Jester King Craft Brewery

Russian River Sour Beer Symposium

This week Ron and I traveled to the Russian River Sour Beer Symposium at Russian River’s production brewery in beautiful Santa Rosa, California (poor Michael had to stay behind to brew).

The collection of beer and brewers at the event was truly an embarrassment of riches. The guests of honor among this collection of many of the world’s best brewers were Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne and Jean Van Roy of Cantillon. We were very humbled and excited to meet and have the chance to converse with these world-class, artisan brewers.

After several hours of drinking more excellent oak aged wild and sour beer than we could keep track of, I joined fellow Austin brewers Kevin and Nate from 512 Brewing Co. in drinking Pliny the Elder Double IPA straight off of the tap wall at Russian River. The hop aroma on the super fresh Pliny was fantastic. Thank you very much to Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River for hosting such a marvelous gathering.

Before heading back to Austin, we visited Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery on Haight street in San Francisco.

Little did I know that English-style, session ale is one of their specialties. I was delighted to find five cask beers, two bitters, a mild, an ESB, a porter and an English-style IPA and brown ale available. The Brant Hill ESB was truly special with toasty malt flavors melded with fruity yeast esters and a soft finish. We also ran into our friends Brian and Jennifer Royo of No Label Brewing at Magnolia. Finally, we managed a little sightseeing and took home about 60 lbs. of bottled beer from City Beer Store.