So today is an interesting day. I'm writing this in a hotel in Denver, getting ready to make my way with Marci, my nephew, and my sister-in-law to Rocky Mountain National Park for a special mission. Before my mother-in-law passed away last summer, she asked to be cremated, with her ashes scattered in the Rocky Mountains. She never got to travel as much as she wanted to, so this was a way to make sure she got to "see" a magnificently beautiful part of the country. Marci and I have spent some time in Colorado over the past two years, so we have a great spot in mind near the headwaters of the Colorado River. Great view of the mountains in a very relaxed, quiet spot. The idea of scattering ashes is sad in a sense, as you're reminded that you've lost a loved one, but to me it's completely uplifting to know they're at peace and in a place that would make them happy.
I've been recapping beers that I sampled during our West Coast vacation since June 13, and now over a month later I've finally hit the last beer to review. And in grand fashion, I have absolutely saved the best for last. Today's brewery is Russian River, and it's without a doubt my favorite brewery in the world. Yes, I have a lot of love for places like Oskar Blues, Victory, New Holland, and at least ten others that can make me salivate like Pavlov's dog when I start talking about them. However, Russian River's ability to brew great IPAs and mind bending sours pushes them over the top.
|So much awesome, so little time|
Marci and I shared a sampler so we could hit everything on the board. Yeah, "sampler" seems like too small of a word, considering that you get a tray with 18 4oz pours - every single beer they have on draft gets poured. If there's a bigger or better beer sampler out there in America, someone needs to tell me about it, pronto. Below are my tasting notes in the order they're served in the sampler. No, I didn't write an essay on each, but I didn't want to spend all of my time in beer heaven writing; I wanted to spend it drinking!!! For a better description of these beers, hit the link to the brewery's website.
|My new best friend|
Aud Blonde - easy drinking, nutty, sort of like a kolsch
OVL Stout - meh, a stout
Russian River Porter - meh, a porter
Happy Hops - "Colorado-esque" IPA, but with lighter hops
Row 2/Hill 56 - strong grapefruit notes, nice hop balance
Russian River IPA - hoppier than R2/H56
Blind Pig IPA - full on hops, dry, good bitterness
Pliny the Elder - HOPS! (but with a malt balance)
Noble Experiment - saison with nice banana and clove flavor
Little White Lie - white beer, fruity, orange, great for summer
Redemption - Belgian single, dry, spice
Damnation - golden ale, fruity, earthy, mineral notes
Perdition - Biere de Sonoma, peppery spice, really nice
Benediction - abbey double, toasted malt, bitter finish
Salvation - strong dark ale, malt and stone fruits
Sanctification - blonde ale w/ Brettanomyces, wonderful tartness, refreshing
Supplication - sour ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels, Brett/Lacto/Pedio yeasts, DELICIOUS, tart cherry flavor
Consecration - sour dark ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with Brett/Lacto/Pedio, dark fruit and tart flavors; strong (10% ABV)
Over the span of two visits to Russian River, I also went for full pours of the Sanctification, Supplication (twice), and Blind Pig. I think one of the reasons why I like Russian River so much is that they manage to deliver fantastic beers across the entire spectrum of choices - if you want something light, dark, hoppy, malty, sour.... they're going to have an award winning beer for you.
Thing to Think About Today:
There's some congruity in my post today - Russian River, Colorado River. Both places I really enjoy, places that are important to me. So let's take it to the river. Talking Heads, the floor is yours: