Category Archives: Russian River Brewing Company

No Russian River Framboise for a Cure (FfaC) 2016 bottles for you!

russian-river-framboise-for-a-cure-bottles

Ah, October. Märzens and foliage and cooler temperatures and pumpkins and Halloween decorations and, yesssss, Russian River Framboise for a Cure (FfaC) …. usually.

Wait, what?!? Russian River Brewing Co. isn’t bottling their raspberry sour ale this year? Why the hell not?

Those three sentences summed up my thought process last week when I read a blog post that suggested one of my fav-o-rite American breweries, Russian River, will not bottle one of my fav-o-rite American sours this in 2016.

So, is this travesty true? Yep.

And why the hell not?

From a Sept. 11 Russian River Facebook post:

“October is coming and we are gearing up for our annual breast cancer fundraiser for the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation right here in Santa Rosa! “Framboise For A Cure 2016″ will be released a few days BEFORE October 1st due to our participation that day in Cantillon’s annual Zwanze Day celebration! Due to our very busy schedules right now, we were unable to get this year’s batch of Framboise bottled in time for October. But that also means we will have it on draft at the pub longer! And, since 100% of the proceeds of Framboise is for charity, we will sell a limited number of growlers to those who want to share with friends and loved ones who also support this very important cause.”

russian-river-vinni-cilurzo-framboise-for-a-cure-2016

Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo with the 2016 Framboise for a Cure. Image Credit: Russian River/Facebook

The post seems to suggest that when Russian River frees up some time, it might eventually bottle some FfaC 2016. But nope. That ain’t happening either, according to an inside source who works at the Santa Rosa brew pub. Looks like it’ll be growlers only for FfaC this year, and that’s going to make it a real challenge for anyone who doesn’t live in Northern California (me) or who can’t make the trip there (me) to try any of this year’s fruity nectar.

Color me disappointed. I’ve had every vintage of FfaC since 2012 — the beer was first brewed in 2010 — and it’s always a treat. Let’s hope next year’s FfaC once again makes it into bottles.

UBN

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Scenes from Allagash’s Wild Friendship Celebration with Cantillon, Russian River

AllagashWildFrienshipCelebrationYesterday, Allagash Brewing Co. held its Wild Friendship Celebration, with Brasserie Cantillon and Russian River Brewing Co., at the Allagash brewery in Portland, Maine. Allagash did an absolutely amazing job of arranging and organizing the event, which had a casual, festival-like feel, as beer nerds and brewers drank world-class brews and milled about Allagash’s tasting room, brewery, wild barrel room and a large tent outside.

For background, the Wild Friendship Celebration was a series of events to celebration and share a collaboration lambic, a blend of beers from all three brewing companies.  The three brewers contributed versions of their own spontaneously fermented beers, and two versions were made, one blended in Belgium by Cantillon’s head brewer Jean-Pierre Van Roy, and another blended by Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo and Allagash’s Rob Tod in Portland. The first event (called Quintessense) was held in Brussels last May at Cantillon’s location, the second took place last week at Russian River’s Santa Rosa, Calif., brew pub, and finally, Allagash held its event yesterday.

In addition to both versions of the Wild Friendship Blend, the three breweries shared a number of additional beers. (Hit this link for the full beer list.) And the brewers were on hand to chat with beer enthusiasts. I spoke with Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo and his wife Natalie, and they both got a kick out of this Boston boy’s knowledge of where to find their beers all around San Francisco, where I frequently work–and drink. I also chatted with Cantillon’s Jean-Pierre Van Roy, who was treated like some sort of Sour Beer God by many of the folks in attendance.

Here’s a first hand, beer nerd’s view of the Allagash/Cantillon/Russian River Wild Friendship Celebration day session. Click one of the photos below to open up a carousel of larger pics. (The image quality isn’t great in all of the photos. Blame my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, which I used to capture the images.)

UBN

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Beer list for Allagash’s Wild Friendship Celebration with Cantillon, Russian River

Allagash-Wild-Friendship-Blend-Russian-River-Cantillon

I haven’t posted to this blog for more than a year (because I’m a lazy, drunk, busy asshole), and I’ve been waiting for the appropriate post to make my triumphant return to the blogosphere o’ beer. As soon as I received the latest update from Allagash regarding its May 9, 2015, Wild Friendship Celebration with Cantillon and Russian River, I knew the time to bless you all with a post had come. OK, nobody reads this blog anymore — again I haven’t posted for a fucking year — but still, this information is worth a post.

Here’s what Allagash, Cantillon and Russian River will be pouring, and yours truly will be excitedly drinking (from the commemorative Wild Friendship chalice), this coming Saturday in Portland, ME:

BANG. BONG. BOOM. That there, ladies and gentlemales, is one hell of a beer-lover’s lineup. I plan to post lots of images and details from the event, so stay tuned.

UBN

Image via BeerStreetJournal

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Release Dates for Russian River Pliny the Younger 2014, Beatification

Russian River Pliny the Younger and Beatification

I just got the latest Russian River newsletter in my inbox, and it brings tidings of good beer. The brewery announced the releases dates for two of its most sought-after brews: this year’s version of Pliny the Younger, its double IPA, and Beatification, a spontaneously-fermented ale that’s produced in small batches and is inspired by one of my favorite Belgium lambic makers, Cantillon.

Pliny the Younger 2014 will be released on Friday, February 14. Here are some more details from Russian River:

“Pliny the Younger’s 10th Annual Return to our pub in Santa Rosa will occur on Friday, February 7th, 2014! It will be available everyday (until we run out each day) for 14 days. Distribution begins the following week for local and no-so-local bar and restaurant accounts.   Younger has not even been brewed yet so allocations will not be set until the final yield is determined in LATE JANUARY. If you are planning a trip to Santa Rosa for the release, I will have a Younger page up on the website SOON with more information regarding hotels, what to expect, etc. So far one local hotel has expressed interest in extending a special rate to our Younger fans! Hopefully more will follow their lead. Horizon Airlines flies directly into Santa Rosa from Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Diego if you want to book your air travel now! Stay tuned…”

And here’s some new information on Beatification:

“We are finally releasing the next batch of Beatification on draft and in 375ml bottles on Saturday, December 14th, 2013!  This is a brewpub ONLY release.  Beatification is our spontaneously fermented beer, meaning that we add no yeast and allow the beer to naturally collect any wild yeast and bacteria in the air and barrels.  We call this style of beer “Sonambic”- a nod to the traditionally spontaneous beers brewed in the Lambic region of Belgium.  The pub will open at 9AM on the 14th for bottle sales as well as draft beer at the bar.  Customers wishing to purchase just bottles (and be on their way) will have a separate “queue”, while anyone wanting to enjoy a morning beer will be seated on a first come, first served basis.  The kitchen will open at 11AM as usual.  Bottles are $18/each, limit one case per person (subject to change). “

I’ve never tried either of these beers, and while I’m sure the Pliny the Younger is fantastic, I’d trade 12 growlers o’ Younger for a bottle of that Beatification. So, if anyone reading this is able to grab some bottles and wants to trade, please drop a comment. You know I have something else you’ll be interested in.

UBN

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Cheap Beer = Revolution

Queen Victoria with Pliny the Elder IPA

“Give my people plenty of beer, good beer and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them” – Queen Alexandrina Victoria

Yeah. Says the overfed, Alfred-Hitchcock-looking former queen of the United Kingdom, who just happens to have a frosty, fresh bottle of Pliny in front of her. You keep the cheap beer, Vicky, give us lowly folk the good beer, and we’ll try to avoid revolt. Deal? (I’m not making any promises though.)

UBN

Image (sans Pliny bottle) via kingsacademy.com

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The ‘Best Beer Labels Ever’

Cantillon Bottle Labels

This morning I came across a list of “the best beer labels ever.” It does not, in my opinion, spotlight the best beer labels ever, despite what its source, CoolMaterial.com says. But these types of lists are obviously opinion-based, and this one does show off some cool-looking bottles and cans. The list should probably be called “Best Beer Bottle Designs Ever” though because it’s not just the labels that make these brews look so interesting. My favorite designs in the list are the Cervecería Sagrada Guero Gomez lager, the Bold City Mad Manatee IPA and the Ippon Matsu Ganko milk stout, though I’ve never tasted any of these beers.

Russian River Supplication Temptation Bottles

I’d have to say my personal favorite labels come from Cantillon and Russian River, which also happen to be two of my favorite breweries. Many Cantillon bottles have labels with beautiful paintings on them, and all of Russian River’s “tion” beers show different, crazy-looking blades.

Hit CoolMaterial.com for a look at its list of the best beer labels ever.

UBN

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Carry Your Beer Like a Boss with a Badass Bottle Tote

Beer Bottle Tote Bag

My girl got me a bottle tote bag for Christmas this year. When I first unwrapped the gift, I wasn’t exactly thrilled, because it’s a kind of pussyish tan-green color, and I never really wanted one. But after using it for a few weeks, I’ve become a big fan, and now I never go to the liquor store without it.

Not only does the tote make it easy to carry a half dozen bomber bottles while shopping around my local beer store, it reduces the number of brown bags I take home every time I buy beer. Most of the beer stores I frequent individually wrap each bomber with a paper bag so they don’t clank around or they place each bottle inside one of those plastic bottle net thingees. They then put all of the bottles in another, larger brown-paper bag. That’s a lot of paper bags, and I buy a lot of beer. I recycle any paper bags I get, but the bottle tote largely eliminates the need for them, and it’s convenient to use.

My bottle tote bag has compartments for four bottles and a center space that can hold another couple of bottles or even a four pack of 12-ounce beer bottles. It is made of thick, durable canvas, and it costs $19.99 on HomeWetBar.com, plus shipping. I highly recommend it. You can also find other cheaper options online, including a cool, branded bottle tote from Russian River Brewing Co., one of my favorite breweries.

So go on and get yourself a badass bottle tote, whydontcha?

UBN

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Details on Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2013 Release

Russian River Pliny the Younger tap handle

Every year, on the first Friday of February, Sonoma County, California-based Russian River Brewing Co. releases its limited triple IPA, Pliny the Younger. So the fact that the 2013 Pliny the Younger will be released at Russian River’s brewpub on Friday, February 1 isn’t really news. But Russian River also shared some new release details on its Pliny the Younger 2013 in a new blog post.

If you’re not familiar with Pliny the Younger, you’re not paying close enough attention. Or you’re just not as big of a beer nerd as I am. Pliny the Younger is the “brother IPA” to Russian River’s stellar Pliny the Elder double IPA, which is one of my favorite IPAs, if not my single favorite IPA in the whole damn world. It’s fantastic. I admit, I’ve never had Pliny the Younger, because it’s made in very small quantities and only served at Russian River’s brewpub and at select local bars and establishments. But some day I will make a trip to wine country in February with the sole goal of securing a few pints of Pliny the Younger.

Now, those 2013 release details I mentioned, from Russian River:

“Pliny the Younger will be released at our brewpub in Downtown Santa Rosa on February 1st, 2013 (always the first Friday in February)!  Younger will be available on tap in 10 ounce glasses (no growlers or bottles) for 2 weeks, or 14 days.  We will allocate a certain amount each day until we run out for the day.  Last year we had very few days where we ran out at all!  The last day we will have it at the pub will be February 14th.  Last year the wait was up to 5 hours, and sometimes there was no wait at all.  It’s a bit unpredictable, however, except on weekends where you can definitely expect the longest wait.  We have learned that waiting in line can be fun and can even lead to new relationships, especially after several glasses of Younger!  So please use the buddy system while getting “Younger” at our pub (your friends will hopefully look out for you!).   As far as distribution is concerned, we usually start distributing a small amount of kegs to our accounts and distributors right after we release it at the pub.  We are planning to brew the same amount this year and release the same quantities for distribution, but who gets what is yet to be determined.  First batch of Younger will be brewed this Thursday at the pub!  I saw the man himself hand-selecting this year’s Younger hops just last week… artist or mad scientist?  Probably a lot of both :-)”

And a description of Pliny the Younger, from Russian River’s 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.”

UBN

Image via Brewniversal.com

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Thankful for Craft Beer

Rodenbach Vintate Allagash Interlude Stone Enjoy By IPA Brux

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for craft beer. (I’m also thankful for lots of other things—and people—but this is a beer blog, so I won’t bore you with all that shit).

As I wandered around my local beer shop yesterday, stocking up for today’s holiday, I couldn’t help but feel happy about the current state of craft beer in my home state of Massachusetts and throughout the rest of the United States. I stopped in one of the liquor store aisles, surrounded by bomber bottles stacked so high I couldn’t see beyond them, and thought about how awesome it is that beer is finally getting the respect it deserves. Talented brewers are pushing the boundaries of beer making every day, and I, and all my fellow beer lovers, get to reap the benefits.  For that, I’m truly thankful.

What you see above is my Thanksgiving 2012 craft beer lineup. I plan to start with Stone Brewing Co.‘s fantastic Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA, then move on to the Russian River/Sierra Nevada collaboration wild ale, Brux. After that, I’ll either pop the cork on the Rodenbach Vintage 2009 or the Allagash 2009 Interlude; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I hope you’ve got something special to sip on today, too. Happy Thanksgiving, beer nerds.

UBN

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Pucker Up: 12 Sour Beers that’ll Have You Hooked in No Time

Russian River Supplication Sour Ale

Sour beers aren’t for everyone. They’re definitely an acquired taste, and not everyone will acquire the taste for tart ales. Those who are daring enough to push their beer boundaries a bit, however, will very likely be rewarded. (Check out this post for details on the difference between “sour beer” and “wild beer.”)

I started drinking sour beers about a year ago, and I’m absolutely hooked today. It took a bartender at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Mass., to convince me to give sours a try beyond that first challenging sip. Now the first thing I do when I visit a beer bar is scan the draft/bottle list for sours.

It pays to start off slowly when wading into the waters of sour ales, though. The following list spotlights a dozen of my favorite sour beers, starting with some less-challenging sours and finishing up with some seriously sour brews. Most of these beers, with a few exceptions, can be found in quality craft beer shops throughout the United States. (Note: The Russian River beers at the bottom of the list are very hard to find outside of California, but they’re so damn good, I had to include them.)

UBN

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