Category Archives: Russian River Brewing Company

The 24 Best Beers in America, According to Men’s Journal

Men's Journal Best American Beers

Men’s Journal just released a list of what it thinks are the best 24 beers made in America right now. I’m not a really a big fan of these “best of” lists, because everybody’s tastes are different and there’s really no “best beer,” but the Men’s Journal list is a good one. I also like how they tried to include a wide variety of styles and not just pale ales and lagers. I’ve tasted more than half of the beers included, and they’re all fantastic. My favorites from the list are Russian River’s Consecration, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 21st Amendment Back in Black and Stone IPA.

Here’s the full list from MensJournal.com:

  • Victory Prima Pils
  • Lagunitas Czech-Style Pils
  • Trumer Pils
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
  • Allagash White
  • Avery White Rascale
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Yuengling Traditional Lager
  • Sprecher Black Bavarian
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • New Belgium Ranger IPA
  • 21st Amendment Back in Black
  • Stone IPA
  • Alaskan Amber
  • Surly Coffee Bender
  • Big Sky Moose Drool
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • Jolly Pumpkin Barn Biere
  • Russian River Consecration
  • Old Rasputin Russian Imperial
  • Zonker Stout
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

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10 Damn-Near-Perfect IPAs All Hopeless Hop Heads Should Try at Least Once

Cascade Hops IPA

I love India Pale Ales. All kinds of ’em. And I’m proud of my obsession with hops and hoppy beers. In fact, I make it a point to try just about every IPA I can get my hands on. The result of this hop quest, besides a thinner wallet and my fair share of hangovers: I know my IPAs.

I appreciate all kinds of hops, and I’ve tried to learn their specific tastes and what sets them apart from other families of Lupus Salictarius—that’s right, fool, I just dropped a Lupus Salictarius on your ass.

While perusing Reddit.com/r/beer the other day, I saw a conversation about the best IPAs. Most of the beers mentioned were solid. (Those fucking Reddit beer nerds know their shit.) But the thread got me thinking about my own personal favorite IPAs. I don’t usually like to think of individual beers as the “best,” because I don’t really think it’s that simple; there’s no “best IPA.”

But here is a list of some of my current favorites. I mostly think of all IPAs as part of the same big (hoppy) family, single, double, whatever; some just have higher ABVs. So you’ll find a wide variety of IPA types in my list. Which IPAs are your favorite and why?

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  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper IPA
  2. Russian River Pliny the Elder IPA (Read more about Pliny)
  3. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  4. Alpine and New Belgium Super IPA
  5. Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA (Check out my Maine Lunch IPA review.)
  6. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA
  7. Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
  8. Bear Republic Racer X IPA
  9. Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  10. Ithaca Flower Power IPA

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Image via TheGranarySA.com

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An iPhone Case/Bottle Opener for the True Beer Nerd

Russian River Pliny the Elder iPhone case and bottle opener

One of my favorite IPAs on the planet: Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Elder. One of the best smartphones on the planet: Apple’s iPhone. (Full disclosure: I’m an Android/BlackBerry guy, but I realize Apple makes great smartphones.)

I came across the Pliny the Elder iPhone case/ bottle opener you see above while visiting Russian River’s website to order one of the company’s goblet glasses.  It costs $25 plus shipping, which is reasonable. Unfortunately the Pliny iPhone case/opener is only available for the iPhone 4/4S—no iPhone 5 model yet, though I’m sure iBottleOpener.com, which makes the case, will update its product line soon.

Man, I wish I had an ice-cold Pliny right now. Oh well, this Maine Beer Co. Lunch IPA will have to do. No themed bottle opener to crack it open with though… 😦

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Barfly’s View: Downtown Johnny Brown’s in San Diego, CA

Downtown Johnny Brown's San Diego

One of the few bars I visited more than once during my recent trip to San Diego was Downtown Johnny Brown’s, located in the city’s Civic Center Plaza. The reason I returned: An excellent selection of Russian River Brewing Co. barrel-aged sour ales, which are some of my favorite Cali-made brews, and the bar’s relative close proximity to my hotel.

The atmosphere in Downtown Johnny Brown’s is more sports bar than beer bar, and it also serves wine. But what Downtown Johnny Brown’s lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for with its quality, albeit limited, draft selection and bottle list. When I visited, the bar had between 15 and 20 beers on tap, the majority of which were local. It also had a dozen or so unique bottles, and its prices were very reasonable compared to some of the other bars I hit.

Downtown Johnny Brown’s also serves basic bar food, including lots of greasy fried shit and decent burgers. The bar has a pool table, darts and shuffleboard, if bar games are you thang. But it’s Downtown Johnny Brown’s quality beer selection that makes this bar a draw for beer nerds in or around San Diego.

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I Haz Pliny, Motherfuckers

Russian River Pliny the Elder bottles

If you’re a true beer nerd, you know Pliny the Elder. You may not have actually tried it, but you know Pliny.

The double IPA from Sonoma County, California’s Russian River Brewing Company is easily one of the best and most complex IPAs ever made. And it’s extremely difficult to find, especially outside of northern California.

Whenever I’m in the Bay Area, I make it a point to track down Pliny. And I usually find it in the strangest places; it’s never in the beer bars I visit, and in the bars that do normally have it, the keg was just kicked or something. I found today’s bottles in a weird little wing joint that was featured on The Travel Channel’s Man v Food, called SmokeEaters. (My Plinys—yes, I had two, I had to—were bottled less than a month ago, and they were super fresh.) When I was in San Francisco earlier this summer I found Pliny on draft at a sports bar near Union Square, the 4th Street Bar & Grill.

But it really doesn’t matter where you drink it, Pliny the Elder never disappoints.

From Russian River:

“Pliny the Elder, born in 23 AD, was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer and writer. Pliny and his contemporaries created the original botanical name for hops, ‘Lupus Salictarius,’ meaning ‘wolf among scrubs.’ Hop vines at that time grew wild among willows, likened to wolves roaming wild in the forest. Pliny the Elder died in 79 AD while saving people during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what his uncle experienced during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This beer is an homage to the man who discovered hops and perished while being a humanitarian. “

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