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Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Russian River Brewing CompanyRussian River Brewing Company
BA SCORE
99
world-class

620 Ratings
Ratings: 620
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: 9.19%
Active Beers: 54
Beer Ratings: 44,689
Beer Avg: 4.06
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

725 4th St
Santa Rosa, California, 95404-4407
United States
phone: (707) 545-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 620 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.44/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

slander, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of emerge077
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

emerge077, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of woodychandler
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

woodychandler, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev -2.2%

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...

Billolick, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of DoubleJ
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

DoubleJ, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.63/5  rDev +1.3%

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 didn’t 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 couldn’t help but notice some old beer cans and one of those moving picture adverts from Hamm’s 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 IPA’s, 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 didn’t 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 NoCal’s 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! Can’t wait to get back!!

*Highly Recommended*

Last Visit: Saturday 31st December, 2005 - Monday 2nd January, 2006.

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of Sammy
4.39/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

Sammy, May 28, 2010
Photo of Dogbrick
4.33/5  rDev -5.3%

(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.

Dogbrick, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.45/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

John_M, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.22/5  rDev -7.7%

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
Damnation
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Elder
Redemption
Perdition
Blind Pig IPA
Russian River IPA
O.V.L. Stout
Aud Blonde
Summit 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.

TurdFurgison, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

I'd been dreaming about a visit to Russian River and I finally got there during a business trip to SF. And it didn't disappoint.

RR is in a quaint, interesting downtown area with lots of shops and restaurants. It's in an old building and makes use of the age very well. The exposed walls really shine with vintage beer signs displayed. It has a very authentic feel.

The tap list is solid with most of their beers available and one guest (Sierra Nevada when we were there). We had the full sampler with one of each beer on tap. It leads you first through the American styles then the Belgians. There were no disappointments. I followed that up with a Pliny.

RR has a great atmosphere, interesting crowd and outstanding beer. I highly recommend a visit. And if you want to eat somewhere else afterwards, try Tex Wasabi's (Guy Fieri's place) just down the street.

GJ40, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of sholland119
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

An under the radar destination in the sleepy town of Santa Rosa. We walked in at about 5 on a Sunday afternoon and pulled up a couple of stools at the roomy bar...

Well, yeah, so that never happened.

Little can be said about this place that has not already been said many times in these reviews. Though the place is apparently packed at all times, the efforts to score a table or a bar stool are well worth it (we got both after a bit of patience on two visits).

The tap list is out of this world, not only for its consistent high quality but for its mastery of all styles it serves. You like hops? Cool. Sours? Some of the best ever. Other Belgian styles? Yeah, they've got 'em. Start with the sampler (and a friend to share it with) and go from there with your favorites.

The pizza is surprisingly good. The service is really pleasant and non-douchey, which is a lesson many other successful places could learn.

Go there. But you knew that already, right?

HV

sholland119, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of Yetiman420
4.74/5  rDev +3.7%

Russian River was stop #243 on my quest to visit every quality brewpub in North America.

Russian River has the best beers of any brewpub I've ever visited.

The wife and I visited on a Sunday evening for the listed all day happy hour. Unfortunately, Belgians and aged beers are not part of the deal. We shared every one of the beers on the board. The Belgians were are phenomenal and supplication on draft was amazing. Temptation out of a bottle was more of a sour light but still very good. On the other side of the menu, the stout and Pliny the Elder were awesome.

The facility is in downtown Santa Rosa and we stayed and walked to and from the Hyatt. The Courtyard is also within easy walking distance. RR is well worth the visit if you're in the bay area.

Yetiman420, May 21, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -14.7%

Was here for the PtY release, wife and I were the first ones in line at 830 AM after leaving SB county at 3AM to get there. It was a madhouse. I noticed several BAs. Atmosphere was hectic because of the release. Lots of beer nerds. Quality is awesome. RR of course. They did not have a gameplan on service, some were getting served ALOT and some not at all sadly. The local influence could be seen and heard. He said no growler fills but yet he filled them right in front of me, not cool. However, our server at the table was on his game and garnered a king size tip from me. He worked his ass off and did a great job. Selection was amazing. Who needs guest handles when you have 12+ of the best beers money can buy from RR. Food was not so great. My pizza tasted like a grocery store Tombstone pizza but some like it, however the beer bites were very good and scarfed them down fast. Prices were ok considering the quality of beer, a tid bit more than I would have liked on the PtY but everything else was pretty good, no complaints. Overall a very good place.

barleywinefiend, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of dirtylou
4.64/5  rDev +1.5%

The mothership.

Not much on atmosphere - very crowded even during the afternoon. Interior not much deviated from a pizza pub or sportsbar. But who cares, we came here for the beer.

Everything on the taplist is worth consuming - get your Pliny and Blind Pig down in SF and focus on Row2Hill56, supplication, consecration, sanctification, etc.

Service was pretty strong, considering we were off in a corner and consuming at a pretty speedy clip.

Lots of expensive gear, expensive growlers (when in stock), etc. Don't even think about bringing an un-branded growler (see threads on such a topic). I had a lot of beer, and I'd have a lot more. I wish the brewery was more open and less family restaurant, but as long as they keep cranking out the delicious ales, I won't be complaining.

dirtylou, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of Bierman9
4.33/5  rDev -5.3%

After a lovely ride up the coast from SFO on Rte 1 to Pt Reyes, I cut inland to get some much-needed food and bier. Russian River was the #1 choice on my must-visit list. Easily found off of the local highway... parked across the street, with one of the many city-wide Charlie Brown statues guarding my car.

They had a few tables outside the place, and I was tempted to park it there, but all were full! Inside is a large venue, long from front to back, bright and airy, with lots of light wood. Room is split a bit with a divider lengthwise, with a bar on the left along with tables, and more tables on the right side, with a small stage in the corner near the window for musical acts. There's also a small room to the left upon entering, for overflow at busier times. Brewing tanks are visible behind the bar, and there's a big-ass blackboard up on the wall with brews currently on tap along with abv, IBUs, etc... Many medals are displayed for their award-winning biers as well. Very comfortable atmosphere, even more-so when the rockabilly-type band started to "hit it". Had 7 biers on tap, but, alas, no Pliny to be found. Comforted myself in 3 pints (20oz, actually) of their regular IPA. 'Twas a Sunday, and Happy Hour, so biers were only like $2.75, or something really nice. All three 'tenders at the bar I encountered were friendly, knowledgable, quick and helpful. Along with the bier, I had me a "Mikey" pizza, which hit the spot (though food was a tad pricey). Yummy biers with a good vibe. Gotta love it!

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.33
atmosphere: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

113

Bierman9, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%

This place was my holy grail of my beery cross country trip, and luckily my first visit found me in great shape for a long day of beer sampling. I arrived at opening time, and was greeted by one of the nicest bartenders that I have ever met. We preceded to talk about beer, whilst he poured me free samples of all of their current Belgian offerings whilst I drained a lovely 750 of sanctification. He also got Vinny out to let him know I was there. Vinny was such a great guy, he gave me a tour, some beer from the barrels, a bottle of supplication and than we talked brewing for hours. He made me feel like a friend from the start. Something I really appreciate. The atmopshere of the pub itself is good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Nice on the inside with light wooden tables and a wooden bar. Grain and hops bags hanging all over the place and cool, old breweriania. The quality of the beers are perfect. I am convinced that no other brewery in the world right now can touch this place. From their staple styles all done in incredibly solid or unique versions to their super hoppy beers, and their wild fermentation and barrel aged Belgian collection, every brew here is a real champ. Supplication blew me away in its early bottled state, and I praise the lord that cases of this brew and Temptation are coming to Philly to sit by Damnation and Sanctification of the shelf. Service, as mentioned was perfect, and the food I had (beer bites, chicken ceaser salad) were priced cheaply and on the upper side of things. The selection was fabulous as well. 7 + "tions" on tap with one or two other Belgians and 5 or 6 staples. Sure, I was there only a day after their one year anniversary, but they usually have at least 9 taps flowing, and 2 bottles, which is soon to be 4 bottles, available. Even though this place loses out a "bit" on the atmosphere and food scores, it really still is a true 5 in my mind. A beer mecca that everyone should visit. There next beer should be named "perfection". Or perhaps they should just change the name of their brewpub. Cheers to Vinny and Matt for making my visit a wonderful experience. I'll be back....soon.

francisweizen, May 10, 2005
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
5/5  rDev +9.4%

One of the highlights of my trip to California was the trip to Russian River. The place had a very good feel, and it had a feel of not only it being a place where beer geeks go, but also locals who would pass the time by after work over a beer reading a newspaper or discussing the weather. EXTREMELY impressed with the sampler, containing some of their expensive releases for only $11. Service was also excellent considering the amount of people, and definitely a place I wish I could frequent more than just a night. It was also August and possibly the most prime time to have a Pliny, although I really enjoyed the Temptation much more.

MilwaukeeCrusher, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Making it to Russian River was a big deal for me. They make some of my favorite beers that can be damn difficult to get in Midwest. I’ve long dreamed of visiting the place. Finally, last month on the 25th of July, 2007 I made it.

To say I was disappointed with the atmosphere when I walked in would be an understatement. In my mind, Russian River was this mysterious and magical dark wooden bar where deity like beer elders hung out in peaceful contemplation of their beer. Oops, I was wrong. Russian River was like a college bar with $2 pitchers of Busch Light the night I was there. It was a Wednesday yet the place was standing room only. This must have been because that band that played that folksy cover of Gin and Juice was playing. At any rate, I may have been disappointed when I walked in but I was damn happy when I walked out.

I started with a Perdition on tap. Next I had a Sanctification. I believe it was batch 003 but it was too loud in RR to ask the bartenders about it. Then I had a Little White Lie followed by a Salvation. Elaina drank IPAs until she discovered Sanctification and then stuck with that all night. About that time I ordered a bottle of Damnation 23 for the two of us but she was stuck with Sanctification so I had to down the bottle my self. Entering well into binge territory I moved onto the Aud Blonde and Bravo followed by samples of their remaining American styles. Around this time I reached the peak of beer ecstasy and promptly ordered six bottles of Damnation 23 and six bottles of Sanctification. They were kind enough to put them in a box to go, probably a good idea because I don’t think I could have consumed all of those that night.

The staff were great and started throwing schwag and glasses of Sanctification at me at this point. What a fine bunch of people. Had some good conversations with local beer nerds and as I said before, eventually fell in love with the lively spirit of the place. The pizza was pretty good too.

In general, what more can be said about Russian River? They make some of the best beers in America. I wasn’t particularly excited about most of the American varieties (save Pliny and Blind Pig) because they were just very good as compared to the Belgians, which are to die for. Go here. It doesn’t matter where you live. Make the pilgrimage. It’s worth it.

Side notes: I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard, which was only about 5 blocks away and it made for an easy walk to, and an easy stumble from, RR. The Travel Lodge was about equally close as well. Also, Wine Country Shippers is located a few miles north of Santa Rosa and will ship a case of Russian River (well packed) for you at a very reasonable price ($53 to Wisconsin for 38 pounds). They’re nice people and took good care of my RR beers for me. It took about one minute to sign a piece of paper and I was on my way knowing that my beer would be safely waiting for me in Wisconsin when I got home.

DaPeculierDane, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of greenspointexas
5/5  rDev +9.4%

greenspointexas, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

BillRoth, Feb 09, 2014
Photo of beerwolf77
4.55/5  rDev -0.4%

So any self respecting beer geek owes it to themselves to visit this place at some point in their life. This was the pinnacle of our beer trip out west.

My wife and I stopped in at around 7 on a Tuesday night. We were a bit shocked by the crowd. The place was packed wall to wall. After a brief wait we scored a table and began drinking the place dry. My head was spinning from all the SOUR POWER available on tap. Glass after glass was consumed. Our server was super friendly and quick with the refills. After getting a solid buzz we ordered food. I had heard good things about the jalapeno pizza bites. They did not disappoint. So spicy and delicious. We ordered a couple entrees as well and they were very tasty. We finished the evening with several more pints and cabbed it back to our hotel.

I told my wife I wished we could of had a more intimate experience while there. So she recommended we head back first thing in the morning when they open. I love that woman. We did just that and it turned out to be a great decision. We were the only people at the bar. Got to shoot the shit with the staff and get a more personal view of the place.

Can't wait to go back. This is a must stop for all beer fans.

beerwolf77, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +9.4%

After years of being a huge fan of this brewery I finally was able to visit the source on a recent trip to Santa Rosa. I planned a vacation to the Bay Area and made it a point to spend a day in Santa Rosa so I could come here.

The vibe of this place is very cool. When you walk in there is a small seating area to the left with a few tables and a window into the barrel room. To the right there is a larger seating area with more tables, a kitchen and a wall of merchandise. Straight ahead on the left is a very long bar with the famous chalkboard looming above. To the left of the taps there is a large window with another view of the barrel room. Sitiing beneath this window was a collection of magnums, 3 liter Beatification, 6 liter Temptation and a 12 liter Damnation! The crowd was mostly young in their 20s and 30s and pretty laid back.

The selection of this place is amazing. I was so stoked to sample everything fresh from the source. In addition to Pliny, Blind Pig and Damnation, they had on Redemption, Perdition, Benediction, Russian River Porter, Russian River IPA, Supplication, Consecration, Temptation and Dead Leaf Green. The best part is they let you buy samples so that you can sample as many as you like without breaking the bank or becoming disturbingly intoxicated. They have bottles for sale as well including 3L magnums of Damnation. I would have bought one but how would I get it home? It was hard to leave this place at 1:30 in the morning but I had to wake up early and drive an hour and a half the next day.

The service here was incredible and probably the best of any beer bar, brewpub, drinking establishment I've ever been to. The place was very crowded because it was a Friday night but all of the bartenders handled it with no problem. All of them were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. They were more than happy to answer questions and fill sample glasses. They also were engaging and I could talk to all of them about the different sours, availability and vintages. The one bartender Jeff was very cool, especially when I told him I came all the way from Philly just to visit the brewpub. I talked to him for a while about beer and he let me take pics with the magnums. He and everyone else there made my visit very enjoyable.

This is my favorite brewpub that I've ever visited. Between the selection, vibe, service and amazing beers, I can't imagine how they could improve it. I drank a lot here, met some really cool people and had a great time. As I mentioned above, It was nearly impossible for me to leave this place because I was having such a great time. If I was anywhere even close to this place again I would make it a point to stop by. Highly recommended!

corby112, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of orangesol
4.63/5  rDev +1.3%

Stopped in here earlier today for the PTY release, I have wanted to visit this place for so long, the PTY was just an added bonus. After standing in line for nearly six hours I finally got inside and promptly found a seat at the bar. Atmosphere was hopping, as expected with such a large event going on. Service was solid all things considered, I did have to wait a bit but that is more than understandable with the insane amount of people looking for beers are all times. Quality was great, beers and food were both top notch. Selection was awesome. 20 beers on including PTY, Beatification and a vintage Sanctification. Food was awesome. I decided on the Jasper bites and they were awesome. I really wanted a pizza as well but the bites filled me up so well I just didn't have it in me. Prices were great, especially the sampler on all 20 beers for $16. Overall one of the best brewery tap rooms I have ever visited, I look forward to visiting again in the future, hopefully when PTY isn't going on so I won't have to wait for 6hrs to get in.

orangesol, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.14/5  rDev -9.4%

6/29/13

After spending a very hot afternoon at Lagunitas, we headed to the hotel to cool off. As the heat lingered into a Saturday night, we drove to Russian River but couldn't find a spot to park in the busy downtown area, so back to the hotel for a cab. By the time we got to Russian River Brewing, it was busting at the seams and an hour wait. Luckily, a couple of seats opened at the bar just after we managed to buy our first beers from the end of the bar (on advice from Dave that we met at Lagunitas on how to negotiate the chaos).

So, the obvious to start—the beer is amazing. Because we took a cab, I bypassed the cool sampler tray for $15 for everything on tap and dove right in with a glass of Pliny the Elder and my wife did Consecration. On my pre-trip research, I found this great 12 minute documentary on Pliny beers, Younger and Elder, the engine of Russian River's success. No write up of these wonderful beers because we were hawking for a seat to avoid the one hour wait for a table. After unceremoniously pushing my way past a couple with my size to two open bar seats, we ordered some beer bites (pizza bread with mozzarella cheese and garlic), which came quickly.

Just before the appetizer arrived, we ordered Cheese Louise for dinner, a cheese pizza with mozzerella, parmesan, cheddar and marinara. We decided poorly because the Beer Bites were so large (and similar) that we took much of the pizza home. The food was fine but the meat market atmosphere made the stop uncomfortable. When one of us went to the bathroom, the youngsters immediately filled the space, clamoring for a beer. On my restroom trip to the back bar, there was at least one family and a few beer geek types, but they were overwhelmed by the young crowd. Maybe just a Saturday night, but Dave and Meredith had said pretty much the same on their trip a night or two before.

Just prior to dinner, we had received our next excellent RR drafts. Mine was Row 2 Hill 56, a 100% Simcoe Pale Ale: stark white head over an amber ale with gold highlights; bright and clean Simcoe in the nose with light, fresh breadiness; tongue follows the nose exactly. Row 2, Hill 56 is a great pale ale in spite of being the weakest beer of the night. My wife ordered Santification, a 100% Brett fermented ale: yellow with hints of gold and a thin film from an off white head; delicate Brett and underlying bready malt; clean and rich sourness on tongue. Simply an amazing beer that was nearly matched by last beer of the night, Supplication, a brown sour barrel aged Pinot Noir barrel: little head and no lace; cloying amber to brown ale; sour and wine in nose; wine, thin malt, hint of dark fruit, slightly hot alcohol and bracingly sour on the tongue. Can't beat the beer here.

Like Lagunitas earlier in the day, I again found myself dislocated from my expectation. In short, the beer is not the brewery or brewpub. While the food was fine at Russian River, I wouldn't return there just for a meal. The beers are Russian River were everything I hoped and expected to find and we even left with bottles of Pliny the Elder, Sanctification and Damnation. The local heat wave strained our drinking resources and personal patience, which may have impacted our visit as well. However, I didn't leave thinking I'd love to live around the corner. If going back again, I would definitely make Russian River an afternoon or weekday trip to avoid the crowds so that I could quietly focus on the beer.

Pictures at http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/2013/08/russian-river-brewing-santa-rosa-ca.html

FightingEntropy, Aug 14, 2013
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Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA
99 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.