Best brewer in the country? I don’t know, what do you think – Lost Abbey? Bell’s? Dogfish Head? Hey, how about RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING? Think they’re any good? I can’t believe what a whopping winning streak this Santa Rosa, CA brewer is on these days. Not only are they expanding production significantly, winning awards hand over fist, getting hosannas rained down upon them by everyone who’s ever had one of their ales, but they are in the vanguard – they ARE the vanguard – of offering Americans their first sour beers brewed right here in the USA. When I was offered a glass of RUSSIAN RIVER TEMPTATION the other day (now in bottles!), of course I took it. I know that anything they produce is liquid gold, and in looking over my notes the past few years, everything I’ve had gets rated a 7/10 or above, with special mention going to incredible beers like DAMNATION, BLIND PIG IPA, REJECTION and O.V.L. STOUT.
TEMPTATION falls on the “Belgian” side of their menu. Now that it’s in bottles, it’s going to pucker a lot more mouths than it has in the past, when it was only available at the brewery, via a growler, or purchased via the underground railroad. It is a sour beer. That is, a sour, wild ale with an intense yeasty mouthfeel, one in which you taste lemon, cloves, and of course hops. It is a light-colored orange, with a great funkiness that actually takes a backseat to the fruitiness. In other words, a drinkable sour ale, one that will be an excellent one to complement lingering conversation, chortles, guffaws and extended “good times”. You know what I mean? 8/10!!