Day 8 – Bierfestens California Adventure

Posted on March 30, 2011


Day 6 was kind of a blur as we’d started off the day in saying NO BOOZE, but then ended up at a wee wine tasting in Dry Creek, and decided to spend the night in Santa Rosa to have 1-2 beers at Russian River Brewery. Though we’d been into the brewery on Saturday for a beer on our way to Bear Republic, we’d thought it was worth 2 more Plinys.

The Zinfindel wine tasting was one of the highlights of the last few days as it was Alcohol but not Beer and that grape variety doesn’t grow well in Australia, and the best place in California is in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. Though we went to about 6 wineries I still didn’t like the Paid Tasting principle that was between $5-20 to taste sets of wine. But the secret is you get ‘Free Taste’ passes from the staff at the wineries for other wineries in the area. Sales people giving cards to other sales people basically. Its a very different wine tasting scene than in Australia.

We landed in the Dump of a hotel called Downtown Travelodge, and we walked into town to have a quiet night at Russian River. Well it was definitely not quiet!! it was the middle of happy hour and the locals love their RR beer.

The crowd at Russian River are what I would consider quiet blue collar, and getting to the bar in happy hour is quiet hard, and this was on a Monday Night!

The interesting part of this whole bar is that its really just a small brewpub in the middle of a town that does a lot of work with the wine industry and everyone we met were involved with something that was pretty hands on like construction or truck driving. We had gone into the brewery thinking that it would be a pretentious upper class snobby place because it makes and sells Pliny the Elder.

The big difference for both of us that though they make several types of IPA, the rest of the beers are very much ‘belgian’ and wine barrel styles that come from Vinnys experience in working wine prior to being the brewer that everyone wants to meet and ask ‘Can i have some Pliny the Younger?’.  We had a great chat with Nat on our way out of Santa Rosa as we picked up our fresh Pliny in Growler and Bottles and bought our Russian River Swag. She was explaining that Younger has been made for 6 years now and is released at certain times of the year.. but unrelated to the San Fran Beer Week festivities.. which is what i thought it was. She stated that they hate EBAY people who sell their beer, and if you want their beer you should come to the brewpub or go to one of the few accounts that they sell too.

When we had lunch in Healdsberg, there was a Big Johns supermarket with a great beer and cheese list, so thought this photo was too good to pass up. We got cheese bread, and no we didn’t pick up a pliny as we decided to save it for another beer lover who is sick of wine.. But Damnation, Pliny and Blind Pig in your local supermarket was too funny. We have to travel so far to even get near it and these locals only have to pick some up when they get their milk!

So is Pliny fresher from the brewery ? answer for both of us it was pretty fucking incredible, even though we had already had some a few days earlier at Toronado. Yes its fresh from the brewery and we are glad we made the journey.


So today as i write this I’ve already gone to The Bistro in Hayward which is home of the Double IPA festival in February, Marin Brewing and now having a rest as I now attempt beers at Moylans before heading up the road to Petaluma to spend the night and have beers at Lagunitas to wrap up my Northern California adventure.