Great American Beer Quest: RRBC

posted on December 24, 2008 in beerventure

Putting the words “Great American” in front of anything lends it instant epicness.  Add the word “quest” into the mix and you’ve crossed over into full-on epic territory.  Few journeys may be worthy of such high-flyin’ superlatives, but I’ve learned that a trip to the Russian River Brewing Company is one of them.

The funny thing about RRBC though is that, walking in, you would have no idea you just stepped into one of the most highly respected, award-winning brewpubs in the world; it’s like the scene from

RRBC=Holy Grail?

RRBC=Holy Grail?

The Last Crusade when Indy picks the most trifflin’ looking cup in the place and, lo and behold,  it belonged to Jesus Christ.  Indy: 1, Nazis: 0.  Yup, exactly like that.  To illustrate the point, I merely need to point you to their website, which, clicking on the link you’ll think you’ve warped backed in time circa 1997.  Of course, this only adds to RRBC’s charm, and is all the more reason why I love beer.  It’s obvious this place cares about one thing and one thing only: tasty beer.  Just so happens the food is pretty good too.

I’ve been wanting to journey to RRBC for some time now, ever since hearing tales of how Pliny the Elder slays armies of single-IPAs in the night, first luring them into a false confidence with his inviting hop aroma, then easily overpowering them with his mighty BUs.  Or I think that’s how John first described it to me.  Anyways, let’s just say Vinnie and his brews had been hyped up for me for a while and having tasted a bottle of Pliny, Damnation, and I think Beatification (can’t quite recall - nearly all Vinnie’s Belgians end in “tion” making us fans work harder to get them straight) at John and Ashley’s (his girlfriend), I had no reason to doubt RRBC wouldn’t live up to its hype.

The two things one must get on one’s first RRBC visit (so I was told, and so am passing onto you) are Drew Bites and the sampler.  D.B.’s, as I shall call them, are strips of pizza dough minus the sauce, plus gooey mozz, pepperoni and peppercinis.

mmm...Drew Bites.

mmm...Drew Bites.

They’re served with a side of bright red, zangy marinara dipping sauce.  John and I were quite hungry and the saying goes that “hunger is the best sauce” but if that’s the case, this sauce was a damn close second.*†

Onto the sampler.  It’s difficult to start with Aud Blonde, RRBC’S lightest beer (though don’t you dare call it light to its face) when Pliny’s staring you straight in the face.  Still, I did my best.  And since I’m a fan of pilsner malt, I was not displeased.  I think it’d be a little overkill to go into detail on every beer in the sampler but my progression was thus:

Aud Blonde -> Belgians, lightest to dark (Sanctification -> Damnation -> Perdition -> Salvation ->) IPA trio (Russian River IPA, Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder) -> Consecration (a Belgian in its own category, will discuss further) -> OVL Stout -> Porter

Sampler.  Sorry hard to read; dem bottle caps is shiny!

Sampler. Sorry hard to read; dem bottle caps is shiny!

I did try the unlabeled (black bottle cap in the picture) one which John told me was Happy Hops but found it to be my least favorite.  Standing next to many other beers I would have quite enjoyed it but standing up to these, I let John finish it after his pint of Pliny.

Since this won’t be my last post about RRBC, I’ll finish by writing about my favorite for this go around: Consecration.  This beer is the lovechild between Cabernet Sauvignon and a Belgian strong dark, two components that by themselves can be quite remarkable.  We all know that sometimes when two attractive people get together, the result isn’t always, well, pretty.  But, like it seems to have for Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, it occasionally works out.  Consecration is the Shiloh Jolie-Pitt of beers.

If I were a beer...I'd totally be RRBC's Consecration.

If I were a beer...I'd totally be RRBC's Consecration.

The nose and finish are Cab-driven but the middle is a malty-sweet, yet complex dark flavor.  I think there has been one luke-warm review in BeerAdvocate – the rest are resoundingly positive.  This is a beer that I cannot wait for to be bottled.  Well done Vinnie and keep ‘em coming.  I’ll be back.

*Now, potentially, one could substitute Drew Bites with the similar Beer Bites but you’d be missing out on some tangy, straight-up delicious peppercinis; alternatively, you could venture into unknown territory and go for the Travis Bites (Beer bites with white cheddar and jalapenos), which I will be trying on my next visit.

† “Hunger is the best sauce” is a Cha-ism; “Cha” is the nickname of my college roommate/teammate/BFF.

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1 Comment »

  1. My name is Cha’ Kaula… I developed a religio-science and call it Cha’ism. It is a Meta-Paradigm that is a revolutionary 21st Century Path of EnLIGHTenment. My first name is pronounced with a long a… and, so is Cha’ism. Your little takeoff on a college roomates “nickname” is hardly relevant. Unfortunately, unless you remove it, they will have to exist together… the Universe has a jocular side. Hopefully, nobody will consider the two from the same source.

    Comment by Cha' Kaula — March 15, 2011 @ 11:49 am

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