Monday, March 4, 2013

ALMANAC'S WILD ALE MULLIGAN

I'm in sort of a weird position vis-a-vis ALMAMAC BEER CO. I sincerely, totally and wholly believe they're one of the best brewers on the planet right now, and I've said so repeatedly on the blog. They've essentially carved out their own various niches as "the foodie's beer"; "the beer that restaurants serve to complement food"; "the slow food brewer" and "that awesome gypsy brewer whose beers are miles better than those of the brewers on whose equipment they brew". When they were a mere twinkle in the eyes of their co-founders, I became pals with Damian Fagan, one of those founders. He's a great fella who basically lives down the street from me.

So what happens when, after a winning streak of like 5-6 beers that I've raved about on the blog, I taste an Almanac Beer that doesn't quite do it for me? Do I ignore it and hope I like it better next time? Or, do I take the issue head-on, review the goddamn beer, and hope Damian and I don't get into a fistfight next time we see each other? I'm going to have to take my chances with the latter option, because, as a teller of truths and a documenter of virtually every interesting beer I taste, there was no WAY I was going to throw down a bottle of their "FARMER'S RESERVE #1" and not tell you about it.

Wait a minute, I know you're thinking – didn't you just rave about this beer a few weeks ago, that time you went to "Sour Sunday"? Why yes – yes I did. That was served on draft, and what I had a few days ago was in a bottle. It's marketed and certainly brewed as a "wild ale" - and man, is it ever. Like an unbroken mare on the Wyoming prairie, this thing is tough to tame. It's very grape-heavy, quite acidic and tastes of honey and funk. The oakiness is strong, and so is the white wine. It all comes together hot and aggressive. You can tell some really good things are happening in here, but it's intense and not quite the smooth sipper that last week's Sante Adairius Chardonnay Blonde is/was. So what happened here? I dunno. Maybe it needs to "lay down" for a while. But then why was that draft version such a mind-melter? Dude, I'm speechless – and crap, here comes Damian, and he says we gots business….6/10.