This week's list of new and returning products follows the second installment of Steve and Barb's fly fishing trip to Montana
By Steve Siciliano
The Madison River rises in Yellowstone National Park in the northwest part of Wyoming. Flowing west from the park and then north through the mountains and valleys of southwestern Montana it converges with the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers at Three Forks to form the Missouri River. The 153 mile river was named for US Secretary of State James Madison in July 1805 by Meriwether Lewis while he was traipsing through the recently purchased Louisiana Territory with his sidekick William Clark. Madison was one of the main architects of the US Constitution and the fourth President of the United States. He probably deserves a spot on Mt. Rushmore but having one of North America's blue ribbon trout fisheries named after him might be the next best thing.
On our recent visit to Montana Barb and I fished the Madison seven straight days. On the afternoon we arrived at the Madison Valley Ranch we unpacked then promptly grabbed rods and a net from the property's fly shop and made the short walk to the "channels". This wade only section of the Madison splits into numerous braids and channels before flowing into Ennis Lake. The combination of swift current and slick rocks made for tough wading. We had a few hits on our grasshopper patterns but after an hour or so of slipping, sliding and not netting any fish we called it quits.
The next six days we floated various parts of the"fifty mile riffle"-- a wide section of the river that, in addition to the eponymous swift rocky water, has many ledges and slicks and is strewn with boulders the size of small automobiles. We caught and released many browns and rainbows throughout the week, some in the 20 plus inch range, and a few mountain white fish. The white fish can run pretty big and they put up a decent fight but it's still a bit deflating when you see one flopping around in the net. You're in Montana to hook into colorful wild trout not blandish whitefish and there's a tendency to not add them to your catch total unless you're having a slow day.
Every morning after breakfast we would gather with our fellow anglers in the parking lot next to the fly shop where we would hook up with our guides. The anglers are giddy with excitement and raring to go, the guides are typically loquacious and friendly but professionally stoic. They know that their clients want and expect to catch fish, and while they will practically do anything to make that happen, there are times when the trout just aren't cooperative. Plus the guides usually have no clue as to the skill level of the sports who will be in their boat that day until they get them on the river. They tend to relax a bit after the first fish of the day is in the net or, as the saying goes, "the skunk is out of the boat."
The swift current, massive boulders and tricky hydraulics make the Madison a challenging river to fish. The boat is constantly moving downriver with the speed of the current so line management is one of the keys to success. Whether fishing floating dry flies or subsurface nymphs and streamers you have to do frequent mends--the technique of repositioning the fly line to keep it from dragging the flies. Trout can smell a rat if the fly doesn't have a natural looking drift.
There was a stiff north wind on a couple of days which prompted us to drastically adjust our casting technique. Forget about the four count 10 to 2 o'clock rhythm that is preached in beginning fly casting classes. You stop the back cast at noon and then punch the forward cast down and out at eleven. If you don't, you risk the danger of the wind pushing both the line and the fly back in your face or, even more embarrassing, into the guide's buff covered mug.
Many of the trout we netted were in the ten to fifteen inch range and they were a lot of fun to catch but every so often we tied into a bruiser that really got the adrenaline flowing. The big ones always go on a series of reel screeching runs, often taking most of your fly line out and leaving you dangerously close to the backing. After making their runs they often devilishly hightail it back to the boat. When that happens you have to reel in like crazy and hope that when you retrieve all the slack you're still connected to the fish.
When everything goes right the guide nets the lunker. There are whoops and high fives followed by the commemorative photo. When things don't go well the fish throws the hook and you're left with ten minutes of heart pumping memories. One time I lost a really big one right at the boat. When you lose a trophy you're allowed a few moments of sulking. Then you remind yourself that you're in Montana on the famous Madison River. You smile, light your pipe and get back to fishing.
Next week: The guides
Featured Wines of the Week
Cavaliare D'oro, Primitivo, Italy, 2017, $9.99/750ml- Our Puglia has an attractive bouquet of acidic ripe cherries and plum, with pleasant sweeter notes of cocoa and vanilla. A velvety texture with notes of lush, ripe fruit. This wine offers a robust finish. (Source)
El Jefe [grande], unoaked Tempranillo, Spain, $13.99/1liter-
El jefe (grande) is the big boss, we know who they are. So here’s to them: an honest and solid red wine- deep, fresh, and flexible enough to handle most days. Sourced from a single Family estate in the northern table lands “la mesta”. Fermented in cement tanks to preserve purity of the fresh tannins and fruit. Bright cherry, berry, and plum balance with a touch of herb, earth and leather. (Source)
Two K Farms, 2017, Riesling, Michigan, $18.69/750ml- Medium-bodied, moderate acidity, with flavors of stone fruit and citrus. Some richness, moderate acidity, and crisp finish. (Source)
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
Carpano Botanic Bitter, Bitter Liqueur, Italy, $37.89/1liter- A multi-faceted bitter
Discover the bright ruby-colored Carpano Botanic Bitter and dive into its unique taste, initially sweet, yet balanced with flavors of citrus and plantains, and with a hint of barley, fresh almonds and peel oils from unripe oranges.
It leaves an aftertaste of white turmeric, very similar to a delicate ginger infusion, which is followed by long notes of bitterness from myrrh and gentian. Delicate hints of cinchona create a pleasantly pungent finish. (Source)
Hirsch, The Horizon, Straigh Bourbon Whiskey, $42.09/750ml- THE HORIZON combines two straight bourbons distilled in Lawrenceburg, IN, the company said. Each bottle of THE HORIZON, 92 proof, provides the exact batch specifications on the rear label, for the bourbon enthusiast who seeks that level of detail, they said. The inaugural batch, AHH0320, is made up of two components: 94% of the blend is distilled from a traditional mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley aged 5 years and 4 months; the remaining 6% is distilled from a high-rye mash aged 6 years and 2 months for added complexity. (Source)
Adictivo, Anejo, Tequila, Mexico, $63.09/750ml- Tequila Adictivo Añejo is a Tequila 100% pure Blue Agave, with an intense golden amber color and a mixture of toasted aromas that offers an excellent flavor. Aroma: Delicious dried fruits and toasted oak.Taste: Silky texture on the palate with a long finish and sweet touch. Aging: 2 years Type of Barrel: French oak barrel. (Source)
New and Returning Products
Anderson Valley BA Old Fashioned, $4.39/12oz - Inspired by our love for the classic bourbon cocktail, this robust brown ale is brewed with orange peel and Hersbrucker hops, which naturally have orange-like flavors. Fresh cherry puree is added towards the end of fermentation, then the beer is aged in bourbon barrels with aromatic bitters. The rich, caramel malts and fruity, herbal notes complement the bourbon flavors and slightly bitter finish making this a truly complex and satisfying beer. (Source)
Anderson Valley BA Salted Caramel, $4.39/12oz - This slightly sweet porter is brewed with select additions of crystal malts and sea salt to create flavors of peanut brittle and caramel without being cloying. The medium body and mouthfeel lay the perfect foundation to support the rich vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors imparted by extended aging in bourbon barrels. (Source)
Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose, $2.19/12oz - Born from our passion for experimentation, our Briney Melon Gose boasts a thirst-quenching tartness that is perfectly balanced by subtle watermelon flavors and aromas. Gentle additions of sea salt create a refreshing harmony between the acidity and fruity sweetness leading to clean, dry finish. (Source)
Anderson Valley Framboise Rose Gose, $2.19/12oz - By adding rose hips to the boil and fresh raspberry puree at the end of fermentation, this kettle-soured beer is a mélange of flavors and aromas. With a light ruby hue, subtle raspberry fruit notes greet the nose and fall soft on the palate; tangy, hibiscus-like flavors mingle with the salty tartness of gose to create a uniquely complex and refreshing drinking experience. (Source)
Anderson Valley Huge Arker, $3.49/12oz - True to its Boontling moniker, “Huge Arker” is a massive force of nature that detonates on your tongue. After primary fermentation, the beer is aged in bourbon barrels until it fully matures. The deep mahogany color is evocative of the opulence to follow. Dark luscious aromas of burnished oak mingle with candy sugar, bourbon and hearth-baked bread. The luxurious flavors redolent of honey and molasses are intertwined with the richness of dark chocolate and the ardent warmth of alcohol, underpinned with hints of coffee, vanilla and dark fruits.(Source)
Austin Brothers Austoberfest, $1.99/12oz - Traditional marzen with rich caramel notes. Balanced beer with a smooth and clean finish. (Source)
Austin Brothers Peach Sourbet, $4.09/16oz - American wild ale
Austin Brothers Tangerine Smoothie, $4.09/16oz - .Brewed with lactose sugar and 1200 pounds of tangerine puree finished with additions of Madagascar Vanilla Beans. (Source)
Brooklyn Post Road, $1.89/12oz - We use a touch of spices and pounds of real pumpkins to create a warm but surprisingly crisp spin on the traditional pumpkin ales made by American colonists. (Source)
DeHop's Shadow Box, $1.89/12oz - This German black lager has a moderate malt aroma consisiting of roast and coffee, provided by Munich malt & debittered specialty grain. Medium bitterness provided by Mittelfruh Hops. (Source)
Founders Underground Mountain Brown, $4.49/12oz - Underground Mountain Brown is the harmonious drinking experience only achieved when our imperial brown ale, earthy Sumatra coffee and a year aging in caves below Grand Rapids come together. A team of malts complement the bold Sumatra coffee perfectly, while time spent immersed in oak creates layers of depth and complexity. A celebration of the barrel, the bean and everything in between. (Source)
Great Divide Pumpkin Spiced Yeti, $12.79/19.2oz - When the air gets crisper and the foliage turns brilliant shades of red and orange, the Yeti yens for a libation that captures the quintessential flavors of fall. Rich and roasty with added layers of decadent sweetness, PUMPKIN SPICE YETI is brewed with seasonal spices and a unique selection of coffee from our friends at Pablo’s Coffee. Pairs perfectly with hayrides, pumpkin carving and leaf peeping. (Source)
Great Divide Punpkin, $2.19/12oz - A toasty brown ale with notes of pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices, PUMPKIN ALE is sure to be your new favorite seasonal treat. The rich malty backbone enhances the autumnal flavors creating a delicious sensory experience without being overly sweet. (Source)
Hairless Dog Citra Lager, $2.19/12oz - Our Citra Lager pairs perfectly with any season, thanks to a blend of Citra and Mosaic hops. It’s a juicy brew with hints of fruit you can drink whenever. And with 0.0% ABV, you can drink it wherever too. (Source)
Hairless Dog Coffee Stout, $2.19/12oz - Get roasted, not toasted with our Coffee Stout! This 0.0% ABV stout marries small-batch craft with big-brew flavor. Nugget and Willamette hops complement the rich coffee notes and malty goodness for a better bitter beverage. (Source)
New Belgium Atomic Pumpkin, $1.79/12oz - Atomic Pumpkin Ale is perfectly positioned to capture the fall beer drinker who wants more than just an ordinary Pumpkin or Oktoberfest beer. (Source)
One Well Its Our Thing, $3.59/16oz - Raspberry sour
One Well Pit Tickler, $3.59/16oz - This pale ale hopped with our favorite citrus hops (Citra, Amarillo, Mosaic) infused with apricot. Pit Tickler offers a large upfront nose of fruit and does not fail in flavor with a great balance of hops and apricot. (Source)
One Well Rum Barrel Aged Unclear Future, $5.49/16oz - Uses Lactose (Milk) sugar to add just the right amount of residual sweetness to perfectly compliment the tropical flavors and mouthfeel. (Source)
Prairie Barrel Aged Peanut Butter BOMB!, $14.49/12oz - Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels with peanut butter roasted coffee, vanilla beans, cacao nibs and chili peppers.
Prairie Punch, $3.29/12oz - Sour ale with blackberry, cherry and lime
Revolution Oktoberfest, $1.99/12oz - 100% German malts provide the base of Revolution’s Oktoberfest beer. Balanced and mellow, it features a nice biscuity quality, as well as a touch of candied sweetness reminiscent of caramel corn. (Source)
River's Edge Spiders from Marzen, $2.99/16oz - A copper-red German lager with a malt-accented presence that is rich and toasty. This beer is slightly sweet yet well balanced and exits with a welcome hop dryness. (Source)
River's Edge The Norwegian, $2.99/16oz - Voss Kveik is a traditional Norwegian farmhouse yeast strain from the Gjernes farmhouse in Norway that has been passed around for generations. Recently, it was isolated and made commercially available. Known for it's ability to ferment at temperatures far higher than most yeast and for producing a unique citrus ester, this is our first of three beers that will use the Kveik. The IPA is loaded with Rakau, Pacifica and Southern Cross hops, all citrus forward varieties. This yeast took countless years and traveled countless miles before it reached a glass in Milford, Michigan. The amazing power of beer! Skål! (Source)
Rochester Mills Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake Stout, $2.79/16oz - Day #1 of the 2017 12 Days of Milkshake Stout – More roasted notes than the the original Milkshake Stout™ followed by sweet toasted marshmallow. Medium to full-bodied with no booziness. Toasted Marshmallow is a well balanced beer fit for any bon fire with no open flame or pointy sticks required.
Shorts Da Vine, $2.59/12oz - DaVine is an American sour ale brewed with Pinot Noir grapes and has an enticing ruby hue and wine like aroma. This light bodied ale has notes of berries, subtle wheat, and light cherry while finishing dry and tart. (Source)
Sierra Nevada Strange Beast Bluberry Acai, $5.49/16oz - Hard kombucha
Sierra Nevada Strange Beast Ginger Lemon, $5.49/16oz
Sierra Nevada Strange Beast Passion Fruit, $5.49/16oz
Speciation Incipient with Strawberry, $9.39/16oz - Foeder Aged Solera Sour Ale
Speciation Shifting Baseline, $5.89/16oz - Open Fermented Sour Ale
Speciation Space Elecator, $3.49/16oz - Natural Hard Seltzer (GF)
With Mango, Ginger & Lime
Tripleroot Oktoberfest, $2.09/12oz
Two Guys OKtoberfest, $3.49/16oz
Waypost Blueberry Basil Sour, $6.29/500ml - Tart, bright and slightly savory - this Berliner-style beer was conditioned on farm-grown blueberries and Thai basil. Delicate floral, herbal notes. (Source)
Waypost Farmhouse IPA, $$4.69/500ml - Peach, nectarine, tangerine and cantaloupe from every angle, though ‘juicy’, this beer is grounded by yeast-derived spiciness. White pepper and a confident hop presence accent the crisp finish of this Franco-Belgian IPA. (Source)
Waypost Flora, $7.79/500ml - Foeder-fermented saison conditioned on fresh elderflower and dried hibiscus blossoms. This strawberry-hued number features delicate floral aromatics, balanced with a little farmhouse funk and a little tannin from the hibiscus. Rosé all day with Flora! (Source)
Waypost Sabrosa IPA, $6.29/500ml - A double dry-hopped session IPA featuring Sabro, Citra and CTZ hops. Delicious bright tropical fruit notes, a little resinous, and very satisfying. Don't let this little one fool you! (Source)
Waypost Sour IPA, $6.29/500ml - Bold, expressive, tart, with a touch of residual sweetness, Sour IPA is a wonderfully balanced beer. Bright and aromatic - look for notes of ripe melon, nectarine and Meyer lemon. This variation of Sour IPA features Michigan-grown Chinook, Belma and Lemondrop hops. (Source)