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Russian River Brewing Company
Active Beers: 46
Beer Ratings: 33,092
Beer Avg: 4.09
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
725 4th St
phone: (707) 545-2337
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 274 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Was lucky to visit Russian River on my drive down from Oregon.
The atmosphere is the pub is average. Big bar with the tap list up behind it, a glass window allows you to see in to part of the brew house where they have oak barrels stacked up. Basic pub seating, stools, tall wooden tables and some larger tables against the back wall.
I had been anxiously awaiting my visit and wasn't disappointed. The service was very good. Friendly wait staff who on my second day of visiting was nice enough to bring out some coasters and a couple bottle openers for me to take home. I got my food fairly quickly and the staff was quick to make recomendations for beer stores in the area as well as beers to be had.
The selection of beer was just amazing with my visit. Supplication, Pliny, Bind Pig, Perdition, and many many more amazing beers. I knew the food menu was anything but extensive and always find the typical pizza/pub combo worn out, but must admit I enjoyed my calzone very much.
Incredibly reasonable prices on pints and food. This stop has been one of my most memorable and favorites on my visits to brewpubs and beer bars. Certainly worth the visit.
03-11-2007 15:22:17 |
More by Matthew
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2 | $$$
Comment added on 05-July-2009:
A few months back Russian River switched glassware from standard pints to smaller 14oz "Imperial-style" pint glasses. The prices didn't go down when they did this.
Belgians still served in 14oz tulips, no change.
Again, the beer is amazing. Unbelievably great. But the retail side of the house is downright horrendous - like no one cares about the customer at all. Obviously this doesn't stop my coming - been here dozens of times, and given the consistency of both the beer (great) and service (indifferent on a good day), will continue to come.
What's to say that hasn't been said?
The atmosphere is iffy - strip mall feel, music far too loud, tables poorly situated, bar very often understaffed - even when not crowded it can take forever to get a fresh glass.
Table service is indifferent - many times I've waited more than 30 minutes for someone to take even my drink order. The food menu is spartan - pizza the only choice, edible but certainly not exceptional. I've seen the food sit under the warmer for 15-20 minutes before it gets brought out. Generally it's clear the front of the house is not managed well.
But of course none of this matters, because the beer is sublime. They offer comprehensive samplers of whatever's on tap, and of course none of them miss. Belgian or American ales - every one a sensational example of its style.
If Vinnie or the assistant brewer are around, they'll give a tour of the brewery itself (a small space, occupying about as much space as the restaurant/bar area). One nice touch is that you can see the various cask ales maturing behind the bar.
And they'll sell you a growler of any "regular" beers on tap ($12 for the beer, $5 for the glassware as of this writing).
Sometimes they'll fill a growler of specialty beers like Pliny the Younger or the wet-hopped beer, but their willingness to do so seems to vary, as do the prices. I've paid anywhere from $2 to $10 extra for growlers of these, also had them refuse to fill at all.
Their Belgians tend not to keep well in growlers, in my experience, but prolonging the beer experience is worth it.
My overall score probably comes out low, but a score can't capture what Russian River's about. An absolute must-visit for any beer person in the SF Bay Area or wine country.
02-03-2007 05:09:39 |
More by Talisker
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Made a stop at Russian River before leaving Santa Rosa for home this afternoon. Have been before, but decided to go in this time thinking about a review.
I showed up just before noon on Sunday morning. The place was pretty empty, but gradually filled up. Some of the people who sat near me at the bar were friendly and chatted a bit with me.
Quality is top notch. I had a Temptation and a Pliny the Elder. Both were excellent of course.
Selection was quite good, there were at least 10+ beers on tap, and 3 different bottles you could purchase to take home.
Service was pretty good, but the main bartender seemed a bit more preoccupied with setting up shop for the day, instead of tending to the people at the bar... no biggie though, it wasn't bad service. And when he did notice us, he was friendly and helpful enough.
Didn't try the food.
One of the best places as far as beer quality is concerned. Check it out!
12-04-2006 05:56:46 |
More by flexabull
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in after a great afternoon of wine tasting to have dinner and beers. The atmosphere was extremely laid back, but the decor borders on tacky. Not a whole lot of personality if you ask me with the retro beer signs and burlap hop sacks. But then again, I dont really care what it looks like if they keep making that beer. Our server was less than spectacular but got the job done in a mostly timely manner. The available beers included Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, a Steam beer, a witte, a blond, Damnation, Hoptime, a nitro stout, Deification, Redemption, Perdition. The food was really impressive. Buffalo wings and two styles of pizza pleased everyone. Their beer prices are outstanding to say the least. A sampler tray of everything on tap afforded us all a taste of the offerings before we committed to full imperial pints. Belgians are served as 14 ounce pours. Growlers and whatever bottles available that day are for sale to go. Unfortunately they only had a few releases bottled, and ones I am pretty familiar with. If I wasnt flying however I would have left with a few growlers in tow for sure. Overall a great experience. A very unassuming place for crafting such world class beers. Highly highly recommended
10-10-2006 08:24:40 |
More by kaimcm
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $
For me, a vacation just isnt really a vacation if I dont get lost, take a really stupid detour or get into a near-death accident. If youre ever in the wine country north of San Francisco, and wish to experience one or more of these, I highly suggest you take old St-Helena trail that goes through the mountain before getting to Santa Rosa. Ive seen alleyways in old European cities larger than this, the twists and turns and blind angles made it one hell of a ride. Didnt help that I was driving a behemoth of a van, either. We survived safe and sound, but what was supposed to be a shortcut to avoid traffic turned into a 2-hour foray into California hillbilly land. Boy were we glad to hit downtown SR for a meal at Flavor and some liquid dessert at Russian River.
What surprised us at first was how lively it was for a Wednesday night. The place was packed with a mostly young crowd, we were lucky enough to snag the last available table in the section to the right, which had more of a restaurant feel, just basic tables and chairs, while the left had a long bar and some high tables and stools. From where we were sitting, we could see the entrance to the kitchen, which had a ton of posters of a certain boy band member or boy-toy actor, I cant really remember. Big-ass hop bags hanging from the ceiling like Stanley Cup banners, and behind the bar was a large window showing off all the oak barrels filled with delectable Beer slowly being eaten away by wild yeasts. New Albion brewery the sign said. Breweriana seemed focused on old regional breweries. A small stage was set up, and a duo was playing out some tunes. I wish brewpubs back home had free live acts more often.
Our waitress was pretty busy covering most the restaurant section but still managed to serve us well regardless. I ordered a pint of the Bière de Sonoma and a few samplers, pretty cheap for this level of quality. What I especially liked was the variety of styles offered, it was a hard choice to make. Sure, youve got the tongue constricting IPAs the west coast is renown for, but the Belgian selections make this place a cut above most other brewpubs Ive been to. Everything was fantastic and I would have drunk tons more if Melanie wasnt so exhausted. At least I was able to walk out of there with a pair of bombers, a shirt and a glass (finally a pub that doesnt only have shaker pints!).
Overall a great experience, the only downer was that I couldnt spend more time there!
And extra kudos to whoever had the brilliant idea of giving a list of hotels nearby on the website, because if I hadnt reserved in advance, we probably would have slept in the van. Those gone to pee coasters are a pretty smart way to save your seat, too.
09-29-2006 14:59:06 |
More by Goldorak
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
A- about 11:30 pm when i arrived, there was a live band playing and this place was packed. Not going for so much of a restaraunt here, this is pretty much bout having a good time with good brew, and if you want food we make some of that. It was an alive and welcoming feeling.
Q- even for being so crowded it was rather comfy, all furniture was hard wood, but my stool felt pretty good to me. Cant complain about the beer, i enjoyed it and would have loved to try a full glass of some of them to see them at there best. I dont think the tasters do all the -ation brews justice.
S- only one waiter so i cant blame him for not being around much, but he did do his job very well.
S- all hose save for 1 brew i believe, and they was a wine list. The sampler price was only $6, cant beat that.
F- all i had were some beer bites, which are pretty much thin pizza crust with melted cheese on tops, yummy though
there are good times to be had here, and good brews to consume, if you are in the area, do not miss this place.
09-25-2006 15:52:27 |
More by tonistruth
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
After enjoying the beers for quite some time down here in San Diego, I managed to talk my wife into taking a short trip from Napa to the Russian River -- on our honeymoon, no less! She's a keeper!
Anyways, it's a great place to stop in. There's a decent enough food menu -- pizza and other standard pub fare, mostly. Lots of seating room, both inside and out, and the place is located in a cute little section of Santa Rosa with lots of bookstores, coffeeshops, etc. within walking distance. The beer selection, of course, is terrific -- most of the stuff you see in bottles available on tap and a few taps dedicated to beers that are only available at the brewery. There are usually a few bottles you can pick up to go -- I picked up a 750 of Sanctification which I'm looking forward to enjoying in the very near future. Mmmmm...Brettanomyces!
Very friendly people, too. I had run in to one of RR's sales reps, James Chase, at a bar in Napa, and he'd encouraged me to stop by the brewery. Turns out that he was in when we stopped by. He was clearly busy, but took the time to talk to us about the brewery, give us samples of whatever we wanted, and bought us a pint on the house.
08-26-2006 06:09:38 |
More by mzwolinski
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
A must to go to if you want to try the many RR brews that never (or rarely) make it into bottles. The atmosphere is decent, not great. The place is hideously ugly from the outside, and the patio area is a joke- a tiny area of sidewalk roped off from pedestrians with a few plastic tables. Inside the bar is nice- long and of blond wood. There are a fair number of tables, but this place gets packed, especially when there is music and on Sunday when the beer is a cheap $2.75 a pint. The menu is very limited, but the pizzas are done simply and quite well with good quality ingredients. What you are really here for is the beer. They had 8 on tap when I was there (they had just run out of the summit ipa- 4 Belgian style + 6 non-Belgian. The Belgians were Little White Lie, Damnation, Perdition, and Redemption. The nons were Aud Blonde, OVL Stout, Parking Violation, the RR IPA, Blind Pig IPA, and Pliny the Elder. They also had bottles of Damnation and Sanctification to go. The Belgians are all served in 14 oz tulips, and the non in either 1/2 pints or pint. Growlers and some huge bottle sizes were also available (like 3 liters) to go. They also had a couple of guest brews, which were a local cider and North Coast's Pranqster. The quality of all the beer was exceptional, and although the place was hopping, my server was quick and helpful given the crowd. The music that night was great as well. Definitely a must do in Sonoma beer country.
08-22-2006 00:28:59 |
More by Georgiabeer
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Finally! I made it to the brewery! Pretty cool atmosphere and overall experience, but I did have the worst waiter of my life. He didn't get a flat out 1 because he was actually nice, so he gets a 1.5. There's a very long bar here, kind of a narrow squeeze getting by, and two big chalk boards with the beers of the day. Looks like they also have a nice wine selection (they are in the heart of wine country) but I didn't really pay any attention to it. On a Sunday night this place was packed and my friends and I had to resort to a table in the back room. Actually, it was probably a good idea, because it was open mic night or something and most of the singers really sucked. Sundays are all day happy hour so $2.75 drafts of whatever they have. They had over 10 beers on draught and the selections were split between the Belgian styles and their domestic ones. The food (pizza/salad/wings) is pricey, but very good.
Gripes about the service: 1) had to ask a bartender to send a waiter to the table after waiting 10 minutes 2) waiter had no idea what was on draft and made us individually walk to the bar to see 3) waiter took half our orders then turned around and walked away and had to be chased down in the other room 4) brought one entree 10 minutes before even bringing the apps 5) brought all entrees without ever bringing silverware 6) took 7-8 mins to return with silverware 7) left all plates from appetizers to build up in middle of table after bringing entrees 8) brought our requested glasses of water after we'd all completed our meals.
I would go back on another Sunday for cheap beer and good food, but if I owned this establishment I would fire this specific waiter.
Also, bottles sold on location are no cheaper than in beer stores which is a rip, IMO.
08-14-2006 20:26:07 |
More by clickpush
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I was able to make it to downtown Santa Rosa to visit this place at last. It took about an hour from San Francisco but it was worth it.
The atmosphere wasn't as bare as I expected from previous reviews. There were beer posters on the walls, some made from flattened cardboard cases, and plenty of seats and tables. The food they serve is mostly pizza. I had one with a sampler, it was decent.
There were 11 beers on tap:
Little White Lie
Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Elder
Blind Pig IPA
Russian River IPA
Unfortunately no Beatification, but they gave me a tip on where to find a bottle in Santa Rosa (turned out they were empty too). But even so, I can't complain with so many A-grade choices.
Worth the short drive if you're in San Francisco.
07-17-2006 10:42:55 |
More by TurdFurgison
Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA
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