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Friday, February 14, 2014

New Beer Friday, Good Ol' Days Edition (Feb 14)

Vintage Siciliano's logo from the dart-obsessed
Creston Heights days.*
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

“Is this the same Siciliano’s that used to be on Plainfield?” a gentleman recently asked in a post on our Facebook page.

We told Robert Gaver that it is indeed the same Siciliano's that used to be on Plainfield, but that things have changed a little in the 21 years since we moved from Creston Heights to our present location on Lake Michigan Drive. We urged him to stop by the store if he was into craft beer, homebrewing and winemaking.

"I will," he replied, informing us that he is a mug club member at Osgood’s. “I threw darts with the Siciliano boys back in the 1980s.”

My Uncle Al, my two brothers and yours truly were on a steel-tip dart team sponsored by the old Beason’s Bar on Ottawa Avenue. On league nights when “The Bulls” weren’t playing cricket at Beason’s, we were at other area bars competing against other teams in the Grand Rapids Dart League. Many of those bars are now gone and others have since undergone name changes. If you’re as old as I am you might remember Jack’s Web on Bridge Street, People’s Lounge on Eastern, and The Make Believe on Remembrance.

Darts has traditionally been a game played in pubs and there are only a few other leisurely activities that have been so closely associated with beer throughout the years. Of course all the beer that we drank back in the old days was mass produced American lager.

I have no idea if the dart league is still active [Editor's note: it is], but I do know this—people are still throwing darts in bars and pubs these day and they are doing so while drinking better beer. Osgood’s, for instance, where Robert Gaver has a mug, has a good setup for this enduring pub game that seems immune to the vagaries of time.

Maybe I’ll run into him there someday and we’ll reminisce about the old days, drink a couple of hand-crafted beers and play a game or two of cricket.

*Editor's Note: The symbolic meaning of the kielbasa in the vintage Sicliano's logo has been lost to time, I'm afraid. That is, unless Steve would care to enlighten us to the meaning.

New and Returning Beer

  • Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Saison Variousm, $6.69/22oz - "In the spirit of collaboration, Jamie stayed true to the farmhouse tradition of brewing without spices while Ryan balanced East Kent Goldings hops with coriander and white peppercorn. Ethan’s American hops and a Trappist yeast strain complemented Rich’s citrusy hop profile, and the combined result is Saison Various: a refreshing blend of saisons, brewing sensibilities, and unique ingredients" (source).
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout, $2.59/12oz - "Narwhal Imperial Stout is the latest beer in Sierra Nevada’s High Altitude Series. This malt-forward monster is bold – with notes of baker’s cocoa, molasses, and dark roasted coffee. This massive imperial stout is incredibly complex, rich, and intense and will develop in the bottle for years to come" (source).
  • Stone Lucky Bastard Crime, $19.39/500ml (limit 1/person) - "Crime is Lukcy Basartd Ale (a blend of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Double Bastard Ale and OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale) brewed with freshly harvested peppers and aged in bourbon barrels. Like a criminal act, this capsicum-laced temptation—brewed with jalapeños and black nagas, to name but a few—provides entrée into the seedy underbelly of Stone’s pepper-induced purgatory" (source).
  • North Coast La Merle, $3.19/12oz - "A rustic ale, pale in color, inspired by the rich brewing traditions of the Flanders region. Abundant hops and a Belgian yeast strain contribute exotic aromas af tropical fruit" (source).
  • Breckenridge Ophelia Hoppy Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "Subtle hints of citrus round out the complex aroma of Mosaic hops, for a beer so drinkable, it’ll last through multiple acts" (source).
  • New Belgium Snapshot, $1.69/12oz - "Snap! You Just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a smile-inducing flash of tart at the finish" (source).
  • New Belgium Spring Blonde, $1.69/12oz - "Inspired by our anniversary bike trips through Belgium. Spring Blonde is a bright golden ale with a sweet lemony start, pedaling to a pleasantly bitter finish" (source).
  • Atwater VJ Black, $2.89/12oz - "Brewed in Detroit. Single Batch Series" (source).
  • Finch Black IPA, $3.29/16oz - This beer is dark with mahogany/burgundy highlights achieved by using generous amounts of Briess Midnight Wheat, as well as earthy and citrus hops. It comes in at 8% ABV with 80 IBU’s, and is named after the Egyptian gods representing a boar and a crocodile" (source).
  • Finch Pig in Wood, $11.49/22oz - "Imperial Red Ale aged 6 months in whiskey barrels from Koval Distillery" (source).
  • William Perry Sir Perry Berry, $2.69/16oz - "Pasteurized commercial pear cider" (source).

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