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May 27, 2010
PNW Trip Part III: Russian River Brewing Company
After spending a solid 3 days in San Francisco, we headed north on the 101 to Santa Rosa, CA, home of one of the most infamous breweries in the US, Russian River Brewing Company. The funny part about this place is that its located in what seems like a strip mall.
Unfortunately, this was to be a quick stop as it was already getting late and we still had a long drive ahead of us up the PCH. Its really overwhelming to finally arrive at a place you've wanted to go to for years and to only have about 45-60 minutes to take it all in. Just looking at the tap board had me quivering.
We got a plate of their Beer Bites to go along with the delicious sour, barrel-aged brews and I was in heaven. I believe I had the Perdition, Biere De Sonoma aged in wine barrels and Salvation, the strong dark ale.
The only downside to the visit was the slightly lackluster service. I guess we were there right at happy hour so it was quite busy. But its set up so you don't have a specific server, so there was a bit of confusion and double-ordering going on. But the beer more than made up for that minor faux pas.
As we were finishing up and realizing that our parking meter was about to run out, I ran around to inspect the other side of the brewpub and I was surprised to see just how many fermenters were crammed into the small space. I figure they must bottle off-site and perhaps even have a full production brewery somewhere? Of that I'm not sure.
And then there was: THE BARRELS! I had a really hard time resisting the urge to break into this room and sniff all of the barrels and the delicious goodness within.
I also walked away with a few take-home bottles of Supplication and Consecration that eventually got shipped back home. If you're heading out west, its only about an hour drive up to Santa Rosa from SF. It was a little bit of a weird feeling driving right by wine country and only stopping at a brewery BUT Russian River is SO good that it makes missing all of the vino just fine by me.