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Friday, February 9, 2018

New Beer Friday, Little Manistee Edition (February 9)

The Little Manistee River
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

You know how it is when you walk into one of those up north saloons and you're given the once over by a couple of the locals? Well, a few winters ago Harry Winston and I stopped by the Bear Creek Inn and the only guy who didn't bore a hole through us was wearing a Santa suit and he was passed out in one of the booths. After brushing aside the stares and stomping off our boots we sat down at the bar.

"What, did we suddenly turn invisible?" Harry said after a few minutes.

"Relax," I said. "She's busy talking to her boyfriend."

"What'll it be?" the bartender asked when she finally walked up to us.

"Long neck Blatz," Harry said.


"The same."


"No glasses."

Harry pushed a twenty towards the bartender when she came back with the beers. "Both out of here. We'll take some peanuts too."

"Buck for the peanuts," the bartender said.

"A buck? They used to be free."

"Lots of big changes around here," the bartender said. "Want them or not?"

"Forget the peanuts," Harry said. "Is Pete around?"

"Pete?" The bartender looked past us to where two men were throwing darts. 'Hey Ralph," she yelled. "Guy here wants to talk to Pete."

"Well go get him," one of the men yelled back.

The bartender shrugged then picked up the twenty Harry had laid on the bar. She walked to cash register, made change from the open till, grabbed a step stool and then reached for a wooden cigar box from a high shelf on the back bar.

"What's this?" Harry asked when she put the bills and the cigar box in front of him.

"You asked if Pete was around."

Harry looked up at the bartender then looked down at the cigar box and then turned around and looked at Ralph.

"C'mon Harry," I said. "Let's finish these beers and get the hell out here."

"When did it happen?" Harry asked the bartender.

"Two years ago last spring. Couple of fishermen found him halfway down the hill at Bowman Farm." She motioned a finger towards her chest. "It was his ticker. No family. Some of the boys took up a collection and had him cremated. Big Ralph over there picked up the joint for back taxes."

"Nice. Pete runs this place for forty years and now he's stuffed in a cigar box," said Harry.

The bartender leaned forward. "Bad blood between him and Ralph," she whispered. "Word is that Big Ralph owed him some money."

"I didn't owe Pete shit." We turned and saw that Ralph had walked up to the bar and was standing in back of Harry.

"Just saying what I heard," the bartender said.

"And I 'm saying that I didn't owe that little bastard any money. Is there a problem here?" he said to Harry.

Harry swiveled around in his stool and looked up at Ralph. 'Maybe. Pete was a friend."


"And I don't like how he's being treated. How about I take him with me?"

"Fat chance," Ralph said. "I paid for him just like I paid for the tables and stools. He came with the joint."

Harry reached around for his beer and looked down at the floor. "Tell you what," he said after a few moments. "Let's you and I play a dart match. Two out of three. Cricket and 401. If I win I get Pete."

"And what if I win?" asked Ralph.

Harry finished his beer and placed the empty on the bar. "If you win you get 500 bucks."

"Get me a bottle," Ralph told the bartender while keeping his eyes glued on Harry. He poured and drank a shot of Jack, poured another, drank that, poured another and then pulled at his lower lip. "Alright buddy," he said. "Show me the damn money."

By then the whole bar had gotten wind of what was going on and everyone followed us to the dart boards. After some practice throws Harry insisted that the cigar box holding Pete's ashes be placed on the high-top table I was sitting at and Ralph insisted that the five C-notes be placed under the box. Harry won the cork and the cricket game was nip and tuck. When he closed it out with a triple fifteen and a bull, double bull, you could hear a pin drop. Ralph won the cork and immediately hit a ton forty. He followed that up with a ton and two fat 60s. When he threw a two-dart out to even the match everyone but me and the passed out Santa cheered.

"Show me a cork, sport," Ralph said after some hard slapping high fives and another shot of Jack.

"In a minute," Harry said and walked over to the high top.

"Well, what do you think?" Harry said to me in a low voice.

"I think you better win the next cork," I said back.

"Then what?'

"Then you better call cricket."

"Think so?"

"I know so."

Later that year on a day in early June Harry and I fished the Au Sable and the Pine in the morning and the Manistee in the afternoon. After a shore lunch we drove down to Bowman Farm and fished the Little Man until just before dark. When fireflies began blinking in the stands of tag alders I found Harry and told him I would meet him back at the truck.

"I'll be there in a few minutes," he said.

I made my way up the steep hill and when I got to the top of the bluff I sat on a big pine log and spotted Harry standing in the middle of the river. Then I watched while he gave Pete Hamlin a proper burial.

New and Returning Beer

  • Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock, $2.99/12oz - "A traditional Doppelbock fermented with an old world yeast. Reddish brown in color with a mild hop profile, Consecrator is a well-balanced, full-bodied lager with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish after spending 3 months maturing in our fermentation tanks" (source).
  • Brooklyn Naranjito, $1.69/12oz - "Brooklyn Naranjito is a classic American pale ale pushed a tiny bit further. An extra burst of aromatic hops and a sizable helping of sweet orange peel create just the right pop of citrus. It elevates your favorite meals, brightens spices, and proves what a little orange can do" (source).
  • Decadent Ales Double Toasted Marshmallow, $4.99/16oz - "Our DIPA recipe with toasted marshmallows. A truly unique blend of hops and the roasted, mellow sweetness of campfire toasted marshmallow" (source).
  • Epic Brainless on Peaches, $13.99/22oz - "We took our double gold medal winning Brainless® Belgian, added peach puree and aged it in French Chardonnay casks. It develops nicely as it warms displaying more fruit and wine" (source).
  • Epic Son of a Baptist, $2.59/12oz - "Son of a Baptist is an 8% ABV imperial stout. It is not barrel aged like its father, Big Bad Baptist; instead its flavor profile was designed to highlight the complex and often unique flavors of small batch coffees. Instead of sourcing a coffee that would play well in a beer we sought out creative and innovative roasters, then asked them which beans they’re passionate about. Each resulting release of Son of a Baptist is widely different depending on the coffee selected. Some are fruity and sweet with notes of jam and chocolate, others are rich and earthy with a big roasted finish. Each limited release will return to the Roaster’s home market where the beer and the coffee can be sampled side by side" (source).
  • Evil Twin B is for Blueberry, $4.09/12oz - "B Is For Blueberry is a Gose-style ale brewed with salt and blueberry" (source).
  • Evil Twin Breaking the Waves, $4.39/16oz - "A double dry-hopped imperial IPA brewed with lactose" (source).
  • Evil Twin It's Like Having the Most Beautiful IPA and the Most Terrible Nightmare at Once, $6.99/16oz - "A 10.5% ABV Double Dry Hopped IPA with Galaxy, Simcoe and Citra hops" (source).
  • Great Lakes Hop Madness, $3.49/12oz - "Maniacally dry-hopped, with a frenzy of juicy aromas and formidable pine finish" (source).
  • Greenbush Jadis, $2.19/12oz - "A Winter White Ale because what else is Winter? The cold sets in and hangs for months it seems. Everything slows down. Time warps… and you’re covered with a wash of white. Thought I meant winter, didn’t you? Jadis will take you away from winter, even if temporarily" (source).
  • Goose Island Brassiere Noir, $22.99/750ml - "Imperial Stout aged in wine barrels for 11 months" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Gammadeluxe, $16.29/750ml - "GAMMADELUXE was brewed in collaboration with our good friends at Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas. We wanted to share knowledge and techniques that we had acquired from Henry of Monkish Brewing Co. and with that we brewed this sour Monkish inspired IPA. This IPA pours a beautiful bright yellow with just the right amount of haze. An aroma of funky fruit tannins in the nose. Packed full of seven different hop varieties giving notes of grapefruit, light Brett characteristics, a tannin dryness, and a touch of pineapple" (source).
  • Kona Kanaha, $1.79/12oz - "A bright, sessionable beer that will ease you ashore without weighing you down. Real mango fruit adds a juicy, tropical flavor that is easy like the islands. Pairs well with lighter fare including grilled fish, shrimp, and salads" (source).
  • Lagunitas Eroica, $2.29/12oz - "Stepping up to the podium, Brettanomyces collects his notes; fragments of ideas on melody, thematic development, recapitulation, mutation, thematic variation, restatement, and so on. Water, Hops, and Malted Barley sit first, second and third chair. The toasted oak walls await the sonic wort, anticipation fills the hall. The whole room watches, bated breath, as the Maestro, wiping phenol, guaiacol, and isovaleric acid off his brow, raises the baton and begins" (source). 
  • Maui Makawao Wheat, $2.39/12oz - "A hoppy pale wheat ale brewed with Denali, El Dorado, and Motueka hops for a tropical, fruity flavor" (source).
  • Melovino Midnight Jack, $23.39/500ml - "This is no silly rabbit. This eager and voracious beast forages through the dark midnight hour in search of only the darkest and sweetest of berries to devour. So we went as dark as we could by using blackberry, black currant, black raspberry, and black cherry to make the most bad ass, tart, sweet, and densely rich, fruit mead there is" (source).
  • N.I.P. Brewing Batch 17, $2.19/12oz - "We like to weird stuff. Whether it's the beers the make or the way we live our lives its just who we are. In that vein we decided to make this yellow hazy beast of an IPA. Shit tons of mango were added to complement the already tropical flavors of Galaxy hops, then lactose joined the mix to give a full sweet body, and vanilla finally jumped into the party to give that lovely milkshakey flavor. Crack one open with your crew or your main squeeze and ring the new year in right" (source).
  • North Peak Bolt, $2.59/12oz - "Imperial Amber Ale" (source).
  • Right Brain Thai Peanut, $10.29/22oz - "Spicy American Brown Ale made with peanut butter, cilantro, serano pepper and coconut oil" (source).
  • Short's Hot Loins, $2.59/12oz - "Hot Loins is an aphrodisiac-filled Experimental Specialty Ale. The ingredients rotate every year. Look for the next edition in February 2018. Hot Loins 2017 was an aphrodisiac-filled Experimental Brown Ale with honey, rose hips, and cinnamon. Light brown with an off-white head and ample lacing, this Experimental Brown Ale smells of cinnamon and toasted malts with floral notes. Flavorful and balanced, Hot Loins has a slightly sweet taste provided by the use of honey before turning slightly dry and floral in the finish" (source).
  • Short's Uncle Steve, $1.89/12oz - "Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied style. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors with a creamy drinkability everyone loves" (source).
  • Southern Tier All Is Well, $3.99/16oz - "This is a hop head’s dream at 80 IBUs, featuring Amarillo, Chinook, CTZ & Simcoe hops for big citrusy, stone fruit & earthy character with a dank edge. It is a remarkably drinkable double IPA as the malt bill leaves just enough residual sweetness to perfectly balance its hoppiness" (source).
  • Stone Loral & Dr. Rudi's Inevitable Adventure, $3.49/12oz - "Loral hops were released in 2016 and quickly became one of our brewers’ favorite varieties. It was highlighted in our single hop IPA series, Stone Hop Revolver IPA, and was the featured hop in the hugely popular Stone Ghost Hammer IPA. Then there’s Dr. Rudi, which has been around since 1976. Originally known as Super Alpha, this hop brings classic piney and herbal notes, which pairs it perfectly with the floral, citrusy aroma of Loral. A pairing like this was bound to happen. Some might even call it inevitable" (source).
  • White Flame Black Flame, $18.69/22oz - "Released at the end of January each year - This bourbon barrel aged imperial stout is brewed with copious amounts of Michigan Maple syrup and is a crowd favorite" (source).
  • White Flame Black Sheep, $3.29/12oz - "Black IPA. Very complex. Roasted and hoppy, this big beer is a favorite of the adventurous drinker" (source).
  • White Flame Red Shoes, $2.79/12oz - "Classic American Pale Ale aged on Fresh Habanero Peppers to give it a great pepper flavor with a kick that builds in the back of your throat" (source).

Video of the Week | Little Manistee River

No one in this video is affiliated with Siciliano's; we just think it's a
nice introduction to the Little Man for anyone unfamiliar.


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