Russian River Consecration

Val and I went to Local 44 in Philly for lunch one Sunday. They had this beer on tap, which I thought I had and reviewed, but when I checked the blog, I was mistaken. Once I saw that, I knew I had to have this one.


ABV: 10%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Dark Ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from local wineries. It is aged for 4 to 8 months with black currants, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Rich flavors of chocolate truffle, spice, tobacco, currants, and a bit of Cabernet. Very full-bodied, sip slowly!”

Random: Russian River can do no wrong, seriously.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and dark brown in color. Since it was so cloudy, I couldn’t see how much carbonation was there. The nose was filled with tart red wine grapes and vinegar. Brett came through too. The taste started with a lot of oak, vanilla and red grapes. Currants were there as well with slight funk from the Brett. It was really vinous and complex. The booze was insanely well-hidden. It had a medium thick body with a lot of carbonation, which made this no problem to drink. It had a lengthy finish with red wine grapes, oak and vanilla. I paid $9 for a 10 ounce draft ($.90 per ounce), which is expensive but worth every penny. This is easily one of the best beers that I’ve ever had. Another outstanding beer from Russian River.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Russian River Blind Pig IPA

A few Mondays ago, I ended up in Philly with the other half. We met up with her friend for brunch and then walked around the city. We made a stop at Monk’s, which I hadn’t been to in forever. They had this beauty on tap that had been on my list since I started the blog. Let’s see if this is worth the hype.

ABV: 6.1%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, this beer is described as, “Full-bodied, very hoppy, citrus, pine, fruity notes with nice dry, bitter finish!”

Random: I had the mussels at Monk’s again and they were wonderful. The other half had the duck sandwich which was pretty good as well. The food and the beer there is absolutely amazing. It is definitely one of my favorite places in the city.

This brew poured with a two finger pure white head that dissipated very slowly. It left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden light orange color with relatively low carbonation. The nose had a lot tropical fruit notes and grapefruit with no malt whatsoever. So far, this definitely smelled like the type of IPAs that I really enjoy. The taste was hoppy with pine resin and then the tropical fruits came through, specifically pineapple. There was a bit of malt at the end of the sip as well, that really balanced it out. The body was big for the style with moderate carbonation. The finish was long with lots of pine and hops. I loved everything about this beer. If you’re a hophead, seek this one out.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Russian River Pliny The Younger

A few weeks ago, I got lucky enough to try this beer. I completely forgot to take a picture. Funny story. I was home a few weeks ago on a Monday and got an email from Tria. They posted that they were selling glasses online from the sixtel and they were tapping in an hour. I bought one of the 36 glasses they had and went into the city to try this elusive beer.


ABV: 11%

Style: American Double/Imperial IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.”

Random: I almost won a ticket for Pliny the Younger a few years ago from a blog contest.

I went into drinking this understanding the hype for it. I’ve had a few Russian River brews and they’ve continually been upping the bar for how good their stuff is. It poured with a two finger white head that dissipated slowly with a lot of lacing left on the glass. The body was a golden orange color (from what I could tell, the bar was pretty dark) and had decent amounts of visible carbonation. The nose was big…tropical fruits, pine resin and some sweetness and well. The taste…well, it was good. Quite good, fact. I got lots of juicy hops up front with mandarin oranges and pineapple and mango. Peach came through as well. Some sugar came through later as well. The one thing that struck me on this was how freaking drinkable this was. It wasn’t syrupy at all and the finish was really dry. The carbonation on it was adequate and pleasant. It had a long and hoppy finish. This was a divine brew, no doubt. But, now that I’ve had it, I don’t think I’ll scour the earth to try to find it again. I’ll leave that up to beer nerds who haven’t had it before. So, if you haven’t had it…go and find it next year.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Russian River Defenestration

Katie was nice enough to book us for a long weekend in Philly so that we could partake in the festivities of Philly Beer Week. The next 15 or so reviews to come are all from beer week as well. Our first stop during the first weekend of beer week was Monk’s Cafe. I love the pommes frites there and Katie had never been there. Of course, the first brew that I had during beer week was from one of my favorite breweries, Russian River. I hadn’t even heard of this one when I saw it on the menu at Monk’s.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We learned of this word when visiting the Prague Castle. Defenestration means to literally throw something or someone out the window. The castle has a room where this activity occurred with unwanted politicians! Not such a bad idea. This beer is not any particular style, just something Vinnie has been working on for a while. It’s VERY dry, bitter, hoppy, and full-bodied.”

Random: I love the feel at Monk’s and the fact that there aren’t any televisions. It forces you to talk with the person you’re with.

This brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, golden-yellow color with medium carbonation. The nose was really bright with citrus, lemon and some yeast. The taste had the same brightness as the nose. It had lemon, hay and a mineral quality at the end. It was a little thicker than I’m used to for the style, but had a perfect level of carbonation. I also got some Belgian yeast on the flavor. The finish was long with the mineral quality. It went down really easily. It wasn’t the most amazing brew that I’ve had from Russian River, but incredibly solid. I would definitely have this again. Unfortunately, Katie didn’t like this one at all.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Russian River Sanctification

Today was a pretty boring day. I spent most of the day with my family and grilled up some steaks. I had a few brews while I did so (obviously). Now that everyone’s gone, it’s time to sit and review a brew. Tonight’s selection is another one from Russian River. It’s actually the last brew that I have from Russian River in the fridge. Hopefully this one is as good as the others that I’ve had from the brewery.

ABV: 6.75%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Sanctity is an ancient concept widespread among religions, a property of a thing or person sacred or set apart within the religion, from totem poles through temple vessels to days of the week, to a human believer who achieves this state. Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy. To sanctify is literally ‘to set apart for special use or purpose,’ figuratively ‘to make holy or sacred,’ and etymologically from the Latin verb sanctificare which in turn is from sanctus ‘holy’ and facere ‘to make.'”

Random: This one is from Batch 005.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head that lingered for awhile and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy golden-yellow color with some visible carbonation. On the nose, I definitely got a bit of funk from the Brett. I also got some lemon and pear on the nose as well. The taste had a lot of what was in the nose. I got a bit of tart apples (think Granny Smith apples), lemon and a bit of funk. The body itself was pretty thin with a decent amount of carbonation As I sipped this beer, it made me think that I’m really starting to enjoy wild ales. They just have so much complexity and the tartness is really nice. Anyways, back to the brew at hand. The tartness hung around to the finish. The alcohol is pretty low on this brew. Again, another great brew from Russian River. I’d definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Russian River Redemption

Today, as most people know, marks the start of Philly Beer Week. I am unfortunately not in Philly right now. But, I will be there tomorrow at Navy Yard and then probably hitting up Memphis Taproom. In preparation for tomorrow, I did extra cardio at the gym today and instead of opening up a bomber to start the weekend, I’m having a single beer. I chose this one since a) I plan to have some Russian River this week and b) this is a beer I bought while I was in Philly. I haven’t been let down by a Russian River brew before, so hopefully this one is good.

ABV: 5.15%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to wikipedia, “Redemption is a concept common to several theologies. It is generally associated with the efforts of people within a faith to overcome their shortcomings and achieve the moral positions exemplified in their faith.”

Random: I love Russian River bottles. The whole caged and cork thing is so cool.

This bottle was from batch 008. It poured a hazy golden color with a barely there white head that left no real lacing on the glass. Despite the haziness, I could see a lot of carbonation on the body. According to the bottle, this is the “sister brew” of Damnation, which I reviewed in August of 2010 (it was also my second Russian River brew). The nose presented with some pear, a hint of spice and some funk. The taste presents with a lot of fizzy carbonation, a bit of funk with some lemon and a hint of breadiness. Wow, this is a nice and refreshing beer. I also got a decent amount of clove on the taste. This beer is about as smooth as any I’ve had. The finish lingers with a bit of bread. This is a great beer, although not the best Russian River I’ve ever had. I would definitely have this again. If you can get your hands on this brew, definitely do so.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Russian River Supplication

So, today was pretty relaxing. I went to Pennsyltucky to go see my girlfriend who works there. She had an extended break during work, so she took me on a surprise date to go canoeing. After I dropped her back off at work, I had an idea. I had been to a beer store outside of Philly awhile back and still had the card with the address in my wallet. I plugged in the address and found out it was only 10 minutes away from her job. Needless to say, I knew where I would spend some of my evening. I came home with 2 six-packs and a bomber of beer that I can’t get in New Jersey. Some of the highlights were selections from Russian River, The Lost Abbey, Bell’s and Duck Rabbit. And since I was basically a four year old on Christmas morning, I had to have one of the Russian River brews tonight. Onto the brew…

ABV: 7%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to BeerAdvocate, “Sometimes Belgian influenced, American Wild Ales are beers that are introduced to ‘wild’ yeast or bacteria, such as: Brettanomyces (Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Brettanomyces Lambicus or Brettanomyces Anomolus), Pediococcus or Lactobacillus. This introduction may occur from oak barrels that have been previously inoculated, pitched into the beer, or gained from various ‘sour mash’ techniques. Regardless of which and how, these little creatures often leave a funky calling card that can be quite strange, interesting, pleasing to many, but also often deemed as undesirable by many.”

Random: I’ve apparently never had an American Wild Ale before. I think it’s only appropriate that my first one is from Russian River.

First of all, yes, I paid $18 for this beer, which I think is outrageous, but I always have to grab up Russian River beers when I see them. This beer poured a cloudy reddish-brown color with lots of active carbonation. The head was one finger and pure white and lingered around for awhile, although it didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. On the nose, there was a definite presence of cherries and funk. Minor notes on the nose included oak and a bit of red wine. Complexity much? On the first sip, the first thing I think is that this beer is crazy tart. It took me a few sips to get used to that. It also didn’t have as much funk as I thought it would. After I got used to that, there was definitely oak and cherries in the taste. The carbonation is definitely active and goes well with the brew, which is much lighter than I thought it would be. This brew almost reminds me of a red wine, which also could be because it was aged in Pinot Noir barrels. The finish lingers with tart cherries. Although this would not be a beer I could have every night, the complexity really makes it an amazing beer. I would have this again in a second.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0