The Russian River Brewing Company is a brewpub located in the city of Santa Rosa, in the heart of Wine Country. Many have heard of the brewery’s flagship brew, Pliny the Elder, and their even more notorious beer, Pliny the Younger. Originally owned by Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville California, the brewery was given over to brewmaster Vinnie Cilzuro and his wife Natalie in 2003. They relocated and opened up a new brewpub in downtown Santa Rosa in 2004 and began self-distributing to nearby clients. In 2008, they opened up a production brewery less than a mile away from the brewpub, tripling their production and allowing them to distribute in four more states.
Today, Russian River is considered one of the best breweries in the states, and because of their small area of distribution, their brews are highly sought after. Because of his background working in the wine industry, many of Cilzuro’s beers are incredibly unique and implement the use of wild yeasts and wine barrel aging. We’ve managed to get ahold of two Russian River Bottles, Pliny the Elder and Damnation, a somewhat difficult feat for us folks here on the East Coast.
Damnation, Russian River's Golden Ale, is inspired by its Belgian counterparts, in particular, Duvel. Its aroma is of wildflower, banana and clove, and its taste follows suit with sweet bubblegum in the front, balanced out by a delicate spicy, fresh citrusy and dry finish. Very much like Duvel, this ale is a "devil in disguise," so keep in mind the ABV of this beer while you are drinking it!
Looking for the quintessential West Coast Double IPA? Then look no further. Pliny the Elder, named after the Roman scholar, historian, and naturalist, believed to have created the botanical name for hops in the first century A.D, is a copper colored ale bursting with hop aroma. Boasting a solid malt back bone, Pliny is surprisingly balanced by bitterness from Amarillo, Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hops creating an exceptionally smooth and drinkable beer. Russian River begs you to drink this one FRESH, which is why it is made in such limited supply.