Beer Review of the Week: Toronado 25th Anniversary.

T 25, Uploaded with Snapbucket

Please note that this is a review of the draft version. I haven’t opened a bottle of this….yet.

This week’s featured beer comes to us from Russian River Brewing, and was made to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Toronado San Francisco. I could describe it, but I’ll let the folks at Russian River do that:

This unique one of a kind beer is a blend of 6 different beers: strong pale ale, strong dark ale, pale ale with currants, blonde ale, baltic porter, and Sonambic, or spontaneously fermentation beer. All components were made separately in barrels with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added in their own individual processes. Then the final blend was determined by Vinnie and Dave Keene, owner of the Toronado. It has nice bouquet of brett, fruit, spice, vanilla, and oak. This a full-bodied beer with hints of oak and nice sourness in the flavor.

The stated blend is as follows:
4% Sonambic (barrel aged for 15 months)
16% Blonde Ale (barrel aged for 8 months)
36% Strong Pale Ale (barrel aged 12 months)
28% Ale Aged with Currants (barrel aged for 8 months)
12% Strong Dark Ale (barrel aged for 12 months)
4% Baltic Porter (barrel aged for 10 months)

This Beer of the Week is a couple days late, mostly because I knew I’d be heading down to the pub to sample T-25 (as the kids would say), and how could I not feature this beer?

Served in the standard Russian River chalice.

The body is a bright, copper color. Presented with a scant, brown tinged head. Good retention and nice lacing.

Acetic smelling, with vinegar aromas and some lemon sourness. Oak and grass. Green apples. Definitely presents itself as a sour beer if there was any doubt in our minds.

Big tartness, green apple flavors at first, then tending towards a lemon sourness. Some cut grass in the back ground. Berry fruit flavors, with a hint of caramel. Dry, with lively carbonation. The sourness really hits you in the face the first couple of sips, but as your tongue adjusts to it, more nuances start to come out. There’s even a hint of an oak woodiness from the barrel aging.

Yet again, this is another very nice sour from Vinny and the crew. Not the best example of the style from Russian River (that would still be Beatification, thank you very much), but a very good one. I really like the bold tartness. Love to see how this ages.

Happy Birthday Toronado!!


Beer Review of the Week: Ruhstaller 1881

1881, Uploaded with Snapbucket

This week’s Beer of the Week comes to us from a newer brewery from Sacramento, CA, Ruhstaller. The brewery opened up in 2011, and is named after Captain Frank Ruhstaller, a brewing pioneer in the Sacramento area. He opened Ruhstaller Brewery in 1881 (hence the name of this beer), and the new Ruhstaller is an homage to the man and his beer.

1881 is a “California Red Ale,” 5.6% ABV and 35 IBUs. It is presented in a 22 oz bootle, with the neck wrapped in what appears to be a portion of a grain sack. Nice touch. There is no bottling date.

The body is a deeply dark red color. A thin yet dense, dirty white head sits atop the brew. It retains a good amount of foaminess and leaves some nice lacing.

There’s a good amount of hops to the nose, with aromas of pine and citrus. The malt profile is strong, with aromas of molasses and caramel, with an undercurrent of roasted malt tones.

Sweet, caramelized malts with some chewy molasses flavors. Roasted nuts and some full, bready flavors. The finish is hopped up very nicely, with bitter pine flavors as well as a tart, grapefruit twinge. Finish is semi-dry, and leaves some lingering bitterness in the mouth, but there’s a big enough malt profile that makes this beer a nicely balanced treat.

This is a good opening salvo from this newer brewery. Has nice malt flavors to it, but also has a good amount of hops. This is a beer that could appeal to malt lovers and hop lovers. I definitely will pick up other beer’s from them to see what else this brewery is capable of.

A Brewing Controversy?: Incentives for New Belgium in NC

Asheville Plan Schematics from Beer Pulse

Tony Magee, owner of Lagunitas, tweeted a potentially inflammatory message (if you’re sensitive to that kind of stuff) regarding incentives that New Belgium is receiving from the local government of Asheville, NC to build their new brewing facility:


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Well, Apparently I’m Standing in Line at Russian River Again

Per Natalie and the Russian River blog:

Toronado 25th Anniversary beer will be released on Thursday, August 9th, on draft and in the bottle at the pub. The kegs will be tapped when we open at 11am. Then we will release the 750ml bottles when the bus arrives from the Toronado that night for the big shindig and Big Daddy is in the house! Bottles are $25 each, limit 2 per person. We are going to release about 25 cases (appropriately, but not planned) every day starting Thursday night, then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning upon opening. If you want to stop by just to buy bottles, please come Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. We will not be allowing folks in just to buy bottles on Thursday night as we will be focused on throwing the best party ever!

Aw hell. At least they’re metering it again, so I stand some chance of getting a bottle. I’m not holding my breath for draft, however.

Say, what kind of beer will it be?

What style of beer is it? Vinnie, the mad scientist, says it is a “sour barrel-aged disproportionate blend of 6 different beers”. Upon tasting it this morning, I would say the beer itself is as big a mouthful as the description! The 6 different components were brewed separately with distinctly different processes, then Vinnie and Dave decided on the final blend together. It is 100% bottle conditioned and has brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus. ABV is 8.75%.

I guess that sounds ok.

Also, read the blog entry, cause there’s a neat little story about the Harvest Ale that they will be releasing in a couple of weeks.

New Releases Week of 8/6/12


There’s some pretty awesome beers that should be hitting shelves any day now (at least in my area; ask your local beer buying for specifics pertaining to you).

The biggest, most awaited one for me is Drake’s Aroma Coma. This is a great IPA, and I was very lucky to stumble across one last year. This year, it seems to be seeing wider distribution, since I don’t have to drive to San Francisco this year to get one. A must hit for next year is the Aroma Coma release at the Drake’s Barrel House, which also saw the release of Aroma Prieta, a brewery only release.

A couple of Firestone Walker brews are also hitting this week. Double Double Barrel Ale (which actually hit shelves Friday) is an Imperial Bitter, a souped up version of their flagship, DBA. This is part of their barrel series, which also includes Parabola (best imperial stout on the planet) and The Beer Formally Known as Abacus. So don’t miss this one. Also, 4 packs (yes!) of Double Jack should be out as well.

The new Sierra Nevada Beer Camp set looks promising this year. This year’s set includes an Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Pilsner, Floral IPA and an Imperial Red. I had the Impy Pils on tap at the brewery, and it was very good.

Finally, Lagunitas released one of my favorite beers by them, A Little Sumpin’ Wild. It’s a slightly Belgian version of Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, brewed with Westmalle yeast, to give it a bit of a funky, earthy twist. Don’t miss it.

Beer lovers certainly will not go thirsty this week. And if you do, it’s your own damn fault.

Image from Drake’s


Weekend Wrap-up 8/6

I had a fairly eventful beer weekend, so just thought I’d go over what I saw and imbibed the last couple of days.

On Saturday, I headed to Russian River to enjoy two new releases; Hopfather and Compunction. The Hopfather was a well crafted IPA, with a good punch of bitterness but balanced well. Compunction is a sour ale brewed with pluots, and there’s a ton of tartness to this one. Look for formal reviews of both later on; the pub was crazy on Saturday, and not conducive to reviewing.

Also got to try 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head, as my friend brought back a six pack from his travels back east. This is a classic East Coast IPA, with a big malt profile and delicate hops. Very good, and goes well with Rock Band.

On Sunday, the family and I headed to Toad in the Hole to enjoy Mostly Python, a celebration of Monty Python, beer and silliness. The Lagunitas beer truck was on hand, pouring their Pils, IPA and Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, along with other offerings such as 21st Amendment Bitter American and Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. The event is free, and includes local actors performing Python skits and live music as well. This is a can’t miss event for me, as it’s fun for the whole family (although the skits were definitely more risqué this year).

Lastly, Beer Pulse reported that Stone will be releasing their Ruination and Oaked Arrogant Bastard in 4 packs, to go along with Sublimely Self-Righteous. 4 packs of delicious beer for everyone!

Russian River Harvest Ale

Via Beer Pulse

HopTime Harvest Ale is our 100% wet hop beer which we have not made for several years due to capacity issues.” Vinnie doesn’t stop there and breaks the good news for hop heads everywhere (well, in California anyways) saying “However, we are brewing it again this year for the first time in a while.


Yes. Yes! Oh god, YES! *Ahem*

I’m kind of looking forward to this.