|San & Anita on Christmas Eve|
Up until a few years ago it was a long standing Siciliano family tradition to gather on Christmas Eve at my parents’ house on the lower west side of Grand Rapids. The small house that Sam and Anita Siciliano bought in the 1950s got progressively smaller over the years as a son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, grandchildren’s’ spouses and great grandchildren joined their growing family.
I have many fond memories of those crowded and chaotic holiday get-togethers. The table in the cramped dining room was always packed with traditional Sicilian Christmas Eve fare — broiled fish drizzled with fresh garlic, olive oil and oregano, fried calamari, sautéed calamari, mussels in white wine sauce, pasta in a red sauce with sardines and raisins. In later years there was homemade stromboli for the children. With every bottle of wine that was opened the talking and laughter got louder.
While the adults lingered at the table the children would impatiently eye the gifts piled around the Christmas tree in the tiny living room. Every so often they would scamper back into the dining room and fidget beside their parents. “Can we open presents now?” they would always ask. “Not until grandpa is done eating,” would always be the answer.
Grandpa Sam is gone now and two years ago we finally decided that our family had outgrown that little house. We now hold our holiday gatherings in a hall and we no longer have them on Christmas Eve in deference to family members who want to establish Christmas Eve traditions of their own.
Our holiday gatherings understandably have a different feel to them now. But the holiday tradition that Sam and Anita started so long ago remains alive and that is a testimonial to the enduring values that they instilled in their close-knit and ever expanding nuclear family.
New and Returning Beer
- Greenbush Delusion Imperial Cream Stout, $5.69/12oz - "Our Imperial Cream Stout is aged in whiskey barrels for months for a mind-blowing experience. This concoction will make you ponder the randomness of the universe" (source).
- Greenbush Remnant of Dragon Imperial Red IPA, $3.49/12oz - "Ever wake up on the wrong side of the cave and start breathing fire at anyone who crosses you? Grab a pint of our Imperial Red IPA. Because you're not you when you’re a dragon" (source).
- Short's Aorta Double Red Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Aorta Ale is a Double Red Ale with bold flavors of Cascade hops and sweet malt, and a dark reddish-brown color. Subtle aromas of candy, brown sugar, and toasted malt are released from the depths of this full-bodied beast. Raisins, figs, and burnt caramel are among the sweeter and more forward flavors found in Aorta Ale. This brew finishes with a roasted cocoa like bitterness which is magnified by the high alpha hops" (source).
- Dutch Girl Dirty Boots Imperial Milk Stout, $9.59/22oz - "One of our most popular beers! Imperial Milk Stout made with seven types of light and dark roasted grains hand milled on site. Named after the owners' dog, Bo" (source).
- Odd Side Jared's Mom Belgian Style IPA, $2.29/12oz - "Love Belgian IPAs? So does Jarod's Mom. Nelson Sauvin hops are the highlight in this IPA" (source).
- New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Bursting with tropical aromas and juicy fruit flavors from Mosaic and Amarillo hops, this golden IPA is perfectly bitter with a refreshing, sublime finish" (source).
- Elk Brewing Blonde Express, $1.79/12oz - "A Blonde Ale with Rowster Coffee's Ethiopian coffee beans" (source).
- Elk Brewing Dankalicious IPA, $1.79/12oz - No commercial description.
- Elk Brewing Brewtus, $1.79/12oz - "Coffee Porter, cold seeped with Rowsters Ursa Major coffee" (source).
Picture of the Week | Single-Barrel 1792
|Siciliano's Single-Barrel 1792 Bourbon ($53.99) is now in stock.|
Get your bottle(s) while supplies last!