If you were one of the hardy folks attending the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival last weekend I’m sure you were pleased that you were able to enjoy samplings of great Michigan beer without having to worry about getting frost bitten appendages. The late February weather couldn’t have been much better — practically balmy compared to last year’s bone-chilling and beer-line-freezing cold.
While my wife Barb and I are way too wimpy to attend these annual winter celebrations of Michigan’s hand-crafted brews, we look forward each year to the last weekend in February. The Winter Beer Festival draws hundreds of craft beer aficionados to Beer City USA and we love chatting with the dozens of out-of-towners who stop by Siciliano’s Market to stock up on the Mitten State’s excellent offerings.
Kudos to the Michigan Brewers Guild for giving a boost to West Michigan’s economy and for organizing another highly successful event.
Reminders & UpdatesTHIRTEENTH ANNUAL SICILIANO’S HOMEBREW COMPETITION: Entry registration for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition will open on Monday, March 14, at 8 a.m. and will close Sunday, April 10, at 10 p.m. Complete details can be found here.
Please note that we still need judges and stewards. Judging for this year’s competition will take place Saturday, April 23. Registration for judges & stewards is now open. The Siciliano’s competitions are BJCP registered events.
The following is pertinent information regarding the judging for the 2016 Siciliano's competition:
- Date: Saturday, April 23th
- Location: The Guest House, 638 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- Check in for judges & stewards: 10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
- Judging: 11:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
- Best-of-Show judging: 3:30 p.m.
Coffee and pastries will be provided in the morning and there will be a lunch and liquid refreshments at the conclusion of the judging.
If you would like to participate in the competition as either a judge or steward please go to reggiebeer.com, click on the Siciliano's link under Upcoming Competitions and you will redirected to the Siciliano's Competition page. After creating an account you will be able to register.
Important: Click on the Guest House Judging Session and then indicate whether you will be participating as a judge or steward. Judges should indicate their judging preferences & dislikes and then click the Update Judging Preferences button.
BEER CITY BIG BREW ON THE CALDER: Information on how to participate in the 2016 edition of Michigan’s largest Big Brew Day event can be found here.
HOME BREW LEAGUE: Registration opens Saturday, March 5. Visit this Buzz blog post for more information.
New and Returning Beer
- Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel, $5.09/12oz - "Péché Mortel (French for "Mortal Sin") is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavours. Fair trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste. Péché mortel is brewed to be savored; we invite you to drink it in moderation" (source).
- Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite, $5.09/12oz - "Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans" (source).
- Dieu du Ciel Grande Noirceur, $5.09/12oz - "The Grande Noirceur is an intensely black and dense beer with pronounced roasted flavours. The bitterness is very imposing but is balanced by a malty-caramel taste. The alcohol content is quite high, but its presence remains discrete in this beer" (source).
- To Øl Black Malts and Body Salts, $11.39/375ml - "A Black Imperial IPA brewed with black malts, body salts and french press coffee" (source).
- To Øl Gose to Hollywood, $6.49/500ml - "To Øl got starstruck. This is how we went to Hollywood. Salty, sour, light gose brewed with the best fruits California can offer. Best consumed on warm summer days or on the red carpet" (source).
- Eku Pils, $2.79/12oz - "A truly great Pils, a little maltier and more ‘Bavarian’ than the rest. The 6-packs are brand new for the American market" (source).
- Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake, $2.29/16oz - "One of our fan favorites from the 12 Days of Milkshake Stout, Blueberry Pancake Flavored Mikshake Stout™ is a unique brew that surprises the senses combining the distinct scent and taste of blueberries layered with the familiar taste of Milkshake Stout™ and a pleasant aftertaste of pancakes. Blueberry Pancake bridges the gap and appeals to non-beer drinkers as well. Limited Release and by special arrangemen" (source).
- Founders Mango Magnifico, $11.49/750ml (2 per) - "Mango Magnifico is a high-gravity fruit beer brewed with mango and a touch of habaneros to add just the right amount of heat. The delicate flavors imparted by the sweet richness of the mango are punctuated perfectly by the subtle heat of the habaneros, proving that fruit beers do not have to be one-note. Each 750mL bottle of this 10% ABV ale is both sophisticated and refreshing, making it the perfect beer to share… or to keep all to yourself" (source).
- New Holland White Hatter, $1.79/12oz - "Flavorfully blends the soft malt, fruity esters and delicate spicing of a Belgian White with hoppy citrus notes of an IPA. Pleasant hints of orange are framed with chamomile, coriander and grains of paradise" (source).
- Saugatuck Serano Pepper, $1.79/12oz - "An amber ale spiced with fresh Serrano Peppers, pleasing to both the nose and palate. A great beer for casual enjoyment and perfect for food pairing" (source).
- Dogfish Head Higher Math, $10.19/12oz (1 per) - "Celebrating 20 off-centered years with our luscious chocolate cherry birthday cake in liquid form. A golden ale brewed with chocolate & sour cherry juice" (source).
- Dogfish Head Oak Aged Nobel Rot, $15.09/750ml (1 per) - "Noble Rot is the head-on collision of the beer world and the wine world ... and now we've aged it on oak ... for a whole year! This saison-esque science project gets complexity and fermentable sugars from the addition of two unique white wine grapes, sourced with our friends at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, Washington. The first addition is the must of viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This 'noble rot' reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is a pinot gris intensified by a process called 'dropping fruit,' where large clusters of grapes are clipped to amplify the quality and distinction of those left behind. We then aged Noble Rot in one of our oak tanks for an entire year, making for a hazy ale that has a spicy white wine body and a dry, tart finish" (source).
- Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry, $2.59/12oz - "What you have here is a serious India Pale Ale shacking up and hunkering down with mango and apricots. At the same time! Romantic Chemistry is brewed with an intermingling of mangos, apricots and ginger, and then dry-hopped with three varieties of hops to deliver a tropical fruit aroma and a hop-forward finish" (source).
- Avery Uncle Jacob, $13.99/12oz (1 per) - "Jacob Spears, our 6th Great Grand Uncle, is credited as the first distiller to label his whiskey "Bourbon." He built his distillery in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1790 - 203 years before began brewing. While obviously a bit too late to produce Uncle Jacob’s wash, we’ve instead created something far more complex. In his honor, we present this robust, silky smooth, full-bodied and altogether extremely American rendition of an Imperial Stout aged for 6 months in the very finest bourbon barrels. This explains a lot about our penchant for big brews! It’s in our blood" (source).
- Avery Vanilla Bean Stout, $13.79/22oz (1 per) - "A double dose of vanilla derived from both fresh Bourbon barrels and the trio of Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans is complemented by essences of chocolate, caramel, and molasses to round out this luxuriously silky stout. After Raspberry Sour, this is the 2nd installment of Avery’s Botanicals & Barrels series" (source).
- Oddside Nihlist, $4.89/12oz (1 per) - "El Dankerino aged in bourbon barrels" (source).
- Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado, $2.59/12oz (1 per) - "Our Watermelon Dorado Double IPA is not one to back down from big flavors. Mash, kettle, and dry hopping blend to create a huge hop profile that is balanced with a blast of watermelon. The result is a refreshing brew that is all summer and no seeds" (source).
- Short's Peachy Pom Pom, $16.69/22oz (1 per) - "Peachy Pom Pom is a rosy colored American Sour Ale brewed with peaches and pomegranate. Tart berry aromatics accentuate the sweet and sour fruit flavors within this beer. A huge tangy mouth feel with some initial acidic citrus qualities shocks the palate before a clean and lightly dry finish" (source).
- Crankers End of the World IPA, $10.49/22oz - "This insanely aromatic Double IPA is brewed and Double Dry Hopped with a special blend of the most exclusive hops on the planet. This beer was designed to be consumed before the End of the World, not after it. So drink now, drink fresh, because tomorrow is never promised...and the aliens are moving at the speed of light" (source).
- Greenbush 400 Divine Rabbits, $1.99/12oz - "This heavenly brew is sure to satisfy all who you offer it to… and by all, we mean ALL. Two or twenty, be sure to keep enough of this Agave Nectar Wheat Ale on hand lest you anger the gods" (source).