There's no shortage of craft beer-makers in the US. Over the past decade, the number of microbreweries, brew pubs and home-brewers has exploded—just about everybody has a friend who insists his or her homemade IPA beats anything on tap. However a fresh approach to beer-making is always welcome, and Almanac Beer Company has done just that. Based in the heart of Northern California's wine country, the crew at Almanac has taken a few cues from their nearby oenologist brethren.
Rather than crafting beers that taste the same time and again, Almanac strives to brew beers that capture a particular time and place—similar to wine. The brand's more classic flavors, like the Extra Pale Ale and Honey Saison, are solid beers. However, it's when the creativity flows in the Farm-to-Bottle series that Almanac shines. In time for fall Almanac released their pumpkin barley wine: With heirloom pumpkins harvested from a nearby farm and a base of bourbon barrel-aged barley wine, the seasonal brew has a creamy richness lost on the average pumpkin beer. For those patient enough, the barley wine can continue to age in the bottle for up to three years, with the passing of time contributing to the flavor's complexity.
Almanac beer is currently available at finer retailers throughout California. If you're not in the Golden State, head to Craftshack, where a four-pack of the Farm-to-Bottle brew starts at just $10.
Images by Hans Aschim and Graham Hiemstra