Thursday, February 2, 2012

ALMANAC BEER CO’s STELLAR “WINTER WIT”

Any doubts about social media’s role in furthering my craft beer consumption & mania were put to rest yesterday afternoon when Twitter was a-tweetin’ about the ALMANAC BEER CO. deliveries of their new “WINTER WIT” happening all over San Francisco that day. I’d plum forgotten that this beer, their third, was imminent – so I left work early and hightailed it to a retail establishment that got them in yesterday afternoon. Then I bought two. Almanac now have this schedule of two seasonal beers per year, one which will be a barrel-aged beer with ingredients from local Northern California farms, and one that can come to market a little more quickly, in which the barrel plays no role. WINTER WIT is the first of these beers. And I have to say, as much as I loved the others (reviews here and here), this one’s the best thing these fellas have created to date, & one of 2012’s early favorites for beer of the year.

I was taken in by this one even before the first glug. It smells of oranges and yeast – even of the ginger they advertise on the bottle. It’s a classic Belgian witbier with a heavy dose of California sunshine. It’s not just the label that calls forth the memory of a California covered from top to bottom with orange groves; it’s right there in the taste, which is earthy, smooth and yeah - full of orange. I love the fact that they’re using a combination of different types of oranges in here, including the reddish and slightly bitter blood oranges, and that they manage to still make this a yeast-driven beer and not a simple fruit “sipper”. Fields of Belgium all the way. It’s the best wit I’ve ever had – and I know this is true, because I checked the Beer Samizdat 100. An enthusiastic 9.5/10!

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