The annual release of Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing Company (February 5th) is a reminder of how incredibly popular and respected that brewery is. But the gap between RR and the rest of the brewing community is quickly narrowing, and a few breweries here in Northern California are positioned to have a very big 2016. Namely, the five conveniently listed right here.
These two gypsy brewers (a term for brewers who borrow the gear to brew their beer), Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan, must split time between brewing and witchcraft. Almanac Beer Company has no taproom or production facility, but continues to stand tall in the beer community and garner more and more respect with each bottle filled. You can find the Almanac IPA, Dogpatch, and Golden Gate Gose -- the standards -- at many local stores. If you're able to do so, however, chase down a bottle of one of the Farmer’s Reserve ales (Citrus, Blackberry or Pluot). Very good sours on par with anything by Russian River or Rare Barrel.