This week's list of new and returning products follows the second installment of a piece we ran back in February, 2011. Enjoy!
By Steve Siciliano
I like dive bars. Don’t get me wrong. I like classy bars too—the ones with polished wood and gleaming tap towers and the appropriate glassware for a barrel-aged barlywine, or a German heffe or a Belgian triple.
But there’s something about sitting in a dive drinking watered-down American pilsners. If the beer you drink is out of aluminum cans or long necks bottles it makes it even better. I like hearing the hard crack of pool balls and listening to country music playing on ancient juke boxes. I like the faded tile and wooden floors, the dusty wall signs and the bar tops worn smooth by years of resting elbows. I like the long, trough-like urinals in the rest rooms, the smell of greasy hamburgers frying on back-bar grills, the packages of Slim Jims, the hanging bags of salted peanuts, pretzels and pork rinds, and the huge jars of pickled pigs’ feet, hard-boiled eggs and ring baloney. I like meeting the people in these bars. I like listening to their stories. The first bar we hit that day was not a dive. Sometimes you can tell a bar is a dive from the outside. Sometimes you can’t. The bar we went into on the downtown main street in Grand Ledge is one that you can’t. It’s a good bar but it’s not a dive. I was disappointed by the varnished log walls, the carpeted floor and the classic rock songs piped through speakers in the ceiling. No one was sitting on the padded bar stools. An aloof bartender walked up and asked if we wanted menus. “We’re just here to drink,” I said. "What’s on tap?” “Bud, Bud Light, Busch, Amber Bock and MBC Pale.” “I’ll have the pale.” “Make it two,” said Barb. “Make it three,” said my dad. Sam will drink a craft beer but it’s not what he prefers. He prefers the watery American pilsners. All those watery American pilsners except for Bud anyway. I have heard him say more than once that he doesn’t like Bud. I have often wondered what it was about Budweiser that he doesn’t like. Someday I’ll have to ask him. Whenever he drinks a craft beer he always says the same thing. “It’s good, but it’s heavy.”
When he finished his beer our glasses were still half full. He took out his thick wallet. “Let’s have another,” he said. “Put your money away, pop. We need to pace ourselves.” “Bullshit. I want to buy you guys a beer.” “Okay, pop.” We finished the second beer and when we got up to leave the bartender didn’t say goodbye. The second place was also on the town’s downtown main street. This one turned out to be a dive and I was pleased. Every bar stool was occupied. There was a wooden floor and heads of dead animals on the walls. We sat at a table and after a minute I walked up to the bar. “Sorry,” the bartender said. “I didn’t see you come in.” “It’s okay. What’s on tap?” “Coors, Bells Best Brown and Blue Moon.” I couldn’t pass up the Best Brown. “Two Best Browns and a blue Moon.” “This is good,” Sam said after taking a sip of his beer. “What is it?” “Blue Moon,” I said. “I like this.” “I’m glad, pop.” An old timer got up and shuffled over to the juke box. A few moments later we heard Hank Williams wailing about someone’s cheating heart. “Good choice!” my old man shouted after the man had sat back down. The old timer smiled. Sam got up and for a few minutes stood talking with the man at the bar. “I bought him a drink,” he said after he sat back down. I smiled while listening to Patsy Cline’s silky voice floating through the room. “I’m having a good time,” Sam said. “I feel like I’m up north.” We finished our beer. On the way out Sam said goodbye to his new friend. We got back in the car and continued making our way to Grand Rapids. Fifteen minutes later I spotted a low building surrounded on three sides by snow covered fields. A scattering of dried corn stalks poked up through the snow. I turned into the parking lot.
Go here to read the first installment of The Old Man's Day Out
Featured Wines of the Week
Jansz Premium Cuvee NZ, $26.39 Aromas of honeysuckle, citrus zest and fresh strawberries from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit. Extended time on lees during secondary fermentation contributes to more complex aromas of nougat and roasted nuts. The palate is balanced with delicate fruit flavour, fine creamy texture and refreshing natural acidity. https://www.jansz.com.au/en/premium-cuvee-nv/JANBRU6.html
Tilia 2020 Torrontes, $10.89 Pale yellow color with greenish hues. Intense nose of passion fruit, citrus and freshly cut grass. Fresh, concentrated vegetal and tropical flavors on the palate. Long and persistent finish. https://tiliawines.com/wines/tilia-torrontes/
Confidencial Reserva 2017, $12.99 This wine shows great diversity of complex aromas, such as red fruits and vanilla. Medium body in the mouth, it reveals again sensations of red fruit, harmoniously integrated with wood notes and fine tannins provided by ageing in 250 litres oak barriques. In the aftertaste, develops smooth and rich flavours, some acidity and complexity, overcoming ripe fruit, chocolate and wood notes. Its dryness and persistence, combined with its fine elegant tannins, put in evidence its great gastronomic and evolution potencial. A wine to keep. https://www.casasantoslima.com/en/wines/all-regions/4104
Buy three or more bottles of wine get 10 % off.
"It's our mission at Siciliano's to sell quality wine at affordable prices
Featured Spirits of the Week
"Detroit City Distillery Paczki Day Vodka, $36.89
IT'S BACK.... Every year, Steve Orzechowski, our resident distiller of Polish descent, fires up the still to make you a very special treat for Fat Tuesday....Pączki Day Vodka.
We procure Hamtramck's finest raspberry pączki from the legendary New Palace Bakery and distill them in 100% Michigan and Polish potato vodka. This year, even the glass comes from Poland. It's our annual Pączki Day tradition https://www.detroitcitydistillery.com/shop#!/Limited-Edition-Release/c/72549706"
Crater lake Rye, $27.39 A true American rye whiskey, Crater Lake Rye revives the tradition of pre-prohibition small town family brands. Distilled from 100% rye grain then aged in American Oak to a rich honey color, this classic spirit starts smooth with notes of creamy toffee and vanilla, followed by peppery spices and a soft oak character. https://craterlakespirits.com/crater-lake-rye/
New and Returning Products
Watermark Bunk Bed Confessions, $10.89/16oz-Stout with w/ cacao, vanilla & orange peel.
Watermark Nocturnus, $10.89/16oz-Russian imperial stout aged on coconut, coconibs, and vanilla beans
Marz Chug Life, $3.59/12oz-Lager - American Light
Marz Bubbly Kriek, $3.79/12oz-Black Berliner Weiss with cherries. The grains for this beer are similar to a classic Berliner with some roast malts added to compliment the cherries and lactic acid tartness. This ‘ Kriek' isn’t a blend of young and old beers with mixed cultures, but our secondary saccharomyces fermentation left enough malt and cherry sugars to achieve a similar finish and tartness.
Marz Lunar Tiger, $3.79/12oz-Rice lager
Marz Chai Life + CBD, $4.19/12oz-
Mikkeller Guava Gang, $4.09/16oz-There is nothing more lovely than a juicy, sticky, freshly chopped Guava right from the grove nestled in a bowl of mango sorbet and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. A new favorite, Guava Gang is the evil cousin to our beloved Passion Pool Gose - highlighting our delicious kettle soured ale, expect a fully saturated experience of pineapple flesh, oranges, and of course Pink Guava. Perfect for the everlasting summer in San Diego.
Watermark Plow Plow, $5.19/16oz
Mikkeller/M4 Fresh Water Kolsch, $3.59/16oz
Haymarket Harold's '83 Honey Ale, $2.09/12oz
Sierra Nevada Atomic Torpedo, $2.79/19.2oz-Atomic Torpedo is our East Coast–West Coast hop collision, unleashing the joint power of two styles: juicy East Coast IPAs and dank West Coast IPAs. Fused in this Double IPA, their hop favors span lush fruit, sticky pine, and floral tones. It’s our classic IPA transformed—soft yet assertive, approachable yet atomic.
New Belgium Citrus Rescue, $1.99/12oz-Imperfect foods, a sustainable online grocer dedicated to building a kinder, less wasteful food system, helped us create a citrusy beer made from oranges that may not be "perfect" by society's narrow beauty standards due to little scars and blemishes but are just as adorable and delicious.
Big Lake Lemonade Beer, $2.79/16oz-LIGHT / LOW CAL / LOW CARB / CLEAN / REFRESHING LEMON FLAVOR.
Three Floyds Brian Boru, $2.29/12oz-Born in Munster, Ireland, Brian Boru spent his life uniting the Irish tribes to become the first high king of Ireland. With a heavy dose of new and old-world hops which gives rise to notes of citrus, stone and tropical fruit, we brewed this rich and full-bodied Irish-style Red Ale for him.
Fair State SKAFL, $4.69/16oz-Hazy IPA with Sultana, Strata, and Columbus Cryo.
Fair State Tmave, $3.79/16oz-Tmavé Pivo is the sort of beer brewers get excited about. An obscure lager style that kinda only gets made in one place? Sign us up! Tmavé Pivo, essentially“dark beer” in Czech, is the Bohemian cousin to German Schwarzbier. Malty, round, with some dark malt flavor but none of the acrid roast character one might find in a stout, Tmavé Pivo is everything we want dark lager to be. Our version of this classic is decoction-mashed for extra malt intangibles, and is balanced out by an addition of spicy, herbal Kazbek hops. Honestly, y’all, this is the sort of beer we’d brew all the time if we could.
Fair State You Can Have the Crown, $5.99/16oz-A huge, imposing Imperial Stout, but just the beer part. No extra candy or pastry here, just a mountain of malts. We mashed twice as much, and boiled three times as long, and the resultant beer is luxuriantly chewy, chocolatey, mildly roasty, and delightful all on its own.
Descriptions courtesy of Untappd