It seems that this is not directly possible, but you can add an additional column to achieve something like this:
- Go to Preferences → Add your own columns
Add custom column:
- Give it a name and a heading (this will be displayed in the tag browser)
- Select Column built from other columns
Under "Template", enter the name of the date-based column you want to display, e.g.:
- Enable Show in tags browser
- Apply and restart Calibre
Now this new column should be displayed as category in the tag browser.
Note that you can hide it as column in the book list, it will still work in the tag browser.
Unfortunately, the grouping is not really helpful, because it uses only the year’s first character like "1" and "2" (in case of "By first letter"), or a range like "1985 - 1997" and "1997 - 2014" (in case of "Partition").
In the first case, filtering by group doesn’t seem to work correctly, and in the second case filtering isn’t possible by design.
So you might want to exclude this category from partitioning (under: Preferences → Look and Feel → Tag Browser), in which case you get a simple list: