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Friday, October 14, 2011

New Beer Friday - October 14 Edition

After a slow week last week, NBF returns to peak form with nine new (and returning) beers, most the sort to keep your belly warm as we bid fond farewell to the steamy temps of very, very late summer. That was some kind of nice weather we had these last ten days, and too good to last unfortunately. Now we're moving into the heart of fall, which means (a) you probably should be raking leaves this weekend, and (b) if you're like us, you'd rather be drinking beer and watching football.

For all you non-football fans there's still plenty to keep you occupied. This week's top vote getter in the Grand Rapids beer-event category is Hoptoberfest, a brews and blues festival featuring craft beer from all the local breweries. Also, be sure to mark you calendars for Brewery Vivant's first ever wood-aged beer celebration, happening next weekend (Oct 22) over at their place on Cherry Street. For more details, please click here.

New (and Returning) Beers

  • Life & Limb, $11.49/750ml - Editor's note: This beer is a late addition, arriving in-store unexpectedly after NBF had already gone to press. "Life & Limb is a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics--brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman 'farm' at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast--a blend of both breweries' house strains--bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska" (source). Limit 1 bottle per customer.
  • Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale 2011, $5.69/24oz - First brewed "in 1996, Harvest Ale features Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. These hops are harvested and shipped as “wet” un-dried hops—the same day they are picked—to our brewery in Chico where our brewers eagerly wait to get them into the brew kettle while their oils and resins are still at their peak" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison, $11.49/750ml -  The first shipment we received of this beer was only half a case and sold out quickly. This week three more cases arrived, which means that many more enthusiasts will have the chance to experience the "earthy and spicy aromas" of this somewhat rare saison. Note that the "body is layered with fruity and spice accents with a dry, peppery, and refreshing finish" (source). Sounds delicious, no?
  • Leinenkugel Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, $2.99/12oz - Known more for their lighter, easy drinking beers, Leinenkugel's RIS clocks in at a very respectable 9.5% ABV. A good, solid beer all around. 
  • Atwater Bourbon Barrel Aged Shaman's Porter, $2.59/12oz - For this beer, Atwater uses "the finest ingredients including Munich, Chocolate and Black Malts along with German Hops to create the smoothest Porter & will thwart any tricksters or evil spirits" (source).
  • Abita 25th Anniversary Vanilla Double Dog, $5.79/22oz - To mark their 25th year in operation, "Abita Brewing Company has created a special commemorative brew. [This] robust dark ale has flavors of chocolate, toffee and vanilla. It is brewed with generous amounts of pale, caramel and chocolate malts and Willamette hops. Whole natural vanilla beans are added during the aging process. The Doubledog brew is a tribute to Abita’s Turbodog, which was originally created as an anniversary beer in 1989" (source).
  • Abita Christmas Ale, $1.79/12oz - "The spicy character is excellent with traditional holiday foods such as gingerbread or spiced nuts" (source). Speaking of nuts, how crazy is it that we're already seeing Christmas beers. What's next, Oberon?
  • Bell's Java Stout, $2.69/12oz - This beer "uses a custom blend of coffee beans, roasted locally by Water Street Coffee Joint, to generate its intense flavor. Possessing an unmistakable aromatic punch, Java Stout has long been one of [Bell's] most popular stouts" (source).
  • Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.69/12oz - "Tinted ruby-black, Cherry Stout gains its signature tartness from 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan's Traverse City region. Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this stout is one of the cornerstones of the Bell's stout portfolio" (source).
  • Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, $2.09/12oz -  A beer that "derives its name from its smooth, creamy texture, not the ingredients. Completely dairy-free, this stout blends eight different specialty malts to yield a remarkable depth of flavor. With only a touch of burnt notes, Special Double Cream Stout focuses on the softer, cocoa & espresso-like aspects of roasted malt" (source).
Mini Photo Essay of the Week

Every year about this time Siciliano's serves as a drop-off point for a truckload of grapes that rolls in from Lodi, California. This year the truck arrived on Wednesday, October 11. Here, in pictures, is a brief synopsis of that day.


Mobile Zin

Petite Syrah


Various cases, ready for the crusher

Quote of the Week

I saw this wino, he was eating grapes. I was like, "Dude, you have to wait."

~Mitch Hedberg



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