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Cheers!: The Year of the Blackberry

If I had to name my favorite beery trend of 2017 to date, I could do it in just one word – blackberries.

“The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

Pacific Gas & Electric, “The Blackberry” (1970)

I certainly can’t explain why blackberries never crossed my path before. Raspberries, sure. Strawberries, OK. Blueberries, even. But no one was doing blackberries, not even in the homebrew world. Black walnuts, yes. Black berries, no.

And now the world has discovered the tart beauty of blackberries and what they bring to beer. Despite what Charlie Allen of Pacific Gas & Electric sings about the sweet blackberry juice, what they really bring to the table is an exquisite tartness.

This year I’ve had blackberry porter, stout, ale and a variety of sours – basically, everything but a blackberry lager.

The latest blackberry beer to be revealed to me by the magic fridge is Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry, one of the Farm to Barrel series from the Almanac Beer Co. of San Jose, Calif.

This is a sour blonde ale that that has been aged in wine barrels with blackberries. Its color is a lovely translucent purple, and, like fellow Minnesotan Prince, I’m partial to purple, so the color has me right off.

The taste is the very essence of blackberry, with a red wine finish. There’s a nice fizziness too that helps to impart a big round tart bubble of flavor inside your mouth.

I am officially in love with this beer. I have had other iterations in the Almanac Farm to Barrel series, most recently a Pluot, I believe, but this Blackberry Reserve is to me the most memorable.

This is the beer I would bring on a trip to the Itchycoo Park that Steve Marriott sang about with the Small Faces – it’s all too beautiful!

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