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Almanac Strawberry Dogpatch Sour

September 29, 2014

Almanac Beer Company is a brewery that I would describe as achieving their stated goal of being “uniquely Northern Californian.” The company was founded in 2010 by two homebrewers with a deep passion for seasonal beer made with fresh local ingredients and barrel-aging. The beer they produce begins with an idea, often a variation on a traditional style, and then they pair with a local family owned farm to obtain their key ingredients before finally brewing it and then having it undergo secondary fermentation and aging in oak barrels. If you’re not hip to the kind of language they use or even if you don’t share their values, I would say shut the hell up and drink their fantastic product anyway (of course, any craft beer drinker who’s seeking this kind of brew out probably does care a little about what they’re talking about).

We haven’t had an ungodly hot summer, but it definitely has staying power, so the other day when I was being barraged by bottles of pumpkin ale, I spied this unique sour brewed with strawberries and aged in wine barrels sitting on a top shelf. I pulled it down, availed myself of the beer shop’s backyard garden, and enjoyed a fine brew.

The beer was a darker amber color than I was expecting, but still managed to have a faint pink hue to it in the afternoon sun. The nose smells strongly of strawberries and sickly-sweet yeast, while the beer itself is thick and syrupy. Bright strawberry flavor hits you the moment you drink it, causing your lips to pucker ever so slightly as you’re then given the second hit from the sweet yeast. A touch of bready malt helps to mitigate the sweet-sour flavor, and is helped by a fantastic undercurrent of oak and red wine. The brew comes to a close with a strong sour finish that leaves you yearning for another sip.

This really is a fantastic beer, and it’s a shame that the season is almost over, though if the heat lingers I’d highly suggest grabbing a bottle. The one caveat here is that it will most likely be hard to find since they’re a small brewery with a local focus. Also, if you do, it might be a touch more than you want to spend (I had quite the case of sticker shock when I bought it). If you’re looking for something interesting though, I’d give any of their Farm to Barrel Ales a taste.

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