Since my last review of a Russian River beer not a lot has happened for the venerable west coast brewery. That is, besides securing a 16-acre parcel of land in Windsor, Calif. for the new brewpub and brewery, and revealing the plans for the more than $30 million facility. A shiny new coolship has been confirmed for the brewery as well as several open-top fermenters. Ground breaking is expected sometime during this spring with the official opening slated for fall 2018.

Today’s beer from Russian River is another from its -tion series, Temptation. A basic blonde ale turned not-so-basic through secondary fermentation in French oak chardonnay barrels sourced from Sonoma county wineries. During its 9-15 month stay in the barrel brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus are added to the beer ultimately bringing it to 7.5 percent ABV.

The pour produces a clear warm amber body with about an inch of white head. Aroma consists of a deep earthy funk, wet hay, light oak char, light vinous character, lactic sourness and just a hint of vinegar. So far, lacing is holding strong and head retention is surprisingly great. It has been my experience that a lot of American sour ales exhibit zero head retention, however, Temptation is proving that that need not be the case.

Upfront the flavor is white wine, brett yeasty funk and a smooth soft lactic sourness building up. On the finish is some oak tannins and a lemon-like citrus note. Thankfully, no sign of acetic acid, or vinegar, is showing up in the flavor. The body is really dry, light, and is borderline fluffy with the immense amount carbonation present.

Russian River Temptation
BREWERY: Russian River Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Santa Rosa, Calif.
STYLE: American Sour Blonde Ale
ABV: 7.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $13
AVAILABLE IN: 375ml corked and caged bottles
Overall, Temptation is a good clean sour blonde ale with a noticeable vinous character. It’s not complex or one note but lies somewhere in the “goldilocks” zone. This can be good or bad depending on what you are expecting from it but without a doubt worth trying.

83Overall Score
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