Sunday marked my first Father’s day as a father. It was nice to have a holiday coming up on the calendar and not having to do anything but show up. When it came time to make my fatherly request, being my day and all, I chose lunch at Russian River Brewing Company.
Originally, I considered a drive to Healdsburg for some Bear Republic, but $4.50 gas convinced me otherwise. Plus, I’m not sure if the 100% rye ale is still available. Either way, Russian River is by no means a consolation pick. Besides, despite having lived in Santa Rosa for over 3 years now, and been to the brew pub for many pints, I had never actually eaten a meal there.
We got there for a late lunch and decided a meal on the patio would be best. Kaleigh joined me on a trip inside to check the board where she gave a round of high fives to enthusiastic customers seated at the bar. Despite the lack of high chairs, this is a very family friendly environment. I reviewed the menu and headed back to the table, with my picks and suggestions for my wife in mind.
At the table, we waited some time for service. Finally, I went back in to flag down a waiter and we were ready to get some beer. I ordered a sample of Redemption, a blonde ale, and Fleurette, another blonde with infused with flowers, for the wife and a Pliny the Elder for myself. The wife ordered a pomegranate cider, which proved to be all gone, and ended up with a Black Jack cider from Ace.
One note, the waiter was a bit of an ass. While I try to be educated about my beers, my wife just tags along, and tries them simply to support me. She’s a bit of a fan of the sour belgian beers, but mispoke and called Compunction, a Russian River brew currently not on tap, a bitter beer. The waiter shot back with a condescending “That’s sour, not bitter, we have plenty of bitter beers.” There are many ways to educate your customers, but being rude isn’t one of them.
On to the beers, I started with the two samples. The wife didn’t seem interested in the Belgians when they arrived, so had them for myself. A small sample does little to introduce you to a beer, and that can be said for both Redemption and Fleurette. Both were slightly sweet and fruity, with the Fluerette having a floral character, as would be expected. Neither stood out as being great or poor, as I was more interested in my family and enjoying the beautiful day. Redemption is typically available, but Fluerette did not impress me enough to order another, or plan a return trip.
Next I had a sample of my wife’s Black Jack Cider from Ace Cider. This was described as being very peary, but what I picked up was a big hit of nothing. Slightly sweet, a little fizzy, but very watery. My wife and I both agreed, there wasn’t much there. I could see teenagers pounding back cases of the stuff, but for me there wasn’t anything to the beverage, good or bad.
What I had really been loking forward to was the Pliny the Elder. Having recently had a bottle of Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA, I needed a refresher of what Sonoma County can do when it comes to world class Imperial IPA. I’ll leave my impressions for later, but I’l just say the beer was all I could hope for one a Father’s Day.
By the time our meals came, the Pliny had been finished so I ordered a glass of Perdition, the Biere de Sonoma. Very Malty and easy to drink, the made for a perfect finish to my afternoon. Good food, good beer, and even better company. I drank down my beer with great joy. For those who haven’t tried it, Perdition is like a Belgian amber ale, very easy to drink in mass quantities, and very approachable. I recommend it highly.
The meal finished with my Father’s Day gift. Seeing customers leave, growlers in hand, my wife felt I had earned something special and told me to bring one home. I debated briefly between a growler of Pliny or filling it with Bling Pig IPA, the thought being a half gallon of Pliny the Elder might be a bit much to handle. Then I came to my senses and ordered the Pliny. How could I not? I’ll make sure to write about Pliny when I get into the growler this week.
My first Father’s Day was a blast. I had a couple good meals, drank more beer than I probably should have, and got to spend all day with my wife and daughter. Hopefully all you fathers out there had as good a day as I.