Monday, August 14, 2006


I probably could have had my virgin drink of this amazing concoction at any one of the Bay Area's semi-numerous beer bars, the Toronado, say, but lately I've made a couple of forays into darkest Oakland to frequent a place called BARCLAY'S that really has it going on. Barclay's caters to the beer enthusiast, you might reckon, and the proof is in this numbering system they have for everything they've ever had on tap, which encourages the regulars to "collect" drinks the way they might Cards 1-743 in the 1979 Donruss Major League Baseball collection. So naturally, it's my kinda place. The weather in Oakland is also typically 15 degrees higher than 20 minutes away in my hometown of San Francisco, so easy sippin' on the patio is a given most nights in Oaktown.

Anyway, some pals & me got together for a few rounds last week and I finally decided to pull the trigger on DAMNATION from the oft-touted RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING company of Santa Rosa, CA. Man, was that the right call. This Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale is the best new thing I've had in months, and since I almost always drink something new, every time (keep in mind Barclay's numbering system and the bent psyche such a system appeals to), that's saying something. Wow. Not too bitter nor too glass-smooth, Damnation is just a delicious combination of intensely flavorful hops and lemon & apple tastes, and I was an instant convert from sip #1. Contrast this to other American-made, Belgian-style beers and this goes right to the top of the charts. I interrupted conversation on several occasions to tell the gathered crew how great it was, only to get a bunch of condescending "welcome to the club, dickwad" looks. Well, OK. Here I am. If you haven't tried Damnation yet, you're in for a real good 'un! 9.5/10!


Wörtwurst said...

Nice label!

Ryan Dawe-Stotz said...

Yup, Russian River is one of the two American brewers to get the most important part of Belgo-style beers correct: Tight, pin-prick carbonation. Allagash is the other that gets it right.

Anonymous said...

The best beer at the best pub!