Hopp Diva's Blog


White Flame Does Not Flame Out September 8, 2019

Filed under: Brewery To Try,Diva's Brew-ha,Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 10:16 pm
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This past weekend was one filled with soccer games (4 in all) and trying out a new brewery.  We were in Hudsonville Michigan. Our last game on Saturday was at 8:00pm and much to my husbands surprise there was a brewery just across the street.

We had not heard of White Flame Brewery ( 5234 36th Ave, Hudsonville, MI)  and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the beer.  I called ahead to the brewery before the game was finished and told them the time we would arrive and ordered two different sandwiches, The Guido and The Billy Club.  We arrived in time for my husband to order his flight just before our sandwiches were delivered.

Forrest tried a flight of 5 different beers.  As usual I am not going to tell you all the flavors he tried because as you know with breweries they don’t always have the same thing on tap when we were there versus when you can make it.  The flavors had some very unique names such as “Kentucky Kiss”.  Just hearing the name would not suggest the beer was a Barrel Aged Scotch Ale.  This is normally not a beer Forrest would try because we have a guy in our brew group who continues to try and replicate this and well let’s just say it’s not too tasty.   Forrest  turn to me and said after he took his first sip “this is what a Scotch Ale should taste like”.  Needless to say I was not a fan which is probably not a big surprise but hey, he was happy.  He felt the beers had good mouth feel and the flavor profile was spot on.

How was the food you might be wondering????  My sandwich was pretty good (Billy Club) and I liked the pretzel bun it was served on.  I think my only issue was the Ranch Dressing that was on the sandwich.  I know I am probably the only person on the planet that is not a fan of Ranch.  Forrest commented that his Guido was sufficiently spicy although there was a bit too much Italian Dressing for his taste.  He loved the potato chips that came with our sandwiches.  The homemade chips were seasoned with rosemary and garlic.  You also get a choice between a regular dill pickle and a spicy dill pickle.

If you are in the Hudsonville Michigan area, be sure to look up White Flame Brewery.

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Hopp Diva


February Beer Finds February 27, 2019

I think the older I get the harder it is for me to wrap my mind around how quickly the months pass!  I try to reflect back to see what I have accomplished in the few weeks the months offer me.  Although February has flown by for me (as has most months) I did discover a few very interesting beers to cook with.

Morning Nightcap by Arcadia Ales, http://arcadiaales.com/, has been a fun beer to not only make marshmallows but also the beer cake that I make so often (you can find the recipe under the dessert tab on my web site ).   The Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Shake Stout by Rochester Mills Brewery, http://www.beercos.com/our-story/production-brewery/, was the beer I used to make part of the Vanilla Porter cupcake with Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Stout filling topped with the salted caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The cupcakes were time consuming but ohhhhhh boy were they delish!!!!  You can find that recipe under the dessert tab also.   A truly unique beer, Milk Shake IPA also from Rochester Mills,  was a big favorite of my husband Forrest.  I used the Milk Shake IPA to make marshmallows and they were a huge hit with everyone who tried them.  The beer offered a wonderful little bite on the back side of the marshmallow taste.  I didn’t have to dry hop the marshmallows very much to achieve the taste I wanted.  Another great beer I found for making cupcakes, marshmallows and even soaking pears in was from Brewery Vivant, https://www.breweryvivant.com/   A Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadruple Ale called Wizard Burial Ground   was so much fun to play with.  I soaked some pears in the beer for a few weeks and then made a delicious almond tart where I topped it with my soaked pears.  Talk about tantalizing your taste buds!!

Forrest and I have been to Brewery Vivant   in Grand Rapids Michigan a few times.  They are known for their sour beers, which Forrest is not a fan of but they do have other beers that are pretty solid.  One of my favorite things to get at Brewery Vivant is their  Duck Confit Nachos.  Holy Batman are they awesome!

I have to say that Forrest didn’t suffer too badly from all of my finds this month.  There are a couple of other beers that were ok for drinking but I didn’t feel they were worthy of creating anything with them.

I will post the Almond Tart Recipe that I made with the soaked pears soon but if you now have a bug you want to make them right after you read the blog post you can find the recipe on this web site    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/almond-tarts-recipe   

The only things I changed with the recipe is to not put the raspberries on top or the icing.  I felt the pears were a great touch and  I did not want to take away from that flavor combined with almond flavor. Too much sweet from the icing pulls the flavor combination away.

I have high hopes for March.  Lots of recipes as well as beers to sample.

Thanks for reading!




What or Where is Siciliano’s? January 27, 2019

Filed under: Hopp Diva Blog — Hopp Diva @ 3:58 pm
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Over 10 years ago when my husband Forrest started brewing lots of people  told us we “just had to go” to Siciliano’s to get our supplies because they have everything!  OooooooK…………………

Well Forrest and I called, got directions and headed out one Saturday afternoon.  Now, we live in a very small community (4000 people , 25000 in the  whole county) so my little dutch husband was a bit leery about me telling him we were driving about 60 miles to go get some grain and hops.  I got Forrest in the car, made sure he had his recipes and we headed out.  Yes, there was some grumbling but that is to be expected with him 🙂

Once we parked the car and you approach the door it looks like any other little market as you can see by the pic below BUT once inside – holy crow!!!!  Your first look is the rows and rows of different beers (which they sell by the bottle/can) and then to the right rows of wines.  Behind the sales counters are oodles and oodles of different liquors from all over the world.  I am sure we looked like quite a site as we stood just steps inside the door with our eyes wide with anticipation and our mouths open.  Within a few short seconds we were greeted by one of the staff and were asked if we needed help finding anything.  Forrest explained he had come to get some grain and supplies for brewing a batch of beer.  We were taken over to yet another area where all the brewing supplies were located.  It was AMAZING!!!  Siciliano’s had any  grain, yeast, hop or piece of  brewing equipment that a person could  ever imagine they would  need. Forrest explained he was just a beginner and was using a Mister Beer Kit (which only made about 2 gallons) to hone his beer making skills.  Forrest didn’t want to start out making 5 gallon batches of beer and doing all grain when he was not sure how much he would enjoy the process or the beer.  What solidified our love of this market is how they treated Forrest at that point.  Not one staff member in the place looked down on him or treated him any differently because he was using a “Mister Beer” instead they told him it was a good way to start out by making pilot batches to see what style of beer he likes.  It also was a way  to make many different types of  beer and if you were not crazy about a certain beer or you messed up,  you were not left with 5 gallons of a brew you couldn’t drink. And believe me Forrest did that more than once, like the batch of Wet Dog Beer he made.  It smelled so bad you thought you were drinking a wet dog!

Fast forward about 10 years.  Forrest is still brewing beer ( in fact he has one fermenting right now and helped a fellow brewer do his first batch of all grain this weekend ) and enjoys it.  Before we started getting all sorts of brew magazines and books Forrest has gone into the Siciliano’s  with a name or beer style  he wants to clone and a staff member looked  up a recipe that worked perfectly for him.  To this day Forrest or I will go in and ask advice on tweaking a recipe or asking advice on why a beer just not have the mouth feel/ taste he was looking for.

It doesn’t  matter if you are a novice or a brew master Siciliano’s has what you want right along with any support you might need from the staff. Almost every one of Siciliano’s staff has brewed or has been involved in the brew trade for years.  These people could write books!  Not sure what you want?  One  staff  or another is very knowledgeable about  every beer, wine, cider or liquor in the store.

So you are saying to yourself I don’t want to brew beer I just like to drink it, well no problem.  Siciliano’s has hundreds and hundreds of different beers from stout to big time hops to sours to gluten-free.  Are you into ciders?  Siciliano;s has a huge variety of those also.

The staff at Siciliano’s is like family in many ways to us.  Although we are not there on a weekly basis or even monthly, they know us by name.  I try to bring in some of the items I make from beer or spent grain to get their feedback.  Sometimes they even give me suggestions on a beer to try when making a certain item or beer to substitute if they don’t have what I want.

Before I sign off I want to tell you about a couple more things regarding Siciliano’s.  Each week they put out The Buzz where you hear about the latest beers, breweries and other stuff.  They also talk about a big home-brew competition they have.  It’s a great event, lots of fun and a way to mingle with other home brewers.  We have met home brewers there who have gone on to not only win the competition but started their own brewery!

Here is the link for The Buzz  http://sicilianosmkt.blogspot.com    

If you are in the West Michigan area check this fantastic market out.   https://www.yelp.com/biz/sicilianos-convenience-market-grand-rapids

Until next time………………………………..YOLO




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