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Friday, April 24, 2015

New Beer Friday, Let's Party Edition (April 24)

There's always something good on tap
at the Siciliano's Homebrew Party
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

A few days ago a self-described “old fart who doesn’t know the first damn thing about making beer” asked me if being a homebrewer was a requirement for attending the May 16th Siciliano’s Homebrew Party at Johnson Park.

“Well it certainly appears that you like hand-crafted beer,” I said while eyeing the nice selection of Czech pilsners, German hefeweizens and Flanders Reds that he had placed on the sales counter.

“I love a good beer,” he said. “I spent six months overseas while I was in the army and I’ve got a few rare bottles of Belgians stashed in my cellar.”

“And I assume that you’ve attained the legal drinking age? Perhaps I should see an ID.”

“Hell,” he laughed, “I’m older than dirt.”

I explained that an appreciation of good beer and being at least twenty-one years of age were pretty much the only prerequisites for attending the homebrew parties and I proceeded to explain what these annual spring celebrations are all about.

I told him that attendees receive logoed Siciliano’s tasting glasses, a T-shirt and some other nice gifts and that if he goes to the party he’ll get to sample a lot of stellar homebrews.

“How does that work?” he asked. “Do you buy tokens or something?”

“Nope. There’s no charge besides the $40.00 entrance fee and homebrewers love sharing. You might think about sharing a few of your own bottles from that stash.”

“I could do that,” he said. “What else goes on at these parties?”

I mentioned that there will be plenty of good food, that Jimmie Stagger will be playing and I told him about the awards ceremony for the homebrew competition and the presentation of the Siciliano’s Cup.

“Sounds like a lot of fun,” he said. “Maybe I’ll ask my girlfriend if she wants to go. She likes good beer too and she loves Jimmie Stagger.”

“Is she over twenty-one?” I asked.

He picked up his case of beer, winked at me and smiled.

“Just barely,” he said.

Tickets for the 12th Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party may be purchased by calling 616-453-9674 or in person at the store.

New and Returning Beer

  • Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.69/12oz - "Samuel Adams is currently in the process of brewing up a German style called “radler.” The name radler translates to “cyclist,” A 50/50 (ish) blend of beer and lemonade. (Like a shandy). Perfect for any summer day, Samuel Adams® Porch Rocker was inspired by traditional Bavarian Radlers that mix beer with German-style lemonade. For our bright and citrusy Radler, we blended a Helles beer with lemon for a fresh-squeezed lemon taste, effervescent sweetness, and slightly tart, refreshing finish. A light malt character and hint of hops balance out this summer brew" (source).
  • Shiner Ruby Red Bird, $1.69/12oz - "Shiner Ruby Redbird is brewed with genuine Texas Rio Red Grapefruit, the signature sweet citrus of the Rio Grande Valley, and ginger. This lager beer features grapefruit tartness and finishes with a ’lil kick of ginger. With Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit and Ginger, Shiner Ruby Redbird is a crisp and refreshing summer beer" (source).
  • Smuttynose Haysead, $1.69/12oz - "Hayseed is our new summer seasonal offering. It is a delicious sessionable farmhouse ale, also known as a grisette. Light-bodied, yet flavorful, Hayseed is like liquid sunshine: perfect after a hike, floating in the lake, or while playing fetch with your old brown dog" (source).
  • Right Brain Pig Porter, $17.19/22oz - "Porter Brewed with Real Pig Parts. Who would have thought that what started as an inside joke amongst the Right Brain brew team would evolve into out most acclaimed beer ever? Brewed with REAL Mangalitsa pig heads and bones, this rich and chocolaty porter is infused with a symphony of salty, smoky, and savory flavors. Some have hailed it as the ’quintessential bacon beer’ while others call it a true breakfast brew. Regardless of what you call it, this imaginative and complex beer has to be tried to be understood" (source).
  • Dupont ForĂȘt Libre, $12.99/750ml - "ForĂȘt Libre is crafted to remove gluten and this process creates a beer lighter in body and cleaner on the palate. The result is a delicious beer that can be enjoyed by anyone seeking an extra crisp and refreshing classic Saison Ale from Belgium. Bottle-conditioned. Deliciously smooth bread and clove and pepper kick, bold, dry and herbal. The first Saison crafted to remove gluten to be imported from Belgium" (source).
  • Ommegang Fleur de Houblon, $2.89/12oz - "Nothing is more evocative of summer than the beautiful aroma of flowers, and the favored flowers of brewers are hops. Our brand new summer ale, Fleur de Houblon (Hop Flowers), is brewed to bring the many elements of summer into a refreshing and easy-to-drink Belgian-style ale. Fleur de Houblon is a rich gold color with distinct floral hops in the aroma that follow through in the taste. Whole-cone Bravo hops are used to impart their earthy, fruity, and floral aromas and flavors. The body and flavor are clean and dry, with pleasing complexity and spicy notes from both primary and secondary fermentation with our unique Ommegang house yeast" (source).
  • Ommegang Cooperstown, $2.89/12oz - "Lightly golden-straw hue with a lasting thick, white head. Aromas of sweet malt, floral with slight citrus are followed by delicate herbal notes. Faintly sweet giving way to mellow, lightly floral hop flavor and notes of banana and pears from our signature house yeast. Nicely balanced with a clean herbal-hopped finish makes this an enjoyably, quaffable ale" (source).
  • Victory Kirsch Gose, $2.59/12oz - "A bold and bright step outside the norm, the flavors of a unique, old world German brewing process excite your senses with the sharp and sweet burst of fresh cherries. Effervescent and sublime, this session ale has an enticing cherry-fruit character. European tradition and American ingenuity come together in the truest sense as you Taste Victory in Kirsch Gose" (source).
  • Southern Tier Sonnet, $8.99/750ml - "With the addition of lemongrass, one expects a spicy, peppery and lemon aroma, with citrus and subtle hop character. Looking at the beer through a stemmed glass, you’ll notice pale straw-gold color and a thick and rocky white head with persistent lacing. Of course, because the 750ml bottle is conditioned, some haziness is to be expected. When pouring the bottle, be aware that some sediment may be present. Pour carefully to avoid this, or don’t. The choice is yours" (source).
  • Southern Tier Right-O-Way IPA, $1.69/12oz - "Right-O-Way IPA is brewed as a Session India Pale Ale with citrusy hops and floral aromas. These flavors, with the addition of lightly kilned malts and moderate hop bitterness, make Right-O-Way a refreshing and easy drinking beer. The sessionable 4.6% abv makes this one of the “easier” beers we’ve ever made. Enjoy it in your favorite glass or straight out of the bottle. Either way, make it Right-O-Way" (source).
  • O'Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, $1.79/12oz - "That’s right, there’s hemp in this smooth, polished amber ale. To be specific, we use hemp seed - one of the oldest and healthiest of ingredients - to create a subtle toasted nutty flavor that compliments the hops (a botanical cousin to hemp) and rye. We use Cara Rye and Malted Rye for a subtle spiciness and rich ruby color and Victory Malt to tie together the flavors with a nuttiness that compliments the hemp seed flavor. German Hallertauer hops add seasoning and we finish with Cascade hops for a crisp citrus aroma and taste" (source).
  • OddSide El Dankerino, $2.39/12oz - "West Coast IIPA" (source).
  • OddSide Cuckoo Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "Wheat ale with coffee added" (source).

New Whiskey

  • Bib & Tucker Bourbon, $54.99/750ml - "During America’s rough and tumble early days, the term “bib & tucker” was used to describe your finest attire, the kind you’d wear to a wedding or special dance. Along those same lines of thinking, we’re putting forth our finest. BIB & TUCKER is a delightfully smooth bourbon sporting notes of chestnut, and it’s crafted with a sense of dedication that can only come when you know you’re making something truly special" (source).
  • Maker's Mark Cask Strength, $59.99/750m - "Straight from the barrel to the bottle at 108 to 114 proof, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength retains the signature front-of-the-palate flavors of Maker’s Mark® – while amping up the oak, caramel, vanilla and spice to create a remarkable new bourbon" (source).
  • Redemption White Rye, $21.96/750ml - "With their White Rye, you will find a spirit with bold Rye spice that combines beautifully with vibrant lush, tropical fruit on the finish. With just a hint of sweetness on the finish, this white whiskey is much softer than many would expect" (source).
  • Forty Creek Copper Pot Reserve, $21.96/750ml - "Deep copper (amber) colour. Bold aromas of toffee, nuts and spice. Dried stone fruits follow through on a smooth, supple entry.  Full bodied with rich brown spice notes and hints of marmalade. Finishes with a long, sensual fade. A whisky worthy savouring" (source).
  • Alberta Rye Dark Batch, $26.99/750ml - "Alberta Rye Dark Batch whisky combines contemporary flavor trends with classic notes of premium rye whisky, offering a one-of-a-kind whisky with a robust, sophisticated favlor" (source).
  • James Oliver American Whiskey, $29.99/750ml - "a 100-proof product made from a mash of 100% rye grain and aged at least four years in oak barrels whose insides are so heavily charred that the technical term for their char level is "alligator skin char." The actual location of the distillery is a mystery, but the product is proofed and bottled in Oregon by Indio Spirits Distillery" (source).

Video of the Week | Homebrew How-To's

A must-watch PSA on the dangers of over pitching yeast.


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