Spotting a wolf in sheep's clothing is never easy, unless you've actually seen a sheep before, because then it's just, like, that's clearly a wolf with a sheep wrapped around him. For a new brew in wine's clothing, spot yourself some Almanac Beer, available Thursday at City Beer Store.
From two Mission-living dudes who met at a local home beer-ing club, Almanac is a gypsy-brewed artisanal ale that's carbonated/aged/labeled sort of like a wine, featuring quarterly releases beginning with Summer 2010 -- an 8% California-style tripel playthreat that's been aged in red wine oak barrels for 11 months at an East Bay brewery. Every Almanac release'll feature a fruit accent (their debut batch infuses 260lbs of Cherokee blackberries from Sebastopol), plus they'll all be carbonated like a good Champagne -- instead of forced CO2, they add yeast sugar for a naturalized in-bottle conditioning, also how Rip Torn trains for triathlons. The label'll be printed in St. Helena with hand-numbering/-dating and chrome-hammered detailing on the logo, a QR code on the back that'll take you to pairing recommendations, and a unique color scheme for each of the four yearly batch releases, ensuring "every beer will be a snowflake", though don't you dare tell that to Brad Pitt/Edward Norton.
Try it before anyone else at their bottle release party at City Beer Store this Thursday, along with perfectly pairing pickled pig trotters from Hapa Ramen (say that five times fast!), for-sale take-home 750ml bottles (available soon at Flour + Water), and on-tap specialty barrels, which'll assuredly be mutton short of amazing.