I like to brag to my friend who works in the beer business about the fancy brews I buy. His usual response is something along the lines of, “Damn it, when are you going to stop screwing around and try something from Russian River?”
If only it were so simple. Santa Rosa, California-based Russian River’s marvelous reputation is widespread but unfortunately its distribution is not. They say their production is at full capacity and they have no plans to expand it anytime soon. So one cannot exactly saunter into their nearest convenience store and walk out with some Russian River. Only a limited number of places carry their stuff, and even then with a rotating stock you’re probably only going to be able to buy one or two varieties at a time.
"Supplication" happened to be one of the brews for sale at one of those places, Wally’s. According to the kind attendant, Supplication was a must-try and was not going to be available for long. It’s a sour brown ale aged in pinot noir barrels for 12 months with sour cherries along with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to the barrel. Yes, those last three are bacteria to give it that wonderfully delicious sour taste.
And for all this you can expect to pay about $15 per bottle. Hey, I wonder if that attendant gets paid on commission?
So it’s hard to find and costs about as much as two six-packs of the cheap stuff — definitely not an everyday beer unless you’re some sort of alcoholic version of Mitt Romney. But is it worth it?
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. A subtle cherry scent carries over into a subdued, delicious flavoring. The first sip is tart and balanced out by the perfect level of sweetness, all with a top-notch brown ale underneath.
Supplication, you’re worth the hype and you’ve set a new standard for sours.
Supplication. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, California. (7.0% ABV)