Allagash Farm to Face

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May has always represented the unofficial start of summer for me.  Thermometers gain toxic mercury, warblers start migrating north, sweaters are stashed in winter chests, farmers markets pop open, and the fuzz from peaches start to tickle the lips.  There is no quintessential summer fruit quite like a luscious peach bursting with nectar sent from God himself.  The fruits from the farm might be the best part about the summer months… and Allagash is capitalizing off of this by brewing an especially tartly, refreshing brew.  Farm to Face is an American pêche brewed in Maine with peaches from a local orchard in New Hampshire (ironically called Applecrest Farm) and fermented with souring yeast.  Over 6,000 pounds of heaven peaches find their way into the barrels for aging, which for me, makes this the unofficial beer of summer.  Time to run them numbers…

IMG_4657Appearance:  Hazy orange with little head retention.  What I’d expect to see out of a pêche from Allagash.

Smell:  Stone fruit, lemon, acidity, peaches, must, wood.  I’m not getting a huge peach aroma and it’s pretty balanced for being a fruited sour.  Time to dive in.

Taste:  Unfreaking believable.  Huge sour punch up front that nails the tip and sides of tongue – it hurts so good.  And just as you’re recovering from the massive blow of sour euphoria, you get hit by truckloads of peaches.  This beer has more peach flavor than Georgia.  It is so distinguishable and so present that I’m left scratching my head wondering how the heck Allagash did it.  Pechish Woods was a fine beer also made by a New England brewery, but Farm to Face blows it out of the water, especially with its fruit presence.  Typically, when I’ve had fruit forward beers like this, my palate gets used to the sourness or the fruit flavors relatively quickly and the beer drops off as you drink, but from start to finish with this Allagash I never had that experience.  Peaches and sour for miles.  The mustiness and wood flavors from the oak don’t really impart themselves all that much – maybe some slight tannic bitterness on the finish – but this beer drinks very clean for being barrel aged for nearly a year.

IMG_4649The ABV on this brew is low at only 5.7% and does not distract from the glorious flavors in the bottle.  The mouthfeel is light and the carbonation is present.  Nothing overpowering, but in that perfect sweet spot for lower ABV sour.  And of course, the drinkability.  If I could make one beer an Everlasting Gobstopper, it would be this one.  I could crush these; it would be my summer beer in the spring, fall, and winter.

Overall:  Well, at this point you know where this is going.  A+ and into the hall of fame.  Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever had.  I did have this beer two other times – once on draft (2015) and once in the bottle (same as this one – 2014).  The 2015 did not taste this fruit forward from what I recall and compared to the previous 2014 bottle, I can say that aged served this well.  It’s much more sour but the fruit hasn’t dropped off at all.  Hit the trading forums, this is one that you’ll want to experience just like that first ripened peach in May.

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OEC Brewing Experimentalis with Meyer Lemons

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Baby boomers know what it’s like to experiment.  They grew up in the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  They ride in the coattails of the greatest generation and they made a lot of mistakes – some that resulted were called millennials.  Like their parents, millennials aren’t afraid to break boundaries, however unlike their kin, they are often willing to try things that their beatnik parents would scoff at.  “What’s that you’re drinking Kayden?  A non lagered beer with estate grown organic lemons from Connecticut that tastes sour?  You kids have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world.”  Relax pops, it’s something that you just don’t understand.  In fact, many people may not understand what it’s like to be a little eccentric.  Thankfully, that’s OEC’s middle name.  Literally.  How will a lemon sour wine-gin aged beer taste?  How about we stop wondering and start experimenting.

Appearance:  Hazy yellow like a 8:00 sunset in July.  This beer looks like summer.  No head, but so inviting – its golden colored body is as pretty as a flowing, sun drenched blonde hair.

IMG_4547Smell:  Lemon drops.  That’s the first thing that comes to mind when giving this a whiff.  Tart, but cloyingly sweet at the same time.  The lemon I’m getting is all flavor and no sour… if that makes sense.  The harsh acidity and fierce citrus I thought I’d get is really dialed back and instead there is a sweeter, more approachable beer in my glass than I would have imagined.

Taste:  What’s happening inside of my mouth is very interesting.  There are a lot of flavors going on at the same time that it’s hard to sort things out.  One noticeable (and relatively expected) flavor is that of the lemons.  It’s not like what you’d get when squeezing lemon into water, but more like the smell of a freshly zest lemon.  The the lemon adds flavor and not an overwhelming amount of tartness, though the beer is fairly sour.  I would contribute that tartness to the barrel aging process – I honestly don’t feel as if the astringency and acidity of the lemon is contributing much to the sourness in here (not to sound like a broken record).  The second big flavor I’m getting is the wood.  You can taste all 16 months of the aging process with this guy.  Mick Dodge would love this brew.  It’s the second most wood forward beer I’ve had and is ringing bells of Ralph by the Ale Apothecary.  There is some pineyness in this brew, though it’s much more subdued than Ralph, yet it still adds a lot of earthiness.  I’m not sure if that earthiness is ramped up by the botanicals from the gin, the wood, the wine, or the lemons, but its there for sure.  Though this is clearly a sour beer, the tartness is what least jumps out to me.  The flavors here are so pronounced that you almost forgeIMG_4562t about how puckering this beer is.  It is balanced by some sweetness so it’s a little deceiving, but it’s still a classic old world sour.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for being a mere 4.8%… OEC brews tend to be full bodied even though they are always barrel aged and vary with ABV.  The carbonation is light, which also boots the mouthfeel and is also a classic indicator of an OEC sour.  The beer is super drinkable and has enough intrigue to keep you interested though all 750mLs.

Overall:  It’s certainly not coming close to the best sour I’ve had, but it is really interesting.  I appreciate that about OEC.  I’ve never had a beer from them where I haven’t thought to myself, “hmmmmm.”  The flavors and the originality of this beer make it worth while.  The eccentricity of this brew bumps it to a B+/A-.  Grades the babyboomers never saw in their lives.

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Sante Adairius Rustic Ales West Ashley

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Fall backward, spring forward.  I’m springing forward with yet another apricot infused sour on my favorite day of the year.  This one hails from the golden state and a brewery some are dubbing the Hill Farmstead of the weIMG_4150st coast – Sante Adairius Rustic Ales.  This is their second go around on Beer Chatter after an inaugural successful review of Fruit Punch 2; a brew packed with a whole lot of red fruits and beaming with flavor.  I’m hoping that West Ashley will be as bright and crisp as our newly enjoyed 7:00 sunsets!  Let’s run them numbers…

Appearance:  I already used this pun, but what the hell – it is my favorite day of the year… it looks like a 7:00 sunset.  Golden in color and quite hazy, it looks exactly like how an apricot sour should.  There are some floaties in here – I’m only assuming they are part of the flesh of an apricot.

Smell:  Tart apricots, hugely fruit forward with the stone fruit.  Citric Acid – maybe some lemon, but just really apricot forward.

IMG_4166Taste:  Really sour.  Huge puckering upfront that just stings and stings.  Three sips in, the palate gets acclimated to the sour flavors and the beer begins to open up.  This beer is giving me flavors of apricot, lemon, peach, plum, and granny smith apples.  The most prominent fruit in here are the apricots, for obvious reasons, but even with that said, this brew isn’t as packed with as much flavor as I would expect.  My most recent bottle of Fou had so much more flavor in comparison and was a year older than this as well.  As I continue to drink the apricot shows up for a few seconds, then off it goes.  It doesn’t linger like it does with Fou, or even the Bruery’s Filmishmish… which doesn’t have nearly as many fanboys. Don’t get me wrong I’m digging on this brew, but I’ve had others that seem to compete with this.  The midpalate is just sour with some minor fruitiness and the finish is crisp and dry like the season we just left.

IMG_4155Unlike old man winter, West Ashley doesn’t beat you up as much with it’s ABV ticking in at 7.3%.  Though this is high-ish for many sours, there is no trace of it in the glass.  The carbonation on this Sante beer is right in the sweet spot for a sour.  Lively small bubbles but nothing that makes you burp every 30 seconds.  The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied; I think the unfiltered brew helps to boast its body.

Overall:  For how increasingly hard this beer is becoming to land, I don’t think it’s worth the price tag you’d have to “pay” for it.  There are other sours that give me the same amount of satisfaction, one that comes to mind is Incorrigible Sour Reserve by New Holland, and that has a price tag of $7.  This does not blow me away, but regardless, it’s still a great beer.  If I considered value, I’d give this brew a C+.  If I am basing it on taste alone, it scores an A-.  With that said, I’m glad I had it once, will probably never have it again, and I’m completely content with that.  Go out and enjoy this beautiful day!

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The Ale Apothecary Ralph

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Laughter is the best medicine?  Not according to this apothecary.  Tucked away in Bend, Oregon lies The Ale Apothecary.  A brewery focusing on old world, small batch, and unordinary brewing.  Founded by Deschuttes’ former brewer, Paul Arney, this brewery isn’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum.  Case and point is the beer being brought to you today: Ralph.  Aged for over 1 year in oak barrels and dry ‘hopped’ with fir needed from Oregon trees.  I’m just as curious as you are.  Let’s run them numbers

Appearance:  Cloudy golden brown with a head that vanished as quick as you could say “fir needles.”  No lacing as I went.

Smell:  Very woody and very musty.  Tree bark, earthy, dirt, and sour.  Strange to say the least.

Taste:  Woah, so interesting.  This really strange… it’s like somebody filtered Coolship Resurgam or Tilquin Squared through cheesecloth with tree bark, wet wood, and pine cones.  It’s sour, but it is the most earthy beer I’ve ever had.  Those fir needles are front and center;  I must say I’m kind of shocked with how much pine tree I’m getting out of this.  The most prominent flavor I’m getting besides the great outdoors is lemon and some stone fruit.  The brew actually finished with some sweetness and is not at all overly dry, which again is unique for a sour.  Ralph was lightly carbonated but had a more viscus mouthfeel to it, perhaps in part to an ABV of 7.22%.

Overall:  I’m still not quite sure what to make of this.  I can’t help but think I’m drinking dirt at points during this session.  Other times Pinesol.  Other times tree bark.  I’ll give it a B-/C.  It’s not particularly enjoyable, but it is one heck of an experience that I’ll likely never have again.  It tastes like hiking.

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Tilquin Oude Mûre À l’ancienne (2014 – 2015)

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When people ask you what your favorite beer is, it can often be a tougher question than who you favorite child is.  It all depends on the day, the season, the month, the weather, the time, etc…  However, I can unequovically claim that Tilquin Quetsche is in the top 5 of all time for me.  Tilquin Squared may very well be my favorite non-fruited sour (that or Allagash Coolship Resurgam).  Regardless, this gueuzerie from Belgium has been making sours that are simply delectable.  I’m hoping lightening strikes for a third time with their newly released Mûre, a lambic aged on blackberries.  Let’s run them numbers to find out…

Appearance:  Reddish maroon with some haze to it.  Second pour was much more opaque than the first as more of the schmutz fell into the bottle.  No head to speak of and no lacing as I drank.

Smell:  Classic gueuze and Tilquin funk going on.  Musty oak, sour fruit, and mild acidity.  No heavy hint of blackberry on the sniff – in fact, outside of the beers color, I don’t think I’d say this was a fruited sour on smell alone.

Taste:  Refreshing.  Tart oak up and base gueuze up front followed by stinging lemon sourness.  Not a ton of blackberrIMG_3867y at first sip or even during the mid palate, but you get a quick spray of them on the finish – very subtle.  It’s a little disappointing with the lack of fruit in here, however the taste of this beer is on point.  Cobwebby oak, hot attic, stone fruit, and acidic.  Everything I would want out of a Belgian sour that has a 10 year shelf life.  I will mention that on the second pour, the beer got a little sweeter and had more fruit.  I would recommend rolling this bottle to break up the yeast cake before pouring – the second pour has a bigger tart fruit finish than the first.

The body on this brew is also part of the reason why I like it so much – it’s thinner than balding 30 something’s hair.  It makes it super easy to drink and complements what little fruit I do find on the finish.  The 6.4% ABV is something that I come to expect out of Tilquin and is average to above average for sours of this style.  The carbonation is right where I want it for a fruited sour as it was a little more bubbly than most beers, but again helped with it’s easy drinkability.

Overall:  I enjoyed Tilquin Mûre.  It reminded me a lot of Quetsche only it was a little thinner on the body.  It was as sour as their plum lambic, which I was a big fan of, but the lack of bursting blackbarry was a bit disappointing.  I’d certainly buy it again if I found it on the shelf, but I have had fruited sours with a little be more… well, fruit.  Overall, I’ll give it an A-.  Not a top 5, but still very tasty.

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De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht Reserva

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Belgian beer aged in Bordeaux barrels for 25 months.  Do I have your attention?  Stille Nacht Reserva comes from the Belgian concoctory known as De Dolle – they serve up their holiday brew with a twist.  That twist is wine, oak, and 750mL of glory.  I want to try this beer so I’m just going to cut straight to it.  Time for them numbers…

Appearance:  A fake tan orange dominates the body of this beer and gives way to the smallest white head I’ve seen.  Zero lacing as I drank since the head vanished quicker than baseball players at a steroid convention.

IMG_3731Smell: Very vinous, caramel, wood, apples, sour butterscotch, dark cherry – overall, pretty complex on smell alone.  Many sours give you straight citrus and acidity, where this throws a curve with how sweet the aroma is mixed with a big wine like acidity.

Taste:  The first flavors I identified were sweet sugar, caramel, and grain, but then it tarts up nicely with freshly picked apples, grapes, and cherries.  The fruity characteristics have a wonderful lightness to them and completely balance out the sweeter tastes I detected initially.  After a few sips, this beer leans to being more tart than sweet; it also is hovering the line of wine v. beer for me.  The sweeter, grain, caramel tastes originally had me thinking barleywine, but the sour notes I’m finding are reminiscent to a fine bottle of vino – fruity, acidic, and tart.  This is one of the most complex beers I’ve had in some time and it delivers on so many angles.  Underneath the sweet and fruity notes I’m getting some tannins from the wood shooting off some bitterness and a warming alcohol kick and some typical rock-candy, Belgian yeast.  The finish is semi-dry and the booze found in here is present, but is so much like a nice red wine – warming, purposeful, and not overwhelming.

IMG_3734The more I think about this beer, the more amazed I am with how flawless this tastes.  There are so many variables that can go awry when crafting a beer like this – over carbed, under carbed, too much contact with the wood, temperature fluctuations when in the wood, time in the barrels… somehow, this liquid makes it out and everything is OK.  The carbonation is minimally present, but doesn’t detract from beer at all since it’s very liberal with the ABV, which clocks in at a grumbling 12%.  The mouthfeel is naturally a little thicker because of this, but the flavors in here are light enough so that it does not become a distraction.

Overall:  Decadent.  This beer isn’t for everybody as it’s something truly unique in an over saturated craft beer market.  When it comes to barrel aged Belgians, I can’t imagine that they get more complex than this.  I have to give it an A+ and a nod into the HOF.  Such a complex brew – it needs to be recognized.

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Side Project / 2nd Shift Brewing P.A.R.K.A.S.

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Whenever I was assigned a group project in high school, college, or grad school, I was always the first student with their hand raised to ask the question, “Is it all right if I work by myself?”  I dreaded group work more than Superman dreaded Kyptonite, more than republicans dreading rational thought, and more than Hillary Clinton dreads incoming emails.  I never liked relying on somebody else unless because I always felt I’d be the one to elevate the other person… type A and arrogant, I know… but I hated it.  To put faith into somebody else when my name was attached to it was always a struggle for me, however for Corey King of Side Project Brewing, it’s no big thang.  He teamed up with 2nd Shift Brewing out of IMG_3652Missouri to craft a beer creatively named P.A.R.K.A.S. (puppies and rainbows kittens and shit).  That said, I wonder if my glass full of liquid is the pot of gold at then end of this bottle.  Time to run them numbers…

Appearance:  A cloudy golden color that gave off a white head.  The froth disappeared almost immediately and there was no lacing to be seen in the Charente stemware.  Really digging the color of the brew – perfectly authentic to a wood aged saison.

Smell:  White wine, granny smith apples, lemon, lime, oak, minerality, and lactic greek yogurt.  This smells more sour than I expected, but no complaints about that from me; it gives off a very similar scent to Casey Saison.  Can’t wait to dive into it!

Taste:  A luscious lactic sourness on first sip that immediately gave me memories of Lady in the Woods by Cisco.  It has that same Chobani yogurt tartness going on and tricks you into thinking the body is creamier than it is; tIMG_3663he lactic presence in here is prominent and stings the sides of the tongue.  Once the palate gets used to the sourness from the acidity, the brew opens up like presents under the tree.  The first flavor I identified once I became acclimated to the brew was the yeast in here.  It has a very typical Belgian saison taste and reminds me of what I tasted in the saison from Casey.  The yeast is much more prominent than I would have thought, but it brings some balance to the beer giving off some clove, banana, and rock candy equalizing the tartness… well at least it attempts to equalize the sour.  A light oak character is picked up on well after you swallow leaving a dry, tannic character that coaxes you back into the glass.

The dryness of the beer isn’t surprising since it’s a barrel aged sour, but for how light and delicate this tastes, an ABV of 6.2% may raise some eyebrows.  While it’s not over the top, its slightly above average for barrel aged saisons and goes completely undetected in the taste.  The mouthfeel is light to mediIMG_3653um bodied – the sweetness of the saison bumps it up a little but it sure is an easy drinker.  The carbonation is right in the wheelhouse of many saisons with fine, crisp bubbles.

Overall:  This is a very well conceived beer.  Cory King and the folks at 2nd Shift likely passed kindergarten with flying colors; you can tell they worked well with one another and were more than willing to listen and share ideas.  To quote the late Steve Jobs, “It just works.”  The balance between saison and sour is executed with precision in P.A.R.K.A.S. and I admire its simplicity.  No fruit, no double barreling, no spices… just a great wine aged farmhouse.  I have to give these two breweries an A.  The beer is really impressive and demonstrates teamwork better than the 2003 Ohio State football team.

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Casey Plum Fruit Stand

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It’s been documented… one of, if not my absolute favorite sour beer is Tilquin Quetsche, a Belgian gueuze aged on plums.  It is so tart and so easy drinking.  I’m hoping this fruited sour from Casey can compete on some level with Tilquin, but my expectations are tempered just because those are some high standards to compete with.  Let’s compare plums to plums and run them numbers…

Appearance:  Much different in color than Quetsche.  Quetsche had a purple hue and was quite murky, where clearly this does not have any depth of color.  However, Shiro plums have white-ish skins, so clearly they would not contribute to the color as opposed to the deep purple plums used by Tilquin.  It poured with a very small white head and had a murky, yellow/orange color that laced as I drank.

Smell:  Big mustiness from the oak – that’s the first thing that jumps out on aroma.  Wafts of lemon, lime, citrus, and tart plum all are in there as well, and it smells as if it is going to be quite sour.

Taste:  Giant sourness on first sip.  Really puckering, but I can’t say that was unexpected.  A ton of sour citrus is what this beer reminds me of – lemon, lime, passion fruit, and, though this wouldn’t jump out at me without reading the label, I get tart plum skin.  The sweetness in the flesh of the plum is absent to me and I’m just hit with a nice sour wave.  This beer is awesomely tart.  Like other Casey beers, most notably their saison, this beer has a minerally taste to it which coIMG_3621mplements the citrus in here and makes it quite refreshing.  This variant of their Fruit Stand serious finishes dry, but not toooooo dry – a good balance.  Other than sour, citrus, and minerals, nothing else is jumping out.

The combination of citrus and minerality paired with a light body make this beer incredibly drinkable.  Carbonation was present and I could feel it push out the last quarter inch of cork when opening this up.  The ABV matches the light body at only 5.5% which makes this beer perfect for a 90 degree day.

Overall:  A great beer yet again by Casey, and I will give this guy an A.  The sourness hits you on the first sip and does not fade off at all when drinking, however I would desire a bit more fruit flavors out of this brew.  All said and done, this is my second favorite plum sour.

UPDATE: So I only stole a little sample of this to review because I saved the rest to split with a friend.  When we split it and got to the yeast cake, we stopped pouring, however as our glasses neared the end there was a huge musty, moldy, dirty taste that must have came from the barrel.  It was pretty off putting and I have to downgrade this to a B overall.  First pour great, last pour crapy.

 

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales Fruit Punch 2

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Sante Adairius is making noise in the craft beer world and has for a little while now.  Tucked away about an hour and a half south of San Francisco, this brewery specializes in all styles of beer, but craft beer nerds go wild for their sour ales.  Fruit Punch 2 fits that mold for sure.  Brewed with Blackberries and Boysenberries, aged in oak casks, and bottled in limited quantities, I am very much looking forward to drink this guy today.  This is where I’d usually put the “run the numbers” part in my intro, but I was curious as to why this beer is just labeled 16e.

SARA makes many other beers that are also adorned with the 16e label, so I did a little digging to figure out why that’s the case.  16e is a category that the Beer Judge Certification Program broIMG_3596adly classifies as a “Belgian Specialty Ale” and rumor has it that whenever SARA concocted one of their non-regular sour ales that they entered in competitions, they always threw it in that category.  This just happens to be one of the recipes that they feel fits in the 16e category and because it’s not part of their regular line up, it’s one-offed into this bottle.  Now with that behind us, let’s run them numbers!

Appearance:  So pretty.  Lucius red lipstick in color which makes this beer very aptly named based on looks alone.  There was little to no head at all and also no lacing as I drank either.

Smell:  Sour notes, big raspberry, cherry, cinnamon, and mulled cider.  This smells incredible and much better than Rosé de Gambrinus and Cantillon Kriek combined.  So much fruit with a little lactic notes, this is going to be great.

Taste:  Big fruitiness up front with sour cherries, raspberries, and blackberries leading the way.  A nice amount of sourness is coming from the beer, but nothing like Valley of the Heart’s Delight – it’s nicely balanced between sour and a big fruit punch (pun intended).  I think I might have had a boysenberIMG_3594ry once in my life, and I would say that this beer seems like it fits the mold of that – I get a liiiiiiiiitle bit of sweetness and then the pucker from any picked berry.  A little musty as well, but I could be confusing that for oak.  Fruit punch is very fruit forward, but has a light crisp flavor than can lose its powerfulness after 5 or so sips.  It’s good, just wish it had more staying power.  The finish is tart and dry and I also get some pitted olive that I’ve found in several other sours.

The beer was super drinkable with a light body and active bubbles, a great pair to have together.  The ABV in Fruit Punch was much bigger that I was expecting at 7.4%, which is substantial for a sour.  There was zero hint of any booze in this beer, just a lot of fruit.

Overall:  I liked Fruit Punch 2, but for how hard this beer is to get and the diminishing flavor it had after a few sips, it doesn’t seem worth it to me to seek it out.  Yes, it was a great beer, but at the end of the day, it didn’t deliver as much flavor as Cantillon Kriek or other Allagash fruited sours (which are not easy to acquire, but easier than this brew).  However, the fact that this beer is in the conversation with the aforementioned breweries proves that it’s an A-/A beer.  This is one heck of a 16e.

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Almanac Beer Co. Valley Of The Heart’s Delight (2013, Batch 1)

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Beer, football, my dog, great conversations, better company, laughs, and fun.  That’s what lies in the valley of my heart’s delight – all things that make me happy.  Almanac Beer Company, from the Valley of the Heart’s Delight (AKA Santa Clara-ish, California) would choose to fill theirs with apricots, cherries, loquats, and wine barrels.  Those things make me happy too, but they’re much better in a brewer’s hands which is why I’m so excited to crack the top of this brew!

IMG_3541This fruited sour in particular is a little special seeing that this is the first ever batch made by Almanac.  I usually don’t tout things like that in my reviews, but in this case, it’s worth mentioning.  Almanac still continues to make Valley Of The Heart’s Delight, and by no means is it a one off, however in their most recent batch, some of the flavors of the beer have been eliminated.  Gone are the cherries and locquats and all that was left for the 2015 batch were the apricots.  How might that impact the beer?  Everybody knows what a cherry is… red thing, green stem, pit in the middle, size of a ping pong ball(ish).  However, not too many people are familiar with a loquat, which is a type of stone fruit like an apricot, peach, or plum.  My research tells me they have a citrusy taste, but can also be quite sour when under-ripe, which would give this particular batch of beer a unique taste compared to later versions.  …But enough about the nuances, let’s run them numbers!

IMG_3557Appearance:  A very fine, pale gold in color with the smallest white head.  Carbonation is really going in here and was noticed as soon as I pried off the cap with a loud hiss.  No lacing as I drank.

Smell:  Musty oak, lactic acid, pineapple, slight yeast (on the second pour), lemon, peaches, and plum.  I can tell there are stone fruits in here and this is going to pucker, but what I did not get was any hint of the cherries at all.

Taste:  Holy sour, upon sour, upon sour.  This brew is so sour that it traveled across my palate, to my jaw, to my ear drums and left them quivering in fear.  It’s the most puckering beer I’ve had… very close with Lady Of The Woods (coincidental that both of the most sour beers I’ve had have “of the” in the title).  This beer is kick ass sour!  Ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’m also getting a lot of dry, tart, stone fruit.  Peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums shine away, and I’m sure that I’m picking up flavors of loquats – although I never had one, the flavors in here are consistent as to what I’ve read about: lemon, lime, citrus, acidic.  After that initial wave of sour and fruit, the beer kind of dies off.  The experience I’m getting from this beer is what I’d imagine a nuclear bomb would be like going off in your mouth.  A quick sudden jolt of explosive, mind-rattling sour flavors, then it’s over in a flash.  There isn’t really a mid-palate or finish to the beer, unless you count twitching cheek muscles as finish… seriously, my mouth feels like it “fell asleep” and is being pricked by millions of tiny needles.  I cannot overstate how astonishingly sour this beer is.  The only other word, besides stone fruit and sour, I can use to describe this beer is dry.  Very, very dry.

IMG_3540To be quite frank, I never even noticed the mouthfeel or alcohol in this beer mainly because the only thing my mind could focus on was the sourness.  After really paying attention to it, the mouthfeel is thin and there is zero presence of any alcohol, although it clocks in at a surprising 7% ABV.  The carbonation was zesty on this brew adding to the perceived sourness, but this also had 2.5 years to completely ferment out leaving excess CO2 as a byproduct.

Overall:  This beer is like smelling salt for your mouth.  The flavors are incredibly sharp, sour, assertive, and aggressive.  This is NOT for the faint of heart, and certainly not a sour beer to introduce people to.  With all of that said, I have to give this beer a very subjective A+ and entry into the hall of fame.  I love sour beers; I especially love sour beers that are “too sour.”  This fits that definition, but also adds in pleasant stone fruit flavors, even though they left my palate very quickly.  An incredibly sour that is forever welcomed in the valley of my heart’s delight.

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