Thursday, April 21, 2011
Russian River Brewing Company - Supplication
The big thing in beer right now is sour beers (also known as Wild Ales). While these aren't exactly a new idea (the Belgians have been doing these forever), more and more breweries have started to do their takes on the style. In the U.S., perhaps no other brewery does it better (or more often) than Russian River. Russian River's "tion" beer series is one of the more interesting lineups out there. Most of the beers (Temptation, Sanctification, Beatification, etc.) are sours while a few are done in traditional Belgian styles (Salvation, Mortification, etc.). As of now, Russian River has 16 "tion" beers in their lineup, some harder to find than others. The one that is rated the highest in the series is one called Supplication. Supplication is a really interesting beer that starts as a brown ale and is then aged for over a year in used pinot noir barrels. During the aging process, three strains of yeast (including the infamous Brettanomyces strain) are added along with sour cherries. The resulting beer is then bottle conditioned (meaning that it will continue to ferment in the bottle) and shipped out. At #17 on beeradvocate's Top 100 list, it's a beer that's in high demand. The most recent batch of Supplication just hit stores a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to land a bottle.
Supplication pours a slightly hazy ruby orange color with a beautiful, tan cap of foam that sticks around for the duration of the beer. The smell is big and tart with obvious hints of the brett. I picked up a lot of sour cherries and wood along with some hints of bubblegum and a bit of marzipan. The smell of some sour beers is all brett, but this one does a nice job of keeping it in the background.
The taste is incredible with a big punch of sourness that seems to be a combination of sour cherries and apple cider vinegar. There's a hint of nuttiness and spiciness that creeps in the taste at the finish and leaves you wanting more. A lot more. This is the standard for me as far as sour beers go and will be very tough to top.
Final Grade: A+