By Steve Siciliano
An excellent paella dinner, a nice haul of vinyl and some tasty manhattans were a few highlights of a quick trip to the Traverse City area last week.
Barb and I spent two nights at The Inn at Black Star Farms, our favorite place to stay on our annual late winter/early spring visits to northern Michigan’s premier grape growing region. We didn’t have the place to ourselves this time around but we didn’t mind because we met some nice folks during the hospitality hours in the Inn’s comfortable lounge. After enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a few glasses of Black Star’s excellent Pinot Noir with our fellow lodgers on the first night, we took the short walk to the inn’s Hearth & Vine Café for a meal celebrating National Paella Day.
Chef Jack Wenz’s interpretation of the traditional Valencian rice dish featured a mix of Prince Edward Island mussels, middleneck clams, jumbo shrimp, chicken and Spanish chorizo. Black Star’s Red House Red with its fresh berry aromas and earthy flavors was the perfect accompaniment.
The next morning, after enjoying a hearty farm-to-table breakfast, Barb and I drove to RPM Records in Traverse City. I was a bit concerned when I didn’t immediately spot Leland roaming around the store but then he ambled yawning and stretching from his napping spot beneath a desk. After purchasing a selection of new and used vinyl we said a long goodbye to the friendly old golden retriever and then drove up the Leelanau Peninsula to Northern Latitudes Distillery.
Siciliano’s liquor buyer John Barecki suggested that we hit Northern Latitudes and we were glad we did. The manhattans made with the distillery’s Deer Camp Bourbon were very good as were the samples of the Jack Pine Gin and the Horseradish Vodka. We were so impressed with the quality of all three of the hand-crafted spirits that we left with a bottle of each. (Northern Latitudes currently does not have retail distribution in Michigan.)
Before returning to the Inn for the night we stopped for an early dinner at Dick’s Pour House, one of my favorite watering holes on the Leelanau Peninsula, which, coincidentally, was also the favorite haunt of Jim Harrison, one of my favorite authors. We sipped on very good Bloody Marys made with Northern Latitude’s Horseradish Vodka while listening to the bartender’s amusing stories about the famous chain-smoking, hard-drinking, native-Michigan writer.
In other news, we are pleased to announce that Siciliano’s will again be teaming up with Trail Point Brewing Company for a cigar event on Wednesday, April 24. Look for more information in a future edition of The Buzz.
Finally, Barb and I and the staff are simultaneously dreading next week and looking forward to how much better the store will look after the installation of new flooring. If you happen to stop by the store next week please accept our apologies in advance for all the commotion.
New and Returning Beer
Mahr's Mastodon Lager, $6.59/500ml - "Mahrs Bräu’s Stephan Michel is a rabid music fan, and occasional brewer to the stars. Having befriended American metalheads Mastodon, he found it easy to convince the band that they needed a serious beer to put their name on. Mastodon is just the thing–a chuggable but deliciously complex unfiltered classic Franconian keller/lager. You can slam to this one all night in the mosh pit without being called a wuss! Don’t forget the lederhosen" (source).
Upland & Mikkeller Entwined, $13.99/500ml - "This collaboration fruited sour ale was made with our friends from Mikkeller Brewing in San Diego. It represents a blending of our two programs featuring grapes from California chosen by Mikkeller and local grapes from Indiana. This sour ale is a blend of a 22-month Sour Brown and a 10-month Sour Quad aged in bourbon barrels. Next, it is aged on West Coast Malbec grapes and Midwest Chambourcin grapes. The resulting fruited sour ale is reddish brown in color and malt forward. Notes of grape, fig, citrus, and dried fruit embrace the senses with a dry and tart finish" (source).
Upland Boysenberry Lambic, $16.29/500ml - "Boysenberry is a barrel-aged sour ale that combines our take on a traditional, Lambic-style base beer, with a fruit not typically found in traditional Lambics. We ferment our base beer, Basis, for six to eight months in oak tanks to produce tart flavors, fruity notes and a funky character. Then, we blend individual batches before aging on boysenberry fruit for an additional month to extract the perfect balance of fruit flavor. We bottle conditioned this beer, resulting in a fine carbonation and spritzy mouthfee" (source).
Upland Juiced In Time, $3.79/16oz - "Juiced in Time is a New England-style IPA that's absolutely dripping with ripe tropical fruit and bold juicy citrus flavors. Wheat and oats were added to the malt profile along with a special mineral treatment to the water to create body and smooth texture. Virtually all the hops were reserved for after the boil to minimize bitterness and amplify flavor and aroma. From the glowing orange appearance to the soft creamy mouthfeel and delicate sweetness, this beer is everything delicious about tropical fruit juice embodied in a dangerously drinkable IPA" (source).
Jester King Black Metal, $19.59/750ml - "Black Metal Imperial Stout, a.k.a. Suds of Northern Darkness, a.k.a. Iron Sword, a.k.a. El Martillo del Muerte. Black Metal is a cruel and punishing beer fermented by the sheer force of its awesome will. We are pretty sure that Kreator wrote the song “Impossible Brutality” about this beer while drinking it during their Extreme Aggression Tour" (source).
De La Senne & Bellwoods Imperial Donkey, $7.69/12oz - "Imperial Donkey is born out of a collaboration with our mates from Bellwoods (Toronto, Canada). It’s a mixed-fermentation English Imperial Stout, matured in wine barrels for more than one year. Its brewing process is inspired by that of the English Stouts of the 1850s" (source).
Central State Halsdurchschlag, $2.99/12oz - "When we first met Chef Seth Elgar it was over a plate of fresh oysters, so it seemed fitting that the beer we brewed with him be made to pair with fresh seafood. Tart and refreshing, this Berliner Weiss is complemented perfectly by the addition of fresh Meyer Lemons for a clean and piney finish" (source).
Central State Butterfly Kisses, $3.79/16oz - "This farmhouse ale was fermented slowly over six months with a mix of our farmhouse culture and select Belgian style yeast strains for a balanced level of funk. The fruity hibiscus adds layers of red berries, tropical flowers, and a promise of warmer days to come" (source).
Central State Pillow Feet, $3.79/16oz - "The ultimate in comfort, class, and style. What more could you ask for in an IPA? Perfect for enjoying at the park with the kids, or while firing up the grill. All while walking on fluffy hoppy clouds" (source).
Central State Stay Out of the Forest, $3.79/16oz - "This IPA is hopped with Citra and Simcoe! We added a healthy dose of Blood Orange Puree and Lactose Sugar to create what might be Your Favorite Murder Beer" (source).
Grimm Blackberry Orange Pop, $7.69/16oz - "Blackberry Orange Pop! is a contemporary Pop-style sour overflowing with blackberries, oranges, Tahitian vanilla, Columbus and El Dorado hops. With bright acidity and a heavy dose of milk sugar, this beer hits all of the pleasure centers spot on" (source).
Arbor Treebeard, $2.19/12oz - "Treebeard IPA is a deliciously dank Midwest-style IPA that blends flavors of mango, pineapple, orange, and woodsy qualities of Mosaic, Simcoe, and Comet hops. The pale Vienna and caramel malts provide a rich malt character, light biscuit finish, and pungent hoppiness" (source).
Atwater Coconut Vanilla Java Porter, $1.99/12oz - "English Style Porter brewed with Vanilla, Coconut, and Coffee Beans" (source).
Brewdog Pulp Patriot, $2.19/12oz - "This powerhouse of an American double IPA is packing raspberry. Delivering intense stewed raspberry aromas and gigantic jammy flavour upfront. Tail-gated by citrus notes that balance out the sweetness. Milk sugar adds body and rounds out the jammy delivery" (source).
Ludington Bay Summer Fling, $1.99/12oz - "German Hefeweizen" (source).
New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Raspberry Hibiscus, $4.89/12oz - "Our signature bourbon barrel-aged stout paired with a refreshing blend of raspberry and hibiscus, lending fruity tartness that enhances the underlying flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malt character" (source).
Delirium Red, $5.99/16oz - "Colour and sight: Deep dark red colour, with a light pink, compact and lacing head. Scent: Soft fruity aroma, with hints of almond and mildly sour cherries. Flavour: Sweet and fruity, with a nice balance between sweet and sour. An excellent dessert beer" (source).
Dogfish Head Super 8, $2.39/12oz - "This sessionable super gose is brewed with eight heroic ingredients: prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juices, toasted quinoa and an ample addition of red Hawaiian sea salt! Okay, so technically that's nine, but it 'gose' without say that there's going to be salt. These unique ingredients give this beer a vibrant red color, with delicious flavors of berries and watermelon, along with a tart - yet refreshing - finish" (source).
Boulevard Kolsch, $1.99/12oz - "Using European pilsner malt and malted wheat as a base, American Kolsch is bittered with Magnum hops and features herbal, citrusy and spicy notes from end of boil additions of Tradition, Saaz and Saphir. Pouring golden in color, the aroma is of bready malt punctuated by a slightly minty hop character. With a light to medium mouthfeel, American Kolsch delivers a honey-like malt sweetness that gives way to a crisp clean finish with a touch of lingering citrus/herbal hop flavor" (source).
Big Lake Lemon Shandy, $2.79/16oz - "A refreshingly tart lemon shandy, perfect for a warm summer day" (source).
Big Lake Dragon Death, $3.99/16oz - IPA.
Odd Side Double Dank, $2.79/12oz - "A very smooth and juicy Imperial version of our Dirty Dank Juice" (source).
Arcadia MI Berrry, $2.19/12oz - "A sweet, tart refreshing fruit wheat beer fermented with red and black raspberries as well as blueberries. Hazy fuchsia in color topped by a white head with a hint of pink, this beer looks as sweet as it tastes. Aromas of raspberries, blueberry skins and bready malt match its slightly dry flavor while wheat malt accentuates the tartness of the berries. Its medium-light body and effervescent carbonation make it a perfect summer refreshment" (source).
Elk Lime Gose, $1.99/12oz - "Infused with Raspberry & lime" (source).
Roak Ice Cream Man, $3.39/16oz - "Kettle Sour Ale Brewed with orange zest, vanilla, and lactose.
Summer time is here and so is the Ice Cream Man, a kettle sour ale with aromas of orange and vanilla leading into a slightly sweet tartness that is balanced and refreshing" (source).
Satisfaction: Croze Nest Oak Barrels
Learn more about our neighbors at www.crozenest.com.