Russian River Brewing Company was created in 1997 when Korbel Champagne Cellars of Guerneville, California decided to try their hand at brewing beer. Brewer Vinnie Cilurzo was hired as brewmaster. Korbel quit the brewing business, and sold the brewery to Cilurzo and his wife Natalie in 2002. Vinnie’s Blind Pig brewery changed names to Russian River, remodeled and expanded in 2004, eventually moving to Santa Rosa, at their current 4th Street location. Cilurzo is regarded as one of the most innovative microbrewers in the country and credited with inventing the beer style Double India Pale Ale, known alternately as Imperial IPA, when he was the head brewer at Blind Pig Brewing Company in Temecula, California.
From the Full Pint:
Russian River’s Belgian and barrel aged beers have a near legendary reputation as some of the best beers produced in this country. That reputation also means they are also some of the most sought after beers, making them difficult or impossible to find in most markets. I returned from an out of state trip a few months back with a few bottles of Russian River beers so I could try them out and see if they live up to the hype. This is the first bottle I’m reviewing, Russian River’s Supplication, a Sour Ale aged in oak barrels.
Supplication pours a fizzy orangish-red color and turns a dull cloudy red with brown highlights. Dispite all the fizzing going on when you pour the Supplication into your glass there is very little carbonation or head when this beer settles. There’s only a thin patchy layer of white bubbles and a soapy quality to the lacing left behind when you swirl the beer around your glass. Supplication is a very pungent beer and doesn’t require much swirling at all. This beer definitely smells like an oak aged cherry flavored beer. The oak doesn’t smell “aged” but rather, it smells bright. The combination of fresh oak and sour cherries gives this beer a very pleasant aroma.
My very first sip of Supplication was a bit shocking. This is true for all Sour Ales I try, I’m never quite ready for the tart flavor and these beers always catch me off guard. Supplication is definitely sour, but it’s not an extreme sour and it won’t make you pucker and recoil. Supplication has lighter than expected texture that packs a big sour cherry flavor with an oaky twang on the back end seems to round off the sour flavor.
Supplication is a very enjoyable straightforward oak aged Sour Ale. The flavors are sight and pleasing, the sour is solid but not intense and the oak is mellow rather than distracting. I’d recommend this beer to anyone wanting to try a quality Sour Ale, one you could safely judge all others against.