Thursday, January 23, 2014
Russian River Brewing Company - Beatification
Let's talk about whales. Not the kind you get asked to save by the Greenpeace people every time you leave the grocery store. Important whales. Beer whales. (In case any of my Narwhal readers are tuning in, I'm just kidding about the "important" part. You and your weird tooth-horn thing will always hold a special place in my heart.) Anyways, I've probably mentioned this before, but let's just clear up what a beer whale is. It's not a beer with a picture with a whale on it (again, sorry to my Narwhal friends), it's a beer that is very, very hard to track down. To me, there has to be at least some chance of you obtaining the beer for you to call it a whale. For me, a beer like Duck Duck Gooze, which is pretty hard to come by but does see a release every 3-4 years in San Diego, is a whale. A 30 bottle release by Cantillon from 1987 is not. It's just straight unattainable. It's like a space whale or something.
One of the first whales I ever heard about was a beer from Russian River called Beatification. Having tried all of Russian River's "tion" sours besides this one, it quickly rocketed up my personal whale list. My best chance to find this beer, since it is a brewery release only, was to hope to find it on draft somewhere. But three years had passed and I had never even heard of it being on draft. Things weren't looking good, but that's when my friend Eddie (who you may know as the awesome guy who got me the bottle of West Ashley), told me he was going to the Beatification release and he'd be happy to grab me a few bottles. Thanks, Eddie! The Beatification whale had finally been beached. (Caught? Landed? Scored? Fandangled? I don't know the proper terminology for finally getting a whale because I never get them.) At #27, Beatification.
Beatification pours a slightly hazed golden color with a soda-like fizzing eggshell colored head. The head dissipates almost immediately, but looking down into the glass, you can see a steady stream of bubbles rising to the top, like there's some unseen hot spring under the surface. I started to smell the beer off the pour and the closer I got to it, the more I fell in love. There's a fantastic blast of citrus, lemon and barnyard funk right away that made my knees weak. There's some lemon zest in here as well, along with some pineapple, dried apricot, vanilla bean and a touch of spice mixed in with some earthy notes and good old horse blanket. Perfect.
The taste opens with a big, slightly acetic lemony twang that carries through all the way to mid-palate. Then, I started to pick up some underripe red cherry and lemon hard candy in the middle. Right before the end, the beer brings the noise with some barnyard, wet hay, a touch of leather, vanilla and some light oak. This beer sticks the finish. It's intensely tart and lemony with a great lingering dryness. Like every other Russian River sour, this beer's mouthfeel goes to 11. It's flawless. I could drink this beer forever. You absolutely have to try this beer. Beach this whale!
Final Grade: A+
Top 250 Beers Tasted: 129