In craft brewing circles, Russian River Brewing Company is considered the equivalent of a international supermodel who also has smarts. Stylish and innovative, they have been known to do unusual things to beer fashion and it works. Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Younger are considered among the best beers in the world. Never had ’em.
In this Brux collaboration with Sierra Nevada, these California Girls come together to create a new taste. Think wine sensibilities on a beer stage.
In Brux, as is the case with many of Russian River’s beers, the Brettanomyces yeast is used in fermentation. Typically, this type of yeast imparts interesting flavors in wines and is often used in some Belgian styles of beer. Someday, Belgian beers will accompany fancy cuisine much as wine does today. The Brux’s subtitle is “Domesticated Wild Ale”, which seems to be an oxymoron, but the yeast is apparently very difficult to get out of the winery and brewery once it is given a chance to do its fermentation work. So, I suppose that is the wild part.
From what I read, Russian River did most of the ingredient design whereas Sierra Nevada did the actual brewing and distributed it through their national network. Russian River only distributes to one location on the East Coast which is in Philadelphia and then its brews are filtered out from there. Here in Lancaster County, there are no distributors on the list. The closet location is about an hour away east. So difficult to be in the beer wilderness. Although, civilization is finally coming.
A friend and I collaborated to celebrate his birthday at the Bulls Head Brewpub in Lititz. Although the salad was uncharacteristically lame (usually the food there is quite good), the beer rocked. Several days before I had seen a video online about the Brux so when I spotted in the fridge of the establishment, I thought it would be a nice present to share with my cohort. And since we can’t get Russian River in Amish country, the best we can do is the Brux.
We drank it down slowly. The taste and cost and ABV (8.3%) of Belgians make it wise to stroll slowly. If you want a session beer, don’t go Belgian. And don’t treat Belgians as sessions. We found the bottle to be at a high-level of taste where the flavor improved quite a bit and opened up once it got a bit warmer. Great beers don’t have to be chilled to the bone to be enjoyed or chilled because there is no flavor, where the coldness becomes the equivalent of Novocaine deadening the nerves of flavor.
Birthdays are once in a year events so I am glad we gave it a shot. We smoked some fine cigars while we sipped and solved many of the world’s problems.