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Friday, March 2, 2018

New Beer Friday, Bowling with Elvis Edition (March 2)

Steve's conch lunch
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I think it was late summer last year when my wife first mentioned going on a February cruise with some of her New Jersey relatives and a group of their Garden State friends. I have to admit that I wasn't captivated by the idea. I love to travel but the prospect of being mostly confined to a floating hotel for a week and visiting touristy and pretentious ports-of-call appealed to me as much as a case of the shingles.

When I travel to foreign lands I like visiting locales where I can get a true feel for the culture and that usually translates into going to areas where there aren't hordes of marauding tourists. But as I've gotten older I've grown wiser and one lesson I've learned is the importance of keeping my wife happy. I told Barb that a cruise sounded absolutely wonderful.

Other than a few downsides, it was.

There was only one pool on the ship and so on the days we were at sea the pool area was unbearably crowded, it was almost impossible to find a deck chair and you had to stand in long lines to get a drink. And whether the ship was in port or at sea the massive main cafeteria was continuously crowded and you had to be as agile as an Olympic athlete to keep from being trampled by the voracious throngs trying to get to the food tables.

But the food was superb, not only in that massive cafeteria but also at the French, Italian and Japanese restaurants we dined at. There was a nice raw bar on the ship where one afternoon my buddy Mike Deangelo and I consumed three dozen oysters each along with side dishes of excellent ceviche and tuna tartare.

Barb was savvy enough to book shore excursions that got us away from the madding crowds. One was to an island off Belize where we hung out with some American expats at a watering hole called the Pickled Parrot. After leaving the bar our group got caught in a torrential but brief rain shower and we had to take shelter with some locals under a stand of low hanging palm trees. Later we found a hole in a wall café where we lunched on conch and Caribbean lobster at unbelievably low prices.

There was a cigar lounge on the ship and that's where I hung out every night with Tommy Batista from Brooklyn, Paul from Pennsylvania and a number of other cigar aficionados. While we smoked our cigars we put a good dent in the lounge's quality inventory of scotch, bourbon and rum.

On one blustery evening at sea we went to a show which featured Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins impersonators. Later that night Elvis and Jerry Lee showed up in the cigar lounge and much, much later that same night Barb and I rolled a couple of games with the two rock legends on a bowling machine in the game room.

I blamed my high percentage of gutter balls on the rocking and rolling of the wave-tossed ship.

New Beer Friday

  • Abita Creole Cream, $1.89/12oz - "Ready for a tasty break from the super-heavy and super-hoppy? Our new Creole Cream Ale is all about easy drinking and interesting flavors. It’s Abita’s unique take on a true American style, brewed with pale malted barley for sweetness and Louisiana-grown Blanca Isabel Purple Rice for a crisp, dry finish. Mild dry-hopping delivers a pleasant fruity, piney aroma that balances the grains. And the welcoming result is a lighter, warm-weather ale that’s not too fancy and always fun — the perfect partner for everything from a front porch jam session to a Sunday sauce piquant" (source).
  • Anchor Brewer's Pale, $1.89/12oz - "We asked Anchor’s brewers to create a beer just for them. What they came up with was Brewers’ Pale Ale, a bright and fruity American Pale Ale bursting with hop aroma and flavor. It was so good that we just had to share it. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to this latest brew on Anchor’s roster of beers" (source).
  • Avery Uncle Jacob, $15.19/12oz  - "Jacob Spears, our 6th Great Grand Uncle, is credited as the first distiller to label his whiskey “Bourbon.” He built his distillery in Bourbon County Kentucky in 1790 — 203 years before we began brewing. While obviously a bit too late to produce Uncle Jacob’s wash, we’ve instead created something far more complex. In his honor, we present this robust, silky smooth, full-bodied and altogether extremely American rendition of an Imperial Stout aged for 6 months in the very finest Bourbon barrels. This explains a lot about our penchant for big brews! It’s in our blood" (source).
  • Ballast Point Tart Peach, $1.89/12oz  - "Our Tart Peach Kolsch is a fresh take on one of our very first beers. The juicy aroma and flavor of ripe peach complements the subtle fruitiness from the Kolsch yeast in this bright, refreshing ale. Add a tickle of tartness to round out the senses, and you get a new brew that’s interestingly delightful" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Contemplation, $3.79/16oz - "A favorite at our pub in Grand Rapids, this beer represents Belgian artistry at its finest. Sourcing top quality, Michigan-grown hops and Michigan-harvested honey make this golden ale a harbinger of Springtime. The honey introduced to the boil contributes color and complexity but adds little sweetness to the beer as those sugars are consumed during fermentation. Look for whispers of apricot and nectarine on the palate, mixed in with the floral aroma of hops grown in northern Michigan. This is a beer worth pondering upon each sip" (source).
  • Dark Horse Rain in Blood, $2.19/12oz - "Our tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman and the greatest band of all time, Slayer. This pale ale is brewed with fresh blood oranges and blood orange juice that is hand squeezed at the brewery. It should be enjoyed fresh and paired with delicious heavy metal. SLAYER!" (source).
  • Founders Solid Gold, $1.39/12oz - "Our brewery was built on an attitude of no regrets. An attitude of taking risks to bring the best beer possible to our fellow renegades and rebels. Never brewing to style, but always brewing what we want to drink. Our take on a classic, Solid Gold is a drinkable premium lager brewed with the highest quality ingredients. Challenging what a lager can be? That’s something we won’t regret" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Downtown Bourbon Brown, $3.59/16oz - "Brown Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels with Espresso Beans" (source).
  • Heavy Seas Alpha Effect, $2.39/12oz - "With a lightning strike of exotic hops, the Alpha Effect is a hazy and dank IPA thundering with juicy hop aroma and flavor. With a hefty 7%, the Alpha Effect has enough malt to balance the ridiculous amount of hops we used to create this category 5 monster. Hazy, but never muddy, this is an expertly brewed IPA" (source).
  • Lagunitas Cappuccino, $5.19/22oz - "Coffee is my shepherd; I shall not doze. It maketh me to wake in green pastures. It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses. It restoreth my brain, It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for it's name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of sleep, I will fear no artificial sweetener for thou art with me; Thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me. Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of my zzz's, Thou anointest my day with sunlight; My cup runneth over. Surely richness and flavor shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of Cappuccino forever... Let us sip... or whatever..." (source).
  • Odd Side Troll Toll, $2.19/12oz - "West Coast Session IPA with Lactose" (source).
  • Original Sin Black Widow, $2.39/12oz - "Wild blackberries are native across the Atlantic and pacific coasts of the United States. They grow bountifully throughout summer and ripen to a plump juicy black color in August. They belong to the rose family, as you might expect from their thorny brambles, along with raspberries, strawberries, the stone fruits, and almonds. Any forager can use blackberries to make wine or infuse whiskey, or enjoy in 12 oz cans with freshly pressed New York apples from Original Sin" (source).
  • Original Sin Dry Rose, $2.39/12oz - "Freshly pressed New York apples make all the difference in this blush-colored cider" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Blueberry Pancake Milkshake, $2.59/16oz - "One of our fan favorites from the 12 Days of Milkshake Stout, Blueberry Pancake Flavored Mikshake Stout™ is a unique brew that surprises the senses combining the distinct scent and taste of blueberries layered with the familiar taste of Milkshake Stout™ and a pleasant aftertaste of pancakes. Blueberry Pancake bridges the gap and appeals to non-beer drinkers as well. Limited Release and by special arrangement" (source).
  • Sam Adams Rebel Anytime IPA, $1.29/12oz - "Rebel Anytime IPA has a huge citrus hop aroma that gives way to grapefruit, tropical fruit, and floral notes. The light-bodied mouthfeel balances the hops for a bright, crisp IPA that’s perfect for anytime whether you’re unwinding after work or enjoying a day at the beach" (source).
  • Sam Adams New England IPA, $2.69/16oz - "The slight sweetness is perfectly balanced by the pineapple and grapefruit hop character, without being overly bitter. Clocking in at 6.8% ABV and a low 35 IBUs, the unfiltered IPA provides a burst of fruited hop aroma and leaves drinkers wanting another sip. In comparison to West Coast style IPAs which have prominent hop bitterness and a light, dry mouthfeel, New England IPA’s are generally known for a juicy, luscious mouthfeel and opaque, hazy appearance - and are best enjoyed fresh" (source).
  • Saugatuck Maggie's Irish Ale, $1.89/12oz - "A beautiful mahogany color and well rounded flavors of caramel and tea with subtle hints of malt and a dry finish" (source).
  • Short's Cats Pajama's, $2.59/12oz - "Cat’s Pajamas is a Double IPA brewed with blood orange and guava. This India Pale Ale is pale orange in color with big aromas of sweet, tropical fruit. Cat’s Pajamas is balanced with flavors of sweet fruit and bitter hops and has a resinous, mouth coating feel. High in ABV, this beer finishes dry with a bit of warmth" (source).
  • Victory Home Grown, $1.99/12oz - "Six varieties of American whole flower hops pack bold and juicy flavors into this crisp, drinkable lager. Meet Victory Home Grown. Your NEW American Lager" (source).

Video of the Week | Rain in Blood

Now available at Siciliano's.


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