By Steve Siciliano
Whenever folks ask me if it’s difficult to make homemade wine I always answer that it can be as easy as fishing for bluegills with a cane pole or as complex as wading a narrow, brush-clogged stream using artificial flies to catch trout.
I tell them if they want to make wine as simply as possible, they’re like anglers who prefer using elementary tackle and uncomplicated procedures and they’ll be perfectly happy making wine from concentrated kits or from fresh fruits and vegetables guided by a book of basic recipes. On the other hand, if they like delving into the nuts and bolts of a hobby, they will probably want to take their winemaking to a higher level and will adopt advanced winemaking techniques such as measuring brix, conducting titration tests and taking pH readings.
Whether the home vintner opts for the easy or more complex way to make wine, Siciliano’s stocks everything the hobbyist needs to make good and even great tasting wine. If someone on your Christmas list has expressed the desire to take the plunge into this gratifying do-it-yourself hobby, we are offering our Vintner’s Best Deluxe Winemaking Equipment Kit for the sale price of $100.00 through December 25, 2019. Regular retail price is $125.00.
In other winemaking news, I’ve been asked to spread the word that a local wine making club is currently looking for new members. According to club member Rich Karelse, The Knights of the Wine Table organized in the early 1960s and is dedicated to refining the process of making quality wines at home. Each year members make a selected batch of wine which is collectively aged in oak barrels.
Members also buy fresh juice from Chile, California and Italy in addition to sourcing fresh grapes and they periodically meet for times of food and fellowship in their homes.
Each club member makes approximately 18 to 24 gallons of wine each year with a financial yearly commitment estimated at $400.00. Contact Rich Karelse (616-430-0429), Dale Mulder (616-318-5423) or Larry Meeusen (616-446-0181) for more information.
New and Returning Beer
Abomination Hop Thing, $5.19/16oz - "Brewed with flaked oats and wheat, hopped and double dry hopped with Zappa, Citra and Mosaic! Beware of the Hop Thing" (source).
Collective Arts Animal Magnatism, $4.39/16oz - "Animal Magnetism is an invisible natural force that exists in all living things, or at least so some say.. Well when it comes loving hops and loving each other, Finback and Collective Arts are proof such an attraction must exist! Both breweries are also madly in love with Crosby Hops!! For this DIPA, Crosby gave us some of the most beautiful Strata, Amarillo and Comet hops we've ever been able to brew with" (source).
Collective Arts Radio the Mothership, $4.39/16oz - "Fruity, bitter hops, berry, mango, peach; a wonderful interplay between the earthy bitterness, the nuanced fruity berry character, and the piney funky tropical depth. The resinous character of the hops shows through in a tongue-coating mouth feel. You’ll really feel saturated by all the hops. Delicious" (source).
Decadent Guava Sorbet, $5.19/16oz - "Hints of pink guava and sea salt with a tart finish" (source).
Decadent S'Mores, $5.49/16oz - "Our all-Mosaic double dry-hopped DIPA with toasted marshmallows and graham crackers" (source).
Nightmare Brewing Crucifixion, $5.99/16oz - No commercial description available.
North Coast Bourbon BA Old Rasputin, $25.89/500ml - "Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout" (source).
North Coast Rye BA Old Rasputin, $25.89/500ml - "Every year we age a special batch of our much-loved Russian Imperial Stout in Whiskey barrels. The XVIII anniversary vintage has three varieties aged in Bourbon, Rye, or Wheat whiskey barrels. The depth, intensity, and complexity of the flavor profile of this special release, like its predecessors, make it a worthy tribute to Old Rasputin" (source).
Odd Side 2 Cats in the Wall, $2.89/12oz - "Double NE Style IPA" (source).
Odd Side Quad Barrel Hipster Brunch, $8.39/12oz - "Imperial stout brewed with maple syrup then aged in bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, maple wood and double oak barrels with coffee and bacon added" (source).
Omnipollo Henosis, $5.99/16oz - "Henosis is the classical Greek word for mystical “oneness”, “union” or “unity." (source).
One Well BBA Wizard Potion, $4.89/8oz - "Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout" (source).
One Well Centennial Falcon, $3.59/16oz - "Flavorful double IPA with a masterful blend of Centennial and Falconer’s Flight hops. Have this One Well classic by your side as you explore galaxies far far away" (source).
Pigeon Hill Cinna Gram on French Toast, $6.39/12oz - "What happens when you throw Your Mom On French Toast in barrels from Journeyman Distillery and let them soak up the whisky goodness for several months? Your Grandma On French Toast. That’s What Happens" (source).
Pigeon Hill S'mores Beast in My Cup, $4.89/12oz - "Majestic Beast Imperial Stout brewed with Marshmallow, Cacao Nibs, and Graham Cracker" (source).
Prairie Noir, $12.99/12oz - "Prairie Noir is our whiskey barrel aged imperial oatmeal stout. We brew this beer with a huge amount of oats to give it an ever so silky mouth feel. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and toasted marshmallow can be found in the flavor and aroma of this beer. Notes of whiskey and carmel are also packed into this beer" (source).
Prairie Vanilla Noir, $12.99/12oz - "Vanilla Noir is Prairie Noir aged on organic, fair trade vanilla beans, and let’s just say it takes a lot of beans! The vanilla flavor compliments the whiskey barrel aging process and adds a delicious layer to the beer" (source).
Short's Liberator, $2.59/12oz - "The Liberator was made as a 30th birthday gift to Joe Short. As a double IPA, this beast employs a sizable malt bill, but it is the crazy amount of hops added to the boil every 4 minutes, for 120 minutes, that really make this beer special. Fruity, floral, and piney hop flavors penetrate throughout the caramelized malt profile. The Liberator is a well-balanced, full bodied brew that has a bitter finish due to the post fermentation addition of lemon and orange zest" (source).
Speciation Gene Flow, $9.39/16oz - "This is our 3rd blend of our one and only holiday beer, which was originally a collaboration with homebrewer (and cultured club member) Ric Brown. It might sound like an odd combination, but it really hits the spot during the holidays... and pairs exceptionally well with holiday food" (source).
Speciation Mutational Meltdown, $13.99/375ml - "Honestly, there's not much else I need to say about this one. It's insane. It's over the top. It's a... #pastrysour" (source).
Speciation Phytologia, $13.99/375ml - "Once again we've teamed up with our good friends at Cultivate in Ypsi to craft an insanely creative beer. First we started with second use whiskey and tequila barrels, and then filled them with cark sour. Then we added coffee from Cultivate, cascara from Roast Umber, and a bunch of Madagascar vanilla beans..." (source).
Untitled Art Hazy IIPA Version 7, $5.19/16oz - "Amarillo, Azacca, African Queen" (source).
Untitled Art/Angry Chair BA Vanilla Chocolate, $28.19/22oz - "Bigger, bolder, sweeter" (source).
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