Through the Rows and Over the Hills…A Northern Journey…

If you’re a Craft Beer Lover, chances are that you’ve laid awake some nights thinking about, dreaming about or even compiling lists of must visit breweries… And, if you are a true Beer Connoisseur, I’m almost certain that a certain brewery in Santa Rosa, California is on your list.

When you live in California, you are essentially surrounded on all sides by fantastic breweries. But given the sheer size of the state, you are bound to be hundreds of miles away from at least some of the dream spots on your hitlist…

Case in point for me, Russian River Brewing Company, home of Pliny the Elder. While Pliny is not my favorite Double IPA, I do pay homage to its exquisiteness. They’re aren’t many other DIPAs out there that can fool you into thinking you’re drinking an IPA…And for this reason alone, I’ve wanted to visit for quite a few years. While I enjoy their Sour Beers as well, there’s nothing quite like a Hoppy IPA or Pale Ale to float my boat. While my favorite beer of this visit was Happy Hops IPA, I was pleasantly surprised by their 3.75% O.V.L. Stout that packs so much flavor into what is essentially water…

Though RRBC offers the largest flight in the world, I settled on a sensible flight…

So what is it that made me finally pull the trigger on a 500 Mile car ride? Nothing. Nothing other than a desire to move and go somewhere… Given that Russian River occupies the old New Albion Brewery, the space is essentially Mecca for true Craft Beer Lovers. So maybe, she just called to me long enough that I finally gave in…

Whatever the reason, I’m glad I made the trek. There is no better road trip than an unplanned, unregulated, untimed one… when you start with stress free, you end with stress free; and if your final destination is Russian River Brewing Company, your journey is sure to end in a smile.

It’s funny how quickly people you know ask you for your Venmo Handle when they realize where you are, but that’s another beautiful piece of what it means to be a Craft Beer Lover. The Community and Camaraderie that flow from this delicious libation have created some of the happiest moments in my recent memory.

With that thought in mind, a toast, to Vinnie and all the good folks at Russian River, for giving us something to write home about…

If you’re near Santa Rosa, or far and just wishing you could go, do yourself a favor and get down to 4th street…food’s fresh and beer is waiting…

✌🏽❤️🍻

BrewFiend

Impatient Bastard…

The Overlords at Stone Brewing Co. recently advised that Enjoy After 10.31.15 Brett IPA,  the first offering in their Enjoy After Series, was primed & ready for drinking.  As this was an experiment they weren’t quite sure when the Brettanomyces would finish working their microscopic magic on the cellar shelves (aka closet floors) of beer hoarders the world over.   I have to admit, I’m not very adept at cellaring or saving things, almost anything, for later.

As I kid, I was the one to eat my share of the corner store booty quickly and then follow my older sister around with refugee eyes and a pushed out stomach hoping for one more “Peanut Butter Cup” or whatever it was she was carefully saving.  Yes, it was wrong. I confess, but those Sally Struther’s commercials ingrained themselves into my psyche and sometimes, the tactics even worked.

I don’t live with my sister anymore and she’s a Vodka girl herself, so I doubt she has any cellared bottles sitting around for me…so I’m pretty much on my own.  To date, I’ve only ever been successful with cellaring a few bottles of Hangar 24’s Pugachev’s Cobra Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout or BBARIS and by cellaring I mean one of those suckers makes it until the next vintage’s release date… But this time, with the ” instructions” right outside as the freaking label, I was prepared and ready to “wait it out”.  So, I searched out a new “cellaring” location where this lone bottle of goodness could wait out the days until it’s inevitable demise.  And finally, after searching far and wide across the vast landscape of our 700 sq. ft. apartment, there, amongst my wife’s ample sea of forgotten shoes, the little devil found a home.

SIDENOTE: Holy hell Craft Brewers, six plus words to describe some of these beers?  I think your plan of drinkers not being able to pronounce the name of a beer after the first one, is a good one, as far as brewery consumption goes. But for me, I only enjoy Pugachev’s at home.  Good to the last drip, but that’s a craft beer that deserves its own “confession”.

And everything was going along swimmingly, while I technically knew the bottle was there, I was somehow able to push my knowledge of its existence to the far reaches of my memory.  That is until 12.26.15 arrived and I heard 10.31.15’s distinct “Clink” as his recently bottled brother joined him in queue in the “cellar”.   But seriously, after this brief lapse, I was once again able to “forget” about the bottle, which had now become bottles.  And then, one day earlier this year, it happened.  Someone, well, it wasn’t me, and only two people live here so…someone decided to go wading in the “sea of forgotten shoes”.  I knew this because I heard a voice that sounded an awful lot like my wife ask “What are these bottles doing with my shoes?!”  These are the ” important” shoes that haven’t been looked at, touched or thought about by anyone but me, for I’d say a good year!  “They are being “cellared”” I replied and left it at that.  Then, once again, I was able to somehow push the bottles’ existence out of my head.  I was going five months strong on not thinking about a beer I purchased nine months before and couldn’t drink for three more months.  And everything was golden until 2 weeks ago…

That’s when Stone proclaimed to the world via Social Media: “Wild Yeast is unpredictable…the fates have smiled upon…it’s ready to Drink…NOW!”  Honestly, I’d don’t remember much of the work day after that or the next couple of days after that.  At that point, most of my mind power was being focused on finding the perfect opportunity to Enjoy this beer I had so anxiously been awaiting.  Once I settled on the perfect opportunity it was time to access the “cellar” and remove my sought after libation.  It was only then that I would find out that my “cellar” had changed locations that day a few months prior, when someone went swimming.  Apparently the proper clearances and conveyances and surveys and what have you were never properly submitted and so my bottles were somehow encroaching or “squatting” if you will, on a closet floor designated for shoes.  It was all explained to me, but whatever, I just kinda heard “whah whah wha…beer… Whah wha wha beer…”

So, after first finding, and then uncellaring my beer; I uncorked my prized treasure fully aware I was breaking the rules and fully content with myself.  After all, I am just an Impatient Bastard! I can pretend that cellaring is my thing and sure maybe a couple of bottles of BBARIS will survive longer than 365 days in my closet, but the bottom line is if I’m thirsty and it sounds good at the time, it’s probably getting drank….

Do you have any suggestions with regards to successful beer cellaring?  If so, please share. I’m especially interested to know what fellow apartment dwellers do or if anyone has experience with Brewbicle.

Until next time: Drink Good Beer, CraftBeer!

Photo Credit: BrewFiend