Almanac Astounding Enterprises

It’s been awhile since I had a beer from Almanac, so I was excited to try this one.

ABV: 9.2%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “IMPERIAL SOUR RED ALE AGED IN WINE BARRELS WITH MERLOT GRAPES, RASPBERRIES, CACAO & VANILLA BEANS. Astounding Enterprises is dedicated to the pioneering spirit of California. The term was coined by Mark Twain in the late 1800s while traveling through California. Twain viewed the pioneers’ bold endeavors as, ‘a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness.’ We created this adventurous beer-wine hybrid with that same intrepid spirit. Astounding Enterprises is blended from select barrels of imperial sour red ale aged with merlot grapes, raspberries, cacao and vanilla beans. Part wine, part beer and part autumn harvest—this brew is 100% California. Pair this decadent beer with dry aged steak, Coq au Vin or chocolate ganache cake. ‘It was a Splendid Population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.” – Mark Twain, Roughing It'”

Random: This beer is available in bottles and on draft.

The beer poured with no head and a bright pinkish-red body. It had some floaties and cloudiness as well, but I could still see some carbonation. The nose was filled with sour raspberries, oak and vanilla. Vinegar and strawberries came through next. The taste started with a lot of red wine barrel and tartness. There were big notes of berries, specifically blackberry, raspberry and strawberry. Cocoa came through next with some oak and vanilla. The body was on the thicker side of the style with a lot of carbonation. The finish was lengthy with vinegar and berries. I picked this bottle up for $14.99, which came to $1.16 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot. I think it would pair really well with French food.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Prairie/TRVE Sour Red Farmhouse Ale

I’ve been watching “Law and Order: SVU” religiously this season. Even though I miss the character of Stabler, I’ve been enjoying the season a lot. I never should have stopped watching the show. I think it’s going to end soon though, which would make me quite sad. Let’s talk about beer now.


ABV: 6.6%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our beer can now be found in over twenty five states and five continents. Every day we strive to bring you favorites like Bomb!, Standard, and Prairie Vous Francais while also pushing ourselves to create new inspiring beers.”

Random: I need to pick up some more beers of this style. I’ve still only had a few.

The beer poured with a half a finger of cream-colored head. It dissipated slowly and left a small amount of lacing on the glass with a large crown. The body was a murky brown with a little bit of carbonation visible. The nose had some dark fruit, specifically currants, and a touch of sourness as well. There were red grapes as well. The taste was slightly tart, but not overly intense. It quickly went into oak and vanilla. It had a lot of yeast too. The body was light with high carbonation. The finish was quick with oak and red grapes. A bottle of this wasn’t cheap at $11.99, which broke down to $.71 per ounce. This beer was a standout, but it seems like every beer from the brewery is. If you can find this one, pick up a bottle or two.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale

I found a bottle of this at Buy Rite in Pennington. Instead of giving a big introduction, I’m going to let the beer speak for itself.


ABV: 5.5%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent. Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from. This beer is 5.5% ABV and is available in 375 ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations. Red Poppy starts with a complex nose of tart cherries, vanilla and cinnamon like finish. There is also an underlying basis of yeast esters and wild yeast components that result in an extraordinary complex nose. Red Poppy starts its life out as our Dawn Patrol Dark. Post primary fermentation, we blend this with some of our Amigo Lager at transfer to barrel. During the fermentation in the barrel from the micro organisms, we gain acidity which results in a beer with hints of Vanilla, Tannins and Sourness from the Cherries and the secondary fermentation and extensive aging.”

Random: I had Dawn Patrol Dark earlier this year.

This beer poured with a thick, two finger, tan head that took its sweet time going away. It left a generous amount of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy mahogany with no visible carbonation because of how cloudy it was. The nose had tart cherries and oak with a red grape characteristics to it. The taste started with some cherry tartness and quickly went into the oak note with light vanilla. It had a vinous quality to it as well. Horse blanket from the brett was there, but was well-balanced with the other flavors. Right at the end of the sip, I picked up some bread. It had a light body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with tart cherry and oak. This is definitely not a cheap beer at $16.99 a bottle ($1.42 per ounce). This beer was just outstanding and one that I would have again and again. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying it yet, make sure that you do.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Cascade Kriek Ale

I found another Cascade beer during our last beer haul from Westchester. Let’s see how it went, especially given that it’s always written up in beer books.


ABV: 7.2%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Tart, barrel-aged beers are the emerging beer style and Cascade Brewing is a pioneer of the NW style sour beer movement. We are, by nature, the definition of artisanal brewing: we’re not bound by stylistic guidelines, just our own imagination and the ingredients we can access. Our brewery currently houses more than 750 French oak, Kentucky Bourbon and Northwest wine barrels filled with wheats, blonds, quads, reds, browns and porters that are aged and blended into magical elixirs. These beers have aggressive tart notes that are balanced by residual sugars, fruits, spices and the oak we use. We serve them all up for you at the Cascade Brewery Barrel House – or House of Sour – which features more than 18 rotating taps, with a predominantly sour lineup at any given time. We also offer a number of bottled products, all available at the source and some available online. We are proud to have recently received a rare score of 100 on Beer Advocate, a world-class rating.”

Random: I really love Cascade brews. I can’t believe I keep finding them wherever I go and couldn’t find them for years.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a slight, off white crown left on top of the body. The body was a dark reddish-brown that was cloudy with a lot of carbonation present. The nose had lots of tart cherries, vinegar and toasted oak. The taste was intensely tart with lots of vinegar and cherries. There wasn’t as much as oak and I was hoping for, but the taste was still really nice. The body was on the thick side of the style with lots of carbonation. It had a long finish with tart cherries. I really enjoyed this one. I would definitely have it again, although the price point is a bit high.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne

A couple of weeks back, Kate and I headed out to Maloney’s for a few brews and a snack. Since Twin Light is still closed, Maloney’s is probably the next best beer bar in the area. They have a giant selection and the food is pretty good. Here was my first selection…

ABV: 6%

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Trivia: According to, “Duchesse de Bourgogne is a Flanders red ale-style beer produced by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium. After a primary and secondary fermentation, this ale is matured in oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blend of a younger 8-month-old beer with an 18-month-old beer. The name of the beer is meant to honour Duchess Mary of Burgundy, the only daughter of Charles the Bold, born in Brussels in 1457, who died tragically young in a horse riding accident. Like all Flemish red ales, Duchesse de Bourgogne has a characteristically sour, fruity flavour similar to that of lambic beers.”

Random: I think I’m pretty much done with winter. I’m ready for it to get warm now.

This poured with a three finger, cream-colored head that dissipated very slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear mahogany with lots of active carbonation on the brew. The nose was tart cherries and maybe a touch of toasted oak. It was very fragrant and inviting. The taste was sweeter than the nose and presented with currants and a sprinkle of yeast. There wasn’t much oak present, but a hint of tartness came out at the end of the sip. This had really nice flavor which I thoroughly enjoyed. The body was on the thinner side with light carbonation on the tongue. It finished long and fruit with lots of cherries. This was definitely a great beer and I’m happy it was my first of the style.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0