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Friday, February 26, 2016

New Beer Friday, Beer City Big Brew Edition (Feb 26)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

We are pleased to announce that on Saturday, May 7, Siciliano’s Market is teaming up with Coldbreak Brewing and Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply to sponsor an American Homebrewers Association Big Brew Day on the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids.

As the sponsors for the Beer City Big Brew on the Calder, the above mentioned homebrew supply shops are donating and providing the following:

    • The ingredients for sixty-five all-grain batches of Beer City Saison
    • Bottled water for brewing
    • A chilling station capable of simultaneously cooling six kettles of wort
    • Platform hand carts for moving brewing equipment to and from vehicles and transporting kettles of wort to and from the chilling station
We are now asking those who wish to participate in this event to contact with the following information:

    • Whether you would like to brew one of the sixty-five batches of Beer City Saison with your own equipment (mash/lauter tuns, propane burners, kettles, etc.) and be designated as a captain of a brewing team
    • Whether you will need electricity for your brewing system. Spots with electrical access are limited and will be assigned on a first-come basis
    • Whether you would like to brew but are unwilling or unable to transport your equipment to the event. In this case you will be assigned to a brewing team 
    • Whether you would like to participate as a member of a specific brewing team. If so, indicate the captain you would like to brew with
    • Whether you wish to participate as a volunteer helper
While we will do our best to accommodate everyone who would like to participate as a brewer at this event, please keep in mind that the number of donated batches and the number of spots per team is limited.

Big Brew on Calder Plaza, 2015

New and Returning Beer

  • Summit Pilsener, $1.69/12oz - "Authentic Saaz hops from the Czech Republic give our Pilsener just the right amount of spicy floral aroma. With a crisp, refreshing malt backbone and lightly spiced hops, it’s a taste of the Bohemian life" (source).
  • Summit Horizon Red, $1.69/12oz - "An inspired hybrid that blurs the boundaries between IPA and Amber styles. The exceptional blend of American hops (including the harder-to-find Horizon variety) gives it an intense pine, citrus and earthy character in the nose and on the tongue" (source).
  • North Peak Furry, $1.89/12oz - "The black IPA is a wonderful winter beer. Its hoppy character is sure to warm you up on a chilly Michigan winter night. Made with Chinook, Columbus and Cascade hops and Pilsner, C-40, Midnight Wheat and Carapils malts" (source).
  • Short's Contro Ale, $1.99/12oz - "Loaded with hops like an IPA, yet drinks like a Pale Ale, we simply decided to call it a Strong Pale Ale. The fragrant, earthy citrus laced nose is instantly detectable. Large amounts of toasted grains and high alpha Simcoe hops form a perfect union that creates the cool sensation of toasted sourdough covered with zesty grapefruit hop marmalade" (source).
  • Big Sky Ivan the Terrible, $3.29/12oz - "Big Sky Brewing’s Ivan the terrible Imperial Stout is brewed according to the traditional style using english hops and the finest american malt. It’s aroma and flavor balance well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight bourbon presence" (source).
  • Lagunitas Citrusinensis, $2.19/12oz - "We took some fresh Sanguinello Blood oranges, juiced ’em, concentrated that juice (without heat) and threw it into a wheatier version of our New Dogtown Pale Ale. The end result? A refreshingly hopped pale-ish ale with a huge citrus burst" (source).
  • Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin, $2.19/12oz - "Our Pineapple Sculpin IPA came from one of many small-batch cask experiments to enhance the flavor of our signature IPA. With so many tropical hop notes in Sculpin, how could we not try adding some sweet, juicy pineapple? The combination of fruity flavors and hop intensity definitely packs a punch" (source).
  • Oddside Beerjito, $1.99/12oz - "Blonde ale brewed with lime and mint" (source).
  • Grassroots Artic Saison (Anchorage Brewing), $15.99/750ml - "This ale embodies the spirit of perpetual creative collaboration in conjunction with disciplined brewing endeavor. We trekked to Alaska and helped craft this rustic Saison, bring with us the essence and imagination of our Vermont Farmstead Family. Share. Consider. Enjoy... Ale Fermented in Oak Tanks with Brettanomyces" (source).
  • Grassroots Artic Soiree (Anchorage Brewing), $15.99/750ml - "Ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with Brettanomyces, lime juice and hibiscus" (source).
  • Anchorage/Mikkeller Invasion IPA, $14.99/750ml - "Bottled with Brettanomyces" (source).
  • Haand Odin's Tipple, $11.99/500ml - "Odins Tipple was meant to be a strong beer, but we changed our minds...its still strong but we wont follow the mega strong trend. It should be possible to make great beer without the extreme alcohol potency. Odins Tipple is now approx 11% abv, it’s a dark almost black beer from lots and lots of chocolate malt. Its the malt that contributes the added coffee or anything else, Its got a great body without being old engine oil and still very drinkable due to the wild yeast we use. This beer is made with a single strain of wild yeast and the recipe is dead simple" (source).

Pic of the Week | Big Lake Brewing

Thanks to Big Lake Brewing for the tour last weekend.
If you haven't been to this Holland brewery,
you really need to check it out.

Friday, February 19, 2016

New Beer Friday, Homebrew Competition Edition (Feb 19)

Go for the gold in Siciliano's
Homebrew Competition
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

From its humble beginnings thirteen years ago, the Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition has developed into one of Michigan’s most respected competitive homebrewing events. We are pleased to announce that this year’s Best of Show winner will have the opportunity to brew his or her winning recipe on Trail Point Brewing’s seven-barrel system. This is in addition to winning a $500.00 gift card to Siciliano’s Market and, per tradition, having his or her name engraved on the prestigious Siciliano’s Cup.

See below for contest rules and regulations for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition. Best of luck everyone!

  1. Every homebrewer is allowed one (1) beer entry. All entries must be brewed by the registrant on a homebrewing system. Please do not submit entries under the names of significant others, insignificant others, siblings, offspring, distant relatives, estranged roommates, pets, fictional characters, imaginary friends or anyone else. 
  2. Beers are submitted according to the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Ciders and meads are excluded from this contest. If you are unsure of which is the correct style for your beer, contact us and we will help. 
  3. Entries require two (2) plain, unlabeled/unmarked 12-ounce amber bottles. Please no clear bottles or bottles of any other size. 
  4. We are using a new competition website ( which incorporates the 2015 BJCP Guidelines for this year’s competition. Find the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition under UPCOMING COMPETITIONS and click on the Registration link to enter beers and print bottle labels. 
  5. The entry fee is $7.00. 
  6. The total number of contest entries will be capped at 200. Do not delay in submitting your entry. Once the cap is reached no additional entries will be accepted. 
  7. Online registration for entries will be accepted from Monday, March 14, through Sunday, April 10, or until 200 entries are submitted, whichever occurs first. 
  8. Entries must be received by Sunday, April 10. Entries will not be accepted after that date. If mailing an entry, please include paperwork and submission fee. Ship in a well-packed box to: Siciliano’s Market // 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW // Grand Rapids, MI 49504
All entries in the Siciliano’s Homebrew contest are judged by industry professionals and/or trained judges according to the standards of style, not in comparison to each another, with the exception of Best in Show. Entries that receive scores falling within designated point totals will be awarded bronze, silver or gold medals.

A reminder too that we still need judges and stewards to help us evaluate all that homebrew. Please visit this page for sign-up information.

New and Returning Beer

  • Alaskan Jalapeño IPA, $8.99/22oz - "Alaskan Jalapeño Imperial IPA is made from glacier-fed water, the finest quality Centennial, Sterling, Magnum, and Apollo hops, premium two-row and specialty malts, and a whole lot of fresh jalapeños" (source).
  • Dark Horse Rain In Blood, $2.19/12oz - "Our tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman and the greatest band of all time, Slayer. This pale ale is brewed with fresh blood oranges and blood orange juice that is hand squeezed at the brewery. It should be enjoyed fresh and paired with delicious heavy metal" (source).
  • Griffin Claw Mr Blue Sky, $2.19/16oz - "This American wheat ale is crisp and refreshing light in appearance and a slight haze makes this the perfect summer beer" (source).
  • Short's Superfluid, $2.39/12oz - "Superfluid is an American Double IPA with a large, but basic malt bill that explodes with resiny hop aromas! The hop flavors are the focus of this beer due to the lack of sweet specialty grains. Tasty qualities of citrus fruit and berries explode on the palate. Superfluid’s perfect bitterness resonates across the palate, complementing the awesome hop intensity" (source).
  • Short's Uncle Steve, $1.69/12oz - "Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is Short’s version of the classic Irish Stout, complete with a dark color, soft head, and smooth full flavor typical of this lighter bodied beer. A simple grist formula provides a base of roasted malt flavors and a creamy drinkability everyone loves" (source).
  • Southern Tier Where the Helles Summer, $1.69/12oz - "Where the Helles Summer? is a classic German style lager.  These beers originated in the 19th century as a response to Pilsener beers from Czech brewers. Helles is German for “bright.”  In the brewing world we translate it as “light” – light in color and light in alcohol. Where the Helles Summer? is a clean & bready “beer drinker’s beer” balanced with austere noble hop varieties. It’s malt-forward and forward thinking to the warmer days just ahead" (source).
  • Odd Side Colossal Oversight, $5.19/12oz (2 per) - "An American barley wine aged in both bourbon and cognac barrels" (source).
  • Odd Side Funk Soul Brother, $10.19/500ml (1 per) - "Dry hopped sour ale" (source).
  • Dogfish Head Immort Ale, $4.09/12oz (1 per) - "Vast in character, luscious & complex. Brewed with peat-smoked barley, this strong ale is brewed with organic juniper berries, vanilla & maple syrup. It’s aged on oak and fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts" (source).
  • Epic Lil Brainless Raspberry, $1.79/12oz  - "Lil’ Brainless Raspberries is an easy drinking canned version of out big, bold 22 oz. bottle of Brainless Raspberries, crafted especially for those who seek bright, fresh, and real raspberry flavors in a convenient size. We brew exclusively with natural raspberry puree, which gives this beer its unique pink color as well as hints of raspberry bubble-gum, sweet fruit jam, and a pleasant dryness that makes this beer perfect for easy going affairs, indoors or out" (source).

Video of the Week | Rain in Blood

Dark Horse Rain in Blood is now available at Siciliano's ($2.19/12oz)


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brew of the Month, February Edition: Belgian Pale Ale

By Matt Ross

February’s Brew of the Month is a Belgian Pale Ale. This style is known for being packed full of flavor yet sessionable at the same time. All ingredients act harmoniously to create a delightful and crisp brew.

More than 90% of the grain bill for the Belgian Pale Ale is base malt. Pilsner malt accounts for 60% and is complimented with smaller additions of 20% Vienna and 10% Munich. For increased malt complexity, small amounts of aromatic and cara 20 were selected for a sweeter biscuit flavor. For all-grain brewers, the grains are mashed at 152F to create a balanced wort that will not be too fermentable or too sweet.

Hops include an ounce of Glacier at 60 minutes, an ounce of UK East Kent Goldings at 20 minutes and an ounce of German Select at fire out. It is also dry hopped with an ounce of UK East Kent Golding to bump up hop aroma. This combination was chosen to highlight delicate floral and bright citrus flavor without turning this fun crisp pale ale into an IPA.

This beer was fermented with White Labs 550 Belgian Ale yeast. This yeast likes to ferment a bit warmer (around 68 degrees F on the low end) but produces a wonderful bouquet of estery spice, phenolics and banana. Starting gravity on this beer was 1.049 and it finished around 1.007 making this beer a sessionable 5.5%.

Overall malt and hops balance well and allow the yeast to shine through on the palate. It has a touch of residual sweetness which plays nicely with the floral aroma from dry hopping. This beer is great to drink fresh but will also do well with some age on it.

The all-grain Belgian Pale Ale brew of the month recipe is $29.93 and extract is $33.05. As always, we encourage our patrons to take our recipe and put their own spin on it. Curious about how this beer would taste with a saison yeast? Make it yours. Brew on, Grand Rapids.

All Grain

    • 6lbs Cassel Pilsner Malt
    • 2lbs Weyermann Vienna Malt
    • 1lb Briess Munich 10L
    • .5lb Cara20
    • .25 Aromatic
    • 1oz Glacier @ 60min
    • 1oz East Kent Golding UK @ 20min
    • 1oz German Spalt (Select) @ 0min
    • 1oz East Kent Golding UK Dry Hopped 5 Days


    • 6lbs Briess Pilsen Light LME 
    • 1lb Briess Sparkling Amber LME
    • .5lb Cara20
    • .25 Aromatic
    • 1oz Glacier @ 60min
    • 1oz East Kent Golding UK @ 20min
    • 1oz German Spalt (Select) @ 0min
    • 1oz East Kent Golding UK Dry Hopped 5 days
The staff at Siciliano's is always eager to answer your homebrewing questions. Stop by for help developing custom-made recipes like this one!

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Beer Friday, Discount on Wine Edition (Feb 12)

Sarah "The Cheetah" Derylo
Preamble by Sarah Derylo

Love stinks ... a lot like tobacco and roses. Surprisingly, it wasn't the couple sitting next to me at my favorite dive bar that inspired this revelation. I was daydreaming about the Barolo I had a few days earlier.

Although it's hard to pick one fermented liquid over another, I must confess that if forced to choose, I always seem to come back to my first love: Wine. Not only do the tastes and smells allow you to explore all the terrains and climates of the earth, a bottle of wine is also like a time machine. Memories of a favorite dish, a place you've visited, even someone you loved — something about wine helps us transcend the present moment and uncorks feelings and memories from long ago, bottled up, as it were, for our convenience.

That's why we here at Siciliano's are excited to announce that it just got a little easier for you to express your own love for this romantic elixir. Starting today we will be offering a 10% discount on 6 or more bottles of wine. Once again we're doing our part to redefine the 6-pack and encourage our customers to mix and match from our carefully selected, approachable and affordable wines. The discount applies to any six bottles at check-out and does not require any special coupon or code.

In addition, listed below are our staff's monthly wine picks for February. Each is sure to inspire love songs and poetry, to help create new memories or bring you back in time with just one whiff from the glass. Happy Valentine's Day!

    • Steve: Costa Di Bussia Barbera D'Alba, $14.19/750ml
    • Barb: Treana Cab/Syrah Paso Robles, $29.89/750ml
    • John: El Somo Rioja, $9.89/750ml
    • Sarah: Moutard Champagne Grand Cuvee, $33.99/750ml
    • Kati: La Cala Vermentino Di Sardegna, $12.89/750m.
    • Max: Chateau Haut Bomes Sauterne, $27.89/375ml
    • Ed: Shoofly Shiraz, $10.99/750ml
    • Matt: Lucatoni Pinot Noir, $8.99/750ml
    • Joe: Brunn Blaur Zweigelt, $14.39/1Liter

New and Returning Beer

  • Goose Island Four Star, $1.69/12oz - "This golden-hued pilsner has a light, fresh body and clean finish. Bright, refreshing carbonation mingles with German and American hops to give this pilsner a unique Goose Island spin" (source).
  • Goose Island Rasselbock, $1.69/12oz - "A German style strong, dark wheat, rye beer" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Newton's ALEchemy, $2.59/16oz - "Brewed with a precisely calculated “mountain of hops” to exploit the gravitational pull of today’s craft beer drinker toward the big and delightful bitterness bliss commonly found in American Double IPAs of the highest caliber. Newton’s ALEchemy gets the bulk of its flavor from Pure Michigan™ Cascade hops grown just a few miles up the road from the brewery. It’s smooth bitterness is derived from the power of Magnum hops. The brew is finished with dry hopped additions of Citra & Calypso hops for a complex fruity, citrusy aroma. The result is truly liquid Gold, the elusive quest of Newton and alchemists of his day" (source).
  • Oddside We Be Jammin', $2.49/12oz - "Rasberry, peanut Butter, wheat" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, $16.09/750ml - "La Roja, an artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age between two and ten months. Truly an ale of distinction" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Sea Buckthorn Fandango, $14.39/750ml - "Ale with sea buckthorn juice added" (source).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Innovator Man, $14.39/750ml - "Ale with strawberries added" (source).
  • Short's Bim Bam Boom, $2.39/12oz - "Bim Bam Boom is a rich dark stout brewed with cocoa nibs, cayenne pepper, and orange.  Initial flavors are of sweet citrus followed by a lively tingling of peppery spice.  A finish complete with roasted cocoa and tart orange flavors leaves a lasting impression" (source).
  • Great Lakes Conway's Irish, $1.69/12oz - "A malty beer with a notable toasty flavor derived from lightly roasted malt. Slight fruit and hop accents add to the overall complexity. Available Mid-January to late March" (source).
  • Cranker's Aphrodisiac, $10.49/22oz - "Chocolate Pomegranate Imperial Stout" (source).
  • Arbor Espresso Love, $2.29/12oz - "Oatmeal and 20 pounds of fresh roasted coffee from the Ugly Mug Café contribute to a mildly chalky espresso character balanced by a rich, sweet creamy maltiness. Coffee finish dissolves into chocolate with a slight roasty bitterness" (source).
  • New Holland Night Tripper, $3.99/12oz - "Night Tripper is an Imperial Stout brewed for a Fat Tuesday release. Dark, mysterious and poetic, Night Tripper's abundance of roasted malts, combined with flaked barley create a rich, roasty beer with deeply intense and lush flavors. Night Tripper's layered, nuanced tones invite intrigue and reward a curious palate" (source).
  • Stone Americano, $2.99/12oz - "The coffee notes in Stone Americano Stout are bold, rich and full of American swagger. For each 120-barrel batch, we incorporated over 250 lbs. of artisanal espresso-roast beans into the mash and added in Columbus, Chinook, Amarillo and Cascade hops to invigorate the coffee taste with a slight citrus and resin hop presence. When it came time to selecting our coffee, we chose the same local roasters who contributed to our sought-after 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout. Their fantastic beans helped us achieve this dark, hoppy and wonderfully aromatic espresso stout" (source).
  • Stone Pataskala Red IPA, $1.99/12oz - "Made with Mosaic, Cascade and Amarillo hops. Special brew in honor of voters approving the Southwest Licking Local Schools’ emergency operating levy. 32 total kegs produced at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station in San Diego, California" (source).
  • Stone Old Guardian, $9.49/22oz - "From time to time, we like to tweak the recipes of some of our most long-standing beers—like Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine—to create unique variations. This year we’re taking it to the next level by dry-hopping it with Pekko hops—a new varietal from Washington’s Yakima Valley—which in turn add notes of stone fruit, orange, lemon and mint to this bready, toffee-like beast of a beer" (source).
  • The Bruery Jardinier, $8.59/750ml - "Jardinier, which is French for “gardener,” was inspired by the fresh, sessionable beers so often found on the Belgian dinner table. Bright and flavorful with an assertive hop character, Jardinier is a perfect beer for any occasion, casual or ornate" (source).
  • The Bruery Mash, $20.79/750ml - "An English Barleywine aged in Bourbon barrels, Mash is an intense yet balanced beer with notes of burnt caramel, toasted bread, ripe pear, dried figs, vanilla, toasted coconut and finishes with oak tannin. This has become an instant favorite around the brewery due to its balance, subtle complexities and overwhelming deliciousness" (source).
  • The Bruery Or Xata, $11.79/750ml - "Horchata is a traditional, sweet, milky drink originating in Spain and Latin America that has become quite popular in Southern California, particularly with Mexican cuisine. Our take on the traditionally non-alcoholic drink is a blonde ale brewed with a heavy dosing of rice, cinnamon and fresh vanilla beans along with lactose for a little extra creamy character. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was carbonated horchata. The flavor is hard to describe, but for those who know it, you know you love it" (source).
  • The Bruery Terreux Rueuze, $20.79/750ml - "Rueuze is our take on the traditional Belgian-style blend of lambics of different ages. We carefully select a number of oak barrels from our warehouse that have been aging our sour blonde ale for various lengths of time and blend them to what we think is the ideal flavor. this is one complex beer. Notes of hay, barnyard funk, apricots, and even olives play wonderfully with the balanced acidity" (source).
  • The Bruery Terreux Saison Rue, $12.99/750ml - "Saison Rue is an unfiltered, bottle conditioned, Belgian/French-style farmhouse ale. This is a beer of subtlety and complexity, with malted rye, spicy, fruity yeast notes, biscuit-like malt backbone and a slight citrus hop character. With age, this beer will dry out and will become more complex with rustic notes of leather and earth from the contribution of a wild yeast strain. Being a saison, Saison Rue is ambiguous unto itself as it is a different beer when fresh and when aged" (source).
  • Thirsty Dog Rise of the Mayan, $3.59/12oz - "Celebrate the new rise of civilization with this bittersweet, big, bold, black beer filled with old world and traditional Mayan spices, including honey and cocoa nibs" (source). 

Video of the Week | Brewed For Us

Been a while since we posted this one from our pals at Founders.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Formal Call for Homebrew Judges & Stewards

By Steve Siciliano

This is a formal call for judges and stewards for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano's Homebrew Contest, one of Michigan's premier homebrew competitions. This a BJCP registered event.

The following is pertinent information regarding the judging for the 2016 Siciliano's competition:

    • Date: Saturday, April 23th
    • Location: The Guest House, 638 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
    • Check in for judges & stewards: 10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
    • Judging: 11:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    • Best-of-Show judging: 3:30 p.m.
Competition organizer: Steve Siciliano,, 616-453-9674

Coffee and pastries will be provided in the morning and there will be a lunch and liquid refreshments at the conclusion of the judging. 

If you plan on participating in this year's competition either as a judge or a steward please go to, click on the Siciliano's link under Upcoming Competitions and you will redirected to the Siciliano's Competition page. After creating an account you will be able to register as a judge or a steward.


After clicking on the Guest House Judging Session and indicating whether you will be participating as a judge or a steward, click the Update Judging Session button. After indicating your judging preferences and dislikes, click the Update Judging Preferences button.

Preregistration is encouraged as it will help reduce lines at the check-in table on the day of the judging.

Please ensure that you arrive at the judging venue by 10:30 a.m. so that the competition staff can organize flights and complete table assignments by the 11:15 judging start time.

Please be reminded that your participation as a steward or judge does not preclude you from entering a beer in this competition.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prairie BOMB! Imperial Stout: The Tuesday Review

Prairie BOMB!, $8.99/12oz
By Max Spencer

Prairie Artisan Ales is a brewery located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founded in 2012 by brothers Chase and Colin Healy, Prairie aims to make unapologetically great beer. The lineup of beers created by Prairie includes a large variety of stouts, farmhouse and Belgian ales, each with a distinct character and tons of flavor. One of the brothers, Colin Healy, further develops the character of each beer with his offbeat and attractive label designs.

Prairie BOMB! is a brazen Imperial Stout aged on cocoa nibs, vanilla, espresso beans and ancho chiles that sits at 13% ABV. The beer, available year round, pours pitch black and viscous with a dark tan head that quickly dissipates. The ancho chiles commandeer the nose with hints of earth and dried fruit, accompanied by light vanilla and coffee aromas. When cold, the vanilla and cocoa dominate the palate and ride into the finish where the ancho chiles and espresso beans reveal themselves slowly and delicately. As the beer warms, the rich earthiness and light heat of the chiles as well as the bitterness and flavor from the coffee come into play throughout the palate. The buildup of coffee and chili flavors balance out the sweetness of the beer, which can be overbearing when too cold. The malt build is well designed; it provides a backbone that supports all of the flavors present, smoothing out their edges and allowing them to play together.

BOMB! is an appropriately named, well-executed beer that incorporates many different flavors without going overboard — it's well worth a try. I would recommend drinking it at slightly below room temperature (55-65°F) from a goblet or tulip glass and pairing with a cinnamon crumb cake.

Prairie BOMB! is available now at Siciliano's for $8.99/12oz.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Help Wanted at Siciliano's

Job listing by Steve Siciliano

Are you passionate about craft beer, fine wine and quality spirits? Siciliano’s Market, one of Michigan’s premier specialty stores, is looking for a friendly, hardworking individual to join our elite sales team. Candidates must be willing to work nights and weekends and knowledge of homebrewing and winemaking is definitely a plus. Please send cover letters and resumes to

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Beer Friday, Decisions Decisions Edition (Feb 5)

Tea at Siciliano's
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

I had just wheeled a carboy and four cases of wine bottles out to a customer’s car when a young man walking into the store held the door open for me. “Thanks,” I said pushing the two-wheeler past him. The young man followed me in and stopped in front the display of bulk teas. “Are you going to need some help?” I asked him.

“Possibly,” the young man said. “This is tea, right? My wife loves tea. I’m going to buy her some tea. But first I want to look at the ingredient kits.”

“Beer or wine?” I asked.

“Beer,” he said. “She bought me an equipment kit for Christmas.”

“The ingredient kits are over there,” I said motioning to the right. “I’m going to park this two-wheeler in back.” When I returned the young man was looking at the kits.

“I noticed that you sell good chocolate too. My wife loves chocolate. I put a couple of chocolate bars on the sales counter.”

“You’re a smart man,” I said. “Now, what kind of beer do you want to make?”

The young man took off his green and white stocking cap and ran his fingers through his hair. “Well, I like IPAs but my wife prefers darker beers. Stouts and porters. But I really, really want to make an IPA.” He put the stocking cap back on his head and stroked his chin. “What’s the darkest beer you have?”

“Probably this Imperial Stout,” I said. “But it’s a lot different than an IPA.”

“Oh, I know,” he said. “I guess I’ve got a decision to make.”

After offering the young man a few more suggestions, I was called away to help a customer with cigars then helped a lady choose some wine and another lady put together a mixed six pack of beer. After ringing up a few sales I looked out the window and saw the young man driving away.

“Who waited on the customer with the Spartans cap?” I asked the employees. “He just left.”

“I did,” Sarah said. “Why?”

“What did he buy?”

“Some tea, chocolate, a pound of French roast coffee, an ounce of pipe tobacco and an ingredient kit.” she asked again.

“What kit?” I asked.

“I didn’t notice. Why?”

“Just wondering if he made the right decision,” I said. I walked over to the ingredients kits and smiled after seeing that he did.

New and Returning Beer

  • Rockford Brewing Anniversary Ale, $16.99/750ml - "Brewed with Barley, Wheat, Rye, Oats and Michigan beet sugar! This Belgian specialty has a rich, malty body with layers of molasses, chocolate and dried fruit like raisin, plum and cherry! The Belgian yeast adds a hint of peppery clove to the overall complexity. Served in a snifter to assist with it’s wonderfully, complex nose" (source).
  • New Belguim La Folie, $15.99/22oz (1 per) - "La Folie, French for "the folly," is a beer steeped in New Belgium brewing tradition. This wood-aged, sour brown spends one to three years in big, oak barrels, known as foeders. And when the beer finally hits the glass, La Folie is sharp and sour, full of green apple, cherry, and plum-skin notes. Pouring a deep mahogany, the mouthfeel will get you puckering while the smooth finish will get you smiling. Not a beer for the timid, La Folie is a sour delight that will turn your tongue on its head. Find out why it's considered one of the best sour beers around" (source).
  • New Belguim Kriek, $15.99/22oz (1 per) - "In a never-ending quest to create new beers and defy category, New Belgium Brewing and Old Beersel of Belgium have partnered to create TRANSATLANTIQUE KRIEK, a spontaneously fermented lambic ale made with sour cherries. The 2016 edition of Transatlantique Kriek began life in the oaken vessels of Gert Christiaens’ Oud Beersel, a 130-year-old Belgian lambic brewery. After time spent aging in wood, Oud Beersel’s lambic was blended with tart cherries and shipped across the Atlantic to New Belgium. In concert with Oud Beersel’s cherry lambic, or kriek, we blended in a portion of our own sour Felix from our foeder forest, and created a golden brew to mix in, and round out, the engaging beer. The intense cherry nose leads to a pleasing tart, sweet flash across the palate. Crisp and effervescent, Transatlantique Kriek is a trip worth taking" (source).
  • Angry Orchard Old Fashioned Cider, $1.89/12oz - "The Old Fashioned is made with a blend of American apples and is aged on oak with dried tart cherries, California grown navel orange peel, and charred bourbon barrel staves, offering citrus and cherry aromas with a bright apple flavor and slight vanilla notes. It has lasting tannins and a full, round mouthfeel" (source).
  • Angry Orchard Knotty Pear, $1.89/12oz - "Knotty Pear’s main ingredient is juice from American apples, and also features pear juice, which adds a new dimension to the cider, creating a pleasantly dry flavor. Cardamom imparts a slight spicy flavor. With subtle notes of citrus and mint.  This cider and showcases fresh acidity, lasting tannin, and a pleasantly dry finish from oak aging" (source).
  • Saugatuck Maggie's Irish Ale, $1.89/12oz - "Often served on nitro, our Irish Ale is a smooth, easy drinking, Irish Red Ale. A beautiful mahogany color and well-rounded flavors of caramel and tea with subtle hints of malt characteristics and a dry finish" (source).
  • Arclight Hail to the Darkness, $14.39/22oz - "Elijah Craig Barrel Aged Imperial Porter" (source).
  • Arclight Fornication, $3.59/12oz - "Double IPA made with honey" (source).
  • Arclight Citracation, $3.59/12oz - "Double IPA brewed with Citra Hops" (source).
  • O'Hara's Leann Follain, $2.59/12oz - "True to it’s name, “Leann Folláin” being the Gaelic for “wholesome stout”, our full-bodied extra Irish stout is a fantastic example of how good stout can taste. Flavours of dark chocolate tones with a hint of vanilla combine with the mild mocha aroma. Opaque black in appearance with a tan head, this luxurious stout has a classic European hop bitterness giving a refreshing bite after the chocolate subsides" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Red, $2.69/12oz - "This Red stands out in this beer style category. The malt body is as impressive as a bock, albeit in a uniquely Irish way. With an incredibly smooth malt body complimented by caramel tones and perfectly balanced in bitterness, this Irish Red is much more complex than it’s mainstream rivals" (source).
  • O'Hara's Irish Stout, $2.69/12oz - "The flagship of the O’Hara’s brand, this uniquely Irish stout brings one back to how Irish stouts used to taste. First brewed in 1999, it has since been awarded prestigious honours for its quality and authenticity" (source).
  • Great Lakes Alberta Clipper, $3.29/12oz - "Bid farewell to winter’s cruel tyranny with the creamy, bittersweet dark chocolate flavors and fresh raspberry tartness of Alberta Clipper Porter. Named for the intense winter storms that sweep the Midwest and Great Lakes Regions, making us all a little tougher (and a lot colder), Alberta Clipper is the perfect treat to celebrate the return of milder weather and kiss those wintry winds goodbye… at least for a little while" (source).
  • Greenbush Dystopia, $3.49/12oz - "Don't be surround by sameness. Pull back from the droll daily grind with our Russian Imperial Stout that showcases just the right roasty, bitter qualities to help you escape whatever scene you're in" (source).
  • Atwater Cash for Gold, $1.89/12oz - No description available.
  • Oddside Fight Milk, $2.49/12oz - "Imperial Milk Stout. For bodyguards. By bodyguards" (source).
  • New Holland Dragon's Milk reserve Vanilla Chai, $4.29/12oz (4 per) - "New Holland Brewing Co. has taken its top-selling, year-round, bourbon barrel stout – Dragon’s Milk – and infused it with flavors of Vanilla Chai. The Michigan-based brewery is releasing its first 2016 “reserve” batch of Dragon’s Milk to markets around the country with Dragon’s Milk Reserve Vanilla Chai shipping from New Holland’s production facility by the end of January and hitting stores and local watering holes soon after. This reserve blend is aged in bourbon barrels for three months, with the nuanced flavor of Vanilla Chai for a portion of that time" (source).
  • New Holland Blue Sunday, $8.39/22oz (1 per) - "This unique anniversary libation, heritage-blended from our library of barrel-soured beers, exhibits deeply layered flavors of malt and oak, with a tart finish" (source).
  • Argus Cidery Fermentables Ciderkin, $2.39/335mL - "Based on nostalgic profiles of ciders everyone first experienced, Argus Ferementables Ciderkin delivers a straightforward apple palate, yet finishes dry and tannic.Traditional Ciderkin is made from reconstituted apple pomace that is pressed and fermented wild to produce a low ABV—dry cider style. Expounding on that tradition, we have employed a yeast blend that finishes dry, yet still preserves a prominent stone fruit nose and apple palate" (source).
  • Argus Cidery Fermentables Ginger Perry, $2.39/330mL - "Inspired by our affinity toward spicy ginger beers/ales, Ginger Perry is Argus’s first unpasteurized fermentation utilizing only the pear. Distinctly dry as characteristic of the Argus portfolio, development of this product placed the upmost importance on delivering a balance of ginger, stone fruit, and citrus flavors without palate fatigue after just one. Residual sugar is present, but don’t expect anything too sweet" (source).
  • Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk, $11.99/500mL - "This is a recreation of a Norwegian style naturally soured ale, aged in oak barrels for 18 months for the authentic sour flavour" (source).
  • Haandbryggeriet Dark Force Stout, $10.09/500mL - "From a country far, far away, comes the only imperial Wheat stout in the known universe. This Imperial really strikes back. Made with wheat malt and wheat yeast" (source).
  • Trois Dames Grande Dame Oud Bruin, $7.19/330mL - "A sour brown ale, brewed in the Flemish tradition, that rivals even the best Oud Bruins coming out of Belgium. Elegant and rustic, and full of complex flavors, berries, spice, and a hint of nuttiness, this is a great beer to share with friends on a special occasion" (source).
  • EKU 28, $2.89/330mL - "This world-famous beer has the character and richness to stand in for fine sherry or port. Just the right degree of sweetness - never cloying; wonderfully aromatic and warming. EKU 28 is the one whenever something good and strong is needed" (source).

Video of the Week | Beer Camp Across America

Coming soon to a beer store near you.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ThermoWorks Products Now Available at Siciliano's

By Joe Potter

“We have the tools. We have the talent!” - Winston Zeddemore, Ghostbusters

We're proud to announce that Siciliano's Market is now an authorized dealer of ThermoWorks products. ThermoWorks is a Utah based company that provides professional-grade thermometers and gauges which are used everywhere from commercial kitchens to food processing plants, and are even employed by researchers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. You’ll also find ThermoWorks manufactured components and sensors inside the products of an ever-increasing number of separate companies. And what’s more, their fast, accurate, and easy-to-use products are particularly useful to the home beer-, wine-, and cheesemaker, while still ridiculously affordable.

Anyone familiar with the brewing process knows the importance of temperature: Steeping grain in water that is too hot releases mouth-puckering tannins. Aerating wort before it has sufficiently cooled results in oxidation and a wet-paper taste. On the all-grain side of things, a difference of just a few degrees during the mash impacts fermentability, sweetness and mouthfeel of the resulting beer. And that’s just on brew day.

Fermentation and the carbonation process are both greatly impacted by temperature. So, how can one expect to control all these variables without an effective way to monitor temperature? That’s where ThermoWorks comes in. We are pleased to introduce our new products, as well as some of their proposed uses, below.

RT801 Digital Fridge/Freezer Alarm Thermometer w/ Probe ($19.00)

    • Range -58 to 158°F
    • Toggle between Internal (ambient) and External (probe) readings
    • Settable High/Low Alarm - Audible and visual alarm sounds if temp leaves pre-set parameters
    • Min/Max Memory - Records the highest and lowest temps achieved since the last memory reset
    • 10,000 hours of battery life
Our thoughts: This unit is perfect for tracking your fermentations. The Min/Max Memory feature allows you to check if your closet or basement is really holding 65° all day long. The probe also allows you easily monitor the temperature inside your lagering chamber or kegerator, and the alarm will alert you if things get out of whack.

TX-1200 DOT® Probe Alarm Thermometer ($39.00)

    • Range -58 to 572°F
    • Extremely simple to use, only two buttons: Up and Down — set your temperature, and alarm sounds when you get there
    • Splash-proof construction, water-resistant probe
    • Pairable with Waterproof Pro-Series® Silicon Probe ($16, also available at Siciliano’s)
Our thoughts: The wide range of this thermometer makes it ideal for monitoring steeping, strike and sparge water, as well as mash temperatures. With care, the included water-resistant probe can be used, but a fully waterproof, immersible silicon probe is also available for an additional $16. With this set-up, you can drop the probe into your pot and walk away — it will alarm when you’ve achieved your desired temperature. You can place the probe inside your mash tun to continuously monitor the temp. While cooling, the large digit display makes it easy to check the wort temp from a distance, so you can focus on cleaning up until your wort’s sufficiently chilled, and forget about repeatedly taking the temperature with your manual thermometer.

RT600C Super-Fast® Pocket Digital Thermometer ($24.00)

    • Range -40 to 302°F
    • Highest accuracy in its class, to ±0.9°F
    • 5-6 second read time
    • IP65 waterproof rating
    • Dishwasher safe to 190°F
    • 4.7-inch probe length for deeper reach
Our thoughts: This little guy is perfectly useful throughout the brew day. In fact, it’s the model that a few of us at Siciliano’s have been brewing with for months. Ultra-quick readings streamline the brewing process, and the confidence you can take in this thermometer’s accuracy allows you to relax a little, not worry, and even enjoy a homebrew. At $24 dollars, the value of this almost-essential tool can’t be beat.

PT220 Dial Thermometer w/ 5” Probe ($6.00)

    • Range 0 to 220°F
    • ±2°F accuracy
    • Recalibrateable
Our thoughts: This is a good option for someone just getting into the hobby. The easy-to-read display is a nice alternative to the traditional (and fragile) glass laboratory thermometer. The recalibration option is another nice feature to ensure you’re taking accurate readings. It’s perfect for extract brewing, where a difference of a few degrees isn’t going to make-or-break your brew. This is also a good affordable option for cheesemakers.

RT817E Thermo-Hygrometer with Outdoor Temperature Probe ($39.00)

    • Large digit display for humidity and temperature
    • Max/Min Memory - Records the highest and lowest temps achieved since the last memory reset
    • 9.8-foot probe cable and outdoor temperature display
Our thoughts: Great for monitoring humidity and temperature inside a humidor or while aging homemade cheeses.