San Francisco-based brewery Almanac is set to release its latest "farm-to-barrel" offering at the end of the month. Farmer's Reserve Citrus is an ale brewed with Buddha's Hand citrons and Bergamot oranges, aged in white wine barrels. It was concocted as a craftier response to the lemon wedge-dressed wheat beers that populate pint glasses throughout the summer months. But if Almanac's previous Farmer's Reserve releases serve as any indicator, this sour blonde promises to bring something singularly original to the fold.
"Buddha's Hand has a very unique, perfumy character we really love," says Almanac Brewmaster and co-founder, Jesse Friedman. "It's quite distinctive. Plus, it's all zest with no bitter pith, making it ideal for this beer."
Debuting in 2012, the Farmer's Reserve Series highlights the flavors of the season, featuring locally-sourced ingredients and (typically) a fair share of funk. "We use wild yeasts. Lots of them," Friedman says.
Farmer's Reserve No. 4, the previous release in the series, was marked by the presence of Meyer lemons and Belgian yeasts. Friedman was eager to point out that his newest beer will be its "spiritual successor." But don't be alarmed if excessive tartness isn't your thing. "It's a very light sour base beer," he promises. Sounds right at home on the beach next to the barbeque. Although with more delicate flavors, Almanac recommends pairing this one alongside grilled fish and sushi.
All Farmer's Reserve releases are bottle conditioned, meaning there are still live yeasts doing their thing inside the glass. So if you have the patience -- and the discipline -- you could hold on to your bottle for several years to develop the nuanced complexities of this liquid gold. But I recommend having your beer and drinking it too. When Farmer's Reserve Citrus hits the shelves at the end of June, pick up two: one to rock and one to stock.