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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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
Reviews by bbb099:
Photo of bbb099
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mjyoung for sharing this one!

A - Clear and bubbly golden yellow with foamy white-colored head.

S - Smells malty with floral notes. Hints of citrus as well. Very pleasant.

T - Light tasting, which is kinda expected. Wheat and corn flavors.

M - Medium to light bodied. Good amount of carbonation.

O - Probably one of the better pale lagers I have had. Taste wise is relatively average, but you can tell this is a well done lager.

More User Reviews:
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 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 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 hooliganlife
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to Jason Rorie for this

pours a lazy hazy straw yellow with a nice bright mix of fizzy and frothy head.

lots of sharp zesty fresh biscuit with a floral brightness. bits of fresh flower.

very malt forward with lots of bread and biscuit. sharp and bright floral hops mixed in through out. almost a bit of tartness, like faint lemon.

nice moderate body with a moderate carbonation. a hint of chew. not overly thin like many ales below 5%.

highly drinkable and enjoyable. loved this.

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 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!

Photo of hobojon
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 8/23/11 served in a RR glass.

App- very clear, golden straw. white foam, clings to the sides of the glass and leaves a small rocky foam cap.

Aroma- clean, citrusy hops (more orange and floral). some mild english yeast esters? kind of sweet aroma. some mild fruitiness. Very clean aroma.

Taste- light cracker malt, plain and lightly sweet. mild hop bitterness with some citrus hop flavor. some lime from either the hops or yeast? some sweet yeasty note... not sure how to describe it but it is like an ester than accentuates the natural malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel- enough body but a lighter beer. smooth creamy carb is fine. dry and drinkable, very refreshing. light lingering resin and hop flavor is nice.

Overall- very good and refreshing, but nothing special. this goes very good with RR pizza.

Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle recently, review from written notes. Bottled: 082311

Pours a pale pastel yellow with visible carbonation rising, and a cluster of larger bubbles on the surface. Thin layer of foam fades to a thin cirrus pattern skim across the surface after a few sips. Solid head retention.

Initially lagery and slightly sulfuric, but this passes, leaving some floral tulip notes and grassy greenery in place of that. Slight yeastiness, overall clean.

Light grassy bitterness, lemon, honey, dry crackery finish, slight malt sweetness. Clean and dry feel, light bodied with medium carbonation. Found it to be easily drinkable on a warm day. Simple and utilitarian, a clean bare bones session lager, no flaws. Simplicity is underrated...

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

straw yellow color. golden amber with a crystal clear look to it. A small head of maybe an inch rose up, but immediatly fell back down, leaving a naked top to it.

The aroma was light. Lots of light grain and bready malts abound here. Small light fruit notes and an overall light profile. Taste was more of the same, light grain, light fruits, small doses of grain. A crisp, clean, and refreshing profile. Very light feel with an almost non existently light feel. Super drinkable

Photo of largadeer
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale blond hue, clear initially but cloudier in subsequent pours. The head doesn't show a ton of retention or lacing.

Great bready pale malt aroma with some yeastiness beneath it. White pepper, bread dough, herbal hops - really quite nice.

The palate exceeds the aroma and is surprisingly delicious. A great sweet pale malt foundation with some spicy overtones, grassy and herbal hops, a bit of peppery bite. Very mild bitterness. This is a beer you really need to enjoy a large pour of to truly appreciate, I think. It's very clean, balanced and sessionable.

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 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 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 BearsOnAcid
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Light yellow-golden color, small white head.

Yeast and light malt. Small amount of grassy hops in the aroma.

Refreshing and crisp taste. Light grassy hops. Not much bitterness at all. Some fruitiness from the yeast. Bready/cracker malt profile. Easily sessionable but boring. Kind of an odd format to sell a beer like this. Reminds me of Mayflower Golden Ale a little. It's meant to be sessioned and not analyzed but if I wanted a sessionable lager I would look for a Tipopils, which this does not even come close.

Photo of aasher
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle is courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! Bottle dated 8/23/11 and poured into my brand new RR snifter.

This one pours a light bodied, bright honey gold in color with a one finger traditional white head. The aromas consist of pale malts, light honey, and a nice subtle hoppiness. It has a clean citrus, yet very light hoppiness. For the style, it's pretty superb. The flavors are pretty heavy on the pale malts. I get a lot corn. There is a moderate amount of honey sweetness and a light citrusy hop presence. It's good but still a little heavy on the corn for my liking. It drinks very light and finishes clean. It's a nice intro beer for anyone getting into craft beer. It's definitely an easy drinker. Overall this is a nice beer and definitely one of the better of the style. I'd recommend it.

Photo of cbutova
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at the brewery, consumed later back in the hotel room in SF. Bottled 08/23/11, 2 months old on the nose.

A- Pale yellow body with a one finger white head. Decent retention and creamy texture. Small cloud and ring = silky fine lace.

S- Light biscuit and cracker malt. Some sweet sugar hints as well as yeast bread and citrus zest hints.

T- Crisp light lager flavor. Sweet light malt with sugar and biscuit hints. Bread and fruit hints, apple and white grape. Grassy and leafy light hop profile.

MF- Silky smooth light body with high carbonation. Slightly creamy feel.

Not bad for a pale lager. Good flavors but still has that sweet light malt and yeast feel found in many other light lagers. Interesting especially with a better mouthfeel for the flavors.

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 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 Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of daysinthewake, thanks! Served in a Russian River TION goblet.

Pours a clear straw color with a single-finger white head that went down to a collar fairly-quickly, leaving a bit of lacing behind. The nose carried some light grain and faint floral hops. Really delicate, and getting a bit more pronounced as it warmed. The flavor was nice, striking a nuanced blend between mostly-floral hops and a bit of light pilsner malt. Light body with good carbonation and a slightly bitter, semi-dry finish. Very tasty and quite drinkable.

Photo of Gilmango
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the colonelforbin for bringing this back from Zwanze Day at RRBC then schlepping it to CBS and PacBrewLab tasting.

A - golden color with a white head and a bit of lacing, just slightly cloudy - if the "pale lager" is correct then this looks like kellerbier; however this was filtered, no yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

S - bready malt with central European earthy and spicy hops

T - hop forward, real clean hints of malt and lovely dry finish with hints of lemon and good bitter hop grip.

M - Well attenuated without seeming too thin.

O - Really great breakfast beer, session beer, American lager(?), etc. Before I came here to review it I was guessing they used a Kolsch yeast as I just haven't had many lagers from RRBC, but if this is a pale lager (bottle does say "Ale" fwiw oh and their blog reads, "winemaker's session ale") so I am starting to think that maybe they did use Kolsch yeast or perhaps used lager yeast at ale temps ala CA common (but I'm no big fan of that style and this blows away any CA common I've ever had). No matter the beer is great and reminds me of a great, somewhat hoppy but restrained, west coast version of a kellerbier, or a kolsch.

Very food friendly. Best similarity I can recall is the old Deschutes seasonal Pine Mountain Pils, now retired, what a great beer that was.

Photo of HosP
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you to Scottfrie for the beer. Poured into pint glass.

A- Pours clear, straw yellow. Thin white head with bits of lacing left on glass.

S- Light grassy hop aroma. Overtaken by grainy, bready malt aroma.

T- Crisp, clean taste. More of the grainy malt in the flavor. Small amount of floral hop flavors dotted throughout. This would appeal to many beer drinkers out there.

M- Light body. Nice carbonation.

O- Nice refreshing drink. Anyone getting into craft would enjoy this beer. I did enjoy the drink, nice difference with simple yet nice flavors to it.

Photo of AgentZero
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm sure there's something clever about this long name, but I'm too lazy to find out what it is. Bottle from penniwisdom in a trade.

A - Clear, pale yellow beer with a bit of a white head. Some decent lace left on the glass.

S - Some pale malts, light grains. Bit of lager yeast. Nice.

T - Exceptionally clean tasting with light grains, pale malts, bit of yeast, hint of floral hops and hay. Easy to get down in mass quantities.

M - Lighter bodied, clean and crisp. Nice carbonation.

O - Can't complain about this one. Great refreshing lager that would be awesome on a hot day and you can just drink continually. Great for what it is.

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 womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this, Jason.

A: The beer pours a pale yellow/straw color with a finger of white head.

S: A light citrus note up front, but it fades away surprisingly quickly. The bulk of the aroma comes in the form of pale malt with a bit of a cracker note to it. Light lemon zest and grass notes on the back end.

T: The flavor is quite light. Bread and cracker malt flavors with some floral hops and a light grass. Very soft bitterness on the finish with some hints of citrus zest throughout the sip.

M: Light bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

O: This was pretty good, it was refreshing, and it was definitely something different for Russian River.

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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.