Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Unless I’m up at the brewery or at a bar that pours more than one RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING beer, I don’t often get the chance to drink two of their outstanding, world-class beers in a single week. Perhaps if I were more of a drinker I would. That’s the thing with me – for all my frequent posts on this blog about all the beer I’m drinking, at the end of the day, those are the only beers I’m drinking, to the tune of about 3-5 glasses in total per week. Sometime I truly wish I were more of a lush. That said, it makes me appreciate near-perfection that much more. The other night, before venturing out to watch some archival punk rock films in Berkeley, I went to one of my Top-5 bars ever, THE TRAPPIST in Oakland, CA (I say this despite being somewhat ashamed to admit that this was only my third time there…..it’s that good!). Seeing that they had RUSSIAN RIVER’s REDEMPTION on tap, I immediately sprang into action. I’ve had this dark blonde ale before, but I don’t think I liked it quite as much as I did this time. Tastes of bittering and slight candy sweetness immediately dart about the tongue, and by “dart” I mean dart – this thing’s got some serious zing to it. It’s tangy, with medium hopping, which keeps it from being too puckering. I’m starting to develop this sense of beers that are “above the line” (the special few that totally blow me away) and “below the line” (the grand majority of beers). This one’s definitely above. 9/10.

Last Saturday we broke into our home stash and busted out a bottle of RUSSIAN RIVER BEATIFICATION. I had this once before, at this Russian River night at San Francisco’s Toronado, but rather than a 6-oz glass I got to savor the whole bottle all by myself in the comfort of mine own home. You know what? If I said this was my “least favorite” Russian River beer, and yet still rated it a big 7/10, would you get a pretty good sense of what I think of this brewer. It may not have been “above the line”, but it was still damn good. It had an initial smell of grapes and wine, so much so that I swore I was drinking some strange sour wine at first rather than beer – must be the serious oak-barrel aging they put this one through. Very citrus-y, full of grapefruit flavor and tang, and a real “dry” taste. Sour like crazy. No head at all. Seriously, the most wine-like beer I’ve had in some time. It’s not quite up to the level of that MONK’S CAFÉ FLEMISH SOUR ALE we were telling you about last month, but it’s still a ringer.


mrb said...

I'm the opposite with Beatification vs. the Flemish Sour Ale from Monk's, which to me seems way to sweet and syrupy, while Beatification kills it! Love this brewery too.

Steve said...

Sometimes when I start thinking Monk's Cafe Felmmish sour is to sweet and syrupy, I have to remember Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Anonymous said...

Only 3-5 glasses a week? Do you at least ramp up your drinking pre-Boonville (and other fests you've attended), so your tolerance is up enough to survive? I try to keep myself at a slow and steady two beers-a-day pace with one or two days a week seeing me go a bit above that (okay...sometimes well above that).

seanrude said...

I am going to be in Philly next weekend for a bike ride, and I plan on stopping at Monks for a beer and a burger. I'll let you know how the Sour Ale is on tap.

Have you tried Victory Brewing's Saison? It has been my go to beer so far this summer.