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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