Beer On My Shirt: Almanac's Hoppy Sour Azacca

J.R. Shirt, March 31, 2016

The kitchen sink is clearly one of those things that exists to remind me that true happiness is not easily attainable. Just when I think I've mastered the art of existence, which is to say that I've developed the patience and skills necessary to pick up all the kids after work (I have two), prepare dinner, feed all the kids, and even speak to all the kids in loving and playful tones while Wife has to work late, doesn't it just figure that the kitchen sink would go and clog itself again.

I bet that throughout history, as communities saw an increase in indoor plumbing, that they also experienced a sharp rise in nervous breakdowns and insanity. Nothing gets under my skin more than standing water in places where there shouldn't be any standing water. A more modern phenomenon is the anxiety people feel when the internet should be working, but for what ever reason, is not working. Web pages loading is the modern man's (or woman's) standing water.

I imagine a situation where the sink is terribly clogged and I am attempting to watch DIY YouTube videos on snaking a drain but the internet is slow and videos keep buffering and so really the only choice is self immolation. It's never an easy choice, but it's a hell of a lot easier than taking a deep breath after Wife specifically directs you to take a deep breath. Get me the gas can, honey.

So with drain pours not an option at the moment, this Almanac Hoppy Sour Azacca had better be good. But really I'm just being dramatic, because I plunged the shit out of the drain a little bit ago and now it's sucking things down like that gate to hell from that movie The Gate. Or like that black hole in that movie where Matthew McConaughey gets sucked into a black hole and ends up behind his daughter's book shelf.

But really, no worries, because this beer, even with the $12 price tag for just over 12 and a half ounces, manages to exceed expectations. Okay, exceeds might be a strong word. I expected it to be delicious. And it was.

It poured out an almost rusty yellow that was simultaneously matte and bright. There was very little head and what was there off the pour was maybe off-white, but mostly just clear bubbles. And there was a haze that caught the light nicely and turned my tulip glass into a latern.

The aroma was SweetTarts, wood, and sour grapes initially. But slowly the candy and grapes morphed into more of a sour peach and mango juice smell that was somehow both earthy and acidic at the same time.

I braced myself for some serious tartness as I went in for my first sip but was pleasantly surprised how the tartness and acidity from the aroma played in the taste. I would say that first sip was expertly tart and then nicely sour as it passed over the back of my tongue. There were definite flavors of stone fruit and mango – big and juicy and tart all blended together very well – to the point that I half-expected some pulp residue on my lips after each sip.

The aftertaste is equal parts tropical juice and tart candy and sour grass, if that's a thing. And the sensation after each mouthful is like a million mouth cells waking up, stretching, shrinking back, and then looking around at one another with expressions of “did you hear that?”, but they're mouth cells so, you know, they hear tastes.

The feel offers the idea of fizz on the lips and tongue complimented by the tartness and juicy bitterness with a dry enough finish to make you want to maybe start all over or maybe just hang out with the aftertaste for another moment. It coats the mouth, but thankfully not the teeth.

Normally, I stay away from $12 small bottles, so I've passed on my fair share of Almanac at the bottle shop since it's been available in Pennsylvania. But I'd say this was worth it. I'm not going to rush out and buy another right away (mostly due to the price), but it will now be that much more difficult to stick to the budget next time I'm walking past those Almanac bottles at the beer store.

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