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Friday, October 12, 2018

New Beer Friday, One-Winged Gargoyle Edition (Oct 12)

Procured by dubious means
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I got quite a start the other morning when I glanced in the mirror and saw the reflection of my late father. With each passing year I’m looking more like the elder version of Sam — the thinning hair, the high forehead, the drooping nose, the elongated ears, the tufts of hair growing out of that nose and those ears that would look a tad unsightly if my barber didn’t trim them back every three weeks.

While I’m beginning to look like Sam in his late sixties, my siblings frequently remind me that I take after my mother. I’m okay with that but it’s not entirely true. I may have Nita’s overall demeanor but she’s generally regarded as a saint and I can state with a high degree of certainty that saintliness is a virtue no one has or ever will be inclined to bestow on me.

The truth is I’m more like the old man that I’m given credit for. I don’t have his boisterous personality but I too like a good party and I make sure that visitors to our house and cottage have plenty to eat and drink. I love food and wine as much as he did and I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good cook.

The old man could also be a bit “mischievous.” When they were youngsters he and his brothers pilfered watermelons off produce trucks and one time they came home with a branch laden with sweet cherries that they sawed off a neighbor’s tree.  And I’m quite sure the "Dead End" sign he had nailed to a tree along the two-track leading to his property up north wasn't found laying on the side of the road.

There have been times when I was a bit mischievous too. I also swiped fruit from neighbors’ trees when I was a kid and when I was in college a coed talked me into helping her pinch a street sign that bore her Italian surname. And then there was the one-winged gargoyle affair.

I won’t delve too deep into the details but the one-winged cement gargoyle that has been perched in Siciliano's for the past twenty years was ill-gotten. I confess that a couple of pints of beer on the night of the caper relaxed my inhibitions. The beer was Two Hearted which should give the astute reader a clue as to where the incident took place. If measured on the Scoville Scale my remorse the next morning registered somewhere between a Scotch Bonnet and a Ghost Pepper. I sent the establishment an apologetic note and a fifty dollar bill, a price I deemed fair for a cement gargoyle that was missing a wing.

A couple of weeks ago I took the gargoyle down from its perch and placed it on the curling corner of an area rug next to a display case. A few minutes later a customer knocked it over and cracked off the other wing.

New and Returning Beer

  • Decadent Ales Pacific Punch, $6.29/16oz - "DIPA featuring a blend of south pacific hops. Notes of citrus, freshly squeezed lemon, lime fresh peaches and apricot compliment the fruit-cup hop profile" (source).
  • Decadent Ales Pog Nog, $6.29/16oz - "Brewed with pineapple, guava, & orange peel. Hopped with Citra & Mosaic" (source).
  • Evil Twin/Blank Brewing The Check Please, $4.59/12oz - "A double dry-hopped black IPA" (source).
  • Evil Twin Even More Pecan Pie Jesus, $4.59/16oz - "Imperial Stout brewed with Molasses and with Pecan Extract added" (source).
  • Evil Twin F Is for Fruit Salad, $4.99/16oz - "Gose-style ale brewed with salt and blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, peach, and blood orange added" (source).
  • Evil Twin Island Bliss, $5.49/16oz - "Malt beverage with natural flavors" (source).
  • Fat Orange Cat All Cats are Grey in the Dark, $4.99/16oz - "A light colored stout with a hint of coffee and strong notes of both chocolate and vanilla" (source).
  • Fat Orange Cat Living in Our Own Private Idaho, $6.29/16oz - "The Azzaca combination brings out an intense orange/grapefruit flavor with a classic Idaho 7 finish" (source).
  • Stillwater People Power, $5.49/16oz - "Nitro Multigrain Pale Ale in support of the ACLU" (source).
  • Stillwater Please Take a Number, $5.69/16oz - "New England style double india pale ale" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake Stout, $2.59/16oz - "This stout is brewed with lactose (milk sugar) to impart a fuller body and sweeter palate. Flavored with toasted marshmallows" (source).
  • Short's Pangalactic Gargle Blaster, $2.59/12oz - "Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is a Belgian-style Double IPA brewed with Australian Galaxy hops. The nose is an impressive dank blend of citrus aromas reminiscent of guava and lemons, very green and fresh with subtle Belgian yeast esters. An intense clean bitterness dominates the flavor profile with little malt character to compete with. A slight, fruity yeast sweetness is noticeable in the finish alongside a resounding bitterness" (source).
  • Great Lakes Ohio City Oatmeal Stout, $1.89/12oz - "Dark and roasty yet light and smooth as a fresh coat of snow, our Oatmeal Stout will kick your cabin fever and inspire you to toss another log on the fire" (source).
  • Odd Side Caged Wisdom, $2.39/12oz - "A dry, hoppy, crisp and light Brut IPA" (source).
  • Blackrocks Nordskye, $2.19/12oz - "Session IPA" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Haze Force, $3.69/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Lansing Brewery Velvet Villain, $1.99/12oz - "Formally known as Black Velvet... Imperial black ale meets oatmeal porter. Silky smooth chocolate dominates the palate throughout this beer. Have it for breakfast or have it for dessert, it doesn’t matter. This beer drinks very easy for an 8.2% ABV beer" (source).
  • Lansing Brewery Peninsula Pils, $1.99/12oz - "Forget the watered down domestic pilsner beers. Peninsula Pils is a true to style pilsner with a distinct hop presence.This pilsner has two different hop varietals, Hallertau Blanc and Saaz. Together these hops give Peninsula Pils an herbal and delicate fruit note. We also dry hopped this sessional beer with Hallertau Blanc for your aromatic enjoyment. A perfect thirst quencher after a jog on the river trail" (source).
  • Revolution Coffee Eugene, $3.09/12oz - "Our Eugene Porter was sent to a bright tank and aged for an additional week with whole bean coffee from Dark Matter Coffee. The cold-aging allows us to extract the aromatic oils from the coffee without extracting any additional bitterness that it may impart if we were to have added it to the near boiling wort in the kettle" (source).
  • Revolution Citra-Hero, $2.39/12oz - "Citra-Hero is an elegant American IPA designed to showcase the Citra Hop variety. This IPA is exploding with citrusy flavors and aromas" (source).
  • Saugatuck Oak Wizard, $1.89/12oz - "An Oak Aged Imperial Brown Ale with tons of oaky, woody flavors. The base brown malt profile provides a huge caramel, coffee and chocolate body with minimal hop bitterness matched perfectly with the complex flavor profile of the oak chips" (source).

Video of the Week | Lansing Brewing Co.

Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, October 5, 2018

New Beer Friday, Raw Cider for Sale Edition (October 5)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

September is apple harvesting time here in West Michigan and that means there will soon be plenty of fresh juice available for beer and winemaking hobbyists looking to whip up a batch or two of hard cider.

On Saturday, October 6, Klein Cider Mill will be selling fresh-squeezed juice in our back parking lot between the hours of 10am and 1pm. The price for Klein’s award-winning cider is $3.75 per gallon and you must supply your own containers. Of course, as always, we will have containers available for purchase along with yeast, pectic enzyme and anything else you might need for making hard cider.

Go here for a good article on the process of making hard cider.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arcadia Morning Nightcap, $2.19/12oz - "The beer lover’s consummate coffee beer, a perfect marriage of rich coffee and creamy porter. Brewed with BIGGBY® COFFEE’s Papua New Guinea blend, a roast created by Paramount Roasters especially for this collaboration. Emotes rich notes of dark chocolate, fruit, and tons of refreshingly intense coffee flavor. Oat malt lends a powerfully silky body and hints of nuttiness. Reminiscent of a refreshing cold-brew, but with a pleasant buzz. Pairs perfectly with your choice of smoking jacket, bathrobe or favorite slippers. Because when the day drags on and the night’s too long, it’s time to pickup a Nightcap" (source).
  • Batch Brewing Festbier, $2.79/12oz - No description available.
  • Brewery Vivant Plien de Vie Stone Fruit Sour, $10.89/375ml - "Foeder Aged Weissbier with all-Michigan grown peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries" (source).
  • Cigar City Cubano Style Espresso Brown, $2.59/12oz - "This English-style Brown Ale is brewed with a heaping of Cuban-style espresso beans from Tampa’s Buddy Brew Coffee.  Lactose and cacao are added as well, creating a bold ale that brings to mind a fine cup of Cuban coffee" (source).
  • Dark Horse Smells Like a Safety Meeting, $1.99/12oz - "S.L.A.S.M. is our most Aromatic IPA. This India Pale Ale is very reminiscent of the hop’s cousin in the Mulberry family. Lots of hop aroma with just the right amount of bitterness as we like to keep balance around here. Between the secret blend of the most DANK hops we can get our hands on and a "more than healthy" dose of double dry hopping, this beer can be announced to the nose from across the room that someone is definitely having a Safety Meeting" (source).
  • Grimm Guava Mango Pop, $15.99/22oz - "This tropical sour beer is a creamsicle in a glass. Mangoes, guavas, vanilla, and milk sugar are backed with a grapefruit-like acidity" (source).
  • NIP Batch 29, $2.99/12oz - "Cherry Lime-Aid" (source).
  • North Coast Barrel Aged Old Rasputin, $25.19/500ml - "Every year we age a special batch of our much-loved Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon barrels. The depth, intensity, and complexity of the flavor profile of this special release, like its predecessors, make it a worthy tribute to Old Rasputin" (source).
  • Odd Side Cap De Night, $6.29/12oz - "Full bodied imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. Bold flavors of roasted barley give way to subtle notes of vanilla, cinnamon, bourbon, and oak with a rich cocoa finish. A perfect end to any evening" (source).
  • Ommegang Mother of Dragons, $12.99/750ml - "A beer for Daenerys - is a richly complex blend of smoked porter and Belgian kriek" (source).
  • Short's Mule Beer, $1.89/12oz - "Mule Beer is an Ale brewed with lime and ginger. Hazy copper in color with an off-white head, Mule Beer pours with aromas of pungent ginger and tangy lime. Pronounced flavors of ginger and lime are accompanied by a biscuit like maltiness and a creamy body. This light-bodied, Moscow Mule inspired brew finishes with a spicy ginger kick" (source).
  • Stone Enjoy by 10.31.18, $3.19/12oz - "Consistently delivered faster than any bottled IPA on the planet, Stone Enjoy By IPA facilitated a paradigm shift in respect for and enjoyment of hoppy beers by ensuring craft beer fans the ultimate level of freshness. We brew this intense double IPA with more than 10 different hops, employing hop-bursting and dry-hopping techniques to amp up the peach and tropical fruit notes and overall hop factor. Brewed specifically NOT to last, this devastatingly fresh, golden beauty should be enjoyed within 37 days" (source).
  • Stone Xocoveza, $3.19/12oz - "There’s nothing like making a beer so beloved that people feel compelled to campaign for its return. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we are very pleased to give our fans the number one item on their wish lists. As illustrated by the avalanche of social media requests, that is Stone Xocoveza, an insanely delicious take on Mexican hot chocolate brewed with cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. First brewed in 2014 with San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker after his recipe won our annual homebrew competition, this imperial stout is layered with smooth roastiness, semisweet chocolate and a touch of spice. Thanks entirely to you, this creamy, mocha stout has gone from initially being a one-time offering to a yearly tradition. Happy holidays from all of us to all of you…and feel free to continue enjoying it long into the spring and summer, as this gem will age beautifully and is definitely not exclusive to the winter season" (source).
  • To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid Amounts of Bananas, $7.69/16oz - "Smells like banana, tastes like… sweet malty banana. This is a mellow, malty DIPA with a smooth amber body and medium carbonation. Almost taffyesque in taste, you want to hate it but you can’t" (source).
  • To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid Lychee, $7.69/16oz - "The more subtle of the trilogy, DCTS Lychee is clean, crisp and malty. Expect ample bitterness without it being overpowering, and subtle end notes of lychee. A clean and clear, west coast style DIPA" (source).
  • To Øl Ms. Black, $9.79/16oz - "Imperial stout with liquorice & dates Ms. Black is our attempt to make an evil and beastly black imperial stout and we would call it a success. Featuring triple the amount of liquorice we have ever brewed with – Ms. Black is a full, dark, sweet and bitter imperial stout with bitter dark malt notes" (source).

Video of the Week | Dark Horse

Smells Like a Safety Meeting, now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, September 28, 2018

New Beer Friday, Yeomans Edition (September 28)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I was planning on hitting the Little Manistee one morning last week but we entertained the neighbors the previous night and Yeomans and I stayed up late drinking wine and talking about politics, sports, our dead fathers and the garish lights across the lake.

Yeomans is a retired high school history teacher. He has a big, bushy grey beard and wears his glasses on the end of his nose. His passions are golf and drinking Strohs out of longneck bottles and he is very good at both. He always golfs during the week so he doesn’t have to pay the weekend rates and he always walks so he can drink beer without putting on extra weight. He’s from Ohio and is a Buckeyes fan, a sin for which I can forgive him because he’s not obnoxiously snooty.

He also appreciates hand-crafted suds and is particularly fond of Starving Artist, Moose Drool and Ludington Bay’s British Brown. While Stroh’s is his preferred mass-produced lager, he’ll drink whatever is on sale in the bars, and he knows which days the saloons in Lake County run one-dollar specials. One day this past summer my wife and I stopped at Twin Creeks Tavern and just for fun I asked the bartender if a dude with a big bushy grey beard and glasses on the end of his nose had come in lately. When she replied that he had, I asked if she knew where I could find him because I had been looking for him and when I found him I was going to rough him up. She never blinked an eye, which I took to mean that such talk wasn’t uncommon in the environs of Luther, Michigan.

Back to the morning I was going to fish the Little Man. After two cups of coffee I felt stable enough to walk out to the dock where I made a couple of pathetic casts in an effort to raise some blue gill. By then the sun was already above the eastern stand of trees and was boring into my head with the power of 174 quadrillion watts. I retreated to the relative coolness of the cinder block garage until I recovered my bearings.

I laid low for most of the day and after dinner spied some bass rising at the end of Yeomans’ dock. Yeomans watched me fish while he sipped a Stroh’s on his deck. On the second cast I hooked the canopy of his pontoon boat and yelled over to him to move his boat. He yelled something back which I couldn’t make out but assumed was nasty. I caught a few decent size bass that fought hard for a few seconds but then gave up and came in like castigated hound dogs. It reminded me of why I prefer to fish for trout.

That night after getting out of bed to heed nature’s call I stepped out onto the deck. It was one of those moonless, cloudless nights in northern Michigan when you think that if you looked hard enough you could see all the way back to the beginning of the universe. The stars were so bright they reflected off the glassy surface of the water and the only thing that broke the spell were the lights in front of the cottage across the lake. The cottage owner apparently thinks it’s classy to keep those glaring lights burning all night. Yeomans and I have been talking about donning dark clothing, blackening our faces and rowing across the lake on some dark, moonless night to clip the wires.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Third Coast Old Ale, $2.99/12oz - "Third Coast Old Ale starts with a rich, caramel base, and finishes with a heavy hop bitterness. Sharply intense at first, it will age gracefully, adding complexity and subtlety in your cellar. Go ahead, test your patience" (source).
  • Central Waters BBA Barleywine, $4.39/12oz - "A barleywine ale aged for a full year on used bourbon barrels, this beer has flavors of dark fruits and wood" (source).
  • Dark Horse Five High Harvest, $2.89/12oz - "A collaboration with High Five Hop Farm of Marshall, MI" (source).
  • Founders Harvest, $3.79/12oz - "Each fall, our brewhouse looks more like a greenhouse as thousands of pounds of wet hop cones arrive within hours of being picked by some of our favorite local hop growers. Acting quickly, we then load up these wet hops into what will become Harvest Ale – an impossibly aromatic and bright IPA bursting with fresh pine, melon and citrus notes. Our ode to the beauty that is the wet, American hop" (source).
  • Ludington Bay 9 Wt East Coast Style Double IPA, $1.99/12oz - "Juicy hops and malt up front with a dry finish. Dry hopped with copious amounts of Amarillo and Centennial hops" (source).
  • Ludington Bay First Curve West Coast Style IPA, $1.99/12oz - "Pale, coppered-color with a creamy white head. Hop forward with a malty backbone" (source).
  • Ludington Bay Lake Phantom, $1.99/12oz - "American Pale Ale with tangelo. Tangelo is a citrus fruit hybrid, with flavors of tangerines and pomelos (grapefruit)" (source).
  • Ludington Bay Jame Street Brown, $1.99/12oz - "Smooth, dark American Brown Ale with a lacy tan head that drinks lighter than it looks" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Blanc du Nord, $5.19/375ml - "The flavor of this wit bier is herbaceous, wheat and citrusy, with a spicy depth that only our Belgian White yeast strain can produce in our open square fermenters. Our lightest option" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Saison Terre a Terre, $5.19/375ml - "Pronounced /tare-ah-tare/. This French sourced saison is spicy, herbal, dry and fruity. The high carbonation is a hallmark of the style" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Pivot Point, $6.49/375ml - "A toasty, caramel, rich and balanced Bier de'Garde. Lagered in red wine barrels in our cellar at 45° F for four weeks" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Golden Partager, $6.49/375ml - "A golden strong ale featuring character Michigan sourced alt and hops, barrel aged with an exceptional years - Brettanomyces Bruxellensis" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Harmonie, $6.49/375ml - "Oud Bruin style blend of barrel-soured black ale combined with fresh Saison Terre a Terre. Subtle brett funk and oak, toasty malt and funky plum build to dry, tart finish" (source).
  • Barrel + Beam Spooky Kriek, $7.79/375ml - No commercial description available.
  • Central State Cast No Shadow, $4.09/16oz - "Combining Cascade, Citra, and Simcoe hops with Indiana-malted barley & wheat, this beer is named for a 1922 city ordinance that no building shall be constructed so that it could cast a shadow on Liberty, the statue adorning the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis" (source).
  • Central State Ottermelon Gose, $3.79/16oz - "Tart and lightly salted wheat beer fermented with Watermelon" (source).
  • Central State Robur, $3.79/16oz - "Exploring the delicate dance that can take place between beer and oak. We first brewed a simple pale base of Indiana Malted Barley, Wheat and Oats hopped with Citra and Hallertauer Blanc then aged it for several weeks on toasted French Oak staves" (source).
  • Southern Tier Creme Brulee, $4.09/12oz - "The British founders of burnt cream & Spanish founders of crema catalana both stand by their creative originality. We respect that, but it was the French crème brûlée that survived history. How would a brewery determine a likeness to hard-coated custard? Our response is simple; resilience & finesse. Aroma is front & center. Sweet, creamy & uncannily true to the namesake dessert. Contains lactose sugar" (source).
  • Short's Hellacious Rock, $2.59/12oz - "An American Double India Pale Ale with bold floral hop aromas of citrus peel and pine. A sizable malt sweetness allows for a balanced presentation of abundant hop flavors, most notably those of sharp grapefruit and fruity berries. The finish is mostly clean with a perfect resiny bitterness, that lingers, but doesn’t overwhelm the palate" (source).
  • Petoskey Super Trooper Brown, $2.79/16oz - "Brewed with Columbian coffee beans and donuts from a local producer" (source).

Video of the Week | Ludington Bay

Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, September 14, 2018

New Beer Friday, Tug is the Drug Edition (Sept 14)

Steve with his fishing fix
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

“The tug is the drug.” —A fly fishing idiom

It seems like ages since I’ve been able to satisfy my fly-fishing addiction. The last time I felt the tug of a trout at the end of my line was about six weeks ago when my son Chris and I fished a stretch of the Pine just north of Luther. I was reminded that day how physically demanding angling for trout in Michigan can be. After tucking the truck into a clearing on a dirt road we geared up, hiked up a small hill then scrambled over moss-covered logs and through dense patches of brush until we hit the river. It took us about three hours to work our way back upstream. Unfortunately we didn’t have much action that day. Chris netted a decent-sized rainbow but I was daydreaming when I got my one and only hit and after a few rod pulsating seconds the trout shook free.

The Pine is one of the few rivers in Michigan’s lower peninsula that resembles a western trout stream. It’s rocky, fast and when the water is high it can be difficult to wade. There are times when you have to climb up on the bank to get around a deep hole and you have to stumble through the thick woods until you can skitter back into the river. It’s not easy fishing, especially for an old codger like me who’s had two hip replacements.

Later that night I was leaning against my neighbor’s deck trying to get him to spill the beans on some of his Little Manistee hot spots when I shifted slightly and felt a sharp pain in my calf. “What the hell!” I thought. I hobbled back to the cottage and before going to bed consumed a large tumbler of bourbon. The pain was still there in the morning so I popped four Advil’s and brooded about the fact there would be no fishing that day. By the time my wife got up I was convinced a blood clot was working its way to my heart and that the grim reaper was rapping on the door. That would mean the end of my fishing.

“Did the Advil help?” my wife asked coolly when I shared my fears of imminent demise with her.

I admitted that it did.

Then it’s not a blood clot,” she said matter of factly. “You’re fine.” I should have known better than to try to elicit sympathy from Barb. Last summer I got a nasty bite on my hand while breaking up a dogfight and my finger ballooned to the size of a hunk of kielbasa overnight. “Suck it up buttercup,” she told me when I suggested that I should probably see a doctor.

Anyway, back to the pain in my leg. It hung around for about a week and when I felt ready to hit the streams again it began raining and continued to rain for a couple of weeks. It’s not wise for a man my age (recall the two fake hips) to wade in rivers that are nearing flood stage.

The tug is the drug. It seems like ages since I’ve been able to satisfy my fly-fishing addiction and I’m jonesing for a fix. The other morning I woke up in a cold sweat and now I’m worried that I’m going through withdrawals. When I mentioned that to my wife she looked up from her book and rolled her eyes.

New and Returning Beer

  • Atwater Hey Diddle Diddle, $2.09/12oz - "Brewed with oranges and apricots and finished with a touch of yeast and rose petals" (source).
  • Bell's Double Cream Stout, $2.29/12oz - "Named for its velvety smooth, creamy texture, this incredibly rich stout is brewed with 10 different specialty roasted malts chosen that impart notes of rich mocha and espresso. Dark and sweet tones intermingle with a soft, roasty finish" (source).
  • Big Lake Michigan Amber, $2.79/16oz - "A classic Amber Ale made with Lake Michigan water, and locally sourced ingredients" (source).
  • Blake's Rosé, $2.19/12oz - "Semi-sweet with a citrus like acidity, this native fermented Rosé was infused with strawberries and rose hips, resulting in a vibrant finish" (source).
  • Deschutes Schwarzbier, $1.99/12oz - "This full flavored dark lager has some incredible roasty, toasty, nutty, and chocolate notes. Perfect for this time of year when the weather is starting to cool a bit" (source).
  • Innis and Gunn Gunnpowder, $3.09/12oz - "Our IPA is an explosion of aromas from Cascade, Centennial and Mandarina hops. Think orange, grapefruit and pine turned up to eleven. Its fully charged, hoppy character is perfectly balanced by a sweetness from the Munich malt" (source).
  • Odd Side Trendilicious, $2.19/12oz - "India Pale Ale with grapefruit added" (source).
  • Rockford Rogue River Brown, $2.09/12oz - "As a two-time Great American Beer Fest winner, this brew is quite the catch.  Smooth flowing notes of caramel and maltiness make this ale a refreshing companion to be prized year round.  Intrigued? Take the bait and tie one on, you'll be hooked" (source).
  • Saugatuck BBA Imperial Pumpkin Chia, $5.29/12oz - "Some of you may be familiar with one of our past seasonal releases – Pumpkin Chai. While we loved this beer, we decided it was time to kick it up a few notches. We increased the ABV to 9.5% and then aged this delicious concoction in Bourbon Barrels for 8 months. The sweet, strong bourbon flavors are prominent in this beer. The delicate body of this lighter beer is more susceptible to the bourbon flavors and aromas. But don’t worry, we didn’t lose the pumpkin or chai tea flavors here. You will still be hit with strong chai tea up front, followed by a smooth pumpkin finish" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet, $1.79/12oz - "Hops are the name of the game with a Double IPA, but we knew we had to take it one step further. With Hop Bullet, we’re using a new technique, hitting the beer with a double-barreled blast of Magnum hops and lupulin dust—pure, concentrated hop flavor—directly into the tank to emphasize the intense pine and citrus flavors of classic West Coast hops" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal, $2.49/12oz - "Narwhal Imperial Stout is inspired by the mysterious creature that thrives in the deepest fathoms of the frigid Arctic Ocean. Featuring incredible depth of malt flavor, rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish, Narwhal will age in the bottle for years to come" (source).
  • Terrapin Luau Krunkles, $1.99/12oz - "Tropical aromas of Passion fruit, Orange and Guava dominate the nose while a big juicy hop flavor and smooth bitterness complement the balance of the beer" (source).
  • Uinta Fest Helles, $1.69/12oz - "Fest is a delicate balance of malt and hops. With its bready malt character and grassy aromatics, this German-style lager is the perfect go-to for late Summer drinking, lederhosen optional" (source).

Pic of the Week | Rockford Brewing

Rogue River Brown— Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, September 7, 2018

New Beer Friday, Sale in Full Swing Edition (Sept 7)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I’d like to remind everyone that our annual Homebrew and Winemaking Customer Appreciation Sale is currently in full swing and will continue through the close of business on Sunday, September 9.

If you are already a homebrewer or winemaker, you're going to want to take advantage of the 15% discount on most equipment and supplies. You'll also want to check out the items on the deeply discounted list. If you've been thinking about taking the plunge into these life-enriching hobbies, now's the time to do it as the beer and winemaking equipment kits are both heavily discounted.

Don't forget that we will be offering free German wieners, sauerkraut and draft root beer to all our great customers on Saturday, September 8. See you then.

New and Returning Beer

  • Aleman Brewing LadiesMan, $2.09/12oz - "Freshly clipped Lemonthyme gives our light-bodied American Wheat a subtle aromatic, citrusy punch" (source).
  • Aleman Brewing SoulMan, $2.09/12oz - "Deeply caramelized sugar provides roasted notes that blend in nicely with a rich malty base. Paired with a mild, underlying hop character for a long, dry finish" (source).
  • Aleman Brewing TheMan, $2.09/12oz - "The Man is't an oppressive governmental regime. It's not a hilarious odd-couple flick with Jules Winnfield and the dad from American Pie. It's not even a hit single from recording mega-star Aloe Blacc. The Man is simply the boss. It's DayMan without the coffee. It's our base IPA and a beer we plan to bastardize in every way imaginable. In it's most basic form, The Man will contrast a reliable malt bill with a rotating hop character based on whatever hops are fresh and making us particularly horny. But, whether it be a single-hop variety or a balanced blend, The Man will always deliver on its crisp, clean, bitter promise" (source).
  • Bell's Best Brown, $2.19/16oz - "A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown is a mainstay in our fall lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops" (source).
  • Boulevard Tough Kitty, $1.89/12oz - "Tough Kitty Milk Stout features layers of caramel and chocolate malt complexity provided by Cara 120, Cara 300 and Patagonia Black Pearl. The addition of rolled oats in the mash tun and lactose, commonly referred to as milk sugar, in the wort kettle lend a round, silky mouthfeel to the beer. Subtle hopping with Bravo and Cascade creates just enough bitterness to prevent the beer from being overly cloying. Deep black in color, Tough Kitty opens with aromas of bittersweet chocolate, espresso and toffee that transition to flavors of the same. The addition of lactose, a non-fermentable sugar, works with the rolled oats to deliver a creamy, lingering finish" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Velvet Stud, $3.79/16oz - "Aging in neutral oak barrels rounds out the edges of this Belgian style stout giving it a smooth, velvety character. The element of time coaxes some complexity out of the wood and beautifully blends with the dark malts in this beer. Expect notes of chocolate, hints of freshly roasted coffee with a dry oak finish. The extra steps of wood aging can drive our brewers crazy… but at the end of the day, being proud of your craft makes it all worthwhile" (source).
  • BruWorx Bullseye Ultimatum, $3.09/12oz - "Bullseye Ultimatum is a bold cider made from a refreshing blend of sweet and tart apples. Hibiscus and orange zest work perfectly together, with floral notes of cranberry and citrus. Belgian candi sugar provides a touch of toffee sweetness, while a pinch of pink salt elevates the drinkability. Light carbonation brings it all together for a crisp finish" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Punkin, $2.79/12oz - "A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin, brown sugar & spice" (source).
  • Hoppin' Frog Mango Turbo Shandy, $4.49/12oz - "Born from European tradition, our shandy is a refreshing combination of lemon and light malt flavors. Unlike traditional shandy’s, Turbo Shandy revs it up a couple notches with a high test, full flavored approach as only Hoppin’ Frog can do" (source).
  • Lagunitas Supercluster, $1.79/12oz - "Super Cluster is a Citra-Hopped Mega Ale of intergalactic proportions. Everything we've learned about making hop-forward beer: Pale, cold, alcoholic, and bitter" (source).
  • New Belgium Tartastic Lemon Ginger, $1.79/12oz - "Brace yourself for a refreshingly tart snap. Tartastic's lacto sour profile and fruity, spicy undertones enliven the taste buds with each bright, sessionable sip" (source).
  • North Peak Hail, $2.09/12oz - "Golden, light bodied delicioucness dripping with notes of hoppy goodness throwing citrus, apricot, and peach flavors like bombs. Made with maize and blue to celebrate the U " (source).
  • North Peak Sparta, $2.09/12oz - "A nice crisp malt profile, deliciously juicy body and an overall beautifully balanced beer. There are notes of tangerine, grapefruit, peach, and apricot, backed with a hint of pine" (source).
  • Peckham's Boysenberry Cider, $5.49/12oz - "This delightful cider is made with heritage Moutere apples and boysenberries grown in the Peckham’s orchard. 120 grams of Riwaka Choice boysenberries in a pint deliver a fresh-picked, intense berry taste, but the background cider still comes through. It pours a rich deep red" (source).
  • Rekorderlig Pear Cider, $3.19/12oz - "This aromatic pear cider from Sweden will delight the senses. Best served over ice" (source).
  • Rekorderlig Strawberry Lime Cider, $3.19/12oz - "Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime Cider was the first to explore this unique flavour combination" (source).
  • Ridge Caramel Apple Cider, $2.09/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Sierra Nevada Trip in the Woods Tequilla Barrel Aged Otra Vez, $21.39/750ml - "Otra Vez Gose aged in Reposado Tequila oak barrels with lime and agave" (source).
  • Southern Tier Battle in Four Dimensions, $3.99/16oz - "Battle in Four Dimensions has all the hallmarks of a big IPA with bright grapefruit-like aromas and flavors of Amarillo hops. It’s 8.5% abv and purposefully brewed to a moderate 30 IBU for easy crushing. We could have stopped there, but we didn’t. Crack this can open, pour it into your favorite glass and be shocked by the supernova red color from the addition of just a touch of beet juice. Into the fourth dimension we go" (source).

Video of the Week | Aleman Brewing

Now available at Siciliano's


Friday, August 31, 2018

New Beer Friday, Winexpert LE Wine Kits Edition (August 31)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Each year Winexpert releases five super-premium kits from the world’s great wine regions that are not part of the company’s regular portfolio.

These kits are available only on a pre-order basis and are released during the first four months of the year. Each kit yields six gallons of wine which translates into thirty 750-ml bottles.

We are now taking orders for this year's Limited Edition offerings. Please note that we must receive pre-orders by Wednesday, November 28, 2018, either by phone (616-453-9674), email ( or in person at Siciliano's.

The following are descriptions of the individual varieties along with the respective pricing and release dates.


Black Cab is an intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Gamay Noir. Gamay is a light-bodied red wine revered for its floral aromas and earthiness, with tart red berry and lively acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red loaded with black fruits, cherry, black pepper and hints of earth. This balanced blend marries the best of both varietals into an energetic medium-bodied beauty. Ripe and round with vibrant acidity and silky-smooth tannins, expect pronounced cherry and juicy red berry flavors rounded out with notes of cassis, spice, subtle earthy undertones and soft vanilla. Pair with grilled red meats, pizza, black peppercorn tuna, black bean stews or roasted pepper dishes.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium
    • Oak: Medium
    • Alcohol: 12.5%

Don’t let the name fool you – though ‘Fume’ means ‘smoke’, don’t expect a smoky white wine. Coined in the 1960s to denote a new and different style of dry, oak-ed Sauvignon Blanc, the name is derived from Pouilly-Fume, a popular French appellation that specializes in a similar style wine. Made with lush New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this mouth-filling wine delivers a rush of ripe tropical fruit on the palate, with complex layers of gooseberry and melon, bright acidity and hints of grassy mineral notes expertly harmonized with a gentle creamy vanilla oak. Pair with goat cheese, seafood platters and chicken or pasta dishes with creamy sauce and spring vegetables.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium
    • Oak: Light
    • Alcohol: 13%

This wine is a charismatic blend of Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Pais. Carmenere, the signature Chilean grape, delivers jammy raspberry and herbal spice. Cab Franc brings bold cherry, juicy berry and acidity, while Syrah lends intense black fruit flavors and tannin. Pais, widely planted in Chile for centuries but little-known elsewhere, rounds out the blend with rustic red fruit and crisp acidity. This juicy blend is full of expressive black and red berries, surrounded by cherry and tart plum notes in harmony with underlying oak, bright acidity and smooth polished tannins. Pair with rosemary lamb chops, beef skewers, Portobello mushroom burgers and aged cheddar.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Medium to full
    • Oak: Medium
    • Alcohol: 13%

Symphony is one of California’s hidden gems bringing peach, apple and tropical fruit flavors, it is a natural and perfect complement to Gewürztraminer’s characteristic lychee notes. An aromatic blend with floral and juicy peach aromas, this o-dry wine deliciously combines lush tropical and stone fruit flavors. Crisp and bright with expressive fruit and subtle sweetness, this wine really sings when chilled. A beauty to sip on its own, or a perfect companion to spicy Asian dishes, zesty barbecue or baked ham.

    • Sweetness: Off-dry
    • Body: Light-medium
    • Oak: None
    • Alcohol: 12%

Widely regarded as one of Italy’s top wines, the Barbaresco style is undeniably delicious. Made with Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most respected and most loved red wine grape, this wine exudes intense aromas of juicy cherry combined with toasty oak and spice. The sumptuous palate seduces with cherry and ripe red berries, licorice, baking spice, leather and earthy notes. It boasts balance and structure with firm velvety tannins, a full body and a beautiful long-lasting finish. Pair with grilled or braised meat, mushroom risotto, Ragu Bolognese and mature cheeses.

    • Sweetness: Dry
    • Body: Full
    • Oak: Medium-heavy
    • Alcohol: 14%

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Cranberry Tart, $1.79/12oz - "This American tart-style ale exhibits cranberry fruitiness in harmony with malt, wheat, hops, and spruce tips" (source).
  • Arbor Violin Monster, $2.79/12oz - "Brewed with Midnight Wheat, warming spices, and a hint of brown sugar, the Violin Monster is black as night and packs a punch at 9.5%.  Unleash your inner beast, but beware…. it finishes with a bite" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Dawn of Vim, $5.29/16oz - "The return of one of our favorite beers from our "Planet Vim" series. This IPA wows with bold Mosaic and El Dorado hops" (source).
  • Ellison Citra Revolution, $3.69/16oz - "The second iteration of our Evolution IPA series, this Citra hopped beer blasts out of the glass with tropical fruit, tangerine, and passion fruit. Smooth bitterness is complemented by more fruit flavors and a pillowy mouthfeel. It won't disappoint" (source).
  • Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half, $4.49/12oz & $12.99/750ml - "What tames an old ale like Curmudgeon? The tender embrace of oak and sweet maple, that’s what. The result is Curmudgeon’s Better Half, a harmonious matrimony of our deceptively smooth old ale brewed with molasses and time spent aging in bourbon barrels that have previously held maple syrup. Because all counterparts should be sweet, rich and utterly delicious" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Oktoberfest, $2.39/16oz - "Light amber to copper in color with a nice toasted malt characteristic up front from the use of Vienna malt. This brew is balanced on the back end with just the right amount of hop bitterness" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Screaming Pumpkin, $2.39/16oz - "A spicy and refreshing Amber Ale brewed with roasted pumpkin in the mash, then spiced with ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Copyright Cream Ale, $2.39/16oz - "When the best brewers in the world have problems, they call us. That could be because we have a world-class brewmaster perfecting his craft in a cutting-edge facility. And with beer this down-right delicious it’s a miracle we don’t pour it on our heads, use it as cologne and bathe in it" (source).
  • New Holland Sour Inc: Apple Rhubarb, $1.99/12oz - "Sour Inc: Apple Rhubarb Gose is kettle soured with in-house grown lactic culture. Apple and rhubarb are blended to bring the sweet and sour, then lightly salted to attain the light and crisp gose style" (source).
  • Revolution Double Dry Hopped Citra Hero, $2.99/12oz - "Citra-Hero is amping up the intensity with a new concept suit fueled by the dynamic Type-45 Citra hop. Reduced plant matter triggers more essential hop oils, further accelerating her citrusy impact. Two rounds of dry hops unleash a staggering 5 pounds of Citra, Simcoe, and Kohatu per barrel, triggering an explosive amount of melon, berry, and tropical fruit flavors" (source).
  • Wolverine Oktoberfest, $2.99/16oz - "This always anticipated release from Michigan’s only all-lager brewery is characterized by toasted bread crust notes, uncanningly clean flavors, and finished off with a mild toffee sweetness.  German Noble hops balance out this elegant, malty brew, leaving you refreshed and clamoring for your next sip as you enjoy the change from Michigan Summer to Michigan Fall" (source).
  • Arcadia Jaw Jacker, $1.99/12oz - "This spiced amber ale is our celebration of the arrival of Autumn. Brewed with cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg (a riff on Grandma Davies’ pumpkin pie recipe), and additions of Caramel and Crystal malt for balanced flavor, drinkability, and a brilliant orange-amber color, despite the absence of pumpkin in the recipe. A refreshingly spicy, season brew" (source).
  • Deschutes Fresh Haze IPA, $1.99/12oz & $2.99/19.2oz - "Introducing Fresh Haze IPA, our newest IPA is hazy with a chance of obsession. The flavor explodes in your mouth with notes of orange citrus sweetness and a soft malt body. Carrying both citrus and tropical fruit from Mandarina, Amarillo and Simcoe hops…OJ for days" (source).
  • Cigar City Guayabera, $2.19/12oz - "A 5.5 percent ABV pale ale brewed with Citra hops" (source).
  • Cigar City Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "Our Festbier nods firmly toward the style’s history with it’s amber color, bready malt complexity and restrained hop flavor and bitterness. At the heart of this beer is a malt bill of six different German malt varieties, including a generous helping of Munich malt.  After adding Hallertauer Mittlefruh hops we ferment the beer with an authentic Bavarian lager yeast, resulting in a clean, dry and complex lager that’s at once intriguing and drinkable" (source).
  • Perrin Caribbean Nights, $4.29/16oz - "A tropical Milkshake IPA made with tangerine, mango, pineapple and lactose milk sugar utilizing Mosaic, Comet, Galaxy, Citra, Enigma, El Dorado, and Centennial hops" (source).
  • Southern Tier Cold Press Pumking, $4.39/12oz - "Many coffee beers are made using beans on the hot side- but not ours. A cold brew leaves behind the bitter acids and some fatty oils that can lead to a harsher, more vegetal taste transfer, and instead, highlights the roasted, comfortable coffee taste we all love. This, paired with the perfect pumpkin pie spice in our imperial Pumking ale creates the entire picture in just one sniff and sip" (source).
  • Big Lake Haze and Blue, $3.39/16oz - "A New England IPA brewed with loads of juicy Citra and Mosaic hops complimented with Fresh Local Blueberry. Brewed for those “Haze & Blue” Alumni" (source).
  • Nowhere In Particular Batch No. 26 Orange Vanilla Sour, $2.99/12oz - "We all know those Orange popsicle with the creamy filling. Well this beer is like that, but better because it has alcohol in it! Packed with enough oranges to cure scurvy, a little vanilla sweetness on the end, and just enough tartness to wake you up your tastebuds and let them know that its time to party. So party on, soak up the sun, and live life likes its an adventure because it is" (source).
  • Short's The Mighty Shorse, $2.59/12oz - "The Mighty Shorse is a dank and fruity Imperial IPA brewed with a blend of Azacca, Citra, El Dorado, and Motueka hops and peaches. Very hazy and dark copper in color with an off white and frothy head, The Mighty Shorse smells of floral citrus and fresh peach. Initial flavors of sweet peach are quickly matched by notes of dank citrus followed by a slightly bitter finish. This medium-bodied and refreshing Imperial IPA has a thick and juicy mouth feel" (source).
  • Lagunitas Mozango, $5.19/22oz - "The flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing. So, what's at the heart of it? Is it the patient and diligent servant or the committed messenger, through their many routes and vessels? The salient soldier, slinging suds on the front lines daily, or the very brewers themselves? The answer is... we can't tell you here. From seed to sprout to fruit, and back to seed, we're all tangled on the same vine. And while fruit is momentary, the roots hold on for another season. It's all just a matter of perspective..." (source).
  • Riegele Augustus, 3.29/11.2oz - "A stronger, 8% cloudy Bavarian wheat beer with a creamy, manila head, notes of grape and ripe banana, peach, and fig-like dark fruit" (source).
  • Port Brewing Hop-15, $7.59/19.2oz - "With more citrus character than a farmer’s market, Hop-15 is bursting with notes of tropical and stone fruits. Bolstered by a spicy hop finish, this Imperial IPA has always wowed the crowd and judges alike" (source).
  • Great Lakes Imperial Oatmeal Stout, $12.79/22oz - "" (source).
  • Southern Tier Barrel House Rum Barrel Aged Pumking, $11.89/500ml - "Imagine our inimitable Imperial Pumking Ale as the captain on the high seas, flying the Jolly Roger. The ‘King sails for ports unknown in this limited release. Rum Barrel Aged Pumking has been kept like secret treasure in the hollows of the brewery, patiently awaiting discovery" (source).
  • Ace Pumpkin, $2.19/12oz - "Flavored with cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Tastes like pumpkin pie" (source).
  • Dinkelacker Oktoberfest, $2.39/12oz - "A distinctive spicy, drinkable Märzen. Full salary and full-bodied in flavor, golden yellow in color. Original beer tastes just as before" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Strawberry, $21.79/750ml - "American Sour with Strawberries" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Mango, $21.79/750ml - "American Sour with Mango" (source).
  • Arclight Soursmith Kriek, $21.79/750ml - "American Wild Ale aged in wine barrels on cherries and fermented with wild yeast and bacteria harvested from local orchards in SW Michigan" (source).

Video of the Week | Arcadia Jaw-Jacker

Now available at Siciliano's.


Friday, August 24, 2018

New Beer Friday, Crush & Press Edition (August 24)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

If you live in the environs of Beer City USA and are thinking about making wine from fresh grapes this fall, there are options available for home vintners who are looking to source locally grown fruit. Here is the contact information for Taylor Ridge Vineyards in Allegan and Morgan Vineyard in Coopersville, both good sources for fresh wine grapes:

    • Taylor Ridge Vineyards
    • 3843 105th Ave. Allegan, MI 49010
    • Email:
    • Cell: 269-491-1512
    • Home: 269-521-4047
    • Morgan Vineyard
    • 15775 40th Avenue, Coopersville, MI 49404
    • Email:
    • Phone: 616-648-3025
We will be offering the free on-site use of our fruit crushers and basket presses from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on four consecutive Sundays in the parking lot behind the store. Dates for the free use of the equipment are as follows:

    • Sunday, September 16
    • Sunday, September 23
    • Sunday, September 30
    • Sunday, October 7

New and Returning Beer

  • Omnipollo Oaxaca, $4.39/16oz - "Mango margarita slush IPA brewed with lactose, mango, lime, grapefruit & vanilla" (source).
  • Omnipollo Zodiak Multiverse, $4.59/16oz - "Our new house IPA. A blend of grains, untouched post fermentation and aspiringly hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Centennial" (source).
  • Stillwater Nu Tropic, $2.79/12oz - "India Pale Ale with Mango & Passionfruit" (source).
  • Stillwater Wild is the Will, $4.99/16oz - "Rustic sour ale aged on cedar. Inspired by the music of Prince Billy, hunt down "Wild is the Will" on Bandcamp" (source).
  • Stillwater Frond, $5.99/16oz - "Double India pale ale brewed with palm sugar" (source).
  • Evil Twin Key Lime Pie IPA, $4.99/16oz - "India Pale Ale with graham crackers and key lime added" (source).
  • Decadent Blackberry Creme Pop, $5.49/16oz - "Our all-mosaic dry-hopped double IPA brewed with blackberries, Madagascar vanilla and a proprietary blend of sugars" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Pumpkin Tart, $3.79/16oz - "Ale brewed with real pumpkin & spices" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - "Through our Marzen-style Oktoberfest we celebrate the great art of celebrating beer itself! This lightly hopped beer has a semi-dry finish that nicely complements its light to medium body. A light caramel and malty sweetness provide a pleasing smooth flavor" (source).
  • Grand River 313 Polish Lager, $2.39/16oz - "Soft, easy drinking lager with a creamy smooth Saaz/Lublin hop accent. Nice lacy head with a clean smooth profile. An homage to Detroit area Polish immigrants that craved the beer from homeland while they powered the industrial revolution" (source).
  • Grand River Monkey Mouth, $3.29/16oz - "NYIBC North American IPA of the Year - piney, bitter, red grapefruit, citrus zest, clean and smooth" (source).
  • North Pier Springtooth, $4.19/16oz - "This Double IPA uses a juicy blend of Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops to provide a huge tropical aroma reminiscent of pineapple and mango. Brewed with Rye and Oats for a smooth mouthfeel and co-fermented with a funky wild yeast and a classic farmhouse yeast" (source).
  • Roak Roaktoberfest, $2.79/16oz - "Traditional German-style Oktoberfest" (source).
  • Erdinger Oktoberfest, $2.09/12oz - "This golden, clear Erdinger is brewed all-naturally, using traditional barrel-fermentation, never pasteurized" (source).
  • Left Hand A Blessing & a Curse, $3.09/12oz - "This double IPA delivers a synthesis of hops from opposite hemispheres with an aggressive disposition of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit characteristics for a delightfully juxtaposed consequence. Count your blessings, accept the curse" (source).
  • Left Hand Nitro Belgian-Style Dubbel, $2.89/13.65oz - "Super smooth with rich malt flavors and a dry finish" (source).
  • Odd Side Stinger, $2.59/12oz - "Double IPA brewed with honey" (source).
  • Odd Side Cat in the Wall, $2.59/12oz - "NE Style DIPA" (source).
  • Stroh's Spirit Witbier, $1.59/12oz - "Beer brewed with coriander and orange peel" (source).
  • Deschutes Black Butte Porter 30th Anniversary, $18.69/22oz - "This beer celebrates our 30th Anniversary, and 30 years of Black Butte Porter. The 2018 version is an Imperial Porter that was 100% barrel-aged using eight different varieties of oak barrels. Release of Black Butte XXX at our pubs in Bend and Portland on June 27th, 2018 and shipping out soon to most locations that carry our Reserve Series beers" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Blackbeards Breakfast Porter, $4.89/12oz - "Blackbeard's Breakfast is a robust porter with a new world twist. Aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company's Dark Sumatra coffee, this porter is flavorful and complex. Featuring unique English malts, this brew will have strong notes of caramel and a slight nut character. Paired with bourbon notes and the sumptuous Sumatran Coffee, Blackbeard's breakfast will please coffee and beer connoisseurs alike" (source).
  • Port Brewing High Tide IPA, $3.49/16oz - "A citrusy IPA drenched in notes of tangerine and stone fruit from the judicious amounts of Simcoe and Amarillo hops, finishing with a crisp hop bite and a smooth piney finish" (source).
  • Kentucky Brewing Barrel-Aged Pumpkin, $4.59/12oz - "As the ale is aged in fresh bourbon barrels, the sweetness of caramel and vanilla are imparted upon the brew and complement its spicier base. At 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), this robust, limited release seasonal makes for a flavorful sipping beer to slowly warm up with as the weather cools" (source).

Press the Issue: Make Wine!

Use our fruit presses free of charge on four consecutive
Sundays starting September 16.


Friday, August 17, 2018

New Beer Friday, 2018 Customer Appreciation Sale (August 17)

Get ready to stock up!
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 edition of the Siciliano’s Beer & Wine Making Customer Appreciation Sale will begin on Tuesday, September 4, and will continue through the close of business on Sunday, September 9.

Our annual Customer Appreciation Sale is a great time for beer and winemaking enthusiasts to stock up on supplies and upgrade equipment. This year we are offering incredible deals on beginners equipment kits so if anyone has been thinking about taking the plunge into one these life-enriching hobbies, this would be the ideal time to do so.

Attention Wine Makers: If you plan on stocking up on winemaking kits please email your orders to me ( by Sunday, August 26, and the orders will be put aside for you.

During the week-long sale, most equipment, supplies and ingredients will be 15% off the retail price. Items that are already discounted — carboys, 50/55-lb. bags of grain, Blichmann Engineering products — will not be eligible for additional discounts nor will the 15% be combined with other existing discounts (like club discounts). We will honor the discount that is greater. Equipment and supplies on the following list are discounted deeper than 15%:

    • BEER EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $122.00, Sale $98.00
    • WINEMAKING EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $125.00, Sale $100.00
    • BREWERS BEAST EQUIPMENT KIT/GLASS: Regular $153.00, Sale $123.00
    • KEGGING SYSTEM/NEW KEG: Regular $289.00, Sale $225.00
    • KEGGING SYSTEM/RECONDITIONED KEG: Regular $239.00, Sale $180.00
    • ANALOG REFRIGERATION THERMOSTAT: Regular $87.79, Sale $70.00
    • DIGITAL REFRIGERATION THERMOSTAT: Regular $115.49, Sale $92.00
    • ITALIAN FLOOR CORKER: Regular $143.00, Sale $109.00
    • PORTUGUESE FLOOR CORKER: Regular $63.00, Sale $50.00
    • CHAMPAGNE FLOOR CORKER: Regular $153.00, Sale $119.00
    • MILWAUKEE PH METER: Regular $85.00, Sale $64.00
    • BARLEY CRUSHER, 7LB HOPPER: Regular $169.00, Sale $139.00
    • BARLEY CRUSHER, 15LB HOPPER: Regular $189.00, Sale $159.00
    • REFRACTOMETER: Regular, $52.00, Sale $42.00
    • 8-GALLON BREWERS BEAST BREW POT, PORTED: Regular $123.00, Sale $98.00
    • 16-GALLON BREWERS BEAST BREW POT, PORTED: Regular $187.00, Sale $150.00
Finally, be sure to stop by the store on Saturday, September 8, for free German wieners, homemade sauerkraut and draft root beer.

New and Returning Beer

  • Brew Detroit Operation Pluot, $3.89/16oz - "Wheat ale brewed with pluots" (source).
  • Brew Detroit Yum Town, $2.79/12oz - "Started with an easy drinking Mexican Lager base, addition of tart cherries & key lime provide a pleasant sweetness to this perfect summer brew" (source).
  • Grand Armory Sippin' on Gin Barrel Juice, $5.19/12oz - "Laaaiiiddd back! When you're Sippin' On Gin Barrel Juice, you'll have Blood Orange on your mind and your mind on Blood Orange! This Gin barrel-aged IPA is chronically hopped with Centennial, Citra and Mosaic" (source).
  • Grand Armory Tied Down to Michigan, $2.19/12oz - "Tied Down to Michigan - There ain't no home like this one! This nicely balanced, seasonal IPA draws its rich hop aroma and flavor from locally sourced, all Michigan grown Copper hops. A perfect compliment to summer in the Great State of Michigan" (source).
  • Great Lakes Oktoberfest, $1.89/12oz - "Our take on this classic German style is a celebration of maltiness— packed with rustic, autumnal flavors to put a little more oomph into your oom-pah-pah" (source).
  • Hacker Pschor Oktoberfest, $1.89/12oz - "Bavarian barley slow roasted, caramelized to a rich, red amber color combined with the purest spring waters from the Alps, exclusive yeast and the finest Hallertau hops" (source).
  • Hofbrau Oktoberfest, $2.19/12oz - "This is a beverage brewed from pure water, the best quality malt and perfect hops. Brewed by Hofbräu München, the Oktoberfestbier is a full-bodied lager known for its clean, crisp edge and ability to get any party started" (source).
  • Lagunitas Passion Grass, $2.29/12oz - "We had a Joint Session with our friends at Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, Mich. to create this smooth and drinkable 4.6% ABV West by Midwest Ale. With some passion fruit juice added for that pleasant summery-ness and rounded off with a special zing of lemongrass, it’s best imbibed with your ‘buds … it’s good to have friends" (source).
  • Prairie Color Block, $4.39/12oz - "Brewed with Warrior and Citra for a smooth citrus bitterness.The beer was fermented on Cara Cara, Satsuma & Naval oranges with vanilla & a double dose of Citra" (source).
  • Prairie Era, $2.39/12oz - "Hoppy Farmhouse ale dosed with lemon zest, along with a combination of cascade and centennial hops for an extra kick of citrus" (source).
  • Prairie Pink Guava Funk, $3.49/12oz - "Kettle Sour with Brett and Pink Guava" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, $1.79/12oz - "We’ve partnered with Bavaria’s Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery, for this American take on the classic German Oktoberfest. A malt backbone is balanced by subtle hop character in this crisp, clean, and drinkable crowd-pleaser. Nothing captures the spirit of celebration like a beer among friends" (source).
  • Southern Tier Pumking, $4.39/12oz - "All Hallow’s Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking" (source).
  • Southern Tier Warlock, $4.39/12oz - "Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own & also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet. Dark and mysterious, reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation & a spiced pumpkin pie aroma" (source).
  • To Ol Ms. Magenta, $9.79/500ml - "Dragonfruit & Strawberry Berliner Weisse" (source).
  • To Ol Ms. Teal, $8.79/16oz  - "Seaweed Gose" (source).

Video of the Week: Brewery Vivant

U of M: "Brewery Vivant serves up a healthier planet."


Friday, August 10, 2018

New Beer Friday, One That Got Away Edition (August 10)

Barb with one that didn't get away
By Steve Siciliano

When my wife Barb and I were fly fishing in southwestern Montana a few weeks ago we had to quickly learn how to fight the area’s muscular trout. I got a crash course in the proper technique the first time I hooked into one of those piscatorial torpedoes. As soon as I set the hook the big rainbow took off on a reel-screeching run downriver and I instinctively reared back on the rod and tried to put the brakes on the fly line. “Let it run!” shouted Chris our guide. “Get your hand off the reel!”

When you’re fishing with light tackle and you try to rein in a big, Big Sky Country trout before it tires, you’re chance of netting the brute goes down dramatically. When it goes on its multiple runs you keep the line taut and when it stops running and starts doing some high flying acrobatics you hold on and enjoy the show. Sometimes it keeps running until you get perilously close to the end of the line. When that happens your guide weighs anchor and chases after it with the boat. If it decides to shoot back in your direction you reel furiously to take up the slack. When it finally begins losing steam you keep the rod tip high and you slowly retrieve the line. If everything goes right you eventually guide it into the net.

Of course everything doesn’t always go to plan. While we netted a good deal of beefy browns and rainbows on our trip more than a few got away. When one does get away you let out a few expletives and get back to fishing.

One time Barb tied into a huge brown and I reeled in to make sure it didn’t tangle up in my line. After sitting idle for fifteen minutes while she fought the beast I got out of the boat, waded upstream and resumed fishing. It happened to be lunch time so our guide decided to fire up the portable gas grill which immediately began emitting a huge plume of smoke while burning off the grease from the previous day’s burgers. When the trout went on a long run Chris pulled up the anchor and began rowing around a bend downriver. “We’ll come back for you, Steve,” he shouted through the billowing smoke. An hour later I saw the boat rounding the bend with Chris in the water hauling it back upriver with a rope a la Humphrey Bogart in the African Queen. Unfortunately, Barb lost the fish, which Chris guessed to be about twenty-six inches, after an hour long fight.

That big brown trout keeps getting bigger each time she tells the story.

New and Returning Beer

  • Anderson Valley Chia Solstice, $2.19/12oz - "A variation of our classic Solstice ales. Additions of cardamom, star anise, and vanilla create a mélange of sweetness and complexity; while orange peel, ginger, black pepper add a zesty freshness and a touch of spicy heat" (source).
  • Big Lake Seed Spitter, $2.79/12oz - "An American Wheat Ale brewed with loads of natural watermelon.  This is a perfect summer quencher" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Plein de Vie Cherry Angelina, $12.99/500ml - No commercial description.
  • Dark Horse Smells Like A Citra Safety Meeting, $2.29/12oz - "A new addition to the Smells Like family this IPA uses the same malt profile as our seasonal IPA called Smells Like a Safety Meeting and clocks in at 8.5% ABV. Instead of the proprietary hop blend we like so much in the original Smells Like a Safety Meeting, we removed all of the hops and replaced them with Citra hops giving this beer a very citrus forward nose and flavor profile" (source).
  • Epic New England IPA, $2.79/12oz - "These juicy, hazy, hop bombs are packed to the brim with flavor. In fact, we’ve been downright irresponsible when it comes to hop utilization. Our brewers have been experimenting with everything from lupulin powder, to massive hop backs, exploring the flavor synergies of fermentation hopping, and literally cramming in more dry hops then our tanks can even hold" (source).
  • Maui Pau Hana Pilsner, $2.39/12oz - "European Pilsner malt offers sweetness balanced by a spicy hop profile" (source).
  • Right Brain Chubby Squirrel, $1.99/12oz - "Brewed with secret blend of spices, this is a fall beer that keeps the pumpkin out of things" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake Stout, $2.59/16oz - "This stout is brewed with lactose (milk sugar) to impart a fuller body and sweeter palate. Flavored with toasted marshmallows for the 9th day of 12 Days of Milkshake Stout " (source).
  • Short's Citra Local, $1.89/12oz - "Citra Local’s is our flagship American Lager but with a fun new twist. Dry hopped with Citra hops, this beer is bursting with fresh grapefruit aromas. Similar complementary hop flavors are perceived within, but without any imparted bitterness. The light pilsen malt creates a soft and subtle flavor profile that finishes crisp and clean, once the initial hoppy perceptions subside" (source).
  • Stone Brewing 22nd Anniversary, $3.19/12oz - "Stone Brewing has spent over 20 years pursuing clean, bitter, hop forward beers. It would be passé to suggest this beer is simply another gigantically juicy and extremely complex Stone Double IPA. It’s a middle finger to the haze craze proving that clean, crisp IPA’s can still be smashed full of big, juicy, tropical flavor. It’s also the winner of our 2018 Spotlight Series contest, which pits teams of brewers against each other to see who can brew the best beer. Citrus takes the forefront, with plenty of fruit character to back it up. With incredible mouthfeel from the malted oats, the beer isn’t sweet at all, but its light amber color would make you think it is sweeter than it tastes" (source).
  • Tallgrass Coastal Fusion, $1.89/12oz - "Tallgrass is back in the IPA game!  We have taken our time to develop a unique IPA that fuses the best characteristics of both coasts.  Coastal Fusion has big, juicy citrus notes upfront with a dry, bitter finish; creating a new “Midwest IPA” category!  Already a company favorite, this IPA comes in at 7%, and is the punch in the mouth you’ve been missing from our lineup.  We send this “From Kansas With Love” to you, our loyal Tallgrassers" (source).

Video of the Week: Sierra Nevada

Where it all started: Sierra Nevada's original brewhouse.


Friday, August 3, 2018

New Beer Friday, Big Sky Country Edition (August 2)

Barb, Steve and a couple of healthy browns
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Last May, just a few days after landing her first trout on a fly rod, my wife Barb told me that she would like to go fly fishing in Montana. After giving my face a hard slap to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I told her that angling for wild browns and rainbows in the famous trout streams of Big Sky Country sounded like a pretty good idea to me too. We did some research and after a week or so of weighing our options we decided to book a weeklong stay at the Broken Arrow Lodge, a ranch and outfitter located in the Snowcrest Mountain Range in the southwest portion of the state. It turned out to be a good decision.

Broken Arrow Lodge sits on a high ridge overlooking the Ruby Valley, supposedly one of the best areas for hunting elk, grizzly bears, mountain lions, antelopes and mule deer in the state. In addition to guided fishing and hunting outings, the lodge offers hiking, horseback riding and overnight pack trips. The family run operation is rustic but comfortable, laid back but chaotic with most of that chaos being generated by owners Irwin and Sherri Clark’s brood of grandchildren and enhanced by a pack of mischievous goats and a couple of chicken-chasing hound dogs. It didn’t take long before we felt right at home.

Broken Arrow Lodge
Barb and I fished hard for five days, expertly guided by the Clarks’ son Chris, and we were able to catch and release an incredible number of trophy sized trout. We would leave the lodge after a hearty early breakfast, have a lunch on the river and on some days we didn’t sit down for an excellent home cooked supper until it was dark. After relaxing with a few Manhattans on Broken Arrow's front porch we were ready for bed.

Guide Chris
Chris is an extraordinary guide. His fly fishing knowledge is unsurpassed and he seems to know every run, riffle and hole on the area’s rivers. Each day after landing our first fish he would pump its stomach to see what it was eating (a procedure that is harmless to the fish). One day he placed the contents in a plastic container filled with water and that night back at the lodge he tied a bunch of flies that matched the bugs. The next day we used those flies to tie into some huge rainbows.

At the end of the week our feet hurt, our legs ached and our arms and shoulders were sore. But aches and pains are a small price to pay for a week’s worth of incredible fly-fishing memories.

New (and Returning) Beer

  • Arbor Brewing Crystal Peacock, $2.19/12oz - "This kettle-soured Berliner Weisse pours hazy straw yellow with a stark white foam. Aromas of lemon rind, pineapple, and tart grapefruit complement the pleasant malty wheat flavor. A combined fermentation from ale yeast as well as the souring Lactobacillus give it a quenching tartness, light body, and crisp finish" (source).
  • Atwater Brewing Raspberry Vanilla Java Porter, $1.99/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale, $1.79/12oz - "A crisp, single-hop pale ale with floral and citrus notes from 100% Cascade hops and a smooth caramel malt character" (source).
  • Short's Brewing Synalpheus Pinkfloydi, $2.59/12oz - "Synalpheus Pinkfloydi is a cherry lemonade Gose brewed with Lemondrop hops, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, coriander, lemon and Balaton cherries. With a red hue and great clarity, this summertime Gose smells of bright cherry, tart lemon, and a little salt. Despite a lengthy list of ingredients, Synalpheus Pinkfloydi has a great balance of flavors. Tart cherry and lemon complement the saltiness of a classic Gose. A dry and tart finish rounds out this easy drinking summer brew" (source).
  • Southern Tier Help! On The Way!, $4.09/16oz - "The fourth release in our Science is the Art Collection leverages mangoes and tropical hops to create a fruit bomb that combines the extra body and creamy richness of the Double IPA with the addition of lactose. Turn the can upside down before opening for increased hazy appeal. Or don’t. Either way, it’s a flavorful and aromatic trip into the cosmos" (source).
  • Boulevard Berliner Weisse, $1.89/12oz - "Few beer styles can match the delicate, sparkling character of the classic Berliner Weisse, with its light body and tart palate. It’s said that Napoleon’s troops referred to it as “The Champagne of the North,” high praise for beer, coming from Frenchmen. With Berliner Weisse, we pay tribute to the style, while giving it a distinctively American twist. Bright and thirst-quenching, the beer is enlivened by soft lactic notes" (source).
  • Nowhere In Particular Batch 027, $2.89/12oz - "Juxtaposition can be a fun little thing when it comes to beer. This is a prefect example of that, with more traditional C hops being used in conjecture with some fun new techniques we have picked up along the way. Combine that with Hornindal Kveik yeast, a fun little  Norwegian yeast strain thats just a couple centuries old, almost went extinct, and has seen a recent rise in popularity. It's easy to see why all these ingredients have been popular at one time or another, this guy is flavorful and juicy, has almost no bitterness, and my personal favorite, has plenty of well disguised alcohol! You'll be drunk before you know it, seeing ghosts of your Norwegian ancestors looking on with pride. Maybe our parents weren't wrong when they said they don't make em like they used to, so cry out jubel and drink promiscuously friends" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Fruitful Fort, $9.99/12oz - "A twist on our beloved Fort, Fruit-Full Fort is brewed with four types of berries - Raspberry, Blackberry, Boysenberry and Elderberry! This juicy blend of dark berries creates depth and complexity reminiscent of a jammy red wine" (source).
  • Odd Side Ales Thunder Gun Express, $2.59/12oz - "A hazy American DIPA brewed with oats and lactose with loads of late addition Citra, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops" (source).
  • Schramm's Mead Heritage Raspberry Mead, $40.69/375ml - "'Heritage' is a variety of red raspberry, which has been grown in the Schramm family for generations. Our estate-grown raspberries all go into in The Heart of Darkness, but we recently found some delicious Heritage raspberries for purchase. Tasting these raspberries took us right back to berry picking in the backyard of Great-Grandpa Schramm's house. We think this tasty jammy mead would make him proud" (source).

Video of the Week | Boulevard Brewing

The story of Boulevard Brewing.