Preamble by Steve Siciliano
Before Barb and I go on a trip we research the area’s accommodations and try to pick ones that are clean, safe and reasonably priced. In spite of our due diligence sometimes we pick a dud. I have awful memories of one fleabag motel that I’m quite sure was a meeting place for all kinds of illicit activities. That was probably the worst place we crashed for a night.
The best place was a small hotel in the Tuscan hill town of Lora Cuiffenna. I still salivate when I think of the complimentary and decidedly non-American breakfasts of fruits, cheeses, meats and fresh-baked bread.
The nod for the most unique place goes to B&B located in the heart of downtown Bardstown, Kentucky. From 1797 to 1987 the facility offered free lodging for folks who ran afoul of the law. After extensive renovations it opened its door to travelers. Now instead of barred cells and a dungeon behind the old building’s thirty-inch limestone walls are nine beautifully appointed rooms. During our visit we stayed in the 1819 room which, according to written accounts of recent visitors, is supposedly haunted. If it is, the resident ghosts thankfully left us alone.
Go here for more information on this unique B&B in the heart of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.
New and Returning Beer
Austin Brothers BA Sumo Sumatra, $5.19/12oz (2 per) - "You hear Sumo you think big. So thats what we did. 4 hour boil to build a strong body, we then rested this for 5 days on Sumatra Coffee, Cocoa nibs and Madagascar vanilla bean. The outcome is just that, BIG flavors. Sneaky smooth and very drinkable for this high of an ABV beer" (source).
Avery BA Vanilla Bean, $10.89/16oz - "A double dose of vanilla derived from both fresh Bourbon barrels and the trio of Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans is complemented by essences of chocolate, caramel, and molasses to round out this luxuriously silky stout" (source).
Avery Hazyish, $2.49/12oz - "A juicy and hazy India Pale Ale with low bitterness, an expressive aroma of four different hop varieties, and a creamy mouthfeel. We wouldn't be Avery Brewing if we didn't put our own stamp on the juicy and hazy IPA style. We took all that is great in a hazy IPA; low bitterness paired with the powerful and juicy aroma of hops, and the silky sensation of the liquid, but brewed for excellent shelf stability and consistency from batch to batch" (source).
Avery Pacer, $2.19/12oz - "A modern, hop forward, full-flavored Hazy IPA at only 100 calories and 3.5 carbs" (source).
Avery Raspberry Sour, $10.89/16oz - "Luscious ripe red raspberries are elegantly intertwined with a bountiful amount of lactic acidity and delicate barrel nuances to cultivate this stunning sour ale" (source).
Avery Rocky Mountain Rose, $2.19/12oz - "Sparkling, bright, and crisp, with just 100 calories and 3 carbs, Rocky Mountain Rosé is an effortlessly drinkable true grape and grain hybrid" (source).
Bell's Arabicadabra, $2.29/12oz - "Arabicadabra is brewed with a cold coffee extract made at the brewery using a combination of fair trade, organic Nicaraguan coffee beans and Sumatra coffee beans. Lactose is also used for creaminess (those with dairy allergies or sensitivities should take note). It was inspired by Milchkaffe, another specialty Bell’s beer" (source).
Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.99/12oz - "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 our stout portfolio" (source).
Bell's Third Coast Old Ale, $2.99/12oz - "Third Coast Old Ale starts with a rich, caramel base, and finishes with a heavy hop bitterness. Sharply intense at first, it will age gracefully, adding complexity and subtlety in your cellar. Go ahead, test your patience" (source).
Big Lake Cotton Candy Haze, $3.39/16oz - "A cotton candy flavored juicy new England style IPA" (source).
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, $2.79/12oz - "This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. In the 18th century, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, ordered a stout to be sent to her from England. This beer was brewed strong and hoppy to survive the sea voyage, and it arrived in perfect condition. Soon "Russian Imperial Stout" became the toast of the Russian aristocracy. Brewed since 1994, our Black Chocolate Stout has itself become a modern classic, heralded the world over. It achieves its dark chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six malts and three distinct mashes. Properly kept, it will improve in the bottle for many years. This stout is the toast of the winter season in many countries, and there is nothing better to enjoy with chocolate desserts, cheesecake, ice cream, fine cheeses and roaring fireplaces" (source).
Brooklyn Pilsner, $1.89/12oz - "Brooklyn Pilsner is a refreshing golden lager beer, brewed in the style favored by New York’s pre-prohibition brewers. In the 1840’s, the pilsner style emerged from central Europe to become the world’s most popular style of beer. Like its ancestors, Brooklyn Pilsner is traditionally brewed from the finest German two-row barley malts. German-grown Perle and Hallertauer hops provide a crisp, snappy bitterness and fresh, floral aroma. The flavor of the malt comes through in the finish. We ferment Brooklyn Pilsner at cool temperatures, and then give it a long, gentle maturation (lagering), which results in a beer of superior complexity and smoothness. We believe that you will find there to be none finer. Unlike mass-marketed so-called pilsners, Brooklyn Pilsner does not contain cheap fillers such as corn or rice, nor does it contain any preservatives or stabilizers. Brooklyn Pilsner is the real thing" (source).
Champion Santa's Cookies, $2.99/12oz - "Give Santa what he really wants. Out Imperial Oatmeal Stout made with real ginger and cardamom for a relaxing holiday treat" (source).
Drie Fonteinen Armand and Gaston, $18.39/375ml - "3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston is a blend of one-, two-, and three-year old traditional lambics, all brewed at Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. Spontaneous fermentation, patient maturation in oak barrels, and continued evolution in the bottle result in a distinctively complex beer. No two bottlings are alike, as there are multiple variables in the blending process, a variety of barrel sizes and shapes, differences in aged lambic proportions, etc. This cuvée, like all of our lambic, is 100% natural, authentic, spontaneously fermented, and crafted with steadfast adherence to tradition, like Armand and Gaston Debelder have always done it. This geuze has fermented in the bottle and will continue to develop its tastes and aromas over its long life when properly cellared. Traditional Lambic is living, cultural heritage rooted in the Zenne valley! Taste, savour, enjoy, and experience this unfiltered, unpasteurised, and unadulterated beer with friends new and old" (source).
Drie Fonteinen Hommage Bio, $59.69/750ml - "3 Fonteinen Hommage is the result of macerating hand-picked whole sour cherries and raspberries on young lambic for at least four months, in a proportion of 760 to 800 grams of raspberries and 200 to 240 grams of sour cherries per litre of lambic. This fruit lambic is then blended again with more lambic to obtain a minimum intensity of 35% fruit. Hommage is a bodied raspberry lambic beer, with an intense deep red forest fruit bouquet. This unfiltered and unpasteurised lambic is all-natural with no artificial juices, syrups, or sugars added" (source).
Goose Island IPA Now, $2.39/16oz - "Every round of IPA Now begins with superior pale malt, lending a nice toasty character. Our brewers then experiment with new and unique hops for recipes that are rediculously good" (source).
Great Lakes Ohio City Oatmeal Stout, $1.99/12oz - "Dark and roasty yet light and smooth as a fresh coat of snow, our Oatmeal Stout will kick your cabin fever and inspire you to toss another log on the fire" (source).
Lagunitas Born Yesterday, $2.29/12oz - "As if the green leafy dress wasn't bewitching enough, the words rolling out her mouth were redolent with myrcene. "You think I was born yesterday..." she cooed with a shoeless delivery muffled by her native foliage. Her brewer friend drank in her words, her every syllable pelletized. Was she acting fresh? Taking his cue, he reached wantonly under the table gently tickling her concealed lupulin gland. A pint to her lips, she paused donning a Mona Lisa smile so casual he almost didn't see her hand slicing across his cheek. The jaded bartender and half the restaurant saw it all, yet her mosaic smile persisted" (source).
Middle Coast Oktoberfest, $1.89/16oz - No commercial description.
Odd Side Black Citra, $1.99/12oz - "A not-so-pale ale (aka, black pale) from Michigan" (source).
Old Nation Vienna Lager, $2.79/16oz - No commercial description.
Rockford Bloodlust, $2.39/12oz - "Our West Coast-style IPA, Hoplust with blood oranges" (source).
Shiner Holiday Cheer, $1.79/12oz - "A Bavarian-style Dark Wheat Ale, Dunkelweizen, brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans and with natural flavor and caramel color. The malty flavors are enhanced through the use of malted barley and wheat. And Kräusening ensure a smoothness that makes the subtle peach and pecan flavors all more satisfying. May your days be merry and bright and your Shiner be cold" (source).
Short's Devil's Lettuce, $2.59/12oz - "Devil’s Lettuce is a wet-hopped India Pale Lager made with fresh hops from the Michigan Hop Alliance. The nose is full of big hoppy aromatics of citrus zest and subtle spice. Low malt flavors allow for an array of hoppy attributes ranging from fruity lemon to an earthy grassiness, with an instant bitter impact. A clean lager finish amplifies the overall bitterness which resonates across the palate" (source).
Speciation Dark Cherry Piquette, $17.49/750ml - No commercial description.
Speciation Erasmus, $23.29/750ml - "Strong peach and tea flavors come together to create an earthy-floral sweetness with a strong punch of tartness, sort of like the first day of school" (source).
Speciation Gaia Hypothesis, $6.99/16oz - "Sour Wheat Ale w/ 2nd use cherries, pink peppercorns & thyme. This is a cocktail lover's dream - Strong fruit and herbal flavors that are perfectly balanced into a drinkable and relaxing beer. It creates the perfect transition from summer to autumn" (source).
Speciation Outcrossing, $30.29/750ml - "Spontaneous Sour w/ Black Currant, Cherry, Ugandan Vanilla - A beautiful ruby red beer tasting strongly of vanilla and cherry mingled in a bit of must and smoke with a velvety mouthfeel" (source).
Untitled Art Lemon Lime CBD Water, $3.09/12oz - "Our CBD sparkling water is crafted with hemp oil with naturally occurring CBD which may help mediate stress, reduce pain, and assist you toward living a happier life" (source).
Untitled Art Strawberry CBD Water, $3.09/12oz - "Our CBD sparkling water is crafted with hemp oil with naturally occurring CBD which may help mediate stress, reduce pain, and assist you toward living a happier life" (source).
Untitled Art/Mikerphone Hazelnut Imperial Stout, $5.19/12oz - No commercial description.
Video of the Week | Bell's Arabicadabra
Bell's Arabicadabra is available now at Siciliano's.