Farmers Reserve Citrus
Almanac Beer Co.
Unless there’s some other strain of bacterial infection in an as-of-yet-unexplored outpost of the beerverse, sour beers are my final frontier as a craft-beer fan. I’ve spent the last few years exploring beers with everything from the funky ripened fruit of Belgian yeast strains to the noble rot of fungus-covered grapes, and have forced my taste buds into recalibration from one style to the next. And as a result, I have new, greatly expanded parameters for beer enjoyment. For someone still at the bottom of what appears to be a steep learning curve of sour appreciation, San Francisco’s Almanac Beer Co.’s Farmers Reserve Citrus is a pretty bold/ridiculous place to start. This sour, or wild, ale (“sour blonde ale” is what the brewers call it) stacks the deck by adding the zest of citrons (“Buddha’s Hand” citrons, no less), tart Bergamont orange juice, sourdough starter (in addition to the wild American and Belgian yeast strains) before aging it in oak wine barrels. There is a little oak flavor in the background, and a hint of the vanilla flavor that’s advertised, but the overriding experience manufactured by all that attention paid to the sour side of the palate is, well, pretty freaking sour. But tart is the point here, and the super-long finish is fruity and a little funky and ultimately very enjoyable. Available locally at Spike’s Bottle Shop.