Russian River

Day 2 of my Bay Area trip started with brunch with cousins, then a scenic drive to a short coastal hike, before reaching the main event: the visit to Russian River Brewing. For some reason I hadn’t had much of their beer before they pulled distribution out of Washington state at the end of 2012. Guess you never know what you’re missing until it’s gone, right? Anyway, we showed up Sunday evening, and it was pretty crowded. That weekend was the Beatification release, so that might’ve had something to do with it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just always crowded. We put our names down, wandered the main street and found some mediocre pizza, and made it back a few minutes before our table came up. I did my usual taster tray thing, and by the time I’d made my way through, I wanted to order a second one and repeat the experience. Instead I had a glass of the Beatification, which I’d decided was my new favorite sour.

russian river visualization

Successful pilgrimage to Russian River Brewing — Santa Rosa, CA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Yvan the Great – 6.3% – Beer Camp Across America collaboration with Sierra Nevada Brewing. Belgian-style Blonde. Light clove aroma. Great start with fun spiciness on the tongue and clove/banana flavors, to light breadiness, and great lingering flavors. Wonderful mix.
  • O.V.L. Stout – 4.15% – Dry and creamy. Big coffee and chocolate flavors and light tobacco.
  • Row 2, Hill 56 – 5.8% – Biscuity and light bready malt, with citrus and tropical fruit hop flavors. Good light lingering bitterness.
  • Hop 2 It – 5.79% – Single hop with hop 291. Creamy, with citrus and tropical fruit hops to a light honey finish.
  • Blind Pig IPA – 6.25% – Great mix of citrus and tropical fruit hop flavors with caramel maltiness. Light spiciness, too.
  • Pliny the Elder – 8% – Big smooth piney hops with touch of spiciness and light citrus. Solid caramel and light biscuity malt.
  • Noble Experiment – 3.88% – Bready, spicy, with great bitter mix and very light funk.
  • Perdition – 6.1% – Biere de Sonoma. Caramel malt, some spiciness, and bit of a horsey funk edge.
  • Temptation – 7.5% – Medium sourness, light funk, and good white wine flavors.
  • Supplication – 7% – Big sourness, red wine flavors, and very light funk.
  • Consecration – 10% – More big sourness. Darker, heavier red wine aspect than Supplication. Subtle raisin.
  • Beatification – 6% – Spontaneously fermented. Wonderfully sour. Very subtle funk, but with a sweet edge, too, and some smooth white wine notes.
  • Pliny the Younger – 10.5% – Strong piney aroma. Great initial bubbliness and spiciness. Strong piney and hoppy flavors. Lovely malty undertones. Long finish — grapefruit citrus flavor that mixes well with subtle caramel and slight alcohol edge. [This one’s from my 2012 post.]
    The Rest

  • Aud Blonde – 4.5% – Very bready, kind of creamy, but pretty light on the tongue. Light honey sweetness, with some bitterness on the finish.
  • Defenestration – 7.25% – Bready and biscuit maltiness, with some bitterness and horse blanket funk.

If I’d skipped the brunch and the hike I would’ve had time to visit Lagunitas and perhaps Bear Republic, as well, but that’s okay. Gotta maintain that healthy beer/life balance, right? Also gives me a reason not to wait so long until my next Bay Area visit. Oh, one beer missing from this post is their Damnation. I’ve had it a few times, but it was a while ago and didn’t take notes. See what happens when I don’t take notes? I’m sure there are still a few bottles of it floating around Washington somewhere, though.

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Santa Rosa Living and commented:
    Originally appearing on, this article will inspire Sonoma County residents who enjoy a fine beer to visit Russian River Brewing Co. in downtown Santa Rosa.


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