View our Main Site »

Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Beer Friday, Formal Call for Judges Edition (Feb 24)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

This is a formal call for judges and stewards for the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Contest, one of Michigan's premier homebrew competitions. This a BJCP registered event.

The following is pertinent information regarding the judging for the 2017 Siciliano's competition:

    • Date: Saturday, April 22th
    • 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.
    • Competition organizer: Steve Siciliano,, 616-453-9674
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 plan on participating in this year's competition either as a judge or a steward please go to this website. After logging in you will be able to register as a judge or a steward.


After logging in, click on the Guest House Judging Session and indicate whether you will be participating as a judge or a steward. If you are registering as a judge, click the Update Judging Preferences button after indicating your judging preferences and dislikes.

Preregistration is encouraged as it will help reduce lines at the check-in table on the day of the judging.

Please ensure that you arrive at the judging venue by 10:30 a.m. so that the competition staff can organize flights and complete table assignments by the 11:15 judging start time.

Please be reminded that your participation as a steward or judge does not preclude you from entering a beer in this competition.

New and Returning Beer

  • Guinness Irish Wheat, $1.69/12oz - "Brewed with Guinness Ale yeast and 100% Irish Wheat. This is a clean crisp refreshing tasting beer with notes of zesty citrus, subtle clove and banana " (source).
  • Anchorage Tide and Its Taker Triple, $16.09/750ml - "Brewed with Sorachi Ace and Styrian Golding Hops. Aged in French Oak Chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces" (source).
  • Brekeriet Sour White, $13.39/750ml - "A fruity and subtly sour Wheat beer" (source).
  • Libertine Wild IPA, $19.99/750ml - "A heavily dry-hopped beer, this unique take on an IPA will expand your perception of the category.  Using our unique brewing and open fermentation techniques, but taking the majority of the hopping to the final part of the process, you are left with a very funky, yet hoppy, floral beer that showcases the hops’ aromas instead of their bittering qualities" (source).
  • To Øl Berry White, $5.99/11oz - "White Ale brewed with blueberries and blackberries" (source).
  • Carlsberg Elephant, $1.59/12oz - "Carlsberg Elephant is a so-called ’Bock Bier’, brewed for the first time in 1959. The ample use of malt gives Carlsberg Elephant a vinous and rich character with apple, melon, banana, and caramel flavours balanced with a dry bitterness and hints of oak, bark, nuts and pine needles. The colours is pale gold with white foam" (source).
  • Dark Horse German Hobo, $2.09/12oz -A malt liquor collaboration beer with Old Nation.
  • Kronenbourg Blanc, $1.59/12oz - "1664 White is a fresh and fruity white beer. Because of its flavor and its design, it embodies the elegance and taste of French in the world of wheat beers. Authentic, it is accessible and slightly fruity, revealing subtle aromas of citrus, lemon and coriander" (source).
  • New Holland Mischievous II, $5.49/22oz - "A kettle-soured brown ale finished with local peaches which contribute a fruity nose and hint of sweetness" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill Your Mom on French Toast, $4.59/12oz (4 per) - "We also call this the “Morning After Stout,” because it’s a perfect way to ease the pain on the morning after a night of celebrating. By combining our 1762 Russian Imperial Stout with maple syrup and cinnamon, we created a beer that is both bold and comforting, with a flavor that unmistakably reminds us of your mom’s French Toast" (source).
  • Tapistry Prehistoric Rhetoric, $12.89/22oz (1 per) - No commercial description.
  • Greenbush Dystopia, $3.49/12oz (2 per) - "Don't be surround by sameness. Pull back from the droll daily grind with our Russian Imperial Stout that showcases just the right roasty, bitter qualities to help you escape whatever scene you're in" (source).
  • Odd Side Car Ramrod, $2.29/12oz - "Imperial Black Citra Pale Ale" (source).
  • Odd Side Orange Mocha Beer-A-Cino, $2.49/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura, $14.39/750ml - "A Belgian inspired stout that is as dark as a moonless midnight, brimming of roasted malts and bitter hops. It will keep you good company in all places, be thay light or dark" (source).
  • Tallgrass Raspberry Jam, $1.69/12oz - "Raspberry Jam was initially developed at our brewpub, the Tallgrass Tap House. It became an instant hit and we decided it should “go on tour” as part of the Tallgrass lineup. Its crisp, natural tartness is balanced by the addition of raspberries, creating a sour wheat ale that’s light-bodied and refreshing" (source).
  • Tallgrass Velvet Rooster, $1.69/12oz - "The first Belgian-style Tripel ever released in a can, Velvet Rooster initially launched in 2011. After a brief hiatus in 2016, it’s back as part of our seasonal lineup! This clean and crisp tripel boasts big, fruity esters and slight peppery spice from Belgian yeast. It’s bubbly like champagne with hints of citrus fruit, earthy-grassy notes and a sweet, candy-like finish" (source).
  • Perrin Ceaser's Gimp, $11.49/22oz - "The Roman Empire’s lust for global dominance and power was only matched by their love of wine, which led to their mastery of the oak barrel. With this in mind we brewed a hybrid Imperial Red Ale fermented with Cabernet Sauvignon grape juice and then aged in California Merlot oak wine barrels. This Roman Imperial Red Ale will excite your baser passions with a deep Imperial red color and purple highlights. Oak, malt and grapes blend together making it hard to tell where one flavor begins and another ends. We all have our vices and we hope you enjoy this one" (source).
  • Perrin Triangulation, $3.39/12oz - "We decided to create a rich but approachable strong stout. It will have dark caramel components. We are using experimental hop HBC 472 which can provide vanilla, macaroon, and even barrel notes" (source).

Siciliano's Rare Beer Easter Egg Hunt

In honor of Michigan Beer Week, we're hiding rare beers like this one
throughout Siciliano's all weekend, just a few at a time. Stop in and see us —
you'll never know what you find!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February Brew of Month: Matt's Tropical Fruit Saison

By Matt Ross

This brew of the month is a special two-part edition. In this recipe, I combined two of my favorite things: big Brett character and bold fruity hops. Be forewarned that Brett will nest in most of your plastic equipment and is notorious for cross contamination. Keep your equipment clean and separate unless you really like Brettanomyces.

To get the ball rolling, this was initially an eleven-gallon batch. I used a base of pilsner malt with smaller additions of carahell and aromatic. These malts contribute significant complexity and backbone without becoming overwhelming. I wanted to keep it simple with the grain as to not take away from the focus of the recipe.

The hop schedule on this beer is also simple but quite aggressive for the style. While it comes in between 30 and 40 IBUs, the IBUs are more geared towards flavor and aroma. For all-grain, I used half an ounce of Columbus at 60 minutes, half an ounce of Centennial at 30 and one ounce each of Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin at 10 minutes. This combination proved to be very efficient at giving a big hoppy punch. If you are doing a half-size boil for extract and topping up with water at the end, be sure to double the 60 and 30 minute additions due to the lowered hop utilization from the highly-concentrated wort.

Experimenting with homebrew is still one of my favorite things. I made 11 gallons of wort so this beer could be split into 2 fermenters with 5.5 gallons in each. Both were fermented warm (around 75 degrees) using the Wyeast’s 3711 French Saison and after a week transferred into glass carboys. Each carboy received a dose of a different strain of Brettanomyces and sat for just shy of 3 months. Generally, Brett works slower than brewer’s yeast which is why I did the long conditioning in secondary. I selected bruxellensis and claussenii.

To keep it short and sweet, Brett is the weird second cousin twice removed from brewer’s yeast. It ferments sugars but at a slower pace, will even consume long chain sugars that brewer’s yeast can't, and will work well under different environments. As mentioned before, it is notoriously hard to kill. After the world ends it will be full of cockroaches, Twinkies and Brett.

This beer turned out very dry. The French saison yeast does a great job of attenuating by itself but the Brett made these beers bone dry. The bruxellensis produced more classic Brett flavors like barnyard and funk while which made for a nice contrast with the hops. Overall it was very refreshing and fruity. The claussenii created a very different beer. The hops and Brett worked together swimmingly to create a perfect storm of over ripened tropical fruit with a big citrus kick.

This was a great recipe if you have open carboys and patience. This brew of the month is out of place for February but you can thank me when you are grilling on the porch in June with a bright hoppy Brett-saison.

As always I love to encourage people to put their own twists on recipes. Don’t want to pay for expensive yeast twice? Try the WLP644 Sachromyces “Bruxellensis” Trois or one of our great new Omega products like the C2C American Farmhouse. Make it your own. Brew on.

11-Gallon Extract Version ($79.36)

    • 18lbs Pilsen Light LME
    • 1lb cara hell
    • .75lb aromatic
    • 1oz Columbus
    • 1oz Centennial
    • 1oz Mosiac
    • 1oz Nelson Sauvin
    • Wyeast 3711 French Saison
    • WLP645/WLP650

11-Gallon All-grain ($57.13)

    • 21lbs Pilsner Malt
    • 1lb Carahell
    • .75lb aromatic
    • 1oz Columbus
    • 1oz Centennial
    • 1oz Mosiac
    • 1oz Nelson Sauvin
    • Wyeast 3711 French Saison
    • WLP645/WLP650
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, February 17, 2017

New Beer Friday, Cast Your Vote Edition (Feb 17)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Beer City USA continues to garner national recognition for its vibrant craft beer culture. This past week USA Today announced that Grand Rapids has again made the publication’s list of the twenty best beer scenes in America, presenting GR with the opportunity to reprise its 2016 USA Today’s Readers’ Choice award as the number one destination for craft beer in the country.

“Michigan’s second-largest city sports the state’s strongest beer scene, thanks largely to the presence of the world-renowned Founders Brewing Co.,” the publication states on its 10Best website. “Not to be outdone, there are several other brewing operations around town, most notably the Belgian-inspired Brewery Vivant. The city’s official “Beer City Ale Trail” lists more than 40 breweries in the surrounding area, and the local calendar is constantly filled with beer festivals, events and promotions. Throw in exceptional beer stores such as Siciliano’s Market, and it’s easy to see why Grand Rapids proudly stakes its claim as Beer City USA.”

Also nominated for USA Today’s Readers’ Choice awards this year are Brewery Vivant and Founders Brewing Company for the country’s best brewpub and HopCat for the best beer bar. Voting for each specific category is limited to one vote per day per device and ends Monday, March 13. Click on the following links to cast your votes:

New and Returning Beer

  • Short's Uncle Steve, $1.69/12oz - "Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied beer. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors and a creamy drinkability everyone loves" (source).
  • Victory Selene Saison, $7.99/750ml - "Dark as the night sky and fermented with unique yeast, this Saison delivers earthy and spicy undertones to warm your senses all winter long" (source).
  • Atwater Cherry Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "The addition cherries from Traverse City, MI, prior to fermentation, Atwater’s Cherry Wheat brings a bright tartness together with the crispness of an American Wheat ale" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Beer to Drink Music To, $2.59/12oz - "Our music-inspired Tropical Blonde brewed with kiwi juice & hibiscus flowers" (source). See video below.
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche (2016), $2.59/12oz - "Our tart summer-session-sour" (source).
  • Shiner Coffee, $1.69/12oz - "For our 108th birthday, we’ve brewed up something special. Our first coffee ale, crafted in collaboration with Austin’s own Chameleon Cold-Brew, made with dark-roasted specialty malt and Chameleon’s beloved cold-brewed coffee, it’s sure to wake up your tastebuds. But it won’t be here forever, so pour yourself a fresh cup while you can" (source).
  • Right Brain Firestarter Chipolte Porter, $7.19/22oz - "A deep bodied and roasty porter with strong smokey notes and a mild spicy finish. Flavor profile very similar to mexican mole’ sauces" (source).
  • Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock, $2.79/12oz - "A traditional Doppelbock fermented with an old world yeast. Reddish brown in color with a mild hop profile, Consecrator is a well-balanced, full-bodied lager with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish after spending 3 months maturing in our fermentation tanks" (source).
  • Dark Horse Too Cream Stout, $2.09/12oz - "Number two in our stout series, this beer is made with milk sugar (lactose) which gives this beer a nice creamy mouth feel, pleasant sweetness, and aromas of chocolate and coffee. An earthy hop profile that mingles with flavors of roasted coffee and sweet milk chocolate provide a fulfilling finish" (source).
  • Dark Horse Rail, La Spar, $2.09/12oz (4 per) - "Stout brewed with sarsapilla root and vanilla beans" (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).
  • Stone Jindia Pale Ale, $2.99/12oz - "A double India Pale Ale instilled with Juniper, ginger and lemon peel" (source).
  • Stone Pataskala, $1.99/12oz - "A massively dry-hopped deep crimson IPA" (source).

Dogfish Head Beer to Drink Music To

Now available at Siciliano's Market.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Copper & Kings American Brandy

Review by John Barecki

The process of brandy distillation was created out of a need to extend the profitability of each year's fruit harvest. With the discovery of barrel aging and its influences, distillers started to churn out aged products that eventually became some of the most sought after spirits on the market in the form of cognac, calvados, slivovitz and others.

In the long run, the popularity of these spirits was overturned by the introduction of prohibition as well as the phylloxera epidemic during the 1860s that destroyed many grape crops in France and almost ruined cognac's production. Even with these setbacks, brandies of many verities still have a place as collectors items, and they are starting to enjoy a renaissance in the craft spirits and cocktail sectors.The Copper & Kings distillery is aiding in this new beginning with their own multifaceted expressions that are produced in an area that most people would consider uncommon territory, Kentucky, the home of Bourbon.

An article posted on the Copper & Kings website states that Kentucky has been the home of many brandy distilleries in the past. Sourcing information from Chester Zoeller's book Bourbon in Kentucky: The History of Distilleries in Kentucky, the article states that there were over 450 brandy distilleries in the state and over 100 whiskey producers were distilling before prohibition. Michael Veach supports this, stating that bourbon Merchants such as W.L. Weller and Sons and Brown-Forman had brandies in their portfolios, some of which were being produced and sold as “bottled in bond” products.

Copper & Kings have rejuvenated this tradition with their own grape- and apple-based brandies. These are created from the Muscat de Alexandrie, Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Kentucky Vidal Blanc grape varieties that are chosen for their bold flavor, acidity and aromatic properties. The apple varietals they use are selected much the same way, and include a few that are Michigan-grown as well. In addition to their brandies, they also produce an absinthe that uses the Muscat de Alexandrie grape as its base. They create this by macerating traditional herbs into the first run of spirit and then distill it again creating a clear but monstrously flavorful product.

To produce these spirits they have chosen to employ three Vendome copper pot stills of varying size. Between the size of the posts and the reactions that copper induces during distillation, the spirits that flow from these stills are chock full of flavors and aromas. This is backed up by their choice to double distill the base wine keeping more of the bolder characteristics intact in the distillate, and the fact that they don't chill-filter the spirit or add any altering flavors or color. Once the new-make brandy is placed in the barrel it is allowed to lend itself to a full array of oak influences ranging from new American oak, ex-Bourbon, Sherry, Tequila and ex-beer barrels.

During the process of maturation these guys have an interesting way of energizing the spirit in which they place sub woofers in their cellar and pump heavy bass towards the barrels 24/7. This “sonic aging” uses sound waves to keep the spirit moving, and with the help of mother nature it is used to extract as much aroma and flavor from the wood as possible. Some of their aged expressions also go through a solera system, which is a process that blends the young with the old producing a rich and complex end product that shows the best of both worlds.

Utilizing full flavored base spirits and a keen ear and eye for barrel aging, Copper & Kings distillery is pushing the boundaries of what we perceive as American brandy. They produce aged expressions that have flavors and aromas that are more akin to scotch and bourbon, and continue to explore new possibilities in an effort to create more complex products. In my opinion they have the ability to rival some of the more traditional brandies and whiskies on the shelf, and offer a new alternative for spirit connoisseurs of all tastes.

Immature Grape Brandy, $35.22/750ml

    • Muscat base, 90 proof
    • Nose: Very floral and fresh (youthful), with bold anise, caraway, jasmine, honey and apricot
    • Palate: Viscous body, notes of candied fruit, black licorice and honey
    • Finish: Medium length, with a rich grape fruitiness that fades to a slightly mentholated floral note

Unaged Apple Brandy, $35.22/750ml

    • 90 proof
    • Nose: Orchard and cooked apples, youthful, with a lavender floral note
    • Palate: Medium bodied with fresh apples with light caramel, muscovado sugar, hints of vanilla, herbs slight citrus and pepper
    • Finish: Apple peel, herbaceous and earthy, with a tannic like dryness at the end

Aged Grape Brandy, $38.52/750ml

    • 90% ex-Kentucky bourbon, medium char, 10% new american oak barrels, 90 proof
    • Nose: Dried figs and raisins, butterscotch, cinnamon, cavendish pipe tobacco, worn leather, almost sherry like
    • Palate: Medium-bodied, caramel crème, peppery ginger and baking spice, with stewed grape and dried fruit
    • Finish: Fruity and floral, dry with the return of sherry like qualities

Floodwall, Aged Apple Brandy, $46.75/750ml

    • Ex-Kentucky Bourbon and Sherry barrels, 100 proof
    • Nose: Rich apple, maple syrup, vanilla and slightly savory baking spice, with minty notes, dried fruit and oak
    • Palate: Rich body, with dried fruits and caramel, cardamom and ripe apple, a bit of dried herbs and nuts
    • Finish: Medium length, lingering sherry influence of dried fruit, dates, nuts, earthy mushroom notes and light honeyed tobacco

Butchertown Reserve Cask, $64.88/750ml

    • 75% Kentucky bourbon 25% new American oak, 124 proof
    • Nose: Intense notes of cherry, coconut, black licorice, honey, caramel. With vanilla, baking spice, grape jelly and burley pipe tobacco
    • Palate: Bold and viscous, slight butteriness with black pepper and melon followed by charred oak, vanilla, caramel, and hard grape candies and pipe tobacco
    • Finish: Oaky, vanilla, light caramel, slightly savory fruitiness with notes of ginger and tropical fruit

Absinthe, $62.23.750ml

    • Muscat base with herbs, 130 proof
    • Nose: Herbaceous and floral, Black licorice pastels, lime peel, minty, and candied fruits 
    • Palate: Oily, black licorice, fig preserves, molasses, sassafras, slightly minty with an underlying unrefined sugar quality 
    • Finish: Long, mentholated and floral with lingering anise, dried fruit and citrus peels

All of these products are now available at Siciliano's Market, and will be sampled on February 14, 2017, from four to seven pm.

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Beer Friday, Call for Entries Edition (February 10)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

From its humble beginnings fourteen years ago, the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition has developed into one of Michigan’s most respected competitive homebrewing events.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s Best of Show brewer will again have the opportunity to brew his or her winning recipe at Trail Point Brewing Company in addition to winning a $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market and, per tradition, having his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

See below for contest rules and regulations for the Fourteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Best of luck everyone!

    • Every homebrewer is allowed one (1) beer entry. All entries must be brewed by the registrant on a homebrewing system. Please do not submit entries under the names of significant others, insignificant others, siblings, offspring, distant relatives, estranged roommates, pets, fictional characters, imaginary friends or anyone else. 
    • Beers are submitted according to the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Ciders and meads are excluded from this contest. If you are unsure of which is the correct style for your beer, contact us and we will help. 
    • Entries require two (2) plain, unlabeled/unmarked 12-ounce amber bottles. Please no clear bottles or bottles of any other size. 
    • We are again using Reggiebeer as our competition website. Go here to enter your beer and print bottle labels. 
    • The entry fee is $7.00. 
    • The total number of contest entries will be capped at 200. Do not delay in submitting your entry. Once the cap is reached no additional entries will be accepted. 
    • Online registration for entries will be accepted from Monday, March 20 through Sunday, April 9 or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. 
    • Entries must be received by Sunday, April 9. Entries will not be accepted after that date. If mailing an entry, please include paperwork and submission fee. Ship in a well-packed box to: Siciliano’s Market // 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW // Grand Rapids, MI 49504
    All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competitions are judged by industry professionals and/or trained judges according to the standards of style, not in comparison to each another, with the exception of Best in Show. Entries that receive scores falling within designated point totals will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals.

    A reminder too that we are looking for judges and stewards to help us evaluate all that homebrew. Judging will be held on Saturday, April 22 at the Guest House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Registration for judges and stewards is now open. Please visit this page for sign-up information.

    New and Returning Beer

    • Dark Horse Rain in Blood, $1.99/12oz - "Our tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman and the greatest band of all time, Slayer. This pale ale is brewed with fresh blood oranges and blood orange juice that is hand squeezed at the brewery. It should be enjoyed fresh and paired with delicious heavy metal" (source).
    • Founders "T"all Day Cans, $1.99/19.2oz - "Naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish" (source).
    • Latitude 42 Cosmic Charlie, $2.09/16oz - "Session Pale Ale" (source).
    • Latitude 42 Honey Amber, $2.09/16oz - "Our American amber ale features locally harvested Michigan wildflower honey from Schoolhouse Honey Farms in Scotts, MI, and Willamette and Nugget hops. Malty, sweet and well-rounded" (source).
    • Bruery Share This: Molé, $16.99750ml - "Let’s move beyond the concept of grabbing a beer, and reach for something bigger. Share This beer and be part of helping friends become mobile for the first time in Mexico – the source and inspiration of select ingredients in this beer. Each release in our Share This series spotlights unique ingredients and an important cause. Share This: Mole is a mole-inspired imperial stout collaboration with Chef Anne Conness, featuring ancho chilies, chipotle peppers, cinnamon, vanilla and cacao nibs. For each bottle we produce, Free Wheelchair Mission receives one dollar" (source).
    • Bruery The Order, $12.69/750ml - "Monastic breweries wrote the book on complex ales that weave notes of dark fruits, spices, caramelized character and warmth into each sip. The Order summons that tradition and adds local inspiration. Our darkening, Belgian-inspired abbey ale features dark-fruited character from dates, Belgian-style sugars and subtle spicing from coriander, which compliments the Belgian yeast esters" (source).
    • Bruery Terreux Frucht with Boysenberry, $14.19/750ml - "Welcome to Frucht, our land of fruited Berliner Weisse-style beers. Known for a tart flavor profile and traditionally low ABV, our German-style wheat beer gains even more funky notes and natural earthy-woodiness from fermentation in one of our twin oak foeder vessels - the largest known to be fabricated in this country. Each installment in the series features a new fruit, or Frucht, if we’re Sprechen sie Deutsch. This installment has boysenberries added, which impart a puckering jamminess and gem-like hue" (source).
    • Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Siberian Night, $6.89/12oz - "We took our award winning Siberian Night Russian Imperial Stout and aged it for 11 months in fresh bourbon barrels. The result blew us away. The dark chocolate malt yields a milk chocolate flavor that blends perfectly with the vanilla flavor from the barrel. The bourbon aroma adds the finishing touch" (source).
    • Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Wulver, $6.89/12oz - "We made this beer specifically for bourbon barrels. The result is our most acclaimed bourbon barrel beer. Bourbon barrel aging and specialty malts create flavors of vanilla and carmel that blend in perfect balance" (source).
    • Oscar Blues Deviant Dale, $2.29/16oz - "Deviant Dale’s Imperial IPA (8% ABV, 85 IBUs) was born at the cross roads, in a juke joint, as if Dale’s Pale Ale sold its soul to balance Deviant’s foreboding aromas of citrus, grapefruit rind and piney resins with a copper ball-of-fire color and inscrutable finish. The 2011 Great American Beer Festival Silver Medal Winner (American IPA Category) is the Devil incarnate with untold amounts of malt and hedonistic Columbus dry-hopping" (source).
    • Ommegang Siren Song, $3.29/12oz - "Roasted malt and burnt sugar aromas lead, followed by flavors of dark fruit and notes of dark caramel. The finish is smooth and balanced with subtle bitterness" (source).
    • Dogfish Head 60 Minute, $1.89/12oz cans - "Our flagship beer. A session India Pale Ale brewed with Warrior, Amarillo & ’Mystery Hop X.’ A powerful East Coast I.P.A. with a lot of citrusy hop character. THE session beer for beer geeks like us" (source).
    • Boatyard Black Eyed PA, $2.99/16oz - "After we had a great response to our Lost Peninsula IPA, we decided to create an IPA with a dark side.  What was forged in our brewhouse was Boatyard Brewing’s Black-Eyed PA.  We made this ale with the same malt backbone as our Lost Peninsula IPA, but we shifted a few of the caramel malts to the darker end.  We tossed in our beloved Black Prinz and chocolate malts and the deed was done.  This IPA was our first to be dry-hopped, but it still reflects our love of British IPAs" (source).
    • Boatyard Blonde, $2.99/16oz - "This blonde is made with a great combination of pale ale and crystal malts which produce a smooth caramel backbone.  Then we blend in a little rye just to spice her up.  The Palisades hops and traditional Irish ale yeast create one of the most drinkable ales you will ever meet.  This blonde is great all year round, but shines on a hot summer afternoon" (source).

    Video of the Week | Dark Horse

    Now available at Siciliano's.


    Friday, February 3, 2017

    New Beer Friday, Sandy Ridge Farms Edition (Feb 3)

    Preamble by Steve Siciliano

    We have exciting news for anyone looking to establish or expand a hop garden this spring. This year the folks at Sandy Ridge Farms in Zeeland, Michigan will be supplying us with established hop plants as opposed to the hop rhizomes we have offered in the past. According to the growers at Sandy Ridge, the advantages to purchasing an established hop plant versus a rhizome are three-fold:
    1. An established plant eliminates the risk of questionable viability as often found with rhizomes. It is typically recommended to plant more than one rhizome per pot/hole which increases costs.
    2. An established plant with a developed root system and mature top growth will produce larger yields in the first 2 years than a planted rhizome.
    3. Hop plants are susceptible to virus and disease out in the hop yard. A rhizome from an infected plant will produce another infected plant. Plants are obtained from the National Clean Plant Network at Washington State University where they are virus/viroid tested prior to being shipped. Sandy Ridge Farms has a strict protocol in place regarding clean plants and preventative pest-management. A healthy plant produces more hop cones.
    We will be taking hop plant pre-orders now through the end of business on Thursday, March 16th. Those wishing to place orders may do so via email (, by phone (616-453-9674) or in person here at Siciliano's. When ordering by email please ensure that you indicate the desired quantity of the specified variety. Price per plant is $8.59 and payment will not be due until the time of pickup.

    We anticipate that the hops plants will be available for pickup during the week of May 22nd. Those placing orders will be personally notified when the shipment arrives. Go here to see a full list of the hop plants being offered.

    Cascade Hops (Photo courtesy Sandy Ridge)

    New and Returning Beer

    • Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake, $2.39/16oz - "This stout is brewed with lactose (milk sugar) to impart a fuller body and sweeter palate. Flavored with blueberry for the 3rd day of 12 Days of Milkshake Stout" (source).
    • O'Hara's Barrel Aged Leann Folláin, $16.69/750ml - "To craft this beer we fill casks which were previously used for Irish Whiskey with our full bodied and rich O’Hara’s Leann Folláin Extra Irish Stout.  The stout is aged in oak Irish Whiskey barrels where it picks up the flavours of whiskey and oak cask.  After aging we then bottle condition the beer to give a gentle carbonation, bringing out the best of both the stout and the whiskey" (source).
    • Tallgrass 8-Bit Pale Ale, $1.69/12oz - "Just like those classic video games we all grew up with, 8-Bit Pale Ale is spectacularly simple at first glance yet remarkably fun and complex when you get into it. Our Hop Rocket infuses the character of Australian grown Galaxy Hops into an American Pale Ale, giving a unique tropical, almost melon aroma in a classic American style" (source).
    • Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood Cans, $2.59/12oz - "What you have here is an honest to goodness India Pale Ale brewed with a bevy of real citrus, including orange peel, lemon flesh & blood orange juice" (source).
    • Avery Tangerine Quad, $13.79/22oz - "Patiently aged in the finest of Bourbon Barrels, this bold Belgian style Quadrupel layers notes of rick, dark fruit, vanilla and caramel with a burst of tangerine peel culminating in the vibrancy of this full-bodied creation" (source).
    • Short's S'more Stout, $2.39/12oz (2 per) - "S’more Stout is a complex stout brewed with graham cracker, milk chocolate, marshmallow, and smoked malt. The rich hearty sensations each take their turn, starting with the subtle graham aromas, and leading pleasantly into the sweet flavors of marshmallow cream and milk chocolate. All of these flavors are followed by a slight lingering flavor of smoke. A flaming marshmallow garnish is strongly encouraged" (source).
    • Short's Chocolate Wheat, $1.69/12oz (2 per) - "Chocolate Wheat is a Porter brewed with chocolate malt, wheat malt, and specialty grains. The combination creates a deep black, full-bodied beer that provides subtle hop flavors and rich malt tones. Chocolate Wheat has balanced flavors of roasted caramel, coffee, and chocolate, and ends with a smooth finish" (source).
    • Alesmith My Bloody Valentine, $7.59/22oz - "Don’t spend this Single Awareness Day alone – grab a beer! This red-blooded cousin of Evil Dead Red Ale, our Halloween Brew, is a beautiful crimson color. Notes of caramel, toast, and bittersweet chocolate balance an intense bouquet of floral hop aromas that we know you’ll fall in love with. The finish leaves a pleasant, full-bodied sweetness on the palate that won’t spread angry rumors about you to all your friends like that one time when I was…ohh…uhh…Happy Valentine’s Day" (source).
    • Victory 21st Birthday, $1.79/12oz - "We were so impressed with this year’s harvest in Yakima we decided to brew 2017’s anniversary brew with our favorite hops from the trip: Roy Farms Chinook, Roy Farms Centennial, and Black Star Ranch Mosaic" (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).
    • Lagunitas Undercover, $1.99/12oz - "Our malty and rich beer with a snappy hop finish truly defies style…Imperial Mild?...Uber ESB?... We do know for sure that it is Unforgiven and Unrepentant" (source).
    • Odd Side Paranoia, $2.49/12oz - "An Imperial IPA" (source).
    • Bell's Hopslam, $18.29/6pk (1 per) - "Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire" (source).
    • Black Rocks Murray Project, $3.09/12oz - "Named after our mash tun (which has a giant Bill Murray headshot on it), the Murray Project is an explosion of bright, tropical aromas with a malt profile that would have goldilocks saying, 'Just Right'" (source).
    • Brewery Vivant Plein de Vie Space Queen in Peril, $9.99/500ml - Barrel aged Sour dry hopped with Amarillo.
    • Stone Megawheat Double IPA, $8.99/22oz (1 per) - "Kick back and crank it up as we’ve done all the brewing…the we being us and the special guest appearances of two heavy hitters in the indie craft beer industry: New Mexico’s Marble and Colorado’s Odell. Credited with 58 years of brewing chops, our trio built their wheat ale foundation on the classic “C” hops. Then, we rocked a pure hop triad of “M” hops to achieve a supercharged succession of orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, spice and dankness. The undulating riffs of Motueka, Mosaic and Mandarina Bavaria hops slash through the wheat haze with equal footing, never playing over one another. The cacophony of flavor is what fans would expect with a name like Megawheat. So join us as we forge ahead on a path that directly leads to the main stage…and then off the front of it, into the crowd! If you feel the urge to smash the bottle afterward, don’t. That’s what guitars are for" (source).
    • Stone Tangerine Express, $4.99/22oz (1 per) - "This ain’t no just-add-juice approach. This one is for adults. We use bountiful whole tangerine purée, which brings pithy, crisp bitterness to the citrus flavor. In addition to the complexities of the tangerine — the likes of which you can only get by using the whole fruit — we judiciously employ just a hint of whole pineapple for a backnote (you’d likely not even pick it out of the mix if we didn’t tell you it was there). We’re not looking for a sweet concoction to appease the “I want my beer to taste like fruit juice” crowd. This is Stone. We like our IPAs to taste like IPAs. Big, bold and not for kids" (source).
    • Goose Island Preseason Lager, $1.79/12oz - "This amber lager combines citrus, spicy and a herbal hop note with a balanced bready malt body and a bright bitter finish. The name “Preseason” refers to the time right after the New Year when many are ready for winter to be over and for Spring to arrive. This is the perfect beer to bundle up with and cheers to the outdoor activities waiting just around the corner" (source).
    • Deschutes Abyss, $17.19/22oz - "A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors make it something not just to quaff, but contemplate" (source).
    • Deschutes Scotch Barrel Aged Abyss, $26.89/22oz (1 per) - "The most multifaceted liquid truffle ever fashioned. Dark cherries brined in light peat smoke and popped into the heart of a prune. Then drizzled with toffee and flamed caramel, crusted with white and green peppers, and dipped in honey infused molasses. This beautiful construction is then delicately coated with rich dark chocolate and finished with a luxurious coating of milk chocolate and a dusting of cocoa powder and gold flakes. Served on a chard shard of oak with three sultanas and pieces of vanilla suffused marzipan" (source).
    • Deschutes Collage 2, $26.89/22oz (1 per) - "We’ve teamed up with Hair of the Dog Brewing Company to bring you another artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy. This encore collaboration delivers layers of vanilla, caramel and molasses with roasted accents and complex malt character. This second version magically blends The Abyss (100% aged in Pinot barrels) and The Stoic (100% aged in Pinot barrels) with Hair of the Dog’s Fred (aged in American oak and rye whiskey barrels) and Doggie Claws (100% aged in cognac barrels)" (source).
    • Deschutes Dissident, $17.19/22oz (1 per) - "The Dissident is an Oud Bruin, a distinctive Flanders-style sour brown ale, with a heavenly aroma and flavor. Our first wild yeast beer, we use Brettanomyces and local cherries to give The Dissident its characteristic sour taste. Our stiffest brewing challenge, it must be fermented in isolation from our other beers for a full 22 months, partly in pinot and cabernet barrels. The words coddled and “worth it” come to mind" (source).

    Video of the Week | Founders Aged-Beer