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It Takes A Lot Of Great Beer To Make Great Wine - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
It Takes A Lot Of Great Beer To Make Great WineIt Takes A Lot Of Great Beer To Make Great Wine

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BA SCORE
86
very good

198 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 30
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.75% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hobojon on 08-27-2011

There is an old familiar saying in the wine business: "It takes a lot of great beer to make great wine!" Winemakers, cellar workers, and grape pickers alike rarely (if ever) reach for a nice big glass of red wine in the middle of harvest. Wine is quite delicious, but not very refreshing on a hot summer day. The beverage of choice during harvest is BEER! Ice-cold, refreshing, and thirst-quenching BEER! The beer in this bottle is a toast to our winemaking friends who work around the clock during harvest to make world-class wine right here in our own back yard! Cheers!

Brewed with a blend of California ale yeast and saison yeast.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 66
Photo of Bingee
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amazing color and melon nose. Citrus and piney flavors. Bitter hops lingered longer than I would like. But I will try it fresher next year.

Photo of dar482
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%

The aroma offers floral, grapefruit, grass, towards Centennial.

The flavor follows with lots of green grass, slight spice, dry pine on the back. There's some light malt with a touch of sweetness.

A well made American hopped session IPA.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i loved this session ale, pure blonde nice and clear and with a great and dynamic yeast character from champagne fruitiness to saison funk, and an impressively dry finish. there also seems to be some wine grapes in it, it has a really bursting fruit flavor in the middle with a bit of sweetness, but im not sure there are grapes in here at all. its the subconscious. i have never picked wine grapes, but almost find myself in a field doing just that on a hot late summer day when i drink this beer. it makes me refreshed when i dont even need refreshing. the low alcohol and the intense flavors really make it come alive, and all this carbonation helps it be even more of a quencher. i would love to know more about the specifics of this beer, as it is unlike any other i have had. great great stuff.

Photo of craft_shannie
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

hoppy, delightful, refreshing.

Photo of coriswrasse
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

wonderful wine sour. a bit off a odd beer but the flavor works very well. would love to have one of these in a few years.

Photo of jdhowe
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 8/30/13.

A: Pours a very clear pale golden color with 1 finger of fluffy off-white head. Head dissipates to a fluffy layer and eventually a mottled film, leaving plenty of foamy lacing. Really a beautiful beer.

S: Slight earthy hop character, crisp pilsener malt sweetness, and a slightly earthy yeast character. Mild citrus notes. I had pretty low expectations for this beer given my general dislike for the style, but this has surprised me.

T/M: Thin and roughly what I expected of it, but more flavorful than anticipated. Flavor profile is dominated by pilsener malt sweetness, with a slight citrus flavor on the finish along with a mild tart note. Finish is hop bitterness, with a slightly coating quality. Honestly a little less refreshing than the billing on this beer suggests, but not bad. Mouthfeel is pretty light with the right amount of carbonation to prop up the beer and keep it interesting without it being overwhelming. The lingering slightly oily quality is really the only thing I dislike about the mouthfeel, but it keeps the beer from being as refreshing as I'd expect it to be.

O: While this isn't really my style of choice, I'm anything but disappointed with this beer. Would I drink this all day? No. But I also wouldn't make wine all day, so perhaps I'm not the target audience. This is a fine brew.

Photo of Duane_Opfer
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottled poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Bottled on 8/30. Consumed on 11/15.

A - Golden with a slight orange tinge. Pours a thick dense bright white foamy head. Heavy carbonation. Clear/transparent with no cloudiness/sediment. Yields nice wavy lines of lacing.

S - Lemon, melon, kiwi, and honey, but not overly fragrant. Had to spend some time with nose in the glass and I assume answers will vary greatly here since the flavors are not so intense.

T - Not overly complex. Lemon is upfront with some melon and grassy notes, followed up with a lemon rind finish. Strong malt backbone. Residual mouth flavor is lemon rind and dry cracker. Completely hides ABV.

M - Carbonation too high, but very crisp.

O - Unremarkable. Nice to look at, but overly carbonated and not overwhelming in taste and smell. Not recommended.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Our friend, Bryce, returned from an early October California trip (and a stop in Santa Rosa) with 2 bottles of this beer. Hadn't heard of it before and it definitely doesn't make into distribution -at least not up to Oregon. 17.25 oz. bottle (510ml), bottled on 083013 (still considered "fresh"?). Poured to a pint glass (Stone Arrogant Bastard).

A: Vibrant golden, steady streams of carbonation, GREAT head of dense white foam - almost 2 fingers. Lacing is lovely, too, a sticky and clumpy curtain. Why a lower score? Demerits for suspended yeasty bits - a snowglobe effect. I only poured about 2/3rds of the bottle (trying to not disturb any sediment) and still this happened. Most settle to the bottom eventually...

S: Served cool from the fridge (where it has been for the past 3 weeks) then allowed to warm. Never got much of an aroma (and, yes, I'm completely over the sinus infection that knocked me out for much of October). Mild cereal grain, vague malt sweetness, floral/grassy notes flit about.

T: I won't let the modest appearance and smell scores affect my opinion of this taste - quite good! Rich, mildly sweet bready malt and an ample dose of zesty citrus rind and pepper-dry hoppiness. Lingering bitterness in the end, hinting a grapefruit.

M: Quite refreshing. Classic smoothness and surprisingly lasting bitterness and ample mouthfeel. Tangy and mouth-watering, juicy finish.

O: Very likable APA. Glad to have a second bottle and, as the label repeatedly admonishes, I PROMISE I will NOT age it!

Photo of elNopalero
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

There’s a real dearth of delicious pilsners on the west coast. I’m glad to say that this one is one of the good ones!
I.T.A.L.O.G.B.T.M.A.G.W. pours a light tan-golden color topped by clouds.
There’s a wonderful aroma of honeyed biscuit and some freshly cut grass.
Great effervescence. A lemony and light grassy flavor with a lingering bitterness balanced by a hint of biscuit and a pleasing dry finish. Delicious.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured two fingers of head on a clear, medium straw colored body. It looks great.
The aroma has a good dry grain smell with some honey.
The taste is moderate grapefruit bitterness throughout. There's a sweet note towards the end, but the finish is a bitter bite.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
An excellent beer.

Photo of Offa
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an excellent pale ale.

Dark gold, it had a medium-small white head steadily shrinking to foamy ring, a tiny bit of weak lace.

Aroma was grain, ripe grapefruit juice, bread, passion fruit.

Taste was excellent crisp, bright balanced session ale, lemon-orange, bread, grass, mineral, grain, balanced light bready sweetness with just dominant light bitterness, lemony-grassy-peppery dryish finish leafy and yeasty and minerally with bready aftertaste.

Photo of metter98
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is hazy dark yellow in color and has no visible carbonation but some yeast particles near the bottom of the glass. It poured with a half finger high off white head that slowly died down and left a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of citrusy hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of orange and lemon citrus along with some hints of oak. No bitterness is present.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with bits of dryness.
O: This beer has nice aromas and flavors from the hops, especially since it is nearly seven monts old. It is also very easy to drink.

Note: Bottle Date: 08-30-12

Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 083012

A: Pours a hazy golden apricot in color with moderate amounts of large particles of sediment near the bottom of the glass, light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation, and some golden yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy off-white head that slowly reduces a medium thick patch of medium to large bubbles, a thick film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Upfront there are some light aromas of bready and pale malts. Moderate amounts of citrus hops with some notes of orange, lemon, and just a hint of grapefruit along with some light grassy hop aromas.

T: Upfront some light amounts of pale and bready malts with a touch of graininess that is followed by a light to moderate flavor of oak. That is followed by light grassy hops and some moderate citrusy hops - notes of lemon zest and orange. Light bitterness which does not linger for too long.

M: Just heavier than light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light notes of dryness.

O: Even after probably not getting drunk as quickly as it should have, it still had really nice hop presence and was quite nice to drink/enjoyable.

Photo of Jemonster
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Those chunks in the bottom of my glass don't look too appealing. They were in suspension when I poured it. I know it's just clumps of yeast and nutrients. Soft orange glow, thin white head, not a lot of visible carbonation.

S: Smells like what I think about on a hot summer day! Light hop aroma dominates, and light bread. Lemon citrusy.

T: Like a fine pale ale. Very well crafted. Nice lemon/grapefruit from the hops, cool tasting and refreshing. Great bittering. Tastes like a great beer to have with something salty or oily. Finishes fast like a summer beer should. If it weren't winter and 35-40 degrees here in San Jose California, it would probably be even better. Can't quite give it a 5 because I feel like there is something unidentifiable that is keeping it from being perfect.

M: Crisp and clean. More carbonated than it looks. Perfect for warmer weather.

O: I'm stocking up when July rolls around if this is still available.

Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. A good dry hoppy beer. Light orange coloured and very lacey. Lightly carbonated. A tad of yeast like a blonde. A hoppy lemony treat. Very good drinkability. Aromas are mildly herbal, malty. This is not a pale, but could pass for one.

Photo of harrymel
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again daysinthewake.

Pours a lovely hazed copper with a solid quilt of soapy light yellow foam. Smells of plenty of resiny and grapefruity hops with a slight lagered, english malt background. Taste is more malty than I had anticipated and the hops are present, albeit reserved with a very crisp and easy feel. The malt seems slightly oxidized, which would be better complimented with a few more late hop additions. Medium bodied with liberal carb and a slightly slick finish. I like this beer overall, although I don't think it meets the usual standards of the RR lexicon of beers. I would drink this with a simple meal like barley soup.

Photo of sitarist
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blind BIF round 7.

Pours hazy, honey to orange in color. After an aggressive pour there is about half an inch of loose white head. The head falls to a bubbly ring that leaves spots of lacing.

It has a fresh, clean, mild aroma that is pleasant. Not complex by any means, but its components (yeast, grain, hops) are all present. Floral with hints of orange, lime, biscuit dough, and just the faintest presence of wet dog.

Though not bad, its flavors do not match up to its nose. I taste some lime, triple sec, and water. It just seems to be missing something.

It is lighter in body, with light carbonation. Though its not heavily hopped, it doesn't have the body to support the hops. Leaves a resinous feeling on my tongue.

Overall its an easy drinking beer. Bring me a 6 of these to the golf course. Its very well crafted, just a bit underwhelming. Reminds me of SN celebration ale, only watered down.

Photo of rlee1390
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Translucent orange, some carbonation with a two finger head.

S-Grass, oranges, floral notes. Strong malt bill as well. Good balance

T-Nice grass with caramel malt. Floral hops round it out with some mild bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied, but a little on the lighter side. Some carbonation.

O-A decent APA, RR has done a lot better but still glad I was able to try this one.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle poured into a De Struise chalice. Bottled 8/30/2012.

Appearance - Hazy yellowish orange. Decent white head. Nice retention and lacing.

Smell - The saison is more prevalent than the hops. Fruity esters and a grainy malt. Almost wheaty. Citrus hops are in the background.

Taste - Hops are light in the taste as well. Grains more prevalent. Saison yeast gives it a fruity but light finish. Very grainy in the finish,

Mouthfeel - Very light and easy drinking. Hardly bitter. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Interesting if closer to a saison than a pale ale. I like the body of it and the saison yeast gives it a dimension that the low ABV and low hop profile wouldn't give it.

Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a slightly hazed light golden yellow with a small white head that has decent retention for its size into an imperial nonic
S: smells of grapefruit and pine, no malt in the nose that I can find but a nice light hop aroma
T: grapefruit and pine flavor up front with a nice clean and light malt flavor, slight sweetness but enough hop character to keep it reigned in. swallow brings a light breadyness and a bit more pine and grapefruit
M: standard carbonation for the style that is slightly prickly with a medium to light mouthfeel. very refreshing and not the least bit drying
O: Russian River makes some very outstanding beers and this beer is no exception. great flavors and highly drinkable.

Photo of Philousa
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on date 8/30/12

Orange copper, clear, with one finger head and great retention. Orange peel with a light amount  of 2 row and slight pepper. Hops are present but not overwhelming: grassy and earthy. Slight metallic flavor combines with orange rind and wheat bread crust. Flavor thins out and comes back gently but bitter with a slight tartness from the yeast. Fresh cut grass and some spritzy citrus compose the finish. Feel is slightly watery with a balanced finish. 

This is a great lawnmower beer. I can see myself having this after moving on a hot summer day, the mild flavor and light body would be very satisfying. A lot of flavor for such a "small" beer.

Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one as an extra in a recent trade. Thanks, Kevin. 510 mL bottle poured into standard pint glass. Bottled on 8/30/12, about 5 weeks old.

A - Pours a hazy orange-straw color with a thin white head. The lacing it leaves behind coats nearly the entire glass.

S - Smells of biscuity malt, lemon, and nonabrasive floral hops. A little bit of sweet honey is balanced by the citrus and hops. Mellow and welcoming aroma.

T - Follows the nose closely with great balance of biscuit malt and citrus. Some floral hops, but not enough for me to consider this a hoppy brew. As in the nose, it is mellow on the palate.

M - Light-medium body with moderate carbonation. It is a gulper.

O - Certainly not one of the better RR beers I have had, but it's pretty good. The problem here is that it is a session beer sold as a limited run single. The explanation on the side of the bottle is spot on. It is a very refreshing beer that I could easily see drinking on a long day during the "harvest." Very good representation of the APA style with good flavor and very high drinkability. I recommend trying it if you like mellow, refreshing pale ales.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler (filled 30 September at the brewery) into a tulip glass.

A: Several fingers of head fade quickly atop a hazy-opaque straw yellow beer.

S: This smells great! Crisp and very hoppy. Fresh pine and a strong dose of lemon peel.

T: Light and pleasant. I'm not sure I see the saison yeast...It's thin-bodied (crisp would be more flattering) with a very clean yeast. Almost pilsnery. The finish is dry as well. That said, the main appeal lies in the excellent (and potent) hops used. Something European perhaps? Quite bitter and quite delicious. I am enjoying this pale ale, even if its best qualities are tragically ephemeral.

M: Light, crisp, and clean. Nicely carbonated to highlight the spiciness of the hops.

O: Great pale ale! Highly recommended. I'm glad I decided to buy this over Happy Hops, even if HH is still my preferred Russian River pale ale. Would try again.

Photo of inlimbo77
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6oz half pint pour
Enjoyed this at the brew pub in Santa Rosa, CA on 9/5/12

A: Pours a crystal clear, golden color. There is some sticky white laced head. Seems to be good carbonation.

S: Much like the appearance, it's very BMC like. I get lots of grassy and grainy smells. Also, some euro hop aromas and biscuit like malt.

T: Taste really does follow that nose. It's very lager like. Grassy smelling. Light Euro hops and biscuit like light malts. Session beer for sure.

M: It's a summer brew. Light and easy drinking

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 8/30/13
Poured into the Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head IPA glass

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a lovely, slightly hazy hue of pale straw with some nice highlights of light orange. A very thick, tight bubbled, pure white, 3 fingers tall head forms. The head has great retention and leaves a lot of lacing along the sides of the glass as it recedes.

Aroma: (3.75)
A lot more of a subtle, nuanced aroma than I would anticipate from Russian River; Upfront there is some soft hop character; mostly very light citrus and some floral and herbal qualities. Right alongside the hops is an equally gentle saison yeast phenols; extremely faint pear, banana and a subtle white pepper spiciness. A very low profile bready maltiness rounds out this very low key aroma.

Taste: (3.75)
Right away your greeted by a quick burst of very floral, citrusy hop character; definitely very modest in nature. Behind hops is some of that spicy Saison yeast that is found in the nose; banana, clove and white pepper. The beer finishes very dry and clean with notes of bitter orange peel, floral hoppiness, clove, pepper and a distinct breadiness. Very crisp and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: (4.25)
Light bodied, but still somewhat robust in scope, with moderate, steady carbonation.

Overall: (4)
Russian River's version of a crisp, refreshing and low profile session ale made specifically for wine makers. What comes out it is a delightfully drinkable, low key ale. This beer really reminds me of Anchor Steam, but the Saison yeast really adds a new dimension to this 'old school' minded craft beer. I was hoping for some more hop character, but that's obviously wasn't the intention for this beer. I would gladly buy six packs of this beer!

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It Takes A Lot Of Great Beer To Make Great Wine from Russian River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.