It has been one year since I started the blog! My first post was about my horrible day waiting in line at Hollingshead Deli in Orange to get Russian River’s Pliny the Younger only to get to the front of the line when the keg got kicked. I then vowed to just eliminate the middle man and go to Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA and get some for myself.
Sean, Derek Bougie (Newport Brewing Company Head Brewer), Stephen Johnson (New Brew Thursday) and I decided to take a road trip up to Oakland and make it happen. We all jumped in Sean’s truck and drove up on Monday night. We stopped at a strange little bar to get a few drinks before retiring at our hotel for the night and drank Lagunitas IPA and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was oddly fun and we have some great inside jokes that resulted from that place #nightstephen.
Tuesday we drove from our hotel in Oakland to Santa Rosa, CA to the Russian River Brewery. Santa Rosa is beautiful with all the hills and greenery. It seemed like I was dreaming but we made it to Russian River. We were fortunate enough that there wasn’t a line when we arrived and were able to get a table. I probably had 5 to 6 Pliny the Younger’s while I was there, even though it’s something like 11%ABV. The beer is amazing. It’s piney, hoppy, sweet, and citrusy, with great carbonation. It’s a really good beer.
After several hours at Russian River we met-up with David (AKA: @DavidA330 / @thebeermule) and then it really was a party. We dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed to Bear Republic. Unfortunately Bear Republic was closed for remodeling and we were forced to go to another strange little bar down the street that had another limited craft beer selection. We drank Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye and dirty martinis while playing shuffle board and pool. Derek had a friend who ran Malm winery close by so we retired to the empty winery for music, drunken debauchery and great wine. I have such a rough life.
The next morning, some memories started to come back to me. Apparently after the winery, we dropped off David and Stephen and went back to Russian River, then In & Out and then back to the hotel. Oh, and we picked-up some wine barrels from Malm which were now in the back of our truck. I must have had a really good time! Good thing Sean was driving.
We went back to Oakland to our hotel, which was right across the street from Beer Revolution which is a fantastic little bar that has bottles for sale as well as an extensive tap list. We walked in there and our eyes went wide and our consumer purchasing adrenaline was flowing, and we didn’t leave until we had a box of new beer to take back to the hotel. While we sat on the patio we enjoyed some 8 Wired I Stout which was really good. After Beer Rev we drove into San Francisco and went to 21st Amendment. This was a personal goal of Sean’s and we loved it. I drank some Lord & Master, 2 Lane Blacktop, and Allies Win The War! After that we went to Southern Pacific Brewing which was a new brewery with an interesting location. It’s a steel warehouse building built around the existing trees and equipped with tons of seating and some interesting food. They offer pickles and spent grain bread sticks, along with the typical fries and charcuterie. They were really cheap for the amount of food and beer you got. We then went to the Thirsty Bear and I had my first nitro ESB, which was really good. We then headed back to Oakland and went to our final stop, The Trappist.
A very fulfilling trip, needless to say. I really enjoyed all of it, and my only regret is not going to any good restaurants or food trucks whilst I was there. With all the brewery hopping all the food we ate was on-the-run junk food. New goal for next year: go back and visit Lagunitas and Monk’s Kettle and better restaurants. Sounds like a good plan J