Of all the anticipated beer brands entering the Florida distribution market — Alpine, Toppling Goliath, Duck Rabbit and 21st Amendment, to name a few — the one I'm most excited about is Almanac Beer Co., a San Francisco-based brewery specializing in wild and farmhouse-style ales.
Fans of Almanac are likely familiar with its Farm-to-Barrel line of beers, all of which feature beers aged in oak casks. These beers include the popular Farmer's Reserve wild ale series, as well as the new Hoppy Sour beers: blends of foudre-fermented farmhouse ale and wine barrel-aged golden sour ale, dry-hopped with a single hop variety. Dry-hopping sour ales has been in vogue for the past year or so, but few breweries have pulled off the technique to as great effect as Almanac.
Hoppy Sour Mosaic was in the first round of Almanac beers to hit Florida distribution. The mosaic hop is known for its bright, citrus and tropical fruit aromas, and these are very evident in Hoppy Sour Mosaic, which bursts with pineapple and mango notes as soon as the cap comes off.
The blend of farmhouse ale fermented with brettanomyces yeast (which provides a subtly musty, funky character to the beer) and wine barrel-aged sour ale creates a nice balance, with a pleasant lactic tartness softened by the rich, complex farmhouse ale. It's juicy, like biting into a fresh peach. Although the beer is "hoppy," it's not bitter at all, with the Mosaic hops contributing primarily in the aroma department.
At a retail of around $10 per 375-milliliter bottle, the Almanac Hoppy Sour Mosaic isn't cheap, but it's an expertly crafted example of an up-and-coming style that many people have not yet become acquainted with.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent