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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.
very good

65 Reviews
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Reviews: 65
Hads: 212
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 10.03%
Wants: 30
Gots: 15 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 212
Photo of grover37
2.81/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle into a pilsner glass. Picked up for me by a friend who visited the brewery.

Appearance (4): Very clear, light straw with big time legs. Almost two fingers of head which reduces to a thin ring. Lots of carbonation but no lacing. Impressively clear.

Smell (3): Pretty faint. A light graininess, but mostly fresh mowed grass. A slight tangerine and a touch of esters from the skunky yeast.

Taste (2.5): Pretty skunky and really grassy. Not bad but not particularly pleasant either. Wet and pungeant grass and a touch of fruit up front, with a little bit of bitterness and the light straw and grain malt in the background of the finish.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Slick and smooth but not that spritzy. Maybe a little bit heavier in the finish uncharacteristically. Medium to light bodied and medium carbonation.

Overall (2.5): This is the first beer from Russian River that I didn't love. I think it might be a little heavy handed with the noble hops which gives it that overwhelming grassy and skunky flavor. This one looked really good but was disappointing otherwise.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to leschkie for this one.

A: Pours a thin and completely clear yellow. There is a tiny pure white head that fades to nothing. No lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: Smells like a standard lager. Nothing overly complicated about it. There is however, just the slightest hop aroma in the tale end of the nose.

T: Starts off a little sweet and highly carbonated. Tastes like a BMC product. But it finishes with a nice little kick of hops and some extra bitterness.

M: Light bodied beer.

O: There isn't really anything too exciting about this beer. It's just a well made lager, perfect for easy drinking on hot days. I feel fortunate to have tried this brew, but It's nothing special.

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Photo of litheum94
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Hazy straw yellow body. Bone white head that leaves a patchy cover.

A: Subdued aromas mostly of wheat and rice. Lemon zest. Grassy and light floral hopping.

T: Restrained in the mouth, again mostly of creamy wheat with some rice thrown in as well. Some lemon flavors. Chalky dryness. Hop bitterness is held back, tasting of wood and earth, with some spicing akin to Noble hops.

Not much depth and complexity, but then again, that's what makes this a great session beer. Very enjoyable and refreshing. Good take on the style.

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Photo of cbutova
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

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Photo of robsee
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, poured into a Sam Adams glass. Straw yellow, white head, appears somewhat unfiltered.

Surprised by the classification as American Pale Ale as it is more blonde in style and conception even closer to a lager.

Clean, dry, crisp, and lager like. Hopped more than a normal lager with noble hop character. No citrus.

Very nice refreshing beer but as I'm drinking this in my Sam Adams glass, I realize that I'd rather be drinking a Sam Adams Noble Pils.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= Poured straw yellow had a little bit of a head that left behind some spotty lacing.

S= Some pale malts, Mainly "Earthy" scents like wheat grains. Really had a clean crisp scent to it.

T= Much like the nose it was really clean and crisp really a light beer. A really good beer that you could enjoy on a hot summer day.

M= Good Carbonation, Light in body.

O= Overall, It is what it is a really nice clean and crisp APA this would be a perfect summer beer and you could really have a lot of these and get away with it because it's not that strong. Glad I got to try this one from a great brewery.

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Photo of Phelps
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by whiterascal, poured into a tulip. Brewed in celebration of the Sonoma wineries and the tradition of serving the vineyard workers ale with their lunches.

Pale, perfectly clear buttercup gold. A wispy, airy and very short-lived head of white pops away to nothing. Thin, delicate — looks like a lager.

It also smells like a lager. Sweet baking bread, a touch of sourdough and zesty, floral hops. Some interesting sweetness is in there as well — marzipan? Ginger?

The flavor leads with spicy, floral Czech or German hops. Crackers, touch of biscuits. Some grainy bitterness sweeps in at the finish. Very clean, very light.

Weird in the mouth — kind of dead, watery. Flashes of peppery carbonation in the light to medium-light body. Insubstantial.

Pretty much every reference to the beer’s style I’ve found refers to the beer as an American pale style, but my mouth found this sitting firmly in the lager camp. Even as a lager, ITALOGBTMGW isn’t impressive. It’s a decently drinkable lager, but it’s also very boring, and doesn’t live up to the excitement a Russian River bottle produces.

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Photo of harrymel
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of Duane_Opfer
3.54/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of Philousa
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.58/5  rDev -8%
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

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Photo of HosP
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Renny for this extra.

A hazy yellow that resembles a hefe. Smaller white head with little retention and some bigger carbonation bubbles jetting from the bottom.

S Lighter sweet malt with a slight banana scent. Light earthy hops in there too. Smells interesting

T Not much flavor up front but quickly gets a light sweetness and spicier hops, not so much bitter. Almost a white grape taste thats very soft in the finish. Definately a little different

M Heavier side of light mouthfeel with lots of carbonation. Very easy to drink.

O Not a bad pale but different. taste was refreshing but didn't stand out to me. White grape flavor was interesting and nice.

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Photo of mothman
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a layer of white head. Leaves some rings. Color is a yellow gold.

Aroma: kind of fruity. Orange and lemon. Piney hops. Very fresh and earthy. Grassy.

Taste: a lot of lemon zest and bready malts. Grassy with a bit of pine and citrus. More malts than I was expecting.

Mouthfeel: Bitter. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, it's good, but nothing like the other RR ipas. Decent, but not pte, pty, or bp. It's not an apa, but I guess I expected more from RR.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
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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Photo of Sean9689
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike (AgentZero) for this one. Poured into Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Pours a clear straw yellow color, thick head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - All very light and crips. Floral, grains, slight touch of bitterness. Really nice and easy going...fits the style well.

T - Freshly cut grass, some mustiness, hay, grains, touch of hops, some malty sweetness. Again, nice and easy to drink.

M - Light, crisp, smooth, refreshing, slightly grainy finish.

O - A nice Pale Lager that's just super-chugable. This one is just easy to drink a lot of and fits the style nicely. Would have again.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Served in a Cigar City tulip.

A - A finger of white foam quickly settles to some wispy patches, a thick collar, and minimal lace. Hazy white peach flesh body - think my pour was the bottom third.

S - Sharp aroma - cereal grains and perhaps some chaffed wheat as well. A bit of stone fruit sweetness and English herbal hop character rounds things out.

T - Plenty of yeast, wheat, bread, and grain character - lightly toasted with sharp unmalted grains. Minimal hop flavor or bitterness, with a clean and neutral finish. Not bad, just slightly dull.

M - Smooth medium-light body, with lower carbonation, a lightly grainy texture, and a dry, crisp, clean finish.

D - It's a lawnmower lager. Decent stuff, but nothing special or worth actively seeking out. I'd have it again if it were reasonably priced.

EDIT: Apparently this isn't a lager at all. I guess the sharp flavors I was picking up were from the Saison yeast.

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Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
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...

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Photo of HopHead84
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks to Jason for sharing this at Woodshop Classix.

A: Transparent blond with a small bubbly white head.

S: Biscuit and wheat with a touch of sulfur. Maybe a dash of lemon and grass.

T: Dry with wheat and sulfur. I get just a little biscuit and earthy, grassy hops. Finishes dry and pretty clean.

M: Light in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is crisp and dry.

Overall: A refreshing and highly drinkable beer, just a bit simple.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

A - A very light, clear orange with a two finger off-white head. Solid retention and lots of lacing.

S - Wheat, light malts.

T - Wheat, pilsner-like tones, some light citrus.

D - Good carbonation, light body.

O - Light and refreshing. Great beer? No, but good.

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Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of spdyfire83
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

101st Review
Bottle to snifter

From notes. Thanks to Bardwashrind for sharing this treat at our Black Damnation horizontal tasting. This was a nice break in the dark stout action. My palate cleanser while drinking Black Damnation V - Double Black, if memory serves correct.

A: Bright, sunshine yellow. 2+ (foamy white) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Brilliant bouquet of hops, citrus, and light crystal malt. Smells like a field almost - can't decide if it is in a good or bad way though.

T: Very light, crisp, and refreshing. Soft biscuit with mild sweetness (maybe honey). Balanced hop and malt profile that goes well together.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Drinks very clean. Quite refreshing. Great palate cleanser and I can understand the wonderful title. Can't say I am inclined to start making wine, but this could inspire me. Just an all-around good beer.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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It Takes A Lot Of Great Beer To Make Great Wine from Russian River Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.