by Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes
9.5% ABV Purchased at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa ($5.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.
This “Quadrupel ale brewed with flame raisins, candi sugar and oranges” pours a date-like dark brown with a small, off-white head. The richly inviting nose offers classic Belgian Quad aromas of raisins, dark fruits, nuts and a hint of maple, but the first swallow beckoned some unexpected flavors, especially on the sharp and seltzer-y finish. It’s no wonder the bottle suggests pairing Paris of the West with Roquefort cheese, and even as the brew warmed, it became apparent that we probably needed food to fully bring out the flavors. That seltzer aftertaste is likely due to the unusual addition of oranges, as subsequent sips brought forth fruitcake-like flavors of citrus peel and dried fruits and nuts. Not fully successful but consistently interesting, and I love the willingness of Almanac to push the envelope on familiar beer styles.
Daniel Barnes and Darcey Self-Barnes have been blogging about craft beer at His & Hers Beer Notes since January 2012. Darcey is a freelance designer and illustrator, and Daniel is a film critic for the Sacramento News and Review and a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.