Saturday, June 27, 2009

Russian River Damnation

I have seen Russian River's Damnation for a couple of years at my local market, but for some reason had never bothered to try it until last week. Maybe it was its Gothic label that lead me to believe that it would be a big, serious, slow sipping beer. I am not against this type of beer, but I have to be in the mood for a pay-attention beer, and I'm just not frequently in this mind frame. I prefer easy drinking, good tasting beers I can have with dinner, not beers that require an after dinner marathon just to get through a bottle.

My silly misconceptions have caused me to miss one fantastic beer. The Belgian Golden Strong Ale is one of my favorite beer styles, and Damnation is one of the best beers I have had in this style. It may be one of the best beers I've had in any style. (Even after I knew Damnation was a Golden Strong Ale, I still did not get around to trying it for nearly a year.)

Damnation poured a rich, orange color and its white foam had an amazing retention, like a layer of cotton balls. It was yeasty and spicy, all things you expect from a Belgian-style beer, but it also had a hop bitterness in the finish, just what you'd expect from Russian River with its mastery of the IPA style. The batch I had was number 47 and the alcohol was 7.75%. The alcohol became more pronounced as the beer warmed, but never became overwhelming. Damnation was remarkably balanced for all its hops, yeast and spices. This is one of the best beers I have had this year.

1 comment:

Jay said...

One of my all-time favorites. Glad it held up well after a year. Such a sublime beer, one of the finest examples of "Belgian-style" brewing ever.