Barrel Noir is Back! Reintroducing one of our favorite beers from the past, a special blend of dark malts, complex aromas and oaky deliciousness. Barrel Noir centers around a base imperial stout that is chock full of roast, chocolate and coffee flavors. This beer is aged in our Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for nearly a year and a half.
The result has picked up intoxicating oak, vanilla and bourbon flavors. The final brew is amazingly complex and tasty, but it’s not our style to sit back and relax so we’re taking Barrel Noir and blending it into some fun variants:
Cold Brew Coffee Barrel Noir
The first in Barrel Noir Series drew inspiration from one of our favorite treats from San Francisco: Sightglass Cold Brew Coffee. Sightglass Coffee is an independent coffee roaster with a focus on single origin beans, lightly roasted for fruity aromas and flavors. Their Vanilla Bean infused Cold Brew Coffee has powered the brewery on more than one hot day.
Sightglass makes its Cold Brew Coffee is made by steeping coffee and vanilla beans in cold water, creating a rich, smooth treat. Cold Brew Coffee Barrel Noir is made similarly. In collaboration with Sightglass,we selected a combination of Finca Las Florestales beans, from Colombia, and Banner, a blend of beans were chosen to be added to the stout base.
Coffee beans and Tahitian vanilla beans weren’t just thrown into our bourbon aged stout. We thought the flavors would compete and muddle, resulting in something unimpressive. The beer was chilled and added to a tank containing vanilla beans and over one hundred pounds of ground coffee. The beer was then allowed to steep and “cold-brew” until the coffee, bourbon, and vanilla shined.
The resulting beer is velvety, rich deliciousness. It is the perfect beer to start your weekend morning (or weekday morning, we don’t judge) with next to a plate of French toast creating a complete breakfast. Drink it next to your smoked brisket at dinner and then finish your day off with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and one more glass. The perfect nightcap!
One variant? Why stop there! We have ideas for some extra tasty barrel-aged beers that we aren’t quite ready to announce yet. If you want to stay up-to date on our latest releases check back on our blog or sign up to receive our newsletter at the bottom of this page.
Almanac Beer Co. of San Francisco will begin distributing throughout the State of Massachusetts on a permanent basis after announcing its distribution agreement through the Massachusetts Beverage Alliance, a craft beer distributor network servicing the Commonwealth. Almanac is well respected nationally for it’s sour program and will be rotating multiple styles into distribution from its Farm To Barrel Series and Fresh Beer program starting with Farmer’s Reserve Pluot, Hoppy Sour: Azacca, and Almanac IPA amongst others.
“Almanac is incredibly excited to join the Massachusetts beer scene. We’ve long admired the local brewing culture and history in Boston and and Massachusetts, and are thrilled to be a part of it.” Said Jesse Friedman of Almanac Beer Co.
Founded in 2010 by Friedman and Damian Fagan, the San Francisco-based Almanac Beer Co. is known best for its Farm-to-Barrel Wild Ales including the Farmers Reserve series, which are produced using locally-sourced fruits from partnering farms throughout Northern California and then rested in oak barrels. Each harvest, Almanac partners with a different Northern California farm to supply the fruit used for that season’s batch. This level of collaboration gives Almanac’s ales a terroir distinctive to the region.
“We hosted Almanac for Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Fest this past February and had a small amount of beer available for distribution and events leading up to the fest,” said Brian Murphy, MBA’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “Our customers responded excitedly to Almanac as their portfolio resonates with a growing segment of the craft beer consumer population. Their reputation for producing some of the best wild and barrel aged beer in the country precedes itself. We are very proud to be welcoming Almanac from the Golden State.”
Massachusetts Beverage Alliance LLC is a network of like-minded beer distributors who share the mission of providing, promoting, and building quality craft and specialty import beer throughout the state of Massachusetts. The MBA is proud to have 14 Certified Cicerones ® throughout their network to help promote and educate the Massachusetts market on the craft beer category.
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.