Russian River Brewing Company
Ratings: 546 | Reviews: 301 | Display Reviews Only:
4.44/5 rDev -2.6%
Escaped San Francisco with a Saturday Sonoma drive up watching the make believe landscape change; none of this can be real. 2 wineries as we’re too early for Mr. Moonlight, and 2 more afterwards ‘cause we drove by ‘em. Anything else to do up this way? (Duh). Checked in and was temporarily disabled by my hotel bed, but managed to get out and set out a-foggy...
A long straight bowling lane topped bar, wood panel base & piping foot rail; seating for, fuck, I don’t know, at least 2 dozen. Counter space running the barback slightly, with 3 tap towers of 5, 8, & 6 respectively on stainless steel panels, and another 3 more further down. Shelved glassware below taps on center. Framed ‘World Beer Cup’ awards over the taps along the slat wood backed wall space, and double wide horizontal boards above front row center with ABV’s, descriptions, OG’s, + ‘coming soons’, draft & bottle pricing, and happy hour info. Not so random pieces on the boards sills atop there.
To the left, views on a room of barrels with goods (to be sure), and a badass original “New Albion Brewery” sign over its peek-a-boo in on. Past there, house shorty snub growlers over shelved Russian River 375ml bottles to go. GABF medals to the right crisscrossed in displays of 2 & 3 framed and other award type pieces.A wine board, and a single shelf up above with vintage brewerania, bottles, & period pieces. More ‘World Beer Cup’ awards above and shelved pieces atop. Flatscreens in both corners of the bar.
The barback wall is mostly slat wood with beige uppers and blue trim & ceiling, and a deeper red down the hallway to the rear and to the kitchen corner. Cinder block cement far wall red velvety curtained up over, and a front wall of glass windows and doorway positively over 4th Street, with cases, signage, plants and brewerania. Blended duct work overhead, drop suction cup lamps over the bar tracing, and hard hat drops down the center and over the seating areas.
Some light hightop seating down to the far rear towards out back, 6 shorty table hightops adjacent to the bar along a divider (but you have to deal ‘em from up front), and just shy of a dozen tables on the flip side. Kitchenings space to the rear corner there with RR wear displayed above (Do I need a Pliny shirt, or what?), and a small stage in the front corner. Across from thereabouts, a tiny side room around the bend from the front side of the bar offering brew room views. A half dozen or so tables there with vintage beer signage, prints & pieces; Ben diggin’ on the old Colt 45 piece and others (Altes, Simon Pure, Knickerbocker, Schlitz, Ballantine, Gibbons). And a ½ dozen tables out front curbside for the sittin’ at.
19 beers on tap, Great Caesar’s Ghost! One board lists 8 mix & match beers; Aud Blonde, O.V.L. Stout (Irish Stout on nitro), RR Porter (Robust Porter), Gaffers Bitter, Segal Select (Strong Pale Ale), RR IPA, Blind Pig IPA, Pliny the Elder, and a space where ‘Pliny the Younger’ had previously been written. And the other board lists 11 ‘tions’; Redemption (blonde), Perdition (Biere De Sonoma), Damnation (strong golden), Defenestration (hoppy blonde ale), Rejection (black ale), Mortification (Quad), Sanctification (blonde with brett), Damnation Batch 23 (oak aged), Temptation (blonde aged in chardonnay barrels), Supplication (sour aged in pinot noir barrels), and Consecration (sour aged in cabernet barrels). They do a crazy sampler of 18, unfathomable but true. Opted not, but we did drink some of this, some of that, and tried a few things once Ben put a lookin' on people and procured us bar space. The best of ‘em being the RR Porter, Perdition, Blind Pig, Consecration, Supplication, Rejection (their 1X yearly Valentine’s Day beer, which was Perfection), and Sanctification (total ‘effin winner).
Yes, they have a food menu; it’s made up of snacks, salads, sandwiches, and a whole lot of pizza options. Tempting, but there’s Flavor in my future, so no. Dinner done, and now Flavor in the past, we returned to Russian River and stuck around to close the place (not bad for being on NY time). Hard time in the upfront side room; listening to the Dead cover band playin’ up a storm and drinking Pliny & Blind Pig laughingly. Does. Not. Suck.
06-06-2012 19:24:57 | More by slander
4.6/5 rDev +0.9%
Finally made the pilgrimage here, and it was extremely worthwhile.
The bar was big yet still cozy, cool vintage breweriana was scattered all over, and the famed double chalkboard above the bar inscribed with colored chalk was a sight to behold. Barrel racks were visible through narrow windows behind the bar also. Lunchtime crowd was relaxed and friendly. We even met another couple from Chicago at the bar, and it turned out we had mutual friends.
Service was also friendly, quick and attentive too. Our bartender handed us a few samples and was free with recommendations and beer talk. All the beers on tap were good to great, quality stuff all around. The bottle selection was not shabby either.
The pizzas here looked really good, just the right size for bar snacking. Made the way through a sampler and a couple other drafts before heading over to Flavor to eat a couple bites there and drink some Moonlight.
Overall a highly-recommended destination you have to visit at least once in your beer career... easy trip up from the bay area.
10-14-2011 03:10:40 | More by emerge077
4.74/5 rDev +3.9%
The exterior had a huge windowfront overlooking 4th Street with outdoor umbrella-ed seating available. Entering, a small restaurant area was off to the left with the long, laminated blonde-wood bar running lengthwise down the center with a small stage off to the right, followed by restaurant seating and the kitchen all of the way aft. Lots of vintage tin sign throughout. I was really impressed by the patience of the waitstaff. It must be really tough when two Beer Pests come to town, both asking for various and sundry.
Beers: A dozen (12) on-tap during our visit - Aud Blonde (4.5); O.V.L. Stout on Nitro (4.62); Dead Leaf Green (English Pale Ale) (5.75); R.R.IPA (6.75); P & E (8.0); Lap Dance APA (5.55); Bravo (6.74); Perdition (6.1); Little White Lie (4.36); Damnation (7.0); Salvation (9.0); and Sanctification (6.25).
Also, Damnation (7.0); Salvation (9.0); and Sanctification (6.25) were available in 750-ml bottles.
08-24-2008 20:10:26 | More by woodychandler
4.47/5 rDev -2%
Made a day trip up to this mecca of quality brew from Berkeley....a pleothora of mostly gushing reviews what can be added?....a warm and sunny day in Santa Rosa, Ca. enyoyed with my daughter (not a huge fan of upscale beer) Warm, bright and inviting space, a boat load of world class beers, friendly staff, friendly and warm locals, friendly and excited to be there beer travelers..bottles of Pliny to go..1/2 pints of redemption, temptation, supplication and the beat goes on...a must visit temple of high quality mostly only found in this one place destination....I enjoyed 3 or 4 1/2 pours, couldn't get 19 y.o. Jane to buy in and we were gone...the Pacific beckoned...the glow lasted...the memories linger...I'll be back...
08-31-2011 04:14:49 | More by Billolick
4.6/5 rDev +0.9%
Pliny the Elder. Supplication. Temptation. Highly recommended. End Review..
Oh wait, there's more?
I knew the possibility of a Russian River visit was strong, but the final word came from Andre, who said this would be the one-thing on his trip that he cannot miss. We parked in the back of Russian River, bought ourselves some time at the meter, and went inside. Russian River is a medium sized brewpub with a long bar, enough room to comfortably move around, sufficent enough numbers at first impression, a music stage in one corner, and walls covered in old-tyme American beer signage. Many brewpubs decorate their interiors with their own stuff, so it was a surprise that Russian River did little in that stage.
There are two large tap lists behind the bar, one listing "regular" beers and one listing "Belgian" beers. Many of the beers that made Russian River famous were available to drink; Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, Supplication, Temptation. Also featured were less common ales (Perdition, Salvation, Erudition) and tap-only beers (Row 2 Hill 56, Little White Lie, Aud Blonde). "Regular"beers are served in nonic pints, "Belgians" are served in goblets, so the glassware is sufficient. The pours are beautiful too, and because even the weakest beers are pretty darn good (we tasted all 15 beers on the menu), quality earns the highest score.
Service was attentive, beer menus were descripted, surprisingly good food that takes on an Italian theme (lots of pizza and dough based apetizers). The Pliny Bites were great, as was the garlic bread. And while the food is reasonably prices, the beer prices steal the show. Pints going for $4.50 (and dropping to $3.25 during happy hour), and goblets at $3.75 ($6.75 for the sours). Andre commented that the price of a Pliny at Russian River was the same as a Bamberg Pilsen in São Paulo!
As you could imagine, Russian River Brewing is a beer lover's wet dream. Many great beers on-tap, good food, and at good prices. Though if you come, come early. We arrived at 11:30am and the place was half-empty. When we left at 1:30pm, there were people standing in the bar area and all the tables were occupied.
11-12-2012 21:54:18 | More by DoubleJ
4.63/5 rDev +1.5%
Many months of wishing to get here, and at long last, after a 6½ hour drive north from Long Beach, with a few beery stops on the way, I finally made it. Once I got booked into the nearby Best Western, after a short 1 mile walk into downtown I soon found myself on 4th Street in no time. I didnt know exactly where the place was but I knew roughly, and thanks to the distinctive blue & gray color scheme it was easily spotted from a distance.
A small overhead projection at the front provides a covered area for some outside tables & chairs, though on a wet weekend in December it was only playing host to a hard core band of smokers when I arrived. Once inside the atmosphere is of an opened out brick warehouse, but an ex-Bank allegedly. Has a Utilitarian atmosphere with its own character that is definitely not from any chain, RRBC has its own unique feel. The bare exposed brick walls are painted with light pastel colors, empty Hessian sacks hang everywhere and are printed with the names of a variety of hops. Lots of colorful old tin signs from defunct long gone breweries also help break up the open airy feel. I couldnt help but notice some old beer cans and one of those moving picture adverts from Hamms Brewery high up above the bar. The Bar itself runs down the left hand side of the pub area, taps are on the back wall. The Brewery itself can be seen as you walk past outside & to your left as you enter, as can the stacked Casks all aging some of the next generation of *tion brews. Bar stools (no backs) seat a good number, a small dividing wooden wall in of the Bar front provides a defined walkway and separates the tables opposite the bar. Kitchen and Restrooms are at the back. Atmosphere would typically be a 3.5, but the staff here raise it to a warming 4.0.
As for Selection: Where else could you get such brews ranging from an American Blonde, through a Brown, Stout, Pale Ale and a brace of top drawer IPAs, all complimented with some wonderful Belgian style & barrel-aged brews like Redemption, Perdition, Damnation, Benediction, and the simply awesome Deification. The Coming Next list is sheer torture if you are only here for a day or so. Would be great to have a Beer Engine for a Cask brew though. However, Food range is so-so; Salads, Pizza and a smattering of simple Italian fare, above average good pub food but the range/quality could be better I think (my only beef about RRBC by the way).
Top Marks for Quality & Service! Our main server over the few days that I frequented here was Matt, just a really nice guy, consummate gentleman and a solid performer behind the bar. I can best sum up the service with just how quickly and efficiently my Growlers were filled on my last day, perfectly filled to the brim, washed and cleaned off and each marked for the different brews inside, & put away for chilling whilst I drank at the Bar, all without asking. Russian River is not just about the beer it is equally as much about the people on both sides of the bar, but the people that work here are just as much a reflection of the high quality of Russian River as the beers themselves are.
I spent nearly all of my time here with fellow BA Rapapoda, but we got to meet BA Watermelonman and his girlfriend Stacy for a few brews too on the New Years (Sun)Day. One of the highlights was getting to play Washers with Vinnie and crew back in the Brewery/Warehouse area that day, serious stuff that Washers, notice I didnt call it a game!!
Overall: What to say about Russian River that has not already been said? Well the damp wet weather was utterly crap over the 05NYE weekend, but that did not dampen my love of the place one iota. The visit to NoCals beery Mecca in Santa Rosa was a 6½ hrs motorized crusade there and 10½ hrs back, but well worth it. I intend to make sure that I get back here at least twice a year, if not more, from hereon.
No pretensions here at all, Vinnie and Natalie are the nicest hosts, mingling and chatting with everyone and anyone. The staff is of the highest caliber, and so are the beers. What a place to spend (a Happy) New Years! Cant wait to get back!!
Last Visit: Saturday 31st December, 2005 - Monday 2nd January, 2006.
01-08-2006 07:34:18 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.39/5 rDev -3.7%
It took me several years, but finally got an opportunity to return to San Fransisco for a meeting,and so I drove out here to stay. The city itself is small and pretty safe, 90,000 people. It seemed most of the adults were here tonight. Wednesdays are market day and the whole downtown was packed, this was as packed as I have seen a pub or bar, without any special event. Very friendly environment, good conversations until the music got too loud. That is my only knock, showing off the sound system. The band itself was good and did not need a volume boost, and people all talk to each other here. If you sit near someone in Santa Rosa, its impolite not to say hello and talk to them. The bartenders did a top-notch job running the place in the face of a three-deep crowd.Oh, and the beer lineup was to Dye for, with many of their best Belgians on tap which I had aftr sampling all the regular and exerimental stuff. Great basketball top available, it looks great.
WOuld love to have had some beers on cask, hint.
05-28-2010 12:34:19 | More by Sammy
4.33/5 rDev -5%
(Visited 01/2011): Made the drive from Larkspur to Santa Rosa to visit Russian River. It is located in the Cherry Street Historic District on 4th Street. Parking seems to be pretty much metered street parking in the immediate vicinity.
The brewpub was packed on a Tuesday evening during the OSU/ Arkansas Sugar Bowl. The bar is along the left side of the space, with table seating elsewhere. TVs are located around the bar, and there is a large chalkboard listing the current beers.
As for those beers, thank goodness for the chalkboard because the list is pretty extensive, and they have one of the largest sampler paddles I have ever seen, segmented by style and bottle cap markers. Several of their flagship beers are readily available such as the IPA and Blind Pig, and on our visit they also had goodies like Redemption, Rejection, Mortification, Perdition, Consecration, OVL, Little White Lie and Dead Leaf Green. All of the beers were top notch. They also sell bottles to go.
Service during the busy bowl game was better than expected. The bartenders knew their stuff and were on top of their game. One of them even snuck us sips of Younger out of the fermenter. Awesome.
Russian River's food is fairly standard brew pub food. Our pizza was good.
Overall this place is highly recommended and I would make it a point to visit again on any return trip.
07-12-2011 20:29:58 | More by Dogbrick
4.45/5 rDev -2.4%
Have been to the RR brewpub a few times now, most notably this past weekend.
At least in my opinion, other then the fabulous beer made here (and there is no doubt the beer here is fabulous), there's nothing special about this brewpub. Was there on a Sunday night and, as always, it was just packed. The BP is pretty good size, with the long bar running from the front door to the back area, where the room narrows. There is also a sizeable dining area to the right as you walk though the door. There's nothing fancy or particularly memorable about the atmosphere, and as others have noted, the accoustics here are not the best. It is typically very, very noisy in the BP, making conversation difficult. The food here is basic pub grub, with slightly above average gourmet pizza. RR does a good job with it, but don't expect to be blown away by the food. As for the service, what can I say? The place is almost always packed, so understandably there can be a bit of a wait for service. A couple of times I just went up to the bar to place my order (bar service was excellent), and on one occasion our waitress forgot my beer order.
What sets RR apart from other places, however, is the quality of their beer. Had an excellent pint of Pliny the Elder, as well as a nearly as good glass of the Blind Pig. Tried a taster of the "Bravo," which was a hoppy (very hoppy) Belgium style golden ale. Also tried a glass of the Damnation here - along with the Bravo, both were excellent.
At any one time RR will usually have anywhere between 10 and 15 beers on tap. The selection varies, but what they have is always outstanding. Prices are fairly moderate, and they have happy hour all day Sunday (making pint prices $2.75 per).
Defintely a place worth visiting any time you are in the Santa Rosa area.
Edit from the 2/12 younger release. Nothing new to report, but this place deserves a service bump, given how well they handle this event. Huge crowds, but they handle it well, and I was amazed that I never had to wait even a minute for another glass of younger (thank you sir, may I have another). Some places are at their very best when things are at their worst (or most difficult). This is one of those places. That being said, even on "normal" week days and weekends, this place is undeniably popular, and so often crowded. So service can occasionally suffer (as it would any place), and waits for a beer can sometimes be lengthy (as recent reviews from summer 2013 reflect). I think that just goes with the territory at a place like RR, but it's something to keep in mind if you're in a hurry or are expecting a lot of personal attention from the staff here.
09-05-2007 14:11:28 | More by John_M
4.22/5 rDev -7.5%
I was able to make it to downtown Santa Rosa to visit this place at last. It took about an hour from San Francisco but it was worth it.
The atmosphere wasn't as bare as I expected from previous reviews. There were beer posters on the walls, some made from flattened cardboard cases, and plenty of seats and tables. The food they serve is mostly pizza. I had one with a sampler, it was decent.
There were 11 beers on tap:
Little White Lie
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Elder
Blind Pig IPA
Russian River IPA
Unfortunately no Beatification, but they gave me a tip on where to find a bottle in Santa Rosa (turned out they were empty too). But even so, I can't complain with so many A-grade choices.
Worth the short drive if you're in San Francisco.
07-17-2006 10:42:55 | More by TurdFurgison
Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 546 ratings.