Grand Rapids, MI has no shortage of great craft brews available. From Founders to Bells, Dark Horse to New Holland — you can find almost anything here. But you have to really dig to find the good stuff sometimes. Enter Siciliano’s Market.
My soon-to-be brother-in-law lives in GR, and has recently taken the oh-so-memorable leap into craft brew with Founder’s Centennial IPA. And it’s made him eager to see what else craft brews have to offer a guy that likes a high-quality, straightforward American-style ale. Somewhere along his journey, he found his way to Siciliano’s Market just off I-196 in a forgettable little strip mall-like building. But what passes for a convenience store on the outside turns in to a somewhat hippie-slash-homebrewer-slash-canner-slash-coffee/tea/cigar cornucopia of uppers and downers in one packed little mart.
Never have I seen so many local, obscure micros lined up against names like Avery and Russian River. And the map says it all. The hyper-local shelf in the back is a who’s-who of Michigan craft brews, as well as some start-ups that you might never have heard of, and might never again. Some of these are sure to be one-hit-wonders, while others already have some muscle, like Brewery Vivant, newly distributed in cans from the brewpub in East GR.
I’ve been to Siciliano’s twice now, and both times managed to unwittingly hit the “case discount” with my random picks. Here’s this week’s haul:
Already dug into —
- six-pack of Avery Joe’s Pilsner, a strangely hoppy, almost pale-ale golden
- six-pack of Keweenau’s Widow Maker, a brown ale I tried and loved at the Winchester the day before in East GR
- four-pack of Brewery Vivant’s Farm Hand, a supposed farmhouse brew that’s more like an overly floral and oddly acidic pale ale
- 750ml of New Holland’s Pilgrim’s Dole, a lovely wheatwine with strong oak notes that gets better with every sip
- two bottles of Dark Horse Raspberry Ale that my lady was kind enough to share (it’s one of her all-times)
On deck —
- can of Brewery Vivant’s Solitude, an abbey style ale
- can of Brewery Vivant’s Triomphe, a Belgian IPA
- a beautiful bottle of St. Peter’s G-Free sorghum beer (a gift for a needy friend)
- 750ml of Jolly Pumpkin’s Bam Noire, a dark farmhouse
- 750ml of Frog Island’s Cousin’s Cream Ale
One could get lost in a place like Siciliano’s, or at least stuck in the beer cave. I spent the better part of the afternoon pulling new beers of the shelf, smelling the different coffee roasts, teas and small vices like cigars and such. This place has a gravity once you know it’s there. My future GR > CHI drives will need at least another hour lead-time.