Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I won't pretend to not be a cheerleader for those breweries and brewers that I deem as "special" in some regard or another; namely, their beer tastes good. I've made no secret of my admiration for The Greats Who Walk The Earth. You'll find them on the sidebar of the blog as "Oppression-Fighting Brewers", a list that grows every time something hits my lips that knocks my esophagus ajar in a decidedly pleasing manner. San Francisco's ALMANAC BEER CO. have been sitting there from Day One of this blog, and during the days before that – waaaaay back to their February 2011 debut at SF Beer Week. Since then these fruit-loving locavore wizards of funk, yeasts and barrel-aging have popped out four 22-ounce bottles of beer, each of its own time and place, and never to be seen again after they disappear. You've read about them all here, and let it be said again for the record that they all rule.

The business plan is morphing a little. Without a lot of warning – well nobody warned me, anyway – Almanac have come to market with two four-packs of lower-ABV, non-barrel beers, the "Extra Pale Ale" and "Honey Saison". (note - these actually are barrel-aged - my mistake. See comments below). I ever saw and drank the latter on draft just two nights ago at a Japanese restaurant in SF. Ain't life great? Well, I bought a lone bottle of each beer and enjoyed them both (spoiler!) in a single evening the other day. For an operation known for craft, care and quality, you'd still think these guys would put out a turd one of these days, right? I guess we'll just have to keep waiting.

ALMANAC BEER CO. - "Extra Pale Ale": While they call it a pale ale, this could easily be termed a Belgian-style IPA in my book. It's a Belgian beer, I'm telling ya. It's brewed with oranges and toasted oak, and that oaky flavor gives it way more oomph than your daddy's pale ale. Hops are very apparent, as is the citrus. It's got medium carbonation and body, and in the words of Officer Keith Charles: "I'd definitely tap that". 8/10.

ALMANAC BEER CO. - "Honey Saison": Now this one's a light, 4.4% alcohol, fruity, grainy farmhouse ale. Very easy going down. Light and translucent, with barley and grain being the quote-unquote "dominant texture" of the beer. Not too much funk in this nominal saison, and the honey is there, but it doesn't define the beer by any means. Oh, and I could drink it by the bucketful. This is going to be someone's go-to table beer this fall. 7/10.


Mario (Brewed for Thought) said...

You say both beers are non-barrel beers, but they are finished in American Oak (Pale Ale) and French Oak (Saison).

Jay Hinman said...

Good catch, and my error. Thanks!