Our next destination was just a short drive down the 101 freeway to the city of Santa Rosa. Russian River is home to some of the most fantastic IPA’s that have ever crossed my lips, Blind Pig IPA and always epic Pliny the Elder DIPA. They also produce the only beer that caused me to put a temporary hold on my stance about standing in line for anything, Pliny the Younger, the rare double IPA that only makes a brief appearance once a year around February or March. It was worth standing in line for, but luckily I was towards the front and didn’t wait too long at all.
I was very excited to be heading to home of these wonderful beers, and I was even more excited to see what other goodies they may have on draft that haven’t found their way to our little slice paradise by the sea.
As we pull into the parking lot and make our way to the back entrance, something seems a little off. I was expecting to see people outside milling around or going in and out…instead I see nothing. In fact, it looks pretty dark inside. We try to open the door and it’s locked. It’s 3pm on a Friday, so what the hell is going on?
My wife begins to knock on the door and one of the employees opens the door to lets us know that a two block area of Santa Rosa is having a power outage and that they had to close in the meantime until to juice is back on.
Now this is that part of the story where having a pretty wife comes in handy. Jeannine starts talking and telling the guy how excited we were to come here, we’re from all the way down in San Diego and asks if there is any way we could at least come in to look around. Now it’s important to give my wife the credit here because I probably just would have said, ‘that sucks’ and been on my way. The very nice guy at the door pauses for a second and tells us that if we wanted to get a growler or a couple of bottles to go, we could do that. We jump at the opportunity.
Once inside, the rest of the staff is only too happy to have people there, and before we even know it, they are offering us two glasses of the beer of our choice. We pick two that we’ve not yet had a chance to try before, Row 2 Hill 56 and Defenstration. The Row 2, a simcoe hop pale ale, has an ABV of 5.8% while Defenstation, a hoppy blonde ale, comes in at 7.25%ABV. Both of them are hopped up and simply taste delicious. However, if Defenstration comes on draft anywhere in San Diego and I hear about, I will knock you and 90-year old mother to the ground to get it. It’s simply fantastic.
Now while the beers we got to enjoy were excellent, what really made the experience extra special and unique, was directly due to the power being out. It meant all the guys who work there were sitting around and they are incredible fountains of knowledge. They tell us great stories and are incredibly friendly. They also let us know that had the power not gone out, the bar would have been five people deep and having a conversation with one staff member, let alone all of them, would have been much more challenging. So while we didn’t get to have all the beers that we were hoping to try, we got to spend an hour there in a way that most other people won’t, so in a way it was kind of worth it. Plus we left with five bottles of Pliny the Elder. Boom!
Now all we need to do is head back so we can try the rest of those amazing beers!