sal·va·tion, n 1. deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption. 2. The agent or means that brings about such deliverance.

In 2007, TwoPints and I tagged along with my parents and sister on a Santa Rosa, CA area wine trip. While I got schooled in some mind blowing wines (e.g. Pine Ridge, Verite, Havens, Lambert Bridge, and did I mention Verite?), I hooked the fam up with a scheduled visit and tour of the Russian River Brewing Company. While I had never had the pleasure of tasting a beer from Russian River (thank you TABC and the three tier system gangsters), I had brewed my own version of Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig (thanks B3).

Not only was Russian River a unanimous (near) favorite stop on a *wine* trip, it has got to be what every aspiring homebrewer wishes to achieve: World class beer, lively bar scene, exemplary brewery staff, and this crazy unusual idea that you can sell your own beer without the local Bud/Miller/Coors distributor involved. I brought one of everything they had in 750mL. We opened one tonight.

Day 2
May 12, 2009
Russian River Salvation
Batch 004

Website/Bottle Information:
This Belgian-style strong dark ale has a tawny brown color and strong notes of spice and candy sugar that dominate the initial aroma of the beer. Subtle malt flavors blend perfectly with fruit-driven characteristics created by the classic Belgian yeast used to ferment this ale.

The alcohol content is deceptively high, similar to its sister beer Damnation. 9.0%ABV / 1.081 O.G / 22 BUs

Silver Medal, 1999 World Beer Cup (Belgian Ale Category)

Available almost Year Round in the pub, and in 750mL cork finished bottles.

He Said:
This is a Belgian-style strong dark ale... and a good one. It has a great spice and candy sugar aroma and that fruity Belgian flavor. As an added bonus, its hefty, but nearly undetectable, 9% ABV is enough to get your eyelids buzzing. The first sip of this beer inspired a revelation. The Salvation experience can be compared (for the American craft beer drinker) to tasting a great pale ale after you've been stocking your fridge full of the hoppiest beers you could find. As it turns out, your beer doesn't have to kick your taste buds in the nads to be "good." Salvation provides this experience in the Belgo-American realm. I *love* me some Belgian pales, but clearly there is something to be said for some malty balance to that Belgian ale yeast flavor... and I'm board with it. I'm not saying to run out to your local liquor warehouse or watering hole and get the first dark Belgian you can find. Salvation Ale is possibly the best of its kind brewed here in the United States. Well done Vinnie!

She Said:
Let's start with HOLY CR@P! DELICIOUS!! This beer is OUTSTANDING. Okay I LOVE my shift key, can't help it, but seriously WOW!! I was way turned off to the coffee like color of the beer and didn't expect anything that would tantalize my buds. Then I took my first sip and Good Gravy Baby, it was AWESOME. (Did I mention I LOVE the SHIFT KEY?) So back to the beer. This is a dark Belgian and it was so tasty that I was disappointed to have to share the bottle with SirRon. Salvation has a rich chocolaty/coffee taste to it that is begging for another sip. Those of you that know me know I'm not big when it comes to chocolate, but for some delicious reason I couldn't get enough SALVATION. It HAS to be a sin to drink an entire bottle of this beer, so I guess pints up to SirRon for saving me or should I say for being my Salvation (Ha, you didn't think I could work that into a funny, did you!?!? He Said: you called your own joke, no points). I can't recommend this beer enough. If you are fortunate enough to be cellaring one of these bottles, think long and hard before you open it because when it's gone it's gone and chances are you won't find it anywhere outside of the left coast. The dark rich flavors (I know I said it before) are DELICIOUS! Two Pints Up to Russian River Brewery, right now you guys are my HEROES! I wish I had more adjectives for FANTASTIC (oh there's another one!). Thank you RRB... you ROCK. (Man I love the SHIFT KEY!)

  1. J.R. Ewing May 15, 2009 at 8:21 PM  

    Nice Hijack of the wine tour.

    9%. Yikes bikes. My salvation the next morning might be coming from the porcelain God.