If you enjoy hand-crafted beer, if you like hanging out with fun-loving people and if you won’t be too busy on May 7 celebrating National Paste Up Day or National Roast Leg of Lamb Day, we invite you to join a gathering of passionate homebrewers on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids in a country-wide observance of National Homebrew Day.
In 1988 the United States Congress decreed that the hobby of brewing beer be added to the list of National Days and in that same year the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created The Big Brew Day as a way for homebrewers to gather together and celebrate the national recognition of their hobby. AHA Big Brews are held each year at hundreds of venues around the country on the first Saturday in May.
Four years ago Siciliano’s Market sponsored the first Big Brew on the Calder in downtown Grand Rapids and the event has since become one of West Michigan’s most popular public homebrewing celebrations. This year fifty teams of dedicated homebrewers will be brewing batches of Beer City Saison on this highly visible stage. Samples of hand-crafted, homemade beer will be available to those of legal drinking age and at 1 p.m. mayor Rosalynn Bliss will lead the gathering in a simultaneous, country-wide toast to this life enriching hobby.
We are pleased that Coldbreak Brewing and Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply have signed on this year as co-sponsors of the event. The Beer City Big Brew on the Calder is free of charge and open to the public.
|Last year's Big Brew toast|
Updates and RemindersOnline entry registration for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition will be accepted through Sunday, April 10, or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. Entries must be received by Sunday, April 10, and will not be accepted after that date.
The Siciliano’s Homebrew Party will be held this year on Saturday, May 21, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the enclosed shelter at Johnson Park. Tickets will go on sale Monday, April 11. Seating is limited so if you plan on attending this homebrew event — one of Beer City USA’s most popular — you are encouraged to buy your tickets early.
New and Returning Beer
- Arbor Strawberry Blond, $2.39/12oz - "Rich and flavorful medium bodied beer with a fresh, floral strawberry aroma. Citrus, spice, and fruit are blended seamlessly for a subtle yet distinct flavor that never turns too sweet" (source).
- Blackrocks American Pils, $2.09/12oz - "With German malt, American hops and Lake Superior water, it’s a crisp and refreshing nod to a European tradition with a distinct American disobedience" (source).
- North Peak Arch Angel, $1.79/12oz - "North Peak Archangel is an American wheat beer brewed with Michigan cherries. Subtly hopped with Pele and Vanguard hops, Archangel is refreshing, clean and crisp" (source).
- Amager/Against The Grain: Pocketful of Dollars, $9.99/500ml - "Although they were painfully humiliated when they came to brew with us a couple of years ago - an episode that would later be known as "The Great, Big Kentucky Sausage Fest" - the friendly dudes of Against The Grain Brewery were kind enough to invite us in for a second round of brewing when Morten and Jacob of Amager Bryghus last visited the US. In spite of a house in mayhem - ATG was in the midst of constructing a new brewery AND some crazy Scotsmen from a company named Brewdog were running around making a lot of noise - big Sam Cruz and his cohorts were all their usual calm, kind and hospitable selves, as Southern folks are. We ended up brewing a somewhat unusual style, an Imperial Rye lager - rustic and robust - of course with a more than solid hopping. Once again a beer we believe is perfectly suited for sturdy and smoked meat dishes" (source).
- Amager/Crooked Stave: Chad the King of Wild Yeast, $10.79/500ml - "After long years of the beer community discussing hops to exhaustion, yeast is finally getting a glimpse of the spotlight following what seemed to be a lengthy Batman-like existence: outcast, living in the shadows, not getting enough credit for his work. However, the importance of fermentation is no news to Chad from Crooked Stave, a.k.a. the king of Hipsters, who has been fondling with various fermenting agents for longer than most people have been drinking. So it was that on a beautiful – yet excruciatingly hungover – Wednesday Mr Yakobsen came to Amager to bombard us simpletons with his knowledge on all things yeasty, and especially, bretty. Due to stubbornness from our end, we still insisted the brew carried a motherf#&@ of hops, despite intents of a brett forward beer. The answer to what ingredient won the battle lies within this bottle. But in our opinion, we are all winners" (source).
- Amager/18th Street: Lawrence of Arabica, $10.09/500ml - "One day we received an email from the Mikkeller HQ saying that they had an American gentleman coming to Copenhagen. The name of this gentleman was Mr. Drew Fox who not only happened to have his own brewery close to Chicago back home, but who also would love to come visit Amager Bryghus to brew a beer. That kind of proposal is simply impossible to turn down, so we found an open slot in our brewing schedule. For quite some time we had been curious about brewing a beer that had both coffee and orange zest, and since Drew has created several excellent coffee beers at his 18th Street Brewery we sat down to create Lawrence of Arabica, a Coffee Orange Porter. A mild and easygoing Porter, with an orange twist. We don’t hesitate to call Drew one of the kindest and friendliest dudes in the craft beer world, and we are honored to have created this beer with him" (source).
- Brewfist/Prairie: Spaghetti Western, $6.59/330ml - "Imperial Chocolate Coffee Stout" (source).
- Cervesa de Montseny Mala Vida Chili, $6.49/12oz - "A lot of malt and long hours of cooking lead to this beer that leaves no one indifferent. The taste is sweet and palatable, while aromas and flavors very pronounced roasted clear. Bad Life is a beer cup, ideal to taste it alone" (source).
- Fantôme Pissanlit, $14.39/750ml - "Dany, the offbeat brewer at Fantôme, will try anything, and the results are always interesting. A beer made from dandelions would be worth a try if only because no one has ever brewed one before, but the great news is that this is actually a very good beer. Dany and some cohorts get busy every spring picking bushels of dandelions that grow in the fields around the picturesque farmhouse brewery. The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion “tea” that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there" (source).
- Fantôme Saison, $14.39/750ml - "This is a tremendously delicious, textural, and fizzy county ale, bright gold colour, citric and sour, reminiscent of a good champagne or lambic but in a class all its own" (source).
- Fantôme/Grimm: Belgian Beer, $17.89/750ml - Description not available.
- Freigeist/2cabelas: Teresa's Eau de Janeiro, $11.49/500ml - "Gose with Mango" (source).
- Freigeist Abraxxxas Pear, $11.49/500ml - "Sour-Ale brewed with pear juice" (source).
- Prairie Standard, $2.69/12oz - "Prairie Standard is our everyday beer. Its a light, crisp saison with a hoppy finish. This beer is dry hopped 1lb per bbl with Motueka hops. A lovely New Zealand hop with a spicy lime like flavor and aroma" (source).
- To Øl F*ck Art Lets Dance, $21.49/750ml - "A 8,3% Belgian Tripel aged on Saint Emillion Grand Cru oak barrels for 8 months (aka it’s red wine barrel aged) with lacto bacteria which gives notes of farm and leather. The oak barrels gives a vinous sweet vanilla oakyness and the yeast adds levels of fruit and flowers" (source).
- Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.69/12oz - "Samuel Adams is currently in the process of brewing up a German style called “radler.” The name radler translates to “cyclist,” A 50/50 (ish) blend of beer and lemonade. (Like a shandy). Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker was inspired by traditional Bavarian Radlers that mix beer with German-style lemonade. For our bright and citrusy Radler, we blended a Helles beer with lemon for a fresh-squeezed lemon taste, effervescent sweetness, and slightly tart, refreshing finish. A light malt character and hint of hops balance out this summer brew" (source).
- Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake Milkshake Stout, $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 arrangement" (source).
- Rochester Mills Tongue Tied Cherry Saison, $2.29/16oz - "Inspired by Head Brewer, Bill Wamby’s award winning saison (farmhouse ale) recipe, Tongue Tied Cherry Saison (6.2 percent alcohol-by-volume) is a traditional Belgian-style saison ale brewed with over a thousand pounds of both tart and sweet Michigan cherries. An unfiltered, slightly creamy ale with a pale reddish amber color and nice luscious white head. The distinctiveness of unmalted wheat is enhanced by the addition of lemon, orange peel and coriander, which provides herbal spiciness to this refreshing, pure Michigan summer ale. Slightly fruity and very refreshing, with a subtle tartness and tremendous drinkability" (source).
- Right Brain Dead Kettle, $2.59/16oz - "A classic American Style IPA dominated by citrus aroma and flavor. It has strong grapefruit notes and a sharp finish" (source).
- Right Brain Pig Porter, $17.19/22oz - "Porter Brewed with Real Pig Parts. Who would have thought that what started as an inside joke amongst the Right Brain brew team would evolve into out most acclaimed beer ever? Brewed with REAL Mangalitsa pig heads and bones, this rich and chocolaty porter is infused with a symphony of salty, smoky, and savory flavors. Some have hailed it as the ’quintessential bacon beer’ while others call it a true breakfast brew. Regardless of what you call it, this imaginative and complex beer has to be tried to be understood" (source).
- Roak Blow Your Face Out, $3.29/12oz - "A double IPA loaded with Mosaic and Chinook hops" (source).
- Perrin Grapefruit IPA, $1.89/12oz - "Grapefruit, malt and hops blend effortlessly to make a truly unique seasonal ale. Cheers to short sleeves and long days" (source).
- Short's Mr. Fusion, $2.39/12oz - "Mr. Fusion is a green tea and mint infused India Pale Ale with light, sweet lemon-lime aromas. Golden in color, this beer has bright green and grassy hop flavors followed by pleasant hints of mint. A good sized bitterness builds and lingers, before ultimately finishing clean" (source).
- Victory Summer Love, $1.79/12oz - "The brew has a vibrant and refreshing pale color derived from its lean and refreshing malt body. And the initially floral aroma of hops segues into a well integrated, refreshing hop dryness of European heritage" (source).
- Great Lakes Chillwave, $3.29/12oz - "Inspired by the North Coast’s dedicated (and sometimes chilly) surf community, our Double IPA will melt the ice in your beard and never lose its balance" (source).
- Southern Tier Choklat Oranj, $4.99/12oz - "Choklat Oranj is the fifth beer currently in our highly regarded Blackwater series. Warlock, Creme Brulee, Mokah and Choklat have RateBeer scores of 97, 98, 99 and 100, respectively. Choklat Oranj is a stout brewed with chocolate and orange peels, opaque black in color, 10.0% abv, and a delicious dessert beer. Perfect alone, or enjoyed as a float. Scoop organic vanilla bean ice cream into a snifter or pint glass and top with Choklat Oranj. It’s impossible to be disappointed" (source).
- Ommegang Seven Kingdoms, $10.09/750ml - "Seven Kingdoms is a marriage of a traditional Belgian-style wheat and a hop-forward American ale – but unlike so many of the marriages on the show, the resulting hoppy wheat is pleasant, playful and inspired. Seven Kingdoms harmoniously weds citrusy and herbal American hops, with wheaty maltiness and moderate bitterness" (source).
- Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, $2.99/12oz - "Most breweries have at least one piece of equipment that’s just a bit persnickity. Here at Boulevard it’s fermenter number seven, the black sheep of our cellar family. Ironically, when our brewers were developing variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in that very vessel. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a flavorful surge of fruity aromatics and hoppy, grapefruit notes (Amarillo hops), this complex, straw-colored ale finishes long, dry and spicy" (source).
- Boulevard The Calling, $2.99/12oz - "Our most heavily hopped beer ever bursts forth with unmistakable tropical fruit and pine hop aromas and flavor supported with a slightly sweet malt character, tapering to a crisp, dry finish. Heed your call and enjoy" (source).
- Boulevard Tell Tale Tart, $2.99/12oz - "Deriving its name from Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale of madness and murder, our newest Smokestack Series release takes a predictably lighthearted approach to the subject of sourness. The subtle acidity of Tell-Tale Tart is answered by a soft, biscuity malt character, making this a sour ale that suggests, rather than announcing its tartness. Beginning with a bracing sharpness at first sip, the ale mellows on the palate to a smooth and faintly lingering finish" (source).
- Boulevard Lemon Ginger Radler, $2.9912oz - "Boulevard Ginger-Lemon Radler is a zesty, refreshing take on the tradition of mixing beer with soda or lemonade to create a light, thirst-quenching beverage ideal for warm weather. Radler (literally “cyclist,”) takes its name from active German sportsmen of a hundred years ago, but our version tastes just as good even if you do nothing more strenuous than lifting it to your lips" (source).
- Victory Kirsch Gose, $2.59/12oz - "A bold and bright step outside the norm, the flavors of a unique, old world German brewing process excite your senses with the sharp and sweet burst of fresh cherries. Effervescent and sublime, this session ale has an enticing cherry-fruit character. European tradition and American ingenuity come together in the truest sense as you Taste Victory in Kirsch Gose" (source).
- Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro, $3.19/12oz - "Super smooth trifecta of cocoa, dried fruit and licorice notes" (source).
- Tapistry Kilting Me Softly, $12.19/22oz - "Strong dark scotch ale brewed with smoked wheat and noble hop" (source).
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