Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pictures from Lagunitas Brewery & Russian River Brewpub

These pictures are from Tuesday, June 16th, when Doug and I drove up to Santa Rosa to visit what I believe is one of the best breweries in the world, Russian River Brewing Company. We were not disappointed! On the way there we saw signs for Petaluma, CA, which we recognized as the town where Lagunitas makes their fine creations. It only took a few seconds to decide that we needed to stop off for a few beers. Coincidentally, Ray just happened to be there at the same time with his uncle, his roommate Matt, and another friend. The above pic is from their tasting room. The pours were extremely generous, and there was a big crowd due to the large number of homebrewers in town for NHC.

Lagunitas is a pretty big production facility. We didn't stay for the tour because we needed to get to Santa Rosa before too late. We did take a peek in to see a very large, high end bottling line, and multiple fermenters of 60 barrels or larger, yeast propogation tanks, and a row of 1600 lb. "super sacks" of base grain. Dudes might be stoners, but they are pumping out a large amount of excellent and consistent beers. A little trivia for you: Hop Stupid, their double IPA, is brewed with 100% carbon dioxide-extracted hop extracts (although it's dry hopped with traditional hops). It's the same type of product that Northern Brewer sells as the "Hopshot", which we used in our double IPA homebrew.

Here's a view of the Russian River Brewpub bar. All beers are on a chalkboard with ABV and BU's listed. The left board is for American Ales, the right board is for Belgian and barrel-aged beers.

There are a few barrels in the Brewpub, but most of the barrel aging is done at the production brewery 1 mile away. Pictured are Beatification (an mostly brett beer with a dose of lacto and pedio towards the end) and Consecration, one of the newer sour ales that is barrel aged with dried currents. The Consecration was excellent, but I was not enthralled with the Beatification. Honestly I still have yet to taste an all-brettanomyces beer that I truly enjoy.

This is just a close-up of some coaster art that customers have left. I was really attracted to the diagonal monkey-looking face that had a spooky, otherworldly, almost schizophrenic quality to it. The colors are amazing, which you can't really see here.

All in all, we were able to try the 2 above beers, Perdition, a "Biere de Sonoma", Salvation, a strong dark Belgian ale, Mortification, a Quad, Blind Pig IPA, Russian River IPA, Pliny the Elder, and "Hop 2 It"with Sterling hops. This beer is brewed with a single hop that changes each batch. Vinnie started that beer to get to know hop varietals, and he says that it is a great way to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each hop varietal, none of which he usually likes to brew with exclusively.

There were so many other beers to try, but we had a 2 hour drive back to Oakland ahead of us. We also had 4 days of serious drinking ahead of us, and as was stated on many occasions during the week, "It's a marathon, not a sprint".


Tim said...

Honestly I still have yet to taste an all-brettanomyces beer that I truly enjoy.

I've recently voiced this same thought to some friends. From what I have drank, they are still only brewer's experiments. That includes my own B. Lambicus homebrew. The best i've had was Reckoning from Cambridge Brewing Company, but its still not a beer I want to drink several of.

Seanywonton said...

I just had the Victory Wild Devil on Saturday night.

It was a very good beer, it will especially appeal to you if you are a brett freak. It's brewed with all brett, with a really classic brett flavor after about 9 months of aging, I would guess.

I was able to taste this beer about 9 months ago when it was young and it was slightly interesting, but nothing to indicate brett fermentation.

It's a nice beer and I would recommend trying it, but if classic brett flavor is the goal, I think it could be more easily achievable with brett as a secondary fermenter.