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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.

Cheers!

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