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Friday, July 29, 2016

New Beer Friday, Extract to All-Grain Edition (July 29)

Preamble by Matt Ross

Have you been extract brewing? Are you ready to make the dive into all grain? Not sure where to start?

Siciliano’s Market is hosting extract-to-all-grain transition classes! This class will include the principles of all grain brewing including mashing, sparging and recipe creation techniques to ensure your success. It will also discuss necessary equipment and alternative brewing methods.

This class is geared toward extract and new-to-all-grain brewers but any and all are welcome to join. The extract-to-all-grain transition class is $10 per person and will be held at Siciliano’s Market on Monday, August 1, at 6:30 p.m. For more details feel free to stop in or give us a ring, and be sure to keep the following homebrew classes on your radar.

    • Extract Brewing 101, August 15
    • Culturing Wild Yeast, August 29
    • Extract Brewing 101, September 12
    • Kegging Homebrew, September 26

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Oracle, $3.09/12oz - "Our take on the West Coast-style Double India Pale Ale, The Oracle places hop intensity first and foremost, making only the slightest concession to malt and 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).
  • Brooklyn Brewery Improved Old Fashioned, $23.79/750ml - "Barrel-aged rye ale with botanicals & bitters" (source).
  • Kona Lemongrass, $1.69/12oz - "Ale brewed with ginger with lemongrass and ginger added" (source).
  • ROAK Meanstreet, $1.69/12oz - "Mean Street is a cross between an American Amber and an Extra-Special Bitter. This copper-colored beer is medium bodied with some toffee and fruit in the aroma. It finishes with a citrusy American hop character that is as clean as it is mean" (source).
  • Perrin / Cigar City White Noise, $11.49/22oz (1 per) - "An Imperial White IPA brewed with several unique hops and blend of spices. Unlike a normal IPA the white IPA is very pale and made with wheat, unmalted wheat, and flaked oats to give a lighter color but creamy body. Once the beer is fermented with Belgian yeast, the subtle hints of lemon grass, juniper berries, and grains of paradise will blend into a spicy (hoppy) and slightly floral White IPA" (source).
  • Short's Spruce Pils, $2.39/12oz (6 per) - "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).
  • Boatyard EZ pale, $2.99/16oz - "The Boatyard Brewing Company is proud to have created this special beer to honor slain Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata and to raise money for the Eric Zapata Memorial Foundation. In November of 2013, we worked with Kalamazoo Public Safety officers and Eric’s friends to brew our first experimental batch of EZ Ale, an American Wheat Ale. We were very excited about the flavors of the first batch. EZ ale has since become a favorite. The beer was released to the public on April 19th, 2014 at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange release party to honor Eric, his friends, family and the Eric Zapata Foundation. Be sure to join us in honoring Eric by raising a glass of EZ Ale" (source).
  • Lagunitas 12th of Never, $1.59/12oz - "The magical, mystical 12th of Never is a blend of Old and New School hops that play bright citrus, rich coconut, and papaya-esque flavors, all on a solid stage of English puffed wheat. Tropically hoppy. Light, yet full-bodied. Bright and citrusy. The 12th of Never Ale is everything we’ve learned about making hop-forward beer expressed in a moderate voice.  Pale, cold, slightly alcoholic and bitter.  It’s all we know" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Saison X, $15.29/750ml - "Rich yellow gold in color, highly effervescent. Sugared spice aroma, tart and refreshing with a hint of citrus and candied ginger in the finish" (source).
  • Atwater Conniption Fit Double IPA, $2.99/12oz - "An American DIPA made locally, for those who tend towards the maltier side of life" (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).
  • Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro, $3.19/12oz - "Super smooth trifecta of cocoa, dried fruit and licorice notes" (source).
  • Left Hand Extrovert IPA, $2.09/12oz - "A hoppy attitude and a mouthful of dynamic flavors give this IPA a big personality. Assertive, fruit-forward hops with aromas of orange blossom and pineapple mingle with flavors of wet pine and sweet malt with a dry finish" (source).
  • Vander Mill Puff the Magic Cyser, $15.69 - "Puff the Magic Cyser is a collaborative barrel aged product between Vander Mill and New Holland Brewing Company. This cyser is fermented with Michigan wildflower honey to complete dryness and then aged in New Holland Dragon’s Milk barrels for 8 months. The richness from the stout, and depth of the barrel flavor make this product very complex. A hint of the honey and acidity of the cider round out the profile" (source).
  • St. Ambrose John Lemmon, 8.99/16.9oz - "John Lemon is our summer seasonal draft mead. Take all the joy and relaxation of a cool lemonade on a hot day, and add a sweet sip of honey to that. That’s John Lemon. Perfect for unwinding and watching the sun go down on another beautiful day. This lemon mead is one of the first drafts that we produced here at St. Ambrose, and it’s become a perennial favorite. Get it now while the getting is good, because before you know it, the summer will be over and this little sip of sunshine is going to head back into hibernation" (source).
  • St. AmbroseRazz!, 8.99/16.9oz - "Star thistle mead complimented with reverent raspberries. Stairway to Valhalla" (source).
  • St. Ambrose Wild Ginger, 8.99/16.9oz - "If you're a Michigander, you know all about ginger. Now imagine taking that ginger-ale taste, adding just a touch of sour, and always-appealing star thistle honey. Sound good? We're glad it does, because that's exactly what wet n' wild Wild Ginger mead is. One of the regulars in our draft lineup, the Wild Ginger has the mead sweetness you love with a tantalizing ginger bite" (source).
  • St. Ambrose Black Madonna, 8.99/16.9oz - "Black Madonna is a wholly unique, wholly delicious sour blackberry mead in a draft style. This lightly carbonated mead is a blend of honey, blackberry, and sour fermentation. The combination provides an easily recognizable taste that delights the senses and tickles the mind. Our gluten-free blackberry mead is a modern craft beverage featuring strong honey notes and a unique sour blackberry flavor. Bee One with The Universe" (source).
  • St. Ambrose XR Cyser, 8.99/16.9oz - "More than just cider and honey, this cyser mead is crafted from only the finest Northern Michigan spy apples, blended with our very own Star Thistle honey and maple syrup, and spiced up with a dash of cinnamon. The result? It's a mead, but it's also “Apple Pie in a Glass”. It's as American as apple pie itself, and demands that you exercise your right to refreshment" (source).
  • Genesee Pils, $1.99/12oz - "A crisp, exceptionally clean beer prominently featuring Noble German hops and the finest Pilsner malt. This medium-bodied lager releases subtle, bready malt flavors and aromas that are balanced by intense, yet pleasant, hop bitterness" (source).

Video of the Week

Who's up for a trip to Marshall?


Friday, July 15, 2016

New Beer Friday, Fun Facts Edition (July 15)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you stopped by Siciliano’s Market this past week you may have noticed some of the new information cards that we’ve begun placing at various locations around the store. It’s our hope that these snippets of product-related info, useful knowledge and fun facts will enhance your Siciliano’s shopping experience and make your visits to one of west Michigan’s premier specialty stores even more enjoyable.

Kudos to the staff for coming up with this great idea and to Mark Iacopelli in particular for spearheading this project. Keep an eye out for these informational snapshots on racks, shelves and cooler doors during your future visits to the store.

Just a reminder that the first in the series of our homebrewing classing is scheduled for Monday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Siciliano’s Market. Go here for future class schedules and other pertinent details.

New and Returning Beer

  • Cascade Brewing Kriek, $28.69/750ml - "Brewed with 4 types of cherries, aged in oak for one year.Cascade Kriek Ale spends over 6 months of lactic fermentation and aging in small oak barrels. This "Belgian Flanders Style Red Ale" is refermented with a blend of fresh whole Northwest cherries and then hand bottled. Cascade Kriek Ale is bottle fermented and should be refrigerated or stored at cellar temp and served at 45 to 50 degrees" (source).
  • Cascade Brewing Apricot, $28.69/750ml - "Cascade Apricot Ale is based on our Temptor Triple Ale that has undergone over 8 months of lactic fermentation and oak barrel aging. Ripe NW Apricots are fermented with this beer for 3 additional months. This hand packaged and bottle conditioned ale will only get better with age ... good luck waiting" (source).
  • Cascade Brewing Blueberry, $28.69/750ml - "This NW style sour ale blends wheat & blond ales that were oak aged in barrels for 6 mths, then additionally aged 4 mths on fresh blueberries. Huge herbal notes of dense blueberries in the nose give way to hints of oak & a dusty floral note. Rich earthy notes of dark fruit on the palate lead to a tart finish that dries out to a base note of blueberry skins" (source).
  • Cascade Brewing Strawberry, $28.69/750ml - "This NW style sour is a crisp, refreshing wheat beer that was barrel-aged for seven months then additionaly aged with strawberries for another eight months. Bright, sweet strawberries and light candy notes greet you in the nose. A light tartness and berry sweetness intermingle on the palate, giving way to a light, sparkling fresh berry tartness in the finish. It is better as a breakfast beer or a dessert? You decide" (source).
  • Stone Go To IPA, $1.99/16oz - "Since Day One, we've been abundantly forthright and fully transparent about our lust for hops. It's led us to craft many an IPA, most of them imperial—some intense for their time and all timeless in their intensity. For Stone Go To IPA, we embrace our hop obsession in a new way, funneling an abundance of lupulin-borne bitterness into a session IPA that delivers all the fruity, piney character of a much bigger IPA. To accomplish this, we employ hop bursting, a technique wherein an irrational amount of hops is added during the final phase of the brewing process to bring out extreme flavors and aromas while also imparting a burst of desirably pleasant bitterness. The result is an alpha-acid-rich beer that fans can enjoy more of without missing out on the assertive hop character you, like us, crave. So, sit back and go two with your new everyday go-to IPA and bask along with us in the glory of the almighty hop" (source).
  • Short's Power of Love, $1.99/12oz - "Power of Love is a truly unique pink-colored Shandy created by blending Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co. Gourmet Lemonade and a Wheat Ale brewed with raspberry and rosemary. Enticing sugary aromas intermix with appealing citrus and herb fragrances. Very sweet lemon flavors give way to a shock of tart raspberry before turning sharply dry, as if eating a piece of grapefruit" (source).
  • Boulevard Tropical Pale Ale, $1.69/12oz - "We’re very excited to announce that a new year-round beer will be joining our lineup this spring! Inspired by our collaboration with Florida’s famed Cigar City Brewing, Tropical Pale Ale marries our love and mastery of balanced pale ales with the bright, refreshing flavors of grapefruit and passion fruit accented by juicy, citrusy hops" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Boreal, $15.29/750ml - ""When introspection fails, it’s time to look outward for inspiration, perhaps Northward! One of the people who inspired me this past year is my friend Gabe Fletcher, of Anchorage Brewing Co. We brewed this beer together. I hope it inspires you. Northward (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Matane Ahorita, $15.29/750ml - "Sour bier with spices added" (source).
  • Boatyard Midnight Star, $2.99/16oz - "We offer to the world our Midnight Star, a black cream ale that just has to be tried to be believed.  The black malt disguises the rich caramel flavors that just burst through on every sip.  Combine a hint of rye for spice and lactose for a silky smooth texture and you have an ale that is unbeatable.  Don’t be afraid of the dark! Midnight Star will kiss your palate and leave you wanting for more" (source).
  • Boatyard Scuttlebutt IPA, $2.99/16oz - "This British/American IPA hybrid boasts great color and a vibrant nose. With a single sip you will find solid malt backbone with caramel notes. The hopping brings out a spectrum of citrus and pine flavors that balance well with the malt. This IPA is dry-hopped with Citra hops and the finish it provides is spectacular" (source).
  • Boatyard Kalamazoo Cream Ale, $2.79/16oz - "This ale was created for those days when you just want a light-hearted, easy drinking ale with a lower alcohol content. We wanted a light beer, but not one void of flavor.  Our recipe used over five different malts, including a Munich and Caramel 20. We also mashed in flaked maize and flaked barley to keep the flavor mild, but complex.  Lactose was added to produce a great mouth feel and creamy head.  The balanced hops profile included both Cascade and Saaz.  The result was a light beer with a flavor perfect for hot summer days" (source).
  • Unity Vibration Brewgyver, $8.39/500ml - "Brewed in honor of our "brewgyver". Kombucha beer hopped with galena, chinook, and crystal hops. With strawberry, maple syrup, and smoked maple chips" (source).
  • Unity Vibration Elderwand, $3.59/12oz - "A delicious brew made with elderberries, blackberries, and buckwheat! As always, still deliciously raw, paleo, gluten-free, and organically and locally sourced" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Passion Fruit Pinner, $1.69/12oz - "Passion Fruit Pinner takes the flavors of passion fruit & citrus juice of the original Pinner Throwback IPA and turns them up to 11. The clean malts, with hints of toasted biscuit pair with zesty hops to spice up the taste and aromas from pureed Passion Fruit and a small spike of pureed Blood Orange" (source).

Video of the Week | Session Boldly

Another good one from Founders.


Monday, July 11, 2016

July Brew of the Month: Pre-"Joe"-hibition Cream Ale

By Joe Potter

The anniversary of our declaration of independence, July is a great month to celebrate our nation’s history, and the summer heat requires a refreshing, cool homebrew while doing so. Therefore, July’s Brew of the Month is a Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale: A light and crushable historical style higher in alcohol and slightly hoppier than modern versions. This brew uses local malt from Pilot Malt House, Michigan honey and an interesting lemon-lime hop from New Zealand. The honey drives attenuation, giving the beer a thirst-quenching quality perfect for a sunny Michigan summer.

In cream ales, the fermentables can include up to 20% adjuncts (corn is traditional) and up to 20% brewing sugars added during the boil. Wanting to avoid an overt corniness, I substituted half of the flaked maize for flaked rice, using a pound of each. I included a pound of Pilot 6-Row to help enzymatically convert the adjunct sugars. I wanted this beer to be highly attenuated, so I mashed for 90 minutes at 149°F. Additionally, I added 0.6 pounds of honey during the boil to boost the alcohol and dry out the beer. Style guidelines allow for any hop variety to be used, and I was intrigued by the citrusy and lemon-lime characteristics of the New Zealand Motueka hop. I used this single hop for all my additions, including dry-hopping, a common practice for Pre-Prohibition beers.

Desiring as clean a beer as possible, I fermented with White Labs San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) and fermented it between 61-65°F. This strain is very similar to WLP001 California Ale in terms of flavor profile but is quicker, prefers a lower temperature (65-68°F) and can be more attenuative. If you are unable to ferment that cool, try WLP001 or Safeale US-05. My starting gravity was 1.049 and I finished out at 1.005, resulting in an apparent attenuation of 89% and a 5.78% ABV beer. This beer received a lot of praise from my friends and coworkers and scored a half point shy of a Gold Medal at the 2016 Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition.

All Grain Recipe ($29.58)

    • 6 lbs Castle Belgian Pilsner Malt
    • 1 lb Pilot 6-Row
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Rice
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Maize
    • 0.6 lbs Michigan Honey (available at Siciliano’s)

Partial Mash Recipe ($31.09)

    • 1 lb Pilot 6-Row
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Rice
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Maize
    • 4.5 lbs Briess Pilsen Light LME
    • 0.6 lbs Michigan Honey (available at Siciliano’s)

Hops & Yeast

    • 0.25 oz Motueka @ 60 min
    • 0.50 oz Motueka @ 30 min
    • 0.25 oz Motueka @ 0 min
    • 1.00 oz Motueka - Dry Hopping
    • White Labs San Diego Super WLP090
The staff at Siciliano's is always eager to answer your homebrewing questions. Stop by for help developing custom-made recipes like this one!

Friday, July 8, 2016

New Beer Friday, Homebrew Class Edition (July 8)

Preamble by Matt Ross

On nearly a daily basis I find myself explaining how to brew beer in one capacity or another to inquisitive customers. It is part of my job and I love doing it. My coworkers share this sentiment. We love the work we do and want to more effectively pass this information on to our patrons. In order to provide a better educational service, I am proud to announce that Siciliano’s Market is starting a series of homebrewing classes.

We understand that everyone is at their own pace in their homebrew journey so we are providing varying degrees of classes. We are kicking it off with Extract Brewing 101. This class is geared toward people with little to no brewing experience who want to learn the basics or for new brewers who want to refine their skills. Extract Brewing 101 is also offered on a rotating schedule to accommodate busy summer schedules.

The first class is set to start Monday, July 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Siciliano’s Market. There is a ten dollar fee per class per person. Sign up for classes can be done in person or via phone. Stop in or drop us a line for further information.

    • July 18 – Extract Brewing 101
    • August 1 – Intro to All Grain and Recipe Creation
    • August 15 – Extract Brewing 101
    • August 29 – Culturing Wild Yeast
    • September 12 – Extract Brewing 101
    • September 26 – Kegging Home Brew

New and Returning Beer

  • Cascade Brewing Noyaux, $35.79/750ml - "This NW style sour ale features blonds and triples aged on oak for 18 to 24 months, then additionally aged for 12 months on raspberries and apricot noyaux" (source).
  • Cascade Brewing Manhattan 2014, $39.99/750ml - "Manhattan NW, a NW style sour ale that was, until recently, a secret. It’s a blend of Blond Quad aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels on 150 pounds of sour pie cherries for five months before additionally aging on apricot noyaux for three months. Aromas of cherries, Bourbon, sweet candy and hints of spice are noticed up front. Tart cherry skins and Maraschino cherries on the palate lead to a dance of rich cherry notes that are followed by slight Bourbon sweetness. Much like the process to make fission, the steps involved here are greater than the sum of their parts" (source).
  • Cascade Brewing Figaro, $35.79/750ml - "This NW style sour ale is a strong blond ale aged in chardonnay barrels for up to 12 months, then aged with dried white figs and lemon peel or up to 12 more months. Aromas of sweet figs, golden raisins, and citrus zest are the first to be noticed. Hints of white wine grapes, lemon peel, and sweet figs roll across the palate, leading to a crisp lemon tartness in the finish that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue" (source).
  • Arbor Brewing Bliss Wheat, $1.89/12oz - "U.S. Open Beer Champion – named “Best Hefeweizen in America” by the Craft Beer News Service.  Classic aromas of banana, clove and floral citrus blossom. Fruity, spicy aromas show a rich yeasty character that follows through on a smooth, medium-bodied palate with a delicately spicy finish" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Saison Du Maison, $3.49/16oz - "Spelt and raw oats give this "house saison" an earthy, rustic malt profile. French hops add hints of strawberry and lavender tied together with a cold two-month fermentation on our Biere de Garde yeast which yields some subtle flavors of cantaloupe and honeydew" (source).
  • Mikkeller Ich Bin Berliner Weisse Cherry, $4.79/16oz - "Berliner-style Weisse beer brewed with Cherries " (source).
  • Mikkeller Ich Bin Berliner Weisse Peach, $4.79/16oz - "Berliner-style Weisse beer brewed with Peaches" (source).
  • Cambridge Brewing Company Working Class Hero, $2.29/12oz - "Barley, wheat, rye and oats combine with hops and citrus peel in this new American saison. Created by men and women who have forged their own paths to craft your beer, here’s a liquid reward for heroic people everywhere who take pride in an honest day’s work" (source).
  • Amager / Grassroots Black Nitro, $10.79/500ml - "Dark (or Black or Cascadian) IPA is now a trend in the USA, and this beer was also a hit in Denmark when it was first brewed in 2009. The color is dark brown towards black. We used a special technique to avoid the burnt notes that usually come from dark malt. The aroma is a broad spectrum of hops thanks to a big dosage of many American varieties." (source).
  • Buxton Red Raspberry Rye, $6.69/12oz - "Raspberry Rye Sour, with 100g/L raspberries" (source).
  • Buxton / La Lervig Aktiebryggeri Trolltunga, $5.79/12oz - "Gooseberry Sour IPA. Trolltunga is a jutting rock in Norway, hanging 700 metres over lake Ringedalsvatnet. Only the wary tread the path to the very edge. This beer was brewed to celebrate friendship and a love of wild places. A collaboration with Lervig Aktiebryggeri from Stavanger, Norway" (source).
  • Grimm Future Perfect, $11.29/750ml - "Brewed with blackberries and blueberries, conditioned on oak, and dry hopped with Hull Melon" (source).
  • Odd Side Chicka Yeah, $1.99/12oz - "Wheat ale with camomile, pink peppercorn, lemon peel, and orange peel" (source).
  • Greenbush Broken Promises, $2.19/12oz - "In the land of hop contracts, you can't always get what you want.  Lucky for us, when brewing our Wheat IPA we found Zythos hops, which lend a serious citrus burst to this fine brew" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood, $2.49/12oz - "An honest to goodness IPA brewed with a bounty of real citrus including lemon flesh, blood orange juice plus orange and lemon peel. A combination of Warrior, Centennial, and a rare experimental hop to perfectly complement the citrus ingredients and flavor. Flesh & Blood balances the resinous hoppy characteristics of an American IPA with the explosive, zesty fruitiness and subtle dry tartness of citrus to deliver a highly quaffable ale that’s incredibly unique and lovely to down the whole year round" (source). See video below.
  • Short's Choco Giddyup, $1.69/12oz - "Chocolate Giddyup is a Stout brewed with a skillful combination of cocoa nibs and Higher Grounds Trading Co. cold brewed coffee. Dark brown in color and rich in aroma, Chocolate Giddyup has flavors of roasted malt, black coffee, and bitter chocolate" (source).

Video of the Week | Flesh & Blood

Now available at Siciliano's.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bootleg Biology, Part II: A Chat with Founder Jeff Mello

Cheif Yeast Wrangler Jeff Mello
By Max Spencer

The idea for Bootleg Biology™ and the premade Backyard Yeast Wrangling Kits discussed in Part I of this blog post comes from Jeff Mello. I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Jeff about his company and any advice he had for homebrewers looking to use wild yeasts in their beer. Prior to opening Bootleg Biology, Jeff was a political science major doing non-profit work and homebrewing on the side. Jeff found his inspiration after reading about capturing wild yeast using open-air spontaneous fermentation “traps”. He then used the technique to capture a wild yeast species in his own backyard, which he officially named Saccharomyces arlingtonesis, and successfully made beer with it. As he put it, “[some] homebrewers brew for the first time and go, ‘I want to open my own brewery!’ I knew that I wanted to open my own yeast company.”

Jeff’s work extends beyond selling yeast wrangling kits. His company is also collecting yeast from all over the world and compiling a genetic database, relying on contributions from homebrewers. Their current end goal is to genetically sequence at least one yeast from every zipcode. This project is both scientifically and culturally important. Jeff wants to show that beer can be influenced by terroir as much as wine. He pointed out that many people use local barley and hops, and now some are using local yeasts. This genetic database acts not only as a way to explore the genetics of wild yeast, but as a monument to the terroir of beer. For those interested in contributing to the database it is as easy as mailing a sample to Jeff’s company.

I asked Jeff if he had any advice for homebrewers looking to use wild yeast in their beer. He stressed that wrangling wild yeasts takes time and patience — not every attempt will end in success and mistakes happen. That is why it is important to take as many samples as possible to increase the odds of getting at least one usable strain of yeast. Wild yeast can be fickle and have a wide variety of characteristics. He recommended using fruits as a relatively consistent source of wild yeasts. Fruits are typically coated with wild yeasts, that’s what gives apples their shine! He also cautioned against attempting to collect wild yeast indoors as yeast tends to be where the temperatures are warm and other life is vibrant. Persistence, replication and planning will pay dividends in the venture of yeast wrangling.

Yeast Wrangling Kits from Bootleg Biology are available now at Siciliano's Market.

Friday, July 1, 2016

New Beer Friday, A Bear in the Woods Edition (July 1)

Is that a real bear?!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the northern Michigan woods over the years and I’ve seen my fair share of terrestrial, aquatic and avian wildlife. Besides the ubiquitous white tail deer and turkeys, I’ve come across fox, beavers, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, muskrats, coyotes and porcupines. During walks in the woods I’ve kicked up countless woodcocks and partridges and an occasional ring necked pheasant. There’s a family of loons on the lake where my wife and I have a cottage, I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed a bald eagle circling down and plucking a fish out of the water and I have gazed up at plenty of high circling hawks. But I have still yet to see a black bear in the wild.

I have talked to quite a few folks who have. A few years ago my mother and sister saw two — one loping across M-37 by Wolf Lake and the other in the Manistee National Forest rumbling down the side of Freesoil Road. Our northern neighbors on Big Bass Lake have told us about bears attacking their bird feeders and last weekend after night fishing on the Pere Marquette, our guide told my son Chris and I to keep an eye out for bears before leaving to retrieve the boat trailer. He informed us that a few weeks ago a good-sized bear was there rifling through a trash container.

It was while we were on our way to that fishing excursion that I thought I had seen my first wild bear. “Holy shit, Chris,” I exclaimed when I spied it in the woods just off a rutted two track. “There’s a god damn bear!” Chris stopped his Jeep and then looked at me and smiled. “It’s stuffed, Pop,” he said calmly. “Somebody put it there.” Turns out he had seen and had been startled by that life-sized and very realistic taxidermied beast earlier that day.

I’m not sure why someone placed that stuffed bear in the woods. I assume it was done as a practical joke and as practical jokes go I have to admit it’s a fairly good one. If I had happened to come across that stuffed bruin while walking, however, I’m quite sure I would have found it far less amusing.

New and Returning Beer

  • Green Flash Jibe, $2.09/12oz - "Prepare to Jibe! With the wind at our back, we are changing direction. Guided by San Diego’s endless summer breeze, we navigate into new hop territory with Jibe Session IPA. Well-balanced, floral, citrus and vibrant hop character defines our idea of what a perfect session ale should be. At 4% ABV, this session is so good, we are trimming our sails and riding the wind" (source).
  • Green Flash Sea to Sea Pils, $2.09/12oz - "Our San Diego roots are landing in Virginia Beach! Bringing you freshness from East to West, Sea to Sea is an unfiltered Zwickel lager layered with German Pilsner malts, Hallertau Mittelfreüh and Czech Saaz hops, 2-row barley, and traditional Pilsner yeast. This sessionable brew has a light body with subtle sweet malt and fruity hop flavors, notable lager yeast, and a crisp, clean finish" (source).
  • Leelanau Illuminati, $13.79/375ml - "Stout aged in bourbon barrels with naturally occurring wild yeasts, open fermented & bottle conditioned" (source).
  • Leelanau Petoskey Pale, $10.19/375ml - "Petoskey Pale is a liquid ode to our great state, an attempt to represent the unique character of Michigan in a bottle of living beer. This quintessentially Michigan beer is named after the state stone. Petoskey stones are actually fossilized coral freed by glacial activity, and can be found in sand dunes and beaches at the top of lower Michigan, near the town of the same name. Both are named after the community started by Ottawa Indian Chief Ignatius Petosega, so our name is a nod to the native culture we so respect. We even put a number of petoskey stones around the large wooden cask during aging, more to impart the soul of the land than an actual flavor. This drink is so steeped in history and complex in flavor that we think of it as a style all to it’s own – one we call Michigan Grand Cru Pale Ale" (source).
  • Leelanau Whaleback White, $10.19/375ml - "For a beer in a style that was almost extinct, this one has a whole lot of life. Wit (or white) beers were a popular style in Belgium for five hundred years, and even a century ago there were many artisan producers; but in the post-war years the last of the traditional white beers ceased production. Now, decades after the style’s resurrection, a handcrafted ale replete with the complexities and liveliness that endeared generations of beer aficionados is available again" (source).
  • New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Raspberry Lemon, $4.29/12oz - "Michigan raspberries bring depth to Dragon’s Milk, framing its chocolate tones and contrasting its dark, roast character. Lemon zest excites and brightens the fruit flavor" (source).
  • New Holland Incorrigible Reserve, $6.19/22oz - "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).
  • Blackrocks Honey Lav, $1.79/12oz - "This is our summer seasonal beer. An American Wheat brewed with Michigan honey and full lavender flowers. A Fresh and flavorful ale with a great balance between the floral lavender and sweet honey. Available May-August" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 7-31 Tangerine, $2.99/12oz - "After brewing this intense double IPA with more than 10 different hops and consistently delivering it faster than any bottled IPA on the planet, we decided to do something different with this Stone Enjoy By IPA—we took it to another level, again. Puréed tangerines were added to the batch to create a devastatingly fresh IPA with a tang of tangerine. The flavors yielded by this addition to the recipe meld beautifully with the bitterness of the hops" (source).
  • Lake Brothers Lager, $1.59/12oz - "Our traditional lager is brewed with only four all-American ingredients: hops (cluster and liberty), Midwestern malted barley, yeast and Great Lakes water. Amber in color, this beer pours brilliantly clear with a rich malt aroma, subtle hop character and a pleasant finish. Balanced and flavorful yet still easy drinking, this is honest beer, brewed traditionally with only the finest ingredients" (source).
  • Short's Strawberry Shorts Cake, $2.39/12oz - "Strawberry Short’s Cake is a Golden Ale brewed with the addition of strawberries and milk sugar. The flavors of shortcake and fresh strawberries transform this beer into rose-colored party nectar that is pleasingly sweet with hints of cream. Biscuit flavors and aromas arise from the use of large amounts of Victory malt" (source).
  • Odd Side Nectar of the Brewer, $2.29/12oz - "Apricot wheat" (source).
  • Epic Sour Peaches, $13.79/375ml (1 per) - "The intense and complex sour character of this beer is developed in oak Foeders containing select cultures of Lactobacillus, Pidiococcus and wild yeast. The process is slow and delicate, regularly taking a year or more. Once our brewers have decided it’s ready, we blend the soured beer into hand-selected oak barrels with fresh peach puree, where it undergoes additional sour fermentation and aging" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, $3.39/12oz - "Double Simcoe is our incredible reward for Hopheads seeking the intense hop flavor in a Double IPA, without the harshness. It is brewed utilizing only the Simcoe hop variety. This hybrid hop, developed and trademarked by Select Botanicals Group, LLC in the year 2000, was created for its high alpha acid content, maximum aromatic oils and low cohumulone (harshness) levels so that brewers can really put a lot of ‘em in a beer and not create an overly harsh taste" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Anniversary, $4.29/12oz - "We’re celebrating 20 years! Our 20th Anniversary is an 11% ABV Belgian Dark Ale. This brew is malty with notes of caramel, raisins and berries, as well as subtle hints of coriander and star anise" (source).

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