Friday, February 28, 2014

PUCKER UP AND BLEED: ALMANAC's "VALLEY OF THE HEART'S DELIGHT"

Remember when those nutballs at Almanac Beer Co. were just getting started, and the deal was they were going to put out one 22-ounce "seasonal" beer every, uh, season? Then massive beer dork success ensued, and a couple years later we find ourselves with more Almanac beer than we can drink over here at my house. The operative style for these guys nowadays appears to be sours - fruited, barrel-aged sours. I came clean a couple of posts ago about just how often I'm willing to drink those - i.e. far less frequently than other styles - so I wanted to make sure that of all their new sours, I next tried the one that folks seemed to like the best.

Read a review or two of the new "VALLEY OF THE HEART'S DELIGHT" that fingered it as the new one to beat. It was bottled in February 2013, but just unveiled to the people this month. Whew, it is indeed a sour, tart ale redolent with apricot and cherry, and then aged in wine barrels for extra intensity. It pours a beautiful yeasty and cloudy orange/yellow and has a massive smell. It's bready and super tart, and no doubt it's something that needs to be taken slow. There's something in here called loquats, but I forget what those are. The beer reminds me of those Crooked Stave sours of late; truly exceptional in terms of quality and craft, yet for the real sour sophisticates only. This has to be something you really, really dig, because it's not for dilettantes like me who lack the vocabulary and tastebuds to really give it its due. I'll go with 6.5/10 with the full understanding that the score's all about me - results may differ for you.

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