It would be easy to characterize Almanac as enjoying a parabolic arc of quality and hype. From the humble initial 750ml stumblings that were expensive Biere De Gardes and large format Golden Gate Gose, came the ashes from the phoenix, the incredible Farmer’s Reserve 1-4 and subsequent fruited offerings.
However it would be a bit of a canard to say that Almanac is back from somethin, if they back from something then it’s ticks you owe them. They have silently been improving and enjoying the relative calm of not having their doors kicked in by speculative cargo short wearing dipshits reeking of bay area entitlement. Capitola gets picked limb from limb like Storage Wars the second then even hint at doing a bottle release, but Alamanac, unlike SARA, will pop rounds from the weeds and silently get MVP in rounds, camping in safety.
So let’s review some of their recent shit, those baller ass Costco bottles that self-assured tickers forego for like, trading for Upland Lambics.
Almanac Dogpatch Grand Cru
If you recall, Regular Dogpatch was a cherry poppin daddy back in the day so this 10.5% beast should be a flawless ramped up version of that right? Well, kinda. First and foremost, ramping up Flanders Reds sometimes leads to a quick trip to an acetic korean nail salon. That isnt the case here, but it isn’t the super approachable juicy juice jammer that its baby sibling was either. According to Jesse Friedman or whomever it is writing their copy that is not DDB:
“Dogpatch Grand Cru blends a Flanders red-style sour ale with red wine grapes to craft something truly unique. We layered California-grown Zinfandel, Syrah, Tannat, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo grapes with a special imperial version of our Dogpatch Sour ale, combining the best characteristics of the beer and wine worlds.”
So here’s the good news: this doesn’t fall into an Oud Bruin tiger trap of cloying aquanet hairspray notes. This retains a massive tannic presence with dry earthy malbec skins, almost like a more massive version of Rodenbach Vin Du Cereal. WHAT IS THAT? Dont worry, when Rodenbach re-releases Alexander next year plenty of 2014 dumbfucks will become Flanders Red experts overnight. Vin Du Cereale is a ballsy massive red that does not fuck around, either does Dogpatch Grand Cru. So does this justify the butthole puckering $27.99 price tag? I don’t know, I don’t buy my barrel aged sours with a fucking EBT card. If you want to crush Duchess and discuss “Value” then maybe ticking beers isn’t your ideal hobby.
It is very tasty, a touch cloying and too acidic at 60+ temps, but well worth the cost of entry due to the magnificent fruit massaging alone.
ALMANAC FARMER’S RESERVE BLUEBERRY
Oh great, a fucking blueberry sour, here comes a truckload of myopic Blabaer comparisons. This is wildly different from the typical tired entries in this realm where a brewer makes a sub 3.0ph beer and then tries to ratchet it back with tannic jammy berries (C:/Run_Cascade.exe.) This is the opposite in fact and is all dry white wine and a riesling with almost brackish blueberry skins in the swallow that is long and fulfilling, like finishing Gravity’s Rainbow and telling no one about it. If you remember That 300 bottle Allagash release “LIL SAL” it is like that, subtle, highly drinkable, and this really needs to be in 750mls because you can roll through this on accident during a single episode of Rick and Morty. Your gumline remains intact and the whole affair demonstrates restraint and poise.
FARMER’S RESERVE GRAND CRU
Naming anything after your most well-received beer of all time is always a dicey proposition. I loved FR3 and FR4 and when I saw this version pumped full of WAGH (wild ale growth hormone) I was skeptical. This is my absolute favorite from all the Almanac offerings of recent memory, if the Dogpatch was a “should buy” this is a “MUST BUY.” This is almost like the way that Bruery Borgonone Blanc was a white wineification, this executes that riesling meets lemon zest, ultra long dry chardonnay oak, touch of buttery creaminess in the grist like diacetyl with a shock collar,
The beer integrates this muscat profile without going to Moscato territory. It has the produce, the aging, and the base beer that seamlessly integrates that hefty 10.2% abv amiably. This was slept on hard and I bet most people bought only the Dogpatch GC, but this shines in the way that Peche N Brett improves in a lumbering massive way over Seizoen Bretta. Stop freebasing sub-500 count bottles for a moment and go buy this. The act of sobriety might make you kick your teeth grinding Fedex addiction.
This shit however, was pretty disappointing. Not even the inimitable Hot Boys could pull this hopped diacetyl bomb back from the railing before it went tumbling ass over teakettle into the murky acidic depths below. If you went into this expecting some offbrand JUICY, then it was all a dream. This fronts with an odd melon/cantaloupe/vinegar nose to it that isn’t a hop bomb or a refined wild ale either. The worst issue is at higher temps this thing is riddled with diacetyl wrestling with almost a butyric acid profile. I would give this one a solid Jim Cramer DONT BUY.
“He upgraded Bluth stock from sell to “dont buy!”
So in sum, Almanac is silently releasing some awesome stuff. Don’t fuck this up for us. If I see a single ISO for Almanac, I swear to tits-