’ shelves after a two-year, bankruptcy-induced hiatus produced a bit of nostalgia in this old convenience store merchant.

Back when I owned a little corner store in the Creston Heights neighborhood—the first incarnation of Siciliano’s Market—I occasionally indulged in some admittedly childish shenanigans with the iconic, cream-filled pastries as my prop.

It started when a regular customer, one of a group of fun-loving, artistic types who worked for a firm across the street, brought a Twinkie up to the sales counter. I looked at the golden, cellophane wrapped sponge cake and for some reason had an uncontrollable urge to smash it. After the startled customer’s shock at having his intended purchase flattened like a pancake with a clipboard, we had a good laugh. I put the smashed Twinkie aside and told him to grab another.

Thirty minutes later I was surprised to see that the spongy snack cake had almost returned to its original shape.

From that day on employees of the firm would occasionally buy a Twinkie with the hope, I’m sure, that I would repeat the tomfoolery.

Every once in a while I would oblige them.

New and Returning Beer

  • Oddside Firefly, $2.59/12oz - "The blend of papaya and a small dose of habaneros provide an ideal mixture of spicy and sweet" (source).
  • Southern Tier Harvest, $1.69/12oz - "Harvest Ale is our celebration of the changing weather and the sowing of hops and barley that will be used in our upcoming brews. We usher in the fall with a classic English style Extra Special Bitter of the highest order. Deep ruby in color with an even deeper hop flavor… in fact, we throw fresh English hops into every brewing vessel, then dry hop after fermentation to impart a zesty kick. This beer has real hop character that mingles with fresh malted barley for an experience that will make you wish it were fall year ‘round" (source).
  • New Holland Incorrigible Reserve, $4.79/22oz (1 per) - "Michigan blueberries & blackberries fuel a second flavorful fermentation of this beer after its residence of several months in our House of Funk sour cellar" (source).
  • McEwans Scotch Ale, $3.29/12oz - "Deep brown colour. A chocolate and caramel body with a lingering sweet finish. Originally brewed by McEwan’s at the Fountain brewery in Edinburgh. Production moved from Fountain to the Caledonian Brewery in 2004. The McEwan’s brand passed to Heineken in 2008 after their purchase of Scottish & Newcastle’s British operations. Heineken sold the brand to Wells & Youngs in 2011. Packaged McEwan’s beers are produced at Wells & Youngs brewery in Bedford" (source).

Video of the Week | Blake's Hard Cider

Congrats to former staffer Greg Johnson, now a cidermaker Blake's Hard Cider.


Friday, July 10, 2015

New Beer Friday, Cuban Embargo Edition (July 10)

Steve says: No Cubans yet!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Since President Obama’s announcement last December that the United States will begin reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba, I’ve had dozens of inquiries as to when Siciliano’s Market will be able to sell Havana Club rum and Cuban cigars.

The answer, unfortunately, is not any time soon.

While the President has recently used his executive powers to ease restrictions on Cuban travel and trade, it will literally take an act of Congress before U.S. retailers will be allowed to market the island nation’s excellent rum and legendary stogies.

The Cuban embargo remains in effect and will continue to do so until the United States Congress acts to lift it. Humanitarian, agricultural and business groups are strongly in favor of lifting the ban, but a substantial number of Americans, including a politically significant block of Cuban ex-patriots living in Miami, are adamant in their belief that Washington should continue to maintain the fifty-three year old status quo.

It is my opinion that the elimination of the Cuban embargo is long overdue. A few years ago my wife Barb and I traveled to Cuba with the humanitarian group First Hand Aid and personally witnessed the devastating effects the embargo is having on the Cuban populace. At the same time, I can fully appreciate the justified anger of those whose lives were uprooted and whose businesses and property were seized by the Castro regime after the revolution.

It is highly unlikely that Congress will vote to lift the embargo until the Cuban government agrees to at least partially pay back the billions of dollars that it owes to American citizens and American companies.

When that will happen is the billion dollar question.

New and Returning Beer

  • Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster Double IPA, $3.29/12oz - "An Imperial IPA with huge hop flavor" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Mango Kolsch, $5.89/22oz - "Crunkle Sam, tired of being a mere anomaly as a most refreshing summertime Barleywine, targeted a German beer style and bastardized it. He had us brew a traditional Kolsch, but made us add sweet orange peel and all natural mango flavor" (source).
  • North Coast Puck, $2.29/12oz - "First brewed to celebrate our 25th anniversary, the beer now known as PUCK, a petite saison of just over 4% ABV, won a place in our hearts and in our year-round portfolio of beers. Brewed with premium Pils and wheat malts and fermented with the same yeast strain used to make our renowned Saison, Le Merle, Puck is sharp and spritzy with a delicious flowery, spicy dry-hop aroma—the perfect accompaniment to any celebration, big or small" (source).
  • Short's Nicie Spicie, $1.69/12oz - "Northern Michigan spiced wheat ale. A 50% mixture of premium two-row malted barley and malted white wheat makes golden wheat ale balanced with Ahtanum and Cascade hop varieties. This ale is spiced with fresh grated lemon and orange rind, coriander, and black peppercorns. It’s truly a fermented wonder of the Short’s Brew formula family" (source).
  • Greenbush Broken Promises, $2.19/12oz - "Wheat IPA" (source).
  • Stone Ruin Ten, $8.99/22oz - "We first released this decidedly indelicate beer in 2012 as Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our belovedly bitter Stone Ruination IPA. Stone RuinTen Triple IPA uses the same recklessly hoppy recipe as the 2012 release; only the name has been changed to include “Triple,” which helps describe the over-the-top hop profile and elevated alcohol by volume. We packed a whopping five pounds of hops into each barrel, and cranked up the ABV to stand up to the hop onslaught. The results are glorious, and we know you’ll rejoice in tasting this audacious gem of hoppy splendor. You’re welcome. Again" (source).
  • Smuttynose Kindest Find, $6.99/22oz - "Kindest Find, our own little slice of heaven, is an Imperial Red Ale with a big malt backbone layered with loads of juicy hops. Its label is a nod to our flagship Finestkind IPA. And just like the winsome lass on the label, Kindest Find will always be there to welcome you home after a long day" (source).
  • Brooklyn East IPA, $1.59/12oz - "Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, originally a summer seasonal, has been getting raves since becoming a year round offering in 1996. Garrett Oliver, a student of English brewing and beer history, uses English malts and hops to brew his EIPA in the classic, heavily-hopped style of the 19th century beers created for British soldiers serving in India" (source).
  • Brooklyn Lager, $1.59/12oz - "Brooklyn Lager, the Brewery's flagship label, is New York's "hometown" beer, brewed to a pre-Prohibition recipe that dates back to the days when Brooklyn was the brewing capital of the East Coast. Brooklyn Lager has won numerous awards" (source).
  • Brooklyn Blast DIPA, $2.69/12oz - "We brew our beer in New York, about halfway between the hop fields of the Pacific Northwest and the hop fields of Kent, England. So we use earthy English hops to build the foundation and bright citrusy American hops to bring the noise in the rambunctious IPA we call BLAST! British Maris Otter and German Pilsner malts lends solidity, balance and bready flavors to brace up a beer that’s beautifully hoppy, strangely quaffable and oddly compelling. Minerally hop bitterness is followed by a shock wave of flavor and aroma. You won’t even know what hit you" (source).
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, $2.29/12oz - "Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but featuring rare Sorachi Ace hop.Fermented with our special Belgian ale strain, we add Sorachi Ace hops post-fermentation. After 100% bottle re-fermentation with Champagne yeast, the beer emerges with a bright spicy lemon zest aroma. It tastes like sunshine in a glass, and that suits us just fine, especially with seafood dishes and fresh cheeses" (source).
  • Brooklyn K is for Kriek, $23.59/750ml - "Ale Brewed With Honey, Dark Candi Syrup & Orange Peel, Aged in Bourbon Barrels on Whole Cherries; Q1 2015 Malts: German Pilsner, English Chocolate Malt Additions: Belgian dark candi syrup, New York State raw wildflower honey, sweet orange peel, dried pitted Montmorency cherries Hops: Perle, Aurora, East Kent Golding Yeast: Brooklyn House Belgian Yeast strain, Pris de Mousse Champagne, Brettanomyces bruxellensis Alcohol by Volume: 10.1% Original Gravity: 18.5° Plato Food Pairings: Poultry, duck, pork, goat cheeses, desserts, and rich cheeses. Availability: Q1 2015 Format: 750ml cork-finished bottle" (source).
  • Brooklyn Wild Streak, $23.59/750ml - "There was a time when all beers were aged in wood and yeasts ran wild and converted together. Modern brewing is wonderful, but sometimes a little converting is a fine thing. Brooklyn Wild Streak is our barrel-aged Belgian-inspired golden ale enlivened by the earthy funk of wild yeast called Brettanomyces. It’s particurly great with cheeses and game meats. Oh, go ahead. You know you want to" (source).
  • Brooklyn Local 1, $10.09/750ml - "In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, we forge barley malt and hops from Germany, aromatic raw sugar from Mauritius and yeast from Belgium into our latest beer, Brooklyn Local 1. Behind the full golden color you'll find an alluring aroma, a dynamic complex of flavors. Belgian flair, Brooklyn fortitude and a dusting of our special yeast. To create this beer, we use the old technique of 100% bottle re-fermentation, a practice now rare even in Europe. It gives this beer a palate of unusual depth. Enjoy it locally or globally, as an aperitif or with your favorite dishes. It is particularly nice with spicy seafood and with fine cheeses" (source).
  • Brooklyn Local 2, $10.09/750ml - "Here in Brooklyn we’ve combined European malt and hops, Belgian dark sugar, and raw wildflower honey from a New York family farm to create Brooklyn Local 2. Our special Belgian yeast adds hints of spice to the dark fruit, caramel, and chocolate flavors. After 100% bottle re-fermentation, this ale reveals a marvelous dry complexity, enjoyable by itself or at the dinner table" (source).
  • Green Flash Hop Odyssey 30th Street Pale Ale, $2.09/12oz - "30th Street Pale Ale is a strong pale ale that is well dry-hopped making it taste like an IPA by many hop head’s standards. The beer was brewed to recognize the synergy behind the craft beer culture on 30th Street in San Diego and was released for the Green Flash 6th Anniversary Celebration" (source).
  • Green Flash Soul Style IPA, $2.09/12oz - "Our brewers rip-creating huge and complex double and triple IPAs at the pinnacle of craft beer enlightenment. Soul Style IPA is their effortless and pure manifestation of the single IPA. Simcoe, Citra and Cascade hops are layered, allowing bright tropical waves of flavorful citrus and floral notes to break gently on the palate. Get stoked on a laid back single and ride the wave to soothe your soul" (source).
  • Oddside Nectar of the Brewer, $2.29/12oz - "Apricot wheat" (source).
  • Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Extra, $1.99/12oz - "Lots of wheat for a curious malt complexity and leaving it light in color, but huge in flavor and satisfaction " (source).

Video of the Week | Conecuh Ridge Whiskey

Available now at Siciliano's—read staffer John Barecki's review!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Clyde May's Conecuh Ridge Whiskey

By John Barecki

Like many, the story of Clyde May's Conecuh Ridge Whiskey starts with a legendary moonshiner producing unaged corn whiskey in Alabama. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Clyde May would produce 300 gallons a week. His high quality “shine” was well known around Alabama because of his attention to detail when it came to quality of equipment and the extra steps he would take to create a premium spirit. During the run, Clyde would take a small portion of spirit and allow it to age in charred oak barrels with an odd accompaniment—dried apples—and within a year of aging it would come out with a lovely oak character brought forth from the high temperatures in Alabama. (High temps allow the spirit to push and pull into the wood grain more frequently than in Kentucky). All of this preparation created a wonderfully eclectic whiskey which is now the official state spirit of Alabama.

On the nose there is a mixture of fresh and dried apple followed by thick caramel, reminding me of a fall ride through an orchard with downed leaves and damp earthy tones. The first sip hits like a caramel apple then produces a mellow corn midsection with hints of oatmeal and hazelnuts. There is just a hint of a sourmash bite at the end. It has a really wonderful finish that rides down to soft vanilla and orchard tones. This whiskey is wonderful on it's own—no need for water or ice—and could well be used in a hot toddy, a spiced punch, or as a fun twist in a Manhattan.

Clyde May's Conecuh Ridge Whiskey is available at Siciliano's Market for $31.97/750ml and $19.26/375ml.

Friday, July 3, 2015

New Beer Friday, Independence Day Edition (July 3)

Ben "Beer is Proof" Franklin
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

The war between Great Britain and its American colonies had been going on for over a year when members of the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to debate whether the colonies should declare themselves to be free and independent states. After the motion for independence passed, John Hancock allegedly told the assemblage that they had no choice now but to all hang together.

“Yes, we must indeed all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin supposedly replied. “Or most assuredly we will hang separately.”

While the story may be apocryphal, there’s certainly no doubt that Hancock, Franklin and the other fifty-four signees of the Declaration of Independence knew what their fate would be if the revolution failed.

Up to that point, the conflict was essentially an armed argument between Parliament and the colonies and most colonists were hopeful that King George would eventually intercede on their behalf. The document that was signed by the Founding Fathers on July 4th, 1776 was an announcement that they now believed that the corruption within the English government extended all the way up to the king. Since they were now considered to be English subjects waging war against the crown, they were guilty of high treason and in eighteenth century English law the penalty for high treason was death.

The signing of the Declaration of Independence marked the point of no return. It was a remarkable display of courage by a remarkable group of men. Ultimately it was the defining moment in the birth of a remarkable nation.

New and Returning Beer

  • Smuttynose Imperial Stout, $6.99/22oz - "Originally brewed in the early 19th century for export from Britain to the imperial court of Russia’s Catherine the Great, imperial stouts are characterized by their dark color & full body. This style features a rich, malty sweetness coupled with aggressive hopping (especially in American interpretations). Notes of dried fruit as well as roasted malt flavors are typically present" (source).
  • Arbor Brewing Mackinac Island Fudge Stout, $2.29/12oz - "A roasty, dry stout made with real fudge for a subtle chocolate-fudge character without being sweet or heavy" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, $6.89/12oz (2 per) - "Creamy and full-bodied, with a complex character from generous amounts of roasted, toasted, and caramel malts. For those who demand flavor, this is the perfect libation. Bronze Medal winner 2003 GABF, Gold Medal winner 2005 GABF" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Rise of Mayan Dog, $3.59/12oz (1 per) - "Celebrate the new rise of civilization with this bittersweet, big, bold, black beer filled with old world and traditional Mayan spices, including honey and cocoa nibs" (source).
  • Short's Strawberry Shortscake, $2.39/12oz (6 per) - "Strawberry Short’s Cake is a golden ale. The addition of strawberries and milk sugar transform this beer into a rose colored nectar that has hints of cream and is pleasingly sweet. Biscuit flavors and aromas arise from the great amounts of Victory malt used in the brewing process" (source).
  • Atwater Blueberry Cobbler, $2.99/12oz (4 per) - "Ale brewed with blueberries" (source).
  • Weyerbacher 20th Anniversary, $4.29/12oz - "Our 20th Anniversary brew is a Belgian-Style Dark Ale weighing in at 11% ABV. It’s malty with notes of caramel, raisins and berries, as well as subtle hints of coriander and star anise" (source).

Happy 4th, Everyone!