River Redemption Blonde Ale
By: Yelena Keselman
Amidst the rolling hills of wine country sits Russian River Brewing Company, which was surprisingly founded about 10 years ago by the makers of Korbel (everyone’s favorite affordable champagne) and is making a bold statement as an unlikely recommendation amongst a sea of grape guzzlers. I chose to try their Redemption Blonde Ale, which kindly defines the meaning on the bottle as “the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil.” After a long weekend of wine tasting (or maybe chugging) this was looking like the grand ceremony to wash away all immoral activity from days past.
First Impression: There is no way to deny that this corked beer certainly starts with a bang. As the vapor cleared I could smell a strong scent of yeast. This beer boasts the practice of ongoing fermentation in the bottle; meaning the maker adds sugar just before bottling so that the brewing process continues beyond the traditional time period. The fermentation process will increase alcohol content and is ideally complete by the time the bottle is re-opened for consumption.
Pour: The Redemption Blonde Ale pours a beautiful gold color and can be compared to the fields of grain found throughout California. Unlike some of the beers I have written about, it lives up to its unfiltered Belgian style description and appears murky.
Taste: The beer hints of fruit flavors such as lemon and pear. It has a dry finish, yet manages to leave the mouth refreshed and smooth. Although the brewer recommends drinking it from a snifter, the alternative rounded shape of the bottle makes it very enjoyable as is. If Blonde Ale’s aren’t your cup of tea I would also highly recommend their Pliny the Elder Double IPA, a delicious IPA coming in at a whopping 8 % ABV.