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Friday, January 22, 2016

New Beer Friday, Hop Rhizome Pre-Order Edition (Jan 22)

Rhizome is where the heart is!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you were homebrewing back in 2008 I’m sure you remember the hop shortage that caused prices to spike and forced homebrew shops to place limits on some of the most popular varieties. The contributing factors that resulted in that yearlong scarcity of humulus lupulus were essentially threefold.

In the fifteen years prior to the shortage, hop acreage was steadily declining due to a surplus that began accumulating in the early 1990s. As that surplus began running out, adverse weather in Europe significantly reduced the yield of many European varieties. Finally, and most detrimental from a homebrewing perspective, hop growers continued to honor contracts with commercial brewers which meant that homebrew shops were forced to absorb the brunt of the shortage.

Fortunately there’s been an adequate supply of hops for homebrewers over the past eight years. But now some experts in the industry are saying that another shortage is inevitable. Might be a good time for more homebrewing hobbyists to start planting hop rhizomes.

On that note, we will be taking rhizome pre-orders now through the end of business on Sunday, February 28th. Those wishing to place orders may do so via email (, 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 a list of the rhizome varieties available this year.

Rhizome Varieties

    • 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. 
    • Golding: 4.0-5.0% alpha. Grows well in mild, moist climates. Does okay in hot climates. 
    • Liberty: 3.0-5.0% alpha. Mild and spicy with subtle lemon and citrus characteristics. Grows well in mild, moist 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.
*We have eliminated U.S. Fuggle and U.S. Hallertau only because the Tettnang is much more popular. All three varieties are a triploid and are almost identical to each other.

New and Returning Beer

  • Dieu du Ciel Route des Epices, $4.99/12oz - "Routes des épices (French for "Spice Route") is a rye beer brewed with both black and green peppercorns. Initially, the beer reveals flavours of fresh grain and malt, which give it notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit. The pepper flavour and aroma is fully revealed in the finish, which leaves a pleasant, spicy, tingling sensation on the tongue" (source).
  • Dieu du Ciel Isseki Nicho, $4.99/12oz - "This "Imperial Dark Saison" is a collaboration between DDC and Shiga Kogen. It has the grain bill of an Imperial Stout, hops grown at Shiga Kogen and is fermented with Saison yeast" (source).
  • Freigeist Ehrenfelder Alt, $6.19/500ml - No commercial description available.
  • Kulmbacher Pils, $2.59/12oz - "In two recent blind tastings, German beer drinkers picked Kulmbacher as the best Pils in Germany. Soon thereafter, a panel of beer journalists bypassed local favorites (Beck’s and St. Paulie Girl) and voted Kulmbacher #1 in a tasting sponsored by the newspaper “Die Zeit” in Hamburg. Then, at a third blind tasting of leading Pilsners by students at the University of Bamberg (Germany’s best-educated and most-sophisticated beer town) – Kulmbacher came out on top again" (source).
  • Prairie Ape Snake, $11.39/500ml - "Ape Snake is a dark, dry hopped farmhouse ale. We’ve taken our dark farmhouse base and dry hopped it with Falconer’s Flight and Centennial hops. The combination of yeast and hops create an explosion of flavors, and this beer will continue to develop as it ages. Check it out in 500ml bottles and on draft at your favorite restaurants and bars" (source).
  • Bell's Hopslam, $2.59/12oz, $39.39/Minikeg - "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 repertoire. 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).
  • Alaskan Hop Turn, $1.69/12oz - "A Hop Turn is an extreme maneuver in skiing and snowboarding designed to change direction quickly and negotiate the steepest terrain in the world. In skiing the technique is also known as a pedal-hop turn and was invented in the Alps in the early 1970’s when skiers first started to negotiate descents that could go over 60° in steepness and could run for 4,000 feet. The same technique is now used in snowboarding on the steepest chutes in Alaska’s biggest mountain ranges – by the world’s best riders like Jeremy Jones, who is always in search of terrain that is Further, Deeper and Higher. Our Hop Turn IPA also takes its inspiration from Europe – using a Pilsner malt for a distinctive old-world taste. With a floral, peppery, lemony aroma, crystal-clear pale straw color, brisk flavor and lively 7.5 percent ABV, Hop Turn is a radical take on an American IPA" (source).
  • Founders Imperial Stout, $3.09/12oz - "Brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer" (source).
  • Glutenberg White, $2.99/16oz - "The Blanche is a completely unique interpretation of a classic style of Belgian inspiration. Traditionally brewed with wheat, Glutenberg renewed the style entirely to put forward a 100% gluten- and wheat-free beer, a tour de force of which only we hold the recipe. The Glutenberg White's distinction lies in its quinoa and amaranth composition, which endows it with a noticeable grainy profile, ensuring a steady mouth-feel. Soft and refreshing, with hints of coriander and curaçao, the White is the perfect nectar to quench your thirst" (source).
  • Grizzly Peak Berserker, $3.39/12oz - "Go Berserker and let this rich, thick and dark Imperial Winter Stout penetrate you with it’s dark color and intense aroma of black currants, roasted coffee and hint of Cacao. This strong beer is 9% alcohol by volume but is very balanced and ready to be sipped in front of your fire on a frigid winter night" (source).
  • Saugatuck Blueberry Maple Stout, $1.79/12oz - No commercial description available.
  • Stone Enjoy By Unfiltered, $2.99/12oz, $8.99/22oz - "In most cases, skipping a step is a bad thing. Not this time. This version of Stone Enjoy By IPA omits the part where we filter out the extra yeast, hop sediment and proteins that build up in beer as a natural result of the brewing process. Though it may sound like it, this missed step was no misstep. By letting this IPA go unfiltered, its peach and tropical fruit hop flavors are amplified while its golden-hued color takes on a hazy appearance. Like its filtered counterpart, this IPA is brewed specifically NOT to last, and is shipped immediately to ensure hopheads get their hands on it as soon as possible" (source).
  • Stone Matt's Burning Rosids, $9.49/22oz - "Fruit and spiciness from the Belgian yeast, followed by a more pronounced smoky woodiness. The finish is malty, with a touch of alcohol. There’s a really nice blend of flavors" (source).
  • Perrin No Problems, $1.69/12oz - "No Problems is our latest addition to the Perrin Brewing can family. Available all year round, this Session IPA comes in at 4.5% ABV and 45 IBUs. Our Session IPA" bursts open with aromatics of fresh citrus fruits, ripened melon and a distinctive floral bouquet. Weaved carefully under the hop bitterness lies a light, semi-sweet malt body, that finishes in a crisp N' clean fashion" (source).
  • Big Sky Slow Elk, $1.69/12oz - "Happens every year; people shootin' cows. That's how the slow elk got its name. Enjoy the creamy texture, great malt complexity and the unequaled smoothness of this northern Rockies oatmeal stout. Stock your fridge the easy way and keep an ear open for the unmistakable bugle of the slow elk ... Moooo! (source).
  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Our malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish truly defies style…Imperial Mild?...Uber ESB?... We do know for sure that it is Unforgiven and Unrepentant" (source).
  • Odd Side Jesse's Party, $2.29/12oz - "Are you cool man?" (source).
  • Odd Side Flash Golden, $2.49/12oz - "Belgian Golden Strong Ale" (source).
  • Victory Anniversary Golden 20, $1.79/12oz - "Complex aromas of melon, pine, green grass, and citrus rind mingle in this crystal clear, blonde ale. Flavors of mango and cantaloupe mix with a touch of malty sweetness, followed by a pleasantly bitter, crisp finish that rounds out this hoppy brew" (source).
  • Victory Blackboard Agave IPA, $2.59/12oz - "Fresh, crisp and clean, this ale offers bold and refreshing flavors. Touched with agave syrup and grapefruit juice, this brew boasts great hop aroma and a light citric bite" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Huge Arker, $16.69/22oz - "True to its Boontling moniker, “Huge Arker” is a massive force of nature that detonates on your tongue. After primary fermentation, the beer is aged in Wild Turkey® Bourbon barrels until it fully matures. The deep mahogany color is evocative of the opulence to follow. Dark luscious aromas of burnished oak mingle with candy sugar, bourbon and hearth-baked bread. The luxurious flavors redolent of honey and molasses are intertwined with the richness of dark chocolate and the ardent warmth of alcohol, underpinned with hints of coffee, vanilla and dark fruits" (source).
  • Bitter Old Fecker Strutter, $14.99/22oz - "India Pale Ale brewed with chamomile, rose petals, juniper and honey and aged in Bourbon Barrels" (source).

Video of the Week | Bitter Old Fecker

Bitter Old Fecker now available at Siciliano's


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