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Friday, August 12, 2016

New Beer Friday, Clam Lake Edition (August 12)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I have to confess that when local homebrewer Adam Harden told me he had landed a part time brewing gig at a place called Clam Lake Beer Company, for some reason I visualized a rundown eatery in one of those sleepy northern Michigan communities in the middle of nowhere. Why would someone want to make the two-hour commute to the Cadillac area each week to brew beer on a one-barrel system I wondered? And where in the hell is Clam Lake?

Clam Lake Beer Company is actually located in a beautiful historic building in the heart of busy downtown Cadillac and its name is a nod to the area’s history— Clam Lake was once the name of both the community and the adjacent lake. When Clam Lake was incorporated as a city in 1877, both names were changed to Cadillac in honor of the Frenchman who established the first permanent settlement at Detroit.

The brewer himself, Adam Harden at Siciliano's
My wife Barb and I stopped by the packed restaurant/taproom last Sunday afternoon and were lucky to snag the only two empty seats at the bar. Cadillac is definitely a tourist town. The 1,150-acre Lake Cadillac is entirely within the city limits and the even larger Lake Mitchell and its state park are close by. Since opening in 2013, Clam Lake has garnered a reputation as one of the best places to go in the Cadillac area for well-prepared food and hand-crafted beer.

And as the name suggests, the establishment is serious about beer. The majority of the forty offerings on tap during the time of our visit were made in Michigan with three of those brewed by Adam in his spotless basement brew house.

Adam happened to stop by Siciliano’s this past Monday on his weekly commute north and I asked him how he landed the head brewer position at Clam Lake. Turns out he’s related to the owner and he’s afforded the use of a resort cabin during his sojourns to Cadillac. He spends the remainder of his time in Grand Rapids as a stay at home dad.

Sounds like he landed a pretty good gig after all. 

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Coffee Brown, $1.69/12oz - "English Ales are typically malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Hints of coffee are often present in this style, so this was a perfect beer upon which to base this unique coffee creation" (source).
  • Coronado 20th Anniversary Ale, $2.89/12oz - "Each year be sure to prepare yourself for a HUGE Anniversary Imperial IPA. Brewed this year to commemorate our 20th anniversary with Citra, Mosaic, Hallertau Blanc and a careful selection of experimental hops" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Screaming Pumpkin, $2.19/16oz - "Our autumn seasonal. An Amber Ale brewed with roasted pumpkin in the mash then spiced with ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Spicy and refreshing. A great tail gating beer" (source).
  • New Holland Ichabod, $1.79/12oz - "Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. After dinner, try it with your favorite dessert" (source).
  • Saugatuck Pumpkin Chai, $1.89/12oz - "Our new fall seasonal beer; an ale brewed with herbal chai tea and pumpkin. Aromas of chai tea and subtle pumpkin notes on the nose; Flavors of chai and pumpkin make this fall seasonal stand out from typical fall beers. Perfect for a brisk autumn day" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 9-5, $2.99/12oz - "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).
  • St Ambroise Pumpkin, $2.59/12oz - "Each year as the leaves fall and the north wind blows, St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale make its return – a magical potion that casts a potent spell with its well-crafted blend of blond and caramelized malts, gentle hop, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin. Its delicate malty character and hint of sweetness will quench any creature looking for easy-drinking refreshment" (source).
  • Atwater Pumpkin Spice Latte, $2.19/12oz - "Rich, clear red. Bubble. Nice lingering head. Smells like pumpkin spice. Full body. Tastes like a creamy pumpkin spice latte" (source).
  • Ballast Point Peppermint Victory at Sea, $3.99/22oz - "This Peppermint Victory at Sea is a festive take on our popular Imperial Porter. We took our trademark robust porter brewed with Caffe Calabria coffee and vanilla and added a dose of refreshing peppermint. The trio of flavo" (source).
  • Ballast Point Pumpkin Down, $1.89/12oz - "Some might think we’re out of our gourd for making a pumpkin ale, but our Pumpkin Down is not like the others.  The caramel and toffee maltiness of our Piper Down Scottish ale is the perfect backdrop for a boatload of roasted pumpkin. Just before bottling, we add a subtle amount of spice to complement, but not overwhelm, the earthy flavor. It was a smash at the brewery, and we think you’ll agree" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale, $2.09/12oz - "Our session sour quencher brewed with lime peel, black limes & sea salt" (source).
  • Southern Tier Warlock, $4.99/12oz - "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 Vintage Pumking, $3.79/12oz - "" (source).
  • Oddside Electric Pineapple, $9.69/500ml (1 per) - " Sour Ale" (source).
  • Oddside Snozzberries, $2.29/12oz - "Wit IPA with cherries added" (source).
  • B Nektar Mutant Killer Zombie Manhattan Project Thingy, $11.79/500ml (1 per) - "Unfortunately, we’ve experienced some issues that we like to call “Uh-Oh’s”. We accidentally blended a few hundred gallons of Zombie Killer into one of the two tanks that contained Zombies Take Manhattan. Yep, we’re feeling pretty dumb" (source).
  • Shmaltz Reunion Ale, $9.59/22oz - "Complex dark ale brewed with chocolate, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and Mexican chili pepper" (source).
  • Traveler Jack-O-Traveler, $1.59/12oz - "Jack-O Traveler is an alluring wheat beer illuminated by the tastes of fall. He strikes a perfect balance between bright refreshment and seasonal spice. Jack is brewed with fresh pumpkin, for a delicious dark-hued, Shandy-inspired beer" (source).
  • New Belgium Pumpkick, $1.69/12oz - "What’s that bite of tartness doing in a pumpkin beer? Adding the unexpected kick of cranberry juice to brighten this traditionally spiced seasonal ale. PUMPKICK is brewed with plenty of pumpkin juice cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but its the cranberries and touch of lemongrass that send your tastebuds sailing" (source).
  • Smuttynose Pumpkin, $1.79/12oz - "We brew Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale with real pumpkin and a blend of classic pumpkin pie spices in tribute to our colonial forebearers. Recipes calling for the use of pumpkins have been found from early European settlers in New England, when brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients, such as squash and “pompions.”" (source).
  • Clown Shoes Archdruid, $11.79/12oz - "A 9 percent ABV Imperial Irish red that has been aged in Irish whiskey barrels for three months" (source).

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