Gravenstein apples, the pride of Sonoma County, are pretty tough to get your hands on. According to a good San Francisco Chronicle guide The apple varietal, which originated in Denmark and Russia, was so plentiful that the dried fruit and sauce were included in World War II soldier rations. Now Gravenstein groves occupy less than 1000 acres in a county that finds more value in wine grapes. Thankfully, Lagunitas Brewing Company found a great use for Gravenstein apples, which are only available for about a month to end summer.
GravensTime Apple is an uncharacteristic IPA brewed with apples that are grown near the Petaluma brewery. IPA hop bitterness balances beautifully with the apple’s sweet tart juices, resulting in a cloudy, effervescent, almost wine like beer. Some people capture the seasons through pickling or by making jellies or jam, but after tasting GravensTime, I vote for beer.