Almanac Summer Blackberry Ale 2010
Belgian-style Golden Ale brewed with four varieties of Sonoma County Blackberries
Aged in oak red wine barrels for 11 months, 8% ABV, 29 IBUs
Words from the Brewery
Brewed in collaboration with Sebastopol Berry Farm
Our golden ale reflects a dueling love of classic Belgian ales and American hops. We balance two row barley, pilsner malt and wheat with a touch of Magnum bittering hops added at the beginning of the boil, and a California-sized addition of Citra hops added at the end of the boil. This late hop addition adds a delicate grapefruit-peel aroma. We then age the beer in used oak wine barrels from California wineries with two hundred pounds of fresh Cherokee Blackberries, and another fifty pounds of Marion, Ollalie and Boysen Berries. All of our berries were hand picked at the family owned and operated Sebastopol Berry Farm.
After eleven months of barrel aging with the fruit, we blended the barrels back together with freshly brewed “base-beer” to reinvigorate the citrusy, hoppy aroma. Blended beer is re-fermented in the bottle to provide a final layer of complexity. Bottle conditioning provides a natural carbonation of superfine bubbles, similar to classic sparkling wines. The finished bottle is alive, and will continue to evolve and change over time, gaining nuance and character for years.
For optimal flavor, serve cool (50-55°) in a tulip or broad-bowl red wine glass to capture the aroma. Pour gently to avoid disturbing the natural sediment that accumulates at the bottom of the bottle during conditioning.
The fruity yet dry and complex flavors of our berry-infused ale offer limitless possibilities. Pair with delicate white fish or chicken to evoke its citrusy-floral aroma. Summer 2010 makes a great counterpoint to rich pork and duck dishes and is light enough to pair with salads—try adding toasted almonds or walnuts to bring out a subtle earthiness. For dessert pairings—cobblers, grilled stone fruit and berry tarts all complement the berry aromas and hints of toasted vanilla imparted from the oak barrels.
Try Summer 2010 paired with triple cream style cheeses, such as CowGirl Creamery’s Mt Tam. The beer’s hops and acidity balance the rich butteriness of the cheese perfectly. Serve with fresh summer fruit to heighten the fruit character of the beer.
Chef Jake Des Voignes
Sonoma Valley Duck Breast with Spelt, Raspberries, and Beets Pureed with Whey
Jake prepared Sonoma Valley duck breast with spelt, raspberries, and beets pureed with whey. As he put it, raspberries “heighten the fruitiness of the beer, and bring out the malt sweetness.” The beets bring out the earthy notes from the yeast.
Chef Tom McNaughton
Pork Trotter Scarpinocci with Kadota Figs, Mustard Greens, and Fresh Grated Horseradish
Tom’s “little wooden shoes” are stuffed with a rich filling of pork trotter meat, then balanced with bitter, salt, and sweet from the greens, cheese and figs. The range of flavors and textures brings out different components of our Summer 2010 Blackberry Ale. With fruit it explodes with the summer berry aroma – but with the baby greens, the bitter hop components shine through.