It's hard to believe that Almanac Beer Co. is only a year old. The brewery was born into the world fully-formed with a concept that ties into Bay Area food culture and bottle artwork that keeps aspiring graphic designers up at night. In the first phase of their operation, Almanac stuck to a firmly seasonal model. New beers were released in roughly quarterly increments and packed in 750ml bottles. Now that the brewery has a year of experience under its belt, they're equipped to have a more steady, year-round shelf presence.
Never fear, the seasonal brews aren't going anywhere. They'll be joined by the California Table Beer Series, kicking off with a Honey Saison and an Extra Pale Ale. The beers are Almanac's first foray into 4-pack presentation, with a suggested retail price of $10.99. In typical Almanac fashion, the presentation is eye-grabbing and the brews boast local produce and other unique ingredients. According to co-founder Jesse Friedman, these everyday beers were "inspired by our desire to offer beer that we could casually enjoy at lunch or over a dinner with friends."
The beers certainly hit that mark. The Honey Saison offers a whiff of spice from local ginger root, a kiss of Marshall's Farm honey, and a touch of French oak -- with a manageable 4.8% abv.
Continuing in the Almanac model of treading new ground in their recipes, the 6% abv Extra Pale ale was brewed with mandarin oranges from Blossom Bluff Orchards, California-grown barley, and a hint of lightly toasted American oak. Both brews retain balance while incorporating unique ingredient additions, with sweet notes of honey and fruit tempered by the judicious use of oak.
Both Almanac table beers will be available for purchase at Whole Foods, BevMo, and specialty bottle shops such as City Beer Store and Healthy Spirits. On Wednesday, join the Almanac folks for a party at Bloodhound to celebrate the release and the one-year anniversary of the brewery. Chat with the brewers about their upcoming seasonal projects, which hopefully don't use Brussels sprouts or durian fruit.
Almanac Table Beer Release/One Year Anniversary Party
Where: Bloodhound, 1145 Folsom (at 7th St.), (415) 863-2840
When: August 29th, 6-9pm
Cost: pay per drink
What: Enjoy special beers from Almanac paired with complimentary bites from Deli Board and 1058 Hoagie. In addition to the table beers, sample Almanac's draft-only California Fresh Hop Beer, which boasts 100% California-grown ingredients (a rare feat). Where most brews use dried pellet hops, this style of beer takes freshly harvested, still-wet hops and rushes them into the brew kettle as quickly as possible. The result is an aromatic beer that showcases the herbal quality of hops. The first 100 guests will receive an Almanac pint glass, and maybe even a high-five.