We are so excited to bring you a new interview from Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Company. Jesse founded Almanac with Damian Fagen in 2010 when they started brewing beer right in their apartments in San Francisco. They started with the goal in mind of brewing seasonal ales, pairing different fruits each harvest, in order to compliment locals foods and and cuisine.
Jesse handles the receipt development, barrel selection, and managing the brewer and farm relationships, while Damian handles the visual design, bottle labels, and the day to day operations of the brewery. We are were pleased have Jesse take some time to talk about his passions and Almanac Beer. Enjoy!
Im Jesse Friedman. I’m one of the two Co-Founders at Almanac. I’m in charge of beer recipe developement, as well as heading up sales, working with local chefs on pairings, and putting together our beer dinners.
Going back to the beginning of your brewing career, do you remember the first beer you brewed and where?
The first beer I brewed was with a homebrew batch with my roommate, just after I moved to San Francisco. It was for an Irish Red. Everything went wrong – the grain bag scorched and tore, and then the priming sugars weren’t properly distributed. Half the bottles were flat, and the other half were gushers.
What people, if any, inspire you outside of the beer industry?
I look alot to the culinary world for inspiration. There are the local big thinkgers here in San Francisco such as Alive Waters and Michael Pollan, but I’m especially inspired by the local chefs who set out to create (and succeed) in making something genuinely new and delicious – like Anthony and Karen at Mission Street Food (Now Mission Chinese Food), who created a new way of building a restaurant around great food and philanthropic giving.http://blog.missionstreetfood.com.
When did Almanac Beer start and what is the inspiration for the name and it’s logo?
Almanac Beer launched as a business about a year ago, but Damian and I had been working on it for a few years before that. The name comes from the Farber’s Almanacs, which record each season. We try to do the same thing with our beer, and use hyper seasonal fruit that will leave a unique character from the season it was brewed. Our design work is all done in house by the other half of Almanac, Damian. The tree etching was custom made for us by a local artist, and really does a great job of making us stand out on the shelf. For us, the Oak tree and it’s roots it does a great job of illustrating that our beer is different, and directly ties to the seasons and local farms.
How would you best describe your brewing style?
Inspired by the local food scene in Northern California. We start with Belgian-style ales, then layer on local fruit, unique sugars, and (sometimes) a loose west-coast hand with the hops. We are less concerned with fitting into a particular style or category than with our beer being food friendly and delicious.
In what states and markets can our readers find you beer and is there a plan for expansion?
We’re currently only available in the San Francisco Bay Area, but are slowly expanding out to more of California.
Does Almanac have any new projects or beers coming down the pipeline to share with our readers?
We’re about to release our sophomore effort: a Farmhouse Pale with Plums. We brewed a Belgian-style Farmehouse Ale, then added in 1,000 Lbs of plums from Twin Girls Farms. We finished with a dry hopping of Cascade and Amarillo hope to give it a bright, citrusy aroma. It’s fermenting as I write this, and expect it to be out in the early November. You can learn more about this bere here.
Does Almanac have a Facebook or Twitter page for our readers to check out? If so, have you seen an impact on your brewery from these social networks?
Of course! We’re on Twitter @AlmanacBeer, and also on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/almanacbeer. We’re very active in social media, since it gives us a great way to communicate directly with customers and friends online. Sincer what we’re doing is different and new, it really makes a big difference to be available and transparent online. We love live blogging each brew, and then hearing back from customers how our beer is, and what they pair it with.
We’re online at AlmanacBeer.com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, which always has info about releases and upcoming events.
Okay, here’s a tough one for ya. If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh man. If I had to pick JUST one, it’d have to be Orval. I love it, especially since it ages so well in the bottle. Young it bright and hoppy, then if you let it age a bit, you get a while new beer – funky and farmhouse as the Brett takes over.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Jesse! Looking forward to drinking more of your beer. Make sure to get your hands on Almanac Beer if you are living or visiting Northern California.