In both beer and wine, “Grand Cru” designates something special, a selection of the very best a brewer or vintner can muster from the cellar. For ours, we looked to wine country for inspiration, and left with more than a few handfuls of grapes. With the help of some very talented friends, we set out to create something truly special.
Dogpatch Grand Cru is a bolder, more robust version of our Dogpatch Sour Flanders red-style ale, aged for over a year in red wine barrels with a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Tannat, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo grapes to create an intricately vinous, tannic, and exceptionally original brew. Farmer’s Reserve Grand Cru, meanwhile, is our homage to delicate and aromatic white wines. California-grown Muscat Blanc grapes were added to an imperial version of our sour blonde ale, then aged in white wine barrels for over a year.
Both beers would not have been possible without the help of the entire Almanac family as well as our circle of talented friends. Grape selection was done with the help of Paul Einbund and Cappelli Ranch, and the bottle designs were hand drawn by Erik Marinovich.
From all of us at Almanac, these beers are our way of saying “Thank you!” Thank you to all of our friends and family who have supported us since our homebrewer beginnings. Thank you to the local farms, restaurants, bars, bottles shops, homebrew clubs, bottle shares and craft beer lovers who have helped us get to a place where we are able to make beers like these. These special large format 750ml bottles are designed to be shared with friends and family.
Both Grand Cru releases seamlessly blend the best characteristics of beer and wine, challenging expectations and defying classification. As the old saying goes, in vino veritas, in cervesio felicitas—in wine there is truth, in beer there is happiness. In our Grand Cru releases, we hope you will find both.
Look for our 750ml Grand Cru bottles to release in Early November, available exclusively in California.
It’s that time of year: the leaves are changing colors, the nights are getting cooler… Or so we’re told. Here in the Bay Area it’s the food that marks the changing seasons more than the weather, and with squash replacing berries and fruits in the local farmer’s markets, it’s clear that autumn is on the way.
To celebrate the fall harvest, we’re thrilled to announce the release of a brand new brew, Pumpkin Sour.
The name is deceptively simple, and on paper Pumpkin Sour fits neatly into fall beer expectations. “It has all the classic parts of pumpkin beer, like the spices and roasted malts and, of course, pumpkins,” explains our brewmaster, Jesse Friedman. “But we’ve rearranged those ingredients and crafted a sour bourbon barrel aged beer.”
Pumpkin Sour began as a beautiful brown ale, which we brewed with plenty of heirloom pumpkins from Annabelle Lenderink’s farm, La Tercera, in Bolinas. Annabelle’s pumpkins were broken down and roasted whole–seeds, skin, and all. “This gave us sweet, caramelized pumpkins that, when added to the mash, created a unique, real pumpkin flavor,” says Jesse.
All of that deep, pumpkin-y brew was transferred into freshly emptied, whiskey-soaked Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels and wine barrels with some essential pumpkin pie spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
After months of aging and absorbing complex oak, vanilla, and bourbon flavors from the barrels (and plenty of tastings along the way), we blended the wine and bourbon barrels back together for a finished brew that strives for balance between malty sweetness, roasty pumpkins, rich spices, and underlying tartness.
“The result is something we really love: a pumpkin beer that evokes the fall flavors and weather, without any of the cliches attached to the usual squash seasonals,” Jesse explains. “Think of it as our ‘anti-pumpkin beer’ pumpkin beer.”
If you’d like to know more about La Tercera farms, visit: http://ecologycenter.org/farmersmarkets/fmvendors/la-tercera-3/
Almanac partners with Bella Vista Beer Distributors to launch distribution in Philadelphia
We’re super excited to announce that we are launching distribution in Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania! Thanks to our good friends at Bella Vista Beer Distributors, our fresh beers and barrel aged sours will be available in the City of Brotherly Love later this month!
The Almanac and Bella Vista teams are hosting a series of events around the city to celebrate their new partnership and properly welcome Almanac Beer to the Philadelphia market:
October 6th @ 7pm | Meet the Brewers at Devil’s Den
October 7th @ 7pm | Beer Pairings at Jerry’s Bar
October 8th @ 7pm | Beer Dinner at V Street
October 9th @ 1pm | Meet the Brewers at Tria Taproom
October 9th @ 6pm | Beer Tasting at Local 44
October 10th @ 2pm | Kennett Brewfest
October 10th @ 8pm | After Party at Teresa’s Next Door Bar
Bella Vista Beer Distributors will receive Almanac’s full current portfolio, which includes the Fresh Beer and Fresh Beer Limited Series, as well as Almanac’s range of Farm to Barrel oak-aged beers. Additional seasonal and special releases will follow throughout the year.
“Hoppy” and “sour” might sound like two flavors that wouldn’t play nice together, but there’s much more to hops than palate-punching bitterness. If you look beyond the IBUs, hops lend a wide range of more subtle flavors and aromas, from fruity grapefruit and papaya notes to delicate florals and hints of good ‘ole American pine. These characteristics are coaxed out by dry-hopping, when hops are added just before the beer is packaged to lend the freshest possible aromas and flavors.
In Citra Sour, you can expect a very tropical, refreshing sour beer that defies expectations of what a “hoppy” beer can be.
We’ve brewed hoppy sours before but this time we wanted to highlight the characteristics of a single hop varietal: Citra. We began the process with our traditional sour blonde ale, fermented with our house sour culture and aged in barrels for about six months, and blended in a younger, 100% brettanomyces-fermented beer. This blend combines the oaky, vanilla character that barrels impart with the tropical fruit esters created by brett. As our Oak Program Manager, Phil Emerson, explains, this combination created the perfect backdrop for the flavors and aromas Citra is best known for.
“We were striving for pineapple and guava from the brett. The Citra hops gives the stone fruit, apricot, and grapefruit character. Those combine and it’s hard to tell what’s from the hops and what’s from the brett,” Phil says.
The addition of brettanomyces to the mix has the added bonus of helping preserve the hop characteristics that we’re aiming to spotlight. While hop bomb IPAs start losing their punch after only a couple months, the brett and sour culture will preserve the delicate compounds responsible for prized hop aromas and create some subtle new flavors in the process. Translation: this beer is totally age-able, and should become more interesting with time, not more muted.
Phil adds, “We think it’s great now. It might be even better in six months.”
Almanac Beer Co. partners with Wirtz Beverage for Illinois distribution
Almanac Beer Co. is proud to announce distribution in Chicago beginning August 2015. Almanac’s founders hail from the Midwest and have always loved the Windy City, and are excited to see their beers reach Chicago’s diverse craft market.
Wirtz Beverage will carry Almanac’s full current portfolio, including the Fresh Beer and Fresh Beer Limited Series, as well as Almanac’s Farm to Barrel oak-aged beers, beginning with Dogpatch Sour Flander’s-style Red Ale and Farmer’s Reserve Citrus, a sour blonde aged with Buddha’s Hand Citron, Yuzu, and Blood Oranges. Further seasonal and special releases will follow throughout the year.
Almanac will be partnering with various Chicago locations to host a variety of events to celebrate the launch:
August 17th | Beer Dinner at The Kitchen
August 18th | Meet the Brewers at Hopleaf
August 19th | Almanac + Moody Tongue Pairing & Flight Night at Dusek’s
August 20th | Meet the Brewers at Bangers & Lace
August 22nd | Beer Brunch at Longman & Eagle