View our Main Site »

Friday, November 30, 2018

New Beer Friday, Bourbon on Main Edition (November 30)

Bourbon on Main
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It was late afternoon when we pulled into the motel parking lot on the outskirts of Frankfort, Kentucky.

“This doesn’t look good,” my wife said as we sat in the truck and looked around at the empty lot and rundown building. “It doesn’t even look open.”

“It sure doesn’t,” I said. “Are you sure you put the right address into the GPS?”

We had left Grand Rapids at nine that morning and headed south down I-196. After we were past Benton Harbor and had merged onto I-94 towards Chicago I began sensing there was something amiss with the route that the GPS had mapped out for us.

“Is there a problem?” Barb asked while I was studying a map.

“She has us going all the way to Gary and getting on 65,” I answered, referring to the female voice that periodically spoke to us through the truck’s radio. “That’s pretty far out of our way. Get off at the next exit.” After stopping for directions, after a number of audibly nervous sighs from the driver and after repeatedly ignoring the female voice’s curt commands to make a U-turn, we eventually found US-31 and from there it was smooth sailing down to Frankfort.

Back to that seedy motel. Barb had indeed entered the right address and it was indeed open. “Where’s a good restaurant?” I asked the clerk after returning to the office because the key card to our room wouldn’t work.

“There’s a Big Boy down the road,” she said.

“Um, anything else? Anything that serves alcohol?”

The clerk thought for a few minutes. “Oh, there’s a place downtown. Bourbon on Main I think it’s called. I haven’t been there but I hear it’s pretty good.”

“How’s the Uber service around here?” I asked.

“Uber!” the clerk repeated incredulously. “There ain’t no Ubers in Frankfort!”

For being the state capital Frankfort is a pretty sleepy town.

Bourbon on Main was easy to find and was very good. The restaurant has an incredible bourbon list and since I wasn’t driving I indulged in a few. When we got back to our seedy motel I fixed my driver a big Manhattan and since I didn’t want her to drink alone I fixed a smaller one for myself. While we lay in bed watching Animal Planet we sipped our cocktails and listened to the sounds of a party coming from an upstairs room.

“I hope that doesn’t go on all night,” said Barb.

We wanted a good night’s sleep because in the morning we were hitting the Bourbon Trail.

New and Returning Beer

  • Atwater Mint Double Decadent, $3.19/12oz - "Chocolate beer" (source).
  • Atwater Hazelnut VJ Porter, $1.99/12oz - No commercial description available.
  • Atwater Raz Whango, $1.59/12oz - "Raspberry Mango Wheat" (source).
  • Blackrocks 51k Azaccanot, $2.19/12oz - "Our normal 51K dry hopped with Ekuanot and Azacca hops. Expect more tropical/mango aromas and flavors to jump out while remaining balanced and clean" (source).
  • Brew Detroit Cornerman, $2.79/16oz - Red ale.
  • Central State Hickory Ridge, $3.79/16oz - "Named for one of our favorite trail networks in Southern Indiana, this beer is the perfect complement for a fall hike.  Crisp malt is backed by an assertive dose of Belma & Cryo Citra hops followed up by spicy farmhouse funk" (source).
  • Dark Horse Plead the 5th, $3.59/12oz - "Our Russian Imperial Stout is pitch black in color with a faint tan head that immediately identifies this beer as BIG. Aromas of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roast also make it even bigger. Roasted coffee and fruity chocolate notes are just the beginning of this beers complex flavor. You have the right to enjoy or remain silent (ha, ha!)" (source).
  • Dark Horse Scary Jesus Rockstar, $1.79/12oz - "This collaboration beer made with Chef Cleetus Friedman of Chicago's Fountainhead will save your soul and then melt your face off. Aromas of chamomile touch your nose as they lead into the soft body and mouthfeel of this liquid symphony. Just as your mind is clear and your sins are washed away, a tasty riff of sweet and earthy fresh apricots hit your palate and rock your tastebuds finishing dry and hoppy. Drink, rock, repeat" (source).
  • Deschutes Obsidian, $1.99/12oz - "Deep, robust and richly rewarding, this is beer to linger over. Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness" (source).
  • Destihl Wild Sour Cranberry, $2.99/12oz - "Our non-traditional Cranberry Criek evolved by merging tart cranberries with sweet cherries, normally associated with a traditional Kriek, but in a kettle sour beer that is wonderfully intricate, balanced, fruity and tart. We then dry-hopped this crimson-colored beer for a touch of citrus aroma and flavor, adding another layer of complexity and a perfect finish" (source).
  • Hop Concept Citrus & Pine, $3.39/16oz - "Bold orange peel and honey aromas with a faint hint of bready malt define this IPA. The citrus and piney are both on full display, with tangerine and grapefruit notes that lead to a crisp spicy finish. Brewed with orange zest" (source).
  • Madtree PsycHOPathy, $1.89/12oz - "Explore the blend of bright, citrus, and floral aromas. Additional citrus flavors follow alongside a smooth bitterness. It finishes with a medium body and a slightly sweet, malty backbone. Trust your senses" (source).
  • N.I.P. Batch 31, $2.99/12oz - "Big, black, and delicious. Sounds like something that just belongs in your mouth right? This beer definitely belongs there. This is our riff on the traditional German style, schwartzbier. Usually these are nice mellow guys, but ours clocks in at 8.5% ABV. Black as night, extremely smooth and drinkable, with slight notes of chocolate and roast, and a devilishly clean finish. Drink some as you see the snow start to fall, with family and friends, just remember to drink promiscuously" (source).
  • Odd Side Imperial Mayan Mocha, $2.89/12oz - "Imperial version of our Mayan Mocha Stout. Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate. It is carefully blended with Dutch chocolate coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and habaneros which will leave you with the perfect balance of chocolate and heat" (source).
  • Odd Side Rye Hipster Brunch, $7.99/12oz - "A delectable stout with coffee, maple syrup, and bacon with rye malt added, and then aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels" (source).
  • Odd Side Wishes & Dreams, $7.99/12oz (2 per) - "Bourbon barrel aged porter with maple syrup and pecans" (source).
  • Petoskey Blueberry Cranium Crush, $2.79/16oz - "This unique all had actual waffle cones added into the mash. Hints of this ingredient can be picked up in the finished beer. Raspberry puree is also added during fermentation" (source).
  • Port Brewing Santa's Little Helper, $3.99/12oz - "Santa’s Little Helper, our Imperial Stout, starts with an emphasis on dark cocoa and roasted coffee aromatics. The finish lends hints of sweet crystal malt, warming tones of alcohol and a touch of hops, making a perfect accompaniment to leftover fruit cake and sugar cookies" (source).
  • Roak BBA French Toast, $3.69/16oz - $3.69  (4 per) - No commercial description available.
  • Saugatuck Stout Variety, $18.29/12pk - "It’s good to be stout with the Saugatuck Brewing Company Stout Pack! This Variety Pack contains three of each of the following 12 oz bottles: Neapolitan Milk Stout, Blueberry Maple Stout, Darker Than Your Soul (available only in Stout Packs), Beam Me Up, Stouty (available only in Stout Packs)" (source).

Video of the Week | Port Brewing

Santa's Little Helper, Available now at Siciliano's.


Friday, November 16, 2018

New Beer Friday, Deer Camp Edition (November 16)

Deer Camp, circa 2005
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It’s a longstanding tradition for the men in the Siciliano family to gather at a cabin Up North in Michigan’s Lake County to take part in the annual fall ritual known as deer hunting. Ours is not a traditional Deer Camp. My brother Matt is the only one who owns a firearm and I’m quite sure the rifle hasn’t been fired in years. We tend to focus on things like cooking, eating, playing poker and smoking cigars. There’s also a good amount of chops busting and a fair amount of drinking.

The tradition of the Siciliano Deer Camp dates back to the mid 1960s when my father bought a twenty-acre plat of wooded property near the small burg of Irons, Michigan. Sam Siciliano had lots of friends and the cabin he built, mostly with his own hands, became a mecca of sorts over the years, a place that drew a steady stream of camo- and orange-clad visitors on the opening weekends of deer season.

Sam at Deer Camp
You never know what conditions will be like in northern Michigan in mid-November but since none of us sets an insulated boot in the woods we really don’t fret too much about the weather. A cold, steady rain is bad because it makes it hard to keep a camp fire going. There was one year when six inches of wet snow fell and we had to use leaf blowers to clear off the area around the fire pit.

That fire pit is usually the epicenter of the two days of unrestrained debauchery. My nephew Jacob Derylo is a self-proclaimed camp fire expert and he does a pretty good job of maintaining a roaring blaze. If someone dares offer a bit of unsolicited advice there’s a very real chance that a loud but good natured argument will ensue. Our clan, it seems, will argue about almost anything at Deer Camp.

The visitors start coming around about noon on Saturday. Many come bearing gifts — a bottle of wine, growlers of homebrew, links of homemade sopressata, a bag of venison jerky. Last year Randy Joppie, one of the Grillin' Guys, roasted lamb chops over the open fire.

At various times throughout the day one of us will grab a bottle. Shots of booze will be poured and passed around. “To Sam,” one of us will say while raising his glass. “To Sam,” the assemblage of sons, grandsons, nephews and friends will repeat while raising theirs.

New and Returning Beer

  • Anderson Valley Michigan Cherry Gose, $2.19/12oz - "Brewed with Michigan cherries, this cherry gose is a complex and sessionable ale perfect for any occasion" (source).
  • Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, $2.19/12oz - "Winter Solstice® is our take on the classic style of “winter warmer.” Boasting a deep amber hue and rich mouthfeel, its creamy finish will lift your spirits. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tease the senses making this the perfect ale to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter" (source).
  • Arbor Brewing Good and Proper, $2.19/12oz - "Brut IPA is the latest evolution of the ever-changing American IPA. Brewed to remove residual sugars, this developing IPA style features a bone dry finish coupled with big hop flavor. The uniqueness of the Brut IPA is its ability to keep IBUs low while showcasing the entire hop aroma and flavor spectrum. Good & Proper takes advantage of this with a robust hop blend that gives this beer huge tropical melon, strawberry, citrus, and lemongrass character" (source).
  • Arbor Liquid Vinyl, $2.99/12oz - "Our Russian Imperial Stout is full bodied and complex, with layers of flavors that develop with every sip. Aromas of licorice and dark cocoa yield to notes of sweetened coffee and toasted cookies, before finishing with a light smokiness that lingers on the palate. Like a good LP, this beer will age well and improve with time. Music, beer… some things are best enjoyed in analog" (source).
  • Ballast Point Manta Ray, $2.39/12oz - "We’ve developed many IPA recipes in our R&D program, but right from the tank, our Manta Ray Double IPA was a winner. Aromas of fresh, citrusy tangerine, melon and light pine leap from the beer and linger over a smooth finish. Like its namesake, this brew can sneak up on you – a big beer without a bite" (source).
  • Ballast Point Spruce Tip Sculpin, $2.39/12oz - "Ballast Point Spruce Tip Sculpin" (source).
  • Bell's Lampshade Party Ale, $2.99/12oz - "This big, strong Double IPA is dry-hopped with Australia’s Galaxy and the Pacific Northwest’s new-school IPA hop, Idaho 7. The hop character jumps out at you with juicy aromas of fruit punch, red berry and pineapple. The bitterness is strong, but balanced with a nice malt character" (source).
  • Bell's Two Hearted Mini Keg, $25.59/5L - "Brewed with 100% Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this IPA is bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit from massive hop additions in both the kettle and the fermenter" (source).
  • Big Lake Barrel-Aged Darkstar, $4.69/16oz (2 per) - "Darkstar Stout aged in bourbon barrels.  Aromas and flavors of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate with a hint of heat from aging in bourbon barrels" (source).
  • Boulevard Plaid Habit, $4.69/12oz - "Born a double-mashed imperial brown ale, then matured for 18 months in freshly drained 10-year Canadian rye whisky barrels, the beer features checkered notes of rich vanilla, charred oak, warming whisky and spicy rye. With a lingering, boozy sweetness and round, resonant flavor, Plaid Habit clearly earns its name" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Paris, $12.99/500ml - "Saison aged in red wine barrels for one year with brettanomyces" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Tart Side of the Moon, $4.69/16oz - "One of our most anticipated and highly talked about specialty releases, this hearty stout is kettle soured and blended for a slight tartness along side big dark chocolate notes and hints of black cherries. No adjuncts are added to this beer-- these robust layers of flavor are yeast driven. Listen to the lunatic" (source).
  • Dark Horse Four Elf Maple, $2.29/12oz - "4 Elf is holiday cheer in liquid form. Spicy aromas like cinnamon and clove give this dark brown winter warmer a proper holiday welcome. Balanced between malt, hops, and spice at 8.75% ABV this beer goes great with all holiday foods—from sweet snacks to the roast beast" (source).
  • Elk PB Porter, $1.99/12oz - No commercial description.
  • Right Brain Naughty Girl Stout, $1.99/12oz - "Thin mint cookie, meet John Niedermaier. A stout made with organic locally-grown whole leaf mint. She’s just back from a stint in the cooler for being too naughty. She might have mellowed out but this stout is still naughty at heart" (source).
  • Sam Adams Winter Lager, $1.79/12oz - "The cinnamon, ginger, and hint of citrus from the orange peel blend with the roasty sweetness of the malts to deliver a warming, spicy flavor" (source).
  • Shiner Cheer, $1.79/12oz - "An Old World Dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans" (source).
  • Short's MI - Bonsai Project, $2.29/12oz - "MI is a Tonic-inspired Specialty Ale brewed with lemon, lime, and orange juice and zest, cinchona bark, allspice, cubeb pepper, and lemongrass best layered with OH from MadTree Brewing Company. Golden with great clarity, MI has aromas of citrus mingled with pepper, allspice, and malt. Leading with citrus along with hints of pepper and lemongrass, the cinchona bark flavors come near the end giving it a traditional tonic essence. Medium bodied this beer finishes dry and malty and acts as the base for the Bonsai Project" (source).

Video of the Week | Da Yoopers

"The greatest time of year."


Friday, November 9, 2018

New Beer Friday, Advent Calendar Edition (November 9)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Craft beer aficionados looking for a fun way to count off the days until Christmas should consider putting together a beer Advent calendar this holiday season.

Advent calendars were first used by German Lutherans in the 19th century as a way of building anticipation for Christmas Day and are now popular among adherents of many Christian denominations. Old-fashioned Advent calendars focused on traditional Christmas motifs but today it appears that any theme is fair game, including craft beer.

Traditional Advent calendars often take the form of a large rectangular card with doors for each day of December leading up to and including Christmas Eve. A door is opened every day and can reveal images, poems, small gifts or, in the case of a beer calendar, different hand-crafted beers.

If you’re interested in putting together a selection of twenty-four beers, one for every day of Advent, the Siciliano’s staff is here to help. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’d be happy to put it together for you. Send inquiries to for more information.

Please note that we do not carry boxes that are specifically designed to be used for beer Advent calendars. Go to this website for instructions on how to make one.

New and Returning Beer

  • Anchor Christmas, $2.39/12oz - "Our annual Christmas Ale is a subtly spiced and sumptuously smooth winter warmer. This year’s brew marks the 44th annual release of this Anchor holiday tradition" (source).
  • Atwater Christmas, $2.09/12oz - "Brewed with respect to the season, Atwater’s Winter Bock boasts the body and deep malt flavors matched with a warming, but well blended hint of alcohol. Extended aging reduces the sharpness and acidity typically apparent in strong ales" (source).
  • B. Nektar Believe, $6.49/500ml - "Orange Blossom honey & fresh pressed Michigan cider" (source).
  • Batch Brewing Empire Pale, $2.79/12oz - "American Pale Ale featuring Michigan grown Empire Hops. Light and crisp with a nice floral/fruity finish" (source).
  • Bell's Christmas, $2.19/12oz - "This traditional Scotch Ale is rich and malty with notes of caramel and a warm finish. Certain to make any occasion festive, or at least a bit more bearable. Enjoy with the company of friends and family" (source).
  • Bell's Hopsolution, $2.29/12oz - "A remarkably drinkable Double IPA that pays tribute to one of Mother Nature’s finest creations, as several hop varietals combine for massive aromas of tropical fruit, citrus and pine. A mild caramel malt character and dry finish provide balance" (source).
  • Blackrocks Potter's Porter, $2.19/12oz - "A beer originally brewed for the man behind the mugs, known by his friend as Rad. This is a robust porter that's full of deep chocolate and dry roast flavors. A beer suited to help Rad get through those 24 hour kiln firings" (source).
  • Blake's Fido, $2.09/12oz - "FIDO (Latin for faithfulness) is the second release in our #KinderCider series. Enjoy this hopped raspberry and grapefruit hard cider made in support of non-profits that pairs veterans and shelter animals" (source).
  • Dark Horse Stout Pack, $24.89/12pk - Variety pack.
  • Decadent Ectoplasm, $5.79/16oz - "DIPA with orange and tangerine" (source).
  • Decadent Strawberry French Toast, $5.49/16oz - "DIPA with Vermont Maple Syrup, sugar burned and caramelized stove top, and a touch of cinnamon. Notes of dough and pancake batter round out the finish. Excellent for cooler nights ahead" (source).
  • Deschutes Jubelale, $1.79/12oz - "Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold, complex winter ale. The deep garnet color pairs perfectly with holiday celebrations" (source).
  • Dogfish Head 120 Minute, $10.99/12oz - "Clocking in at 15-20% ABV, 120 Minute IPA is continuously hopped with a copious amount of high-alpha American hops throughout the boil and whirlpool, and then dry-hopped with another pallet of hops. Unfiltered and abundantly hoppy, it's the Holy Grail for hopheads" (source).
  • Epic Oak Cab Sauv, $9.99/375ml - "Fruited with blackberry, black currant, and black cherries. Big fruity aroma with a sharp acidity and earthy well-cellared funk" (source).
  • Epic Sour Pink Guava, $9.99/375ml - "An approachable tartness with hints of citrus and tropical fruits with a crisp, dry finish" (source).
  • Evil Twin Even More Coco Jesus, $4.59/16oz - "Imperial Stout with Maple Syrup and Coconut added" (source).
  • Evil Twin Privilege of a Lifetime, $5.49/16oz - "Double dry-hopped IPA that will never see a C&D letter" (source).
  • Fat Orange Cat FOCLess Monster, $4.99/16oz - "NE IPA • 8% Citra and Ahtanum hop combination" (source).
  • Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro, $2.89/16oz - "Super smooth with notes of cocoa and dried fruit" (source).
  • Mitten Triple Crown Brown, $1.99/12oz - "A mild English Brown. Slight roast and chocolate, easy to drink" (source).
  • New Belgium Accumulation White IPA, $1.79/12oz  - "This winter, IBUs start accumulating like snow in Colorado with our new Accumulation White IPA. Brewing a white IPA was not only a way to salute the white beauty falling from the sky, but a direct revolt to the longstanding tradition of brewing dark beers for winter and winter seasonal beers. At least that’s what our rebellious brewers like to claim as they shovel in plenty of mosaic and Amarillo hop varietals and a bit of wheat for a smooth mouthfeel. Stack up a few cases of Accumulation White IPA to keep your long nights glowing blizzard white" (source).
  • New Holland Pilgrim's Dole, $4.69/12oz - "A barleywine-style ale made with fifty percent wheat malt, or what we at New Holland call a wheatwine. Pilgrim’s Dole blends warming and slightly sweet flavors with a unique caramelized character" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Mayan Mocha, $6.29/12oz - "Imperial version of Barrel aged Mayan Mocha aged for 8 months in bourbon barrels" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Nightman Leaveth, $8.09/12oz (4 per) - "We aged this imperial milk stout to perfection in Rye whiskey barrels and added vanilla beans. The result is a slightly sweet, smooth, creamy stout with an underlying rye spiciness and boozy finish" (source).
  • Odd Side Barrel Aged Sweet Potato Rye, $8.09/12oz (4 per) - "Rye ale with sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lactose. Aged in rye whiskey barrels" (source).
  • Odd Side Caged Wisdom White Grape, $2.79/12oz - "Fermented very dry with almost no residual sugar along with retained bitterness showcase the full flavor and aromas of the hops finishing clean and crisp. White Grape Juice added" (source).
  • Ominipollo Maz, $4.39/16oz - "Maz, formerly known as Mazarin, is my take on a “thinker’s beer”. Rather than being big and undecipherably complex I wanted to create something that would calm a hop yearning nerve without fuddling the brain too much. In other words, a lavishly hopped ale of judicious ABV — an Extra Special Pale Ale if you will" (source).
  • Perrin Dragon Fruit Berliner, $2.09/12oz - "The beer pours a bright magenta and is filled with tropical fruit aromatics creating a natural tartness followed by a sweet finish" (source).
  • Perrin Push Hop, $2.49/12oz - "This New England Style IPA is made with lactose sugar and fresh strawberries to create the perfect sorbet IPA" (source).
  • Rochester Mills 12 Days of Milkshake Stout, $29.99/12pk - "Variety Pack" (source).
  • Saugatuck Bourbon Barrel Aged Neapolitan Stout, $5.39/12oz - "A full bodied Milk Stout with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry added during brewing. This beer was barrel aged for four months" (source).
  • Southern Tier Paradox of the Powerful, $4.09/16oz  - "The swan song of our Science is the Art Collection, Paradox of the Powerful, is hopped six ways from Sunday. We hit it with a dose of Mosaic hops in the kettle on its way to the whirlpool, then we open the floodgates and soak whole flower Mosaic in the hopsack at over 1/2 A pound per barrel. We lace the fermenters with Citra and Simcoe hop duSt over the course of several days to produce juicy tropical flavors and aromas. Notes of grapefruit and berries coupled with low IBU make this a crusher, much like our space heroine" (source).
  • Startcut Mosa, $1.79/12oz - "Mosa is a crisp, refreshing blend of Hard Cider made from Michigan apples and sweet orange juice. This cider is slightly hazy and light orange in color, a true mimosa in cider form. Let the fruity harmony of citrus and bright apple flavors make your tastebuds do a happy dance" (source).
  • Stillwater Dank Dank, $4.39/16oz - "Double dank india pale ale" (source).
  • Stillwater This is Only a Test: Sparkling Rose, $5.49/16oz - "Sparkling rosé sour ale brewed with cabernet franc grapes" (source).
  • Trailpoint Cipapotamus, $3.49/16oz - "This citra IPA utilizes all citra hops. Inhale through your nose and be greeted by heavy-duty citrus, flora, and tropical notes. Take a sip and treat your palette to a balanced IPA with a wicked awesome hop finish" (source).
  • Uinta Rise & Pine, $1.69/12oz - "Juniper and piney hops build the framework for this bold dark ale. With its assertive bitterness and smooth malt finish, this beer stands tall above the rest" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Dallas, $2.39/12oz - "Flavor forward, this brew was made for tailgating in parking lots, celebrating first downs and big hits, high-fiving friends & basking in the thrill of victory" (source).
  • Weyerbacher Rico Guave, $3.59/16oz - "Sour Ale Brewed with Pineapple and Guava" (source).
  • Wolverine Massacre, $4.89/12oz - "In the nose is sweet bourbon, with soft sugar and malt, hints of cocoa and mild roast. The flavor is layers upon layers of malt, bourbon, and a mix of dark dried stone fruits coated in dark chocolate. The body of this dark, looming brew is full and coating, which begs for sipping and savoring. The finish on this unique lager is exactly what you don’t get from all the big, barrel aged beers out there...the crisp and clean lager finish the Wolverine State Brewing Co. is known for" (source).

Video of the Week | 120 Minute IPA

Available now at Siciliano's (while supplies last).


Thursday, November 1, 2018

New Beer Friday, Mysterious Paintings Edition (November 2)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Back in the mid 90s during the interval between my first and second marriages I lived in a house on Lincoln Street on the lower west side of Grand Rapids. It was a bittersweet time for me. There was a dull but persistent ache caused by the events of the recent past but also interludes of keen anticipation about the prospects of the future. It was period of reflection and self-discovery, a phase in my life that I now refer to as my Lincoln sojourn.

That rental house on Lincoln was in many ways similar to the house that my wife Barb and I live in today. There was a big front porch where it was pleasant to sit in the evenings with a cocktail after the sun had dipped behind the high-branching maples that lined the street. Inside there were plaster walls, wooden floors and decorative molding. There were French doors between the foyer and the living room and glass cabinets in the kitchen. 

I furnished that old house with second-hand furniture and decorated it with tacky items that I found in local antique stores — garish pole lamps, brass candelabras, a neon clock for the kitchen, a collection of old cork screws, an old radio cabinet, minus the radio, that I used as a storage space for my liquor. I bought an antique buffet for the dining room. Halfway through my Lincoln sojourn I began dating Barb, and while I’m sure she was horrified by my décor, she was kind enough not to say anything. One day I told her about a painting I spotted in an antique shop on Leonard Street.
The painting is the close-up of a distinguished older man against a jet black background. The subject has an inscrutable, sidelong stare, his smile is as enigmatic as Mona Lisa’s and his visage is illuminated by the blaze of the match that he is using to light his pipe. I can’t remember why I didn’t snatch up the painting on the spot but I do remember telling Barb about it. She bought it for me the next day and when I came home from work I found it propped up on the buffet. For the past fifteen years the painting has hung on a dining room wall in our old Craftsman Style bungalow.

I’ve often wondered whether the subject of the portrait was an actual person or a figment of the artist’s imagination. It’s a question that probably will never be answered. A few years ago we had the painting cleaned and the wooden frame repaired and the mystery doubled. Behind the portrait of the distinguished elderly gentleman was another portrait, a pencil drawing of an equally distinguished and beautiful young lady.

New and Returning Beer

  • Abita Christmas, $1.89/12oz - "Our Christmas Ale is a brown ale that is brewed with six types of malted barley and fermented with American Ale yeast. It is brewed with pale malt as well as a combination of caramel, biscuit, Munich, and chocolate malts. It is hopped and dry hopped with Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo and has a nice piney and citrus hop flavor and aroma. The result is a flavorful brown ale that is sweet and malty with a pleasant hop aroma" (source).
  • Big Lake Haze and Confused, $3.29/16oz - "Crushable New England IPA Featuring Citra and Mosiac Hops and Brewed with Real Blueberries" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Ski Patrol, $3.79/16oz - "Whether you’re stuck on the chairlift waiting to get to the top of a black diamond, or you’re soaking in the hot tub after a long day of destroying some moguls, it’s Ski Patrol Wit to the rescue! This crushable slopes-inspired beer complements our Michigan winters with a hazy golden pour and a warming spice on the nose. Pack your long johns and swimsuit. Ski weekend is upon us. Cans are light and easy to pack so you can take them wherever the trail takes you" (source).
  • Cigar City Marshal Zhukov's, $16.19/22oz - "This Russian Imperial Stout is dedicated to Georgy Zhukov, arguably one of the finest generals of World War II. Opaque black in color, with notes of espresso, chocolate, dark toffee and hints of blackstrap molasses. The English hop varietals provide a subtle herbal dryness, and the beer finishes with a hearty slap of roasty espresso. Pair Marshal Zhukov’s with mushroom solyanka, dark chocolate, cherries and ground wars in Russia" (source).
  • Deschutes Chasin Freshies, $1.99/12oz - "Like fresh powder, it’s a seize-the-moment thing. This year we’ve chased down Strata fresh hops to add to this bright IPA. At harvest, we rush the hops from the vine to our kettles to ensure we capture the purest, juiciest essence of the hop flower in every beer. Enjoy the fresh, bold aroma and flavor that comes but once a year" (source).
  • Dogfish Head 75 Minute, $2.79/12oz - "It’s been a minute … but 75 Minute IPA is back! What began as a cask-conditioned ale at our Rehoboth brewpub back in 2011, quickly grew to become a cult-favorite amongst craft enthusiasts. From the groucho glasses that adorned the label to it’s slightly dry and lingering bitterness, 75 Minute was (and is) beloved by many. Now in our latest iteration, this classic IPA is again brewed with maple syrup from Sam’s family farm in Massachusetts, while being continually hopped throughout the boil, and then dry-hopped with a slew of cascade hops. The result is a malty and earthy brew with citrusy-pine aromas, balanced by subtle maple notes" (source).
  • Frankenmuth Christmas Town, $1.89/12oz - "Christmas Town Ale combines sweet toasted dark malts with American hops to create a medium-bodied spiced ale with a taste and aroma that is unmistakably Christmas. You will enjoy subtle notes of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove with our festive holiday-themed packaging to match the taste. Christmas Town Ale is a must-have brew in the wintertime" (source).
  • Great Lakes Christmas Ale, $2.49/12oz - "Do not open ‘til Christmas? Whoever coined that phrase obviously hasn’t tasted Christmas Ale’s fresh honey, cinnamon, and ginger flavors" (source).
  • Latitude 42 South Pacific Breakfast, $2.49/16oz - "Imperial porter is brewed with toasted coconut, roasted cacao nibs and Ron's cold pressed coffee for the morning kick" (source).
  • Old Nation Cart Horse, $4.09/16oz - "NE IPA" (source).
  • Prairie Ales Christmas BOMB!, $10.89/12oz - "Imperial stout brewed with spices" (source).
  • Prairie Ales Double Dunk, $10.89/12oz - "Imperial Stout brewed with Oreo Cookies" (source).
  • Shiner Cheer, $1.79/12oz - "’Tis the Season for Cheer Happy Holidays from the "Little Brewery" in Shiner, TX. We hope you enjoy your Shiner Cheer, an Old World Dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The malty flavors of this dark wheat ale are enhanced through the use of malted barley and wheat. And Kräusening ensures a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all the more satisfying. May your days be merry and bright and your Shiner be cold" (source).
  • Short's Super Hoppy Holiday, $33.79/12pk - "It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for the Super Hoppy Holidays Variety Pack to return! We’re mixing up the pack this year and bringing back a couple longtime favorites like Dan’s Pink Skirt and Goodnight Bodacious, plus we’re introducing a brand new IPA, Yoda’s Blend. Keep an eye out for it on store shelves starting November 1st and seize the hopportunity to grab one (or 2 or 3) before they’re gone. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you. On behalf of all of us here at Short’s Brewing Company, we wish you a Super Hoppy Holiday and Happy New Beers" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration, $1.79/12oz - "The start of Celebration season is a festive event. We can’t start brewing until the first fresh hops have arrived, but once they have the season is officially under way! First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada" (source).
  • Southern Tier 2xMas, $1.99/12oz - "2XMAS ale combines traditional brewing ingredients with figs, orange peels, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger root. It’s a holiday addition to the 2X line and another reason to toast to the season, but unlike Glögg, we recommend serving this one chilled" (source).
  • Stone Mojay, $9.69/22oz - "Tropical, juicy, orange and citrus, subtle spice, bright fruit character with a nice bitter finish" (source).
  • Stone Sanctimonious, $2.39/12oz - "Stone Sanctimonious IPA represents the elevated state of reverence that Stone extols for the venerable and almighty Hop. Amarillo & Simcoe hops have been anointed to bestow their divine qualities on this sacred brew. This limited release is part of Stone’s Hop Worship Series… Glory be to those who imbibe it in its freshest form…and faithfully worship thy Hop in the beauty of blissful bitterness" (source).

Video of the Week | 75 Minute IPA

Available now at Siciliano's.