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Friday, January 26, 2018

New Beer Friday, Perdomo Double Aged Edition (Jan 26)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I am pleased to announce that Siciliano’s Market is now one of only four Michigan retailers carrying a rare line of premium cigars manufactured by Tabacalera Perdomo.

The Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage is a blend of the company’s finest and rarest tobacco that was bale aged for ten years and then aged for an additional two years in charred, white oak bourbon barrels. This proprietary double aging process gives the fillers, binders and wrappers a unique color, texture, aroma and flavor resulting in a well-balanced and multi-layered smoke.

I had the opportunity to try one of these rare beauties last week during a visit to Perdomo’s manufacturing facility in Estelí, Nicaragua. The Sungrown Churchill was a smooth, spicy-sweet hour and a half smoke that went very well with a tumbler of single malt scotch. The full-flavored blend will pair just as well with bourbon, rye and barrel-aged rum.

We are stocking the Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage in the Connecticut wrapper in the following sizes:

    • Robusto 5 ½ x 54 
    • Epicure 6 ½ x 54 
    • Churchill 7 x 54 
    • Gordo 6 x 60 

New and Returning Beer

  • Abita Bad Mother Shucker, $2.39/12oz - "Deep in the oyster beds of Louisiana surfaces one Bad Mother Shucker - Abita's Oyster Stout. This big, bold oyster stout brings pale, caramel, roasted and chocolate malts to the party, balanced by crisp Willamette hops and the sweet, full flavor of oats. The magic happens near the finish, when we add fresh Louisiana oysters to infuse a sea-salty essence that really rounds things out. Pair this bad boy with a chilled dozen on the half-shell or even as a satisfying after-dinner brew" (source).
  • Abita Bourbon Street Baltic Porter, $9.99/22oz  - "Baltic Porter aged in Bourbon barrels" (source).
  • Alesmith San Diego Pale Ale .394, $2.89/12oz  - "In early 2014, Tony Gwynn’s team approached AleSmith to create a distinctive beer for the baseball legend. A meeting was called at the Gwynn household, which included a sampling of AleSmith beers to identify Tony’s preferences. He wanted the beer to be “light with a kick” which he elaborated further to mean full of hop character and light in body and color. The result of the Gwynn family’s feedback on test batches rendered a golden pale ale full of American hop flavor and aroma, with a subdued bitterness and a malty sweet finish. AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394 pays tribute to the city that Tony loved and the career high batting average that he achieved in ‘94. Discover what happens when a Hall of Fame perfectionist crafts a beer with a world-class brewery. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation (TAG)" (source).
  • Arcadia 21 Anniversary Ale, $17.39/750ml - "This golden, bright, funky sour ale is a celebration of flavors as well as Arcadia Brewing Company's 21st Anniversary! This unique ale started with a base of strong golden and brown ales, blended with barrel-aged sour ale, and a multi-strain culture pitched after primary fermentation. The addition of peaches and apricots during the aging process gives this ale strong flavors of tropical fruit, as well as a pleasant acidity, mild barrel flavor, and warming character. Funk aromas mimic fermented peaches and apricots, paired with a mild oak and alcohol heat. A dry mouthfeel with bright carbonation rounds out this unique and delightfully complex wild ale" (source).
  • Bell's Larry's Latest Sour, $2.19/16oz  - "The name “Larry’s Latest” is a nod to the spirit of innovation and experimentation that Larry started in 1985 and continues within the brewery to this day. Our latest sour recipe has a refreshingly bright, citrusy tartness combined with pungent tropical aromas" (source).
  • Boulevard Barrel Aged Stout, $4.49/12oz - "Over-the-top but surprisingly approachable, this twist on the classic style starts with several types of malted barley, rye, oats and wheat. Robust flavors of vanilla, espresso, whiskey, chocolate and roasted grain are balanced by hints of date and plum, with just enough hops to round it all out. Roughly one-third of the final blend is freshly brewed beer; the rest is aged for up to a year (or more!) in both first and second use whiskey casks" (source).
  • Boulevard Rye on Rye, $4.49/12oz - "Why Rye? This assertively flavorful grain is more often associated with whiskey than with ales. Even in that arena, it has largely been eclipsed by corn and barley, the sources of bourbon and scotch. But when we procured some seasoned barrels from our friends at Templeton Rye, we asked ourselves, “Why not?” Why not brew a rich, tawny rye ale, then mellow it in the warmth of charred oak rye whiskey casks? Two kinds of malted rye provide spicy sweetness, giving way to notes of vanilla, charred oak and the citrusy tang of Citra and Styrian Golding hops before easing into a dry, lingering finish" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Romantic Chemistry, $2.79/12oz - "What you have here is a serious India Pale Ale shacking up and hunkering down with mango and apricots. At the same time! Romantic Chemistry is brewed with an intermingling of mangos, apricots and ginger, and then dry-hopped with three varieties of hops to deliver a tropical fruit aroma and a hop-forward finish" (source).
  • Kickstand Birch Bark Porter, $3.19/16oz - "Brewed with an abundance of seven varieties of specialty malt, this porter is rich with notes of fresh roasted coffee and decadant chocolate. Named after the famed Birch Bark Canoe of Union Lake lore" (source).
  • Kickstand Pontoon Pale, $2.19/12oz - "This pale ale is well balanced with an ample malt and citrusy hop flavor. Perfect boat beer leaving us longing for summer" (source).
  • Mikkeller SD Hazed and Amused, $3.29/16oz - "Hazy Pale Ale with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, Hall Blanc. A portion of the Citra, Simcoe, and Mosaic are lupulin powder. Bright citrus, pine and tropical aroma, with the flavor to match. Medium body with a crisp finish that negs for another sip" (source).
  • Mikkeller SD Supah Sik Spells, $5.49/16oz - "American Imperial India Pale Ale" (source).
  • Mitten Brewing Country Strong IPA, $1.99/12oz - "This beer is Country Strong! An American IPA with a Country Strong citrus taste" (source).
  • Odd Side Diggity Dank, $2.39/12oz - "Our hazy IPA with a new, fancy blend of hops! Denali, Amarillo, El Dorado, and Simcoe makes this one super good" (source).
  • Odd Side Pineapple IPA, $2.39/12oz - "Fresh cut pineapples brewed in an IPA…need I say more?" (source).
  • Right Brain Imperial CEO Stout, $9.09/22oz (1 per) - "Classic CEO Stout Recipe, but brewed with 40% more malt. Thick, chocolately mouth feel, with a sweet coffee finish" (source).
  • Saugatuck Bourbon Barrel Aged Blueberry Maple Stout, $5.39/12oz - "A rich, sweet stout with classic malt characteristics with a bold, unique twist. This beer tastes like you crammed a fat stack of blueberry pancakes into a pint glass and smothered it with maple syrup. Channel your inner lumberjack, because it’s in for a real treat" (source).
  • Short's Machu Beechu, $2.59/12oz - "Machu Beechu is a Double India Pale Ale brewed with passion fruit and honey in collaboration with Rare Bird Brewpub. At first sniff this beer is an explosion of tropical fruit scents from mango to pineapple. Brewed with Vic Secret, El Dorado, and Mandarina hops, this beer is super dank and juicy. Initial tart and fruity flavors are followed by a dry and slightly bitter finish. With final flavors of mouth-coating honey, this IPA is a must taste" (source).
  • Southern Tier Concord Grape, $4.09/12oz - "The brewery is located just a short drive over the Chautauqua Ridge from Lake Erie, arguably the most ideal Concord grape growing region in the world.  So, it made sense for us to brew a beer with the juice of these classic grapes. The finished beer is a slightly cloudy, deep reddish purple color with a persistent white head, and durable lacing thanks to a large portion of wheat in the grist. The nose is defined by equal parts bright lactic acidity and grape aroma with a hint of coriander. On the palate, the strong lacto acidity is balanced by the natural sweetness of the Concord grapes" (source).
  • Victory Sour Monkey, $2.79/12oz - "Sour Monkey puts a tastefully tart twist on our Golden Monkey’s sweet, fruity essence. A sharp, citrus-laden tang makes this brew a Monkey all its own" (source).

Video of the week | Glengarry Glen Mitten

In honor of the Mitt's first canned beer, we're reposting
their ingenious spoof of Glengarry Glen Ross (mildly NSFW).


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fifteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Competition

By Steve Siciliano

From its humble beginnings fifteen 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 local brewery. The BOS winner will also receive $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market and, per tradition, will have his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

 See below for contest rules and regulations for the Fifteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Good 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 competition. 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 19 through Sunday, April 8 or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. 
    • Entries must be received by Sunday, April 8. 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 21 at 17 Seward Avenue in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Registration for judges and stewards is now open. Please visit this page for sign-up information.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Beer Friday, Steve's Desk Edition (January 12)

"Office Space"
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Back when we were in the process of expanding Siciliano’s homebrew section, my wife Barb and our GM Sarah Derylo floated the idea of moving my desk into the store’s dingy basement. They maintained that the roughly twelve square feet of space that essentially serves as my office could be better utilized to display products, but I knew that was just a ruse. The two neat freaks thought it would be better if that perpetually disorderly corner of the store was hidden from public view.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a slob. If Barb leaves town for a few days it takes me about ten minutes to mess up the house. My storage shed at home is a catastrophe, the work bench in the garage at the cottage is a disaster and that corner of the store is in a constant state of disarray. I don’t usually win when Barb and Sarah gang up on me but there was no way I was going to let them banish me and my old wooden desk to the bowels of the basement.

I like my desk where it is because it allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of the store while I’m doing paperwork, answering emails, writing blog posts and working on homebrew competitions, homebrew parties and Big Brew days. If help is needed up at the sales counter I’m able to be there in seconds. When someone needs assistance in the humidor, the homebrew area and the wine room, I’m just a few steps away. I’m able to see when the staff needs help hauling carboys, cases of bottles and bags of grain out of the warehouse. I keep a folding metal chair around for when sales reps and customers want to hang out and chat.

A few days ago I did my annual January cleanup of my corner. I trashed a year’s worth of old price sheets and catalogs, windexed my computer monitor and wiped the grime off the desk and keyboard. I tidied up my bookcase and threw an old jar of peanut butter away. When I was done I sat back and resolved that this would be the year that I would keep my office space clean and orderly. If I’m lucky it might stay that way until the second week of February.

New and Returning Beer

  • B. Nektar Wildberry Pyment, $18.49/750ml - "In honor of B. Nektar's 10 year anniversary, we've decided to throwback to our first years in business and revive an original fan favorite. Thank you to all of our amazing patrons, and believers in all the weird things we love to share. We couldn't have done it without you. Cheers! Fermented with orange blossom honey and grape juice with natural wild berry flavors added. Every bit as delightful as it was the first time. Still pairs well with any dish and also makes a great sangria" (source).
  • Bell's Hopslam, $3.09/12oz - "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).
  • Big Lake Barrel Aged Chinook, $16.19/22oz - "Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale" (source).
  • Breckenridge Twenty Five Imperial Vanilla Porter, $16.79/750ml - "Twenty Five is a special-release beer celebrating 25 years of craftsmanship from Breckenridge Brewery. The recipe starts with an imperial version of our popular Vanilla Porter, resulting in more prominent flavors and stronger alcohol. We then let the beer relax in Barbados rum barrels. In each barrel, we added incredibly rare, fresh, wet, vanilla beans from the Veracruz region of Mexico.  These beans come from small family farms - are hand pollinated and hand picked" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam di Castagna, $5.89/375ml - "A fall inspired version of Bam Bière - a richer, fuller recipe to start and of course we added a lot of chestnuts to the mash as well! Rich auburn, gently tart, notes of earthy chestnuts, flavors of cashew, taro, traces of autumn smoke and a slightly orange juiciness in the finish" (source).
  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, $2.09/12oz - "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).
  • Maui Imperial Coconut Porter, $22.69/750ml - "A deeper, more intense version of MBC’s flagship Coconut Hiwa Porter, Imperial Coconut Porter is brewed with hand toasted coconut, and subtle hints of cacao and coffee. The rich, slightly sweet and malty ale utilizes seven different malts, including black and chocolate, as well as raw and toasted coconut. It pours with a dark tan head and drinks with a silky smooth, yet warming finish" (source).
  • Revolution A Little Crazy, $1.99/12oz - "A Pilsner malt base provides a nice toasty flavor with hints of caramel and enough fermentable sugar to make this a rather substantial beer. The Belgian-Style Pale Ale is brewed with Magnum, Cascade and Citra hops in the brewhouse and then dryhopped with a blend of Citra and Cascade. This drives home the aromas of fresh citrus rind to make this a very drinkable and extremely aromatic beer" (source).

Video of the Week | Hopslam

Available at Siciliano's while supplies last!


Friday, January 5, 2018

New Beer Friday, Instant Pot Edition (January 5)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife and I have been laying low lately. With West Michigan in the tight grip of an extended deep freeze, neither Barb nor I have felt like braving the arctic cold to visit Beer City’s bevy of excellent restaurants, cocktail lounges and breweries. Other than daily trips to Siciliano’s and occasional excursions to the grocer, we’ve been hunkering down at home. We’re warding off cabin fever with antidotes of Manhattans, music and a glass or two of a warming red wine at dinner.

Barb has been preparing many of those dinners in a gadget called an Instant Pot, a small electric appliance that is a combination pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. Barb likes it because it decreases cooking time. I like it because I don’t have to grill in sub-freezing temperatures. We both especially like it because the food stays warm while we’re enjoying a pre-meal cocktail.

If saving time in the kitchen is appealing and saving your butt from freezing sounds alluring, you’ll probably like the Instant Pot too. Visit their website for more information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Arcadia God Save the Pils, $1.99/12oz - "This unfiltered Pilsner-style beer is loaded with hops from the “Garden of England”, the name given to the famed Hop Yards of Kent, and brewed with 100% English malted barley. A very easy drinking lager with a hop character that will please both Pilsner and IPA fans" (source).
  • Deschutes Hop Henge, $2.19/12oz - "Hop Henge is a discovery. Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Galaxy hops come together to erect a hop sanctuary. Revere the almighty hop" (source).
  • Deschutes Red Chair, $1.99/12oz - "The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Several select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it’s an insider’s ride to fresh thrills" (source).
  • Ellison Galaxy Double Dry Hop, $3.29/16oz - "Excessive amounts of Australian Galaxy Hops are used throughout this beer to give it a tropical fruit and floral nose. It's murky and cloudy appearance give way to a creamy flavor bouquet of stone fruits, grapefruit and a touch of pine" (source).
  • Ellison Tiramisu, $3.29/16oz - "In Italian, Tiramisu means "pick me up." Inspired by the coffee flavored Italian dessert, this rich, full bodied stout is guaranteed to do just that" (source).
  • Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, $4.89/12oz - "We actually took the Crooked Tree recipe and doubled all of the ingredients except the water, just the way a DOUBLE should be made. Big hops balanced with tons of malt give this beer a huge body. Enjoy right away or let it mellow and smooth with some age" (source).
  • Farmhaus Sweater Weather, $3.49/16oz - "Chai Spiced" (source).
  • Grand Armory White Chocolate Blonde, $2.19/12oz - "A Light, Crisp, Refreshing Blonde Ale With White Chocolate Added During Fermentation. The Creamy White Chocolate Adds A Nice Sweetness To An Already Delicious Beer For An Enjoyable Marriage Of Flavors" (source).
  • New Holland Blue Sunday, $9.09/22oz - "This unique anniversary libation, heritage-blended from our library of barrel-soured beers, exhibits deeply layered flavors of malt and oak, with a tart finish" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, $.179/12oz - "As brewers, we get the privilege to sample our beers straight from the tanks in all their raw glory. Some beers need a little polishing to get ready to go out into the world, while others—the hop-heavy, rowdy, crowd-pleasers—should just be left alone. We wanted to share this brewery-only treat with you, so we present this Hazy Little Thing, our unfiltered, unprocessed IPA, straight from the tanks and into the can" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet, $.179/12oz - "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).

Video of the Week | Double Crooked Tree