It’s that time of year when people go nuts, wear strange clothing, dress their dogs as goldfish and hit the streets to beg for candy while threatening to vandalize their neighbor’s property. Also known as Halloween. I chose Russian River Brewing’s Damnation Ale for this week’s beer painting release for obvious reasons. Damnation is a damn good version of a Belgian golden strong ale. Rocking in at 7.75% ABV, it is aptly named. I know many barleywines are much stronger, but you can easily taste the booze in them. This beer will get you when you don’t realize it, good thing it comes in a 375 ml bottle. This is pretty much a great example of the style. With esters of fruit and pear and peppery overtones, Damnation is a poster child for Belgian golden strong ale. Yet it is made right here in the USA. Sadly, I am completely out of my Russian River stash of bottles that we brought back from our trip to CA two summers ago. I was just thinking it’s time for another trip there. I painted a wildfire in the background of this painting as that is the closest thing to hell I can think of. I give solid respect to all of our forest firefighters, you are doing one hell of a job. I can’t think of a more physical and mentally challenging career.
Cheers to the Damnation, one damn good brew! Great job, Russian River Brewing, you are one of the best breweries out there!
The action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
Also, a ridiculously tasty malt beverage brewed by the masters of fermentation at Russian River Brewing Co. I was just in California last weekend for my cousin’s wedding, and you bet we all went to RR. I took down my art show at Midnight Sun Brewing at 7 pm on Thursday, boarded a flight to San Jose at midnight and was picked up by my sister and her husband at 8 AM at the airport. So I got some low quality sleep on the plane. We then drove for two hours north to Santa Rosa to pick up a case of elusive RR beer, as well as have lunch. I was going to go to Lagunitas Brewing, but it doesn’t open until 2PM, and we had a strict timeline as we had to go to the rehearsal dinner by 6PM. So we made a little stop at Grav South Brew Co. — a newly opened brewery only 7 miles south of RR. Worth checking out, by the way.
Russian River is the brewery that makes a staple IPA known as Pliny the Elder. I had a 3 oz sample of it as well as a 3 oz sample of the Supplication. Everything tastes better right at the brewery. I left Maria in charge of building us a RR case to take back to Alaska, and she bought mostly the corked wild yeast beers ending with the -ation in the name. Temptation, Supplication, Consecration and Sanctification. Two of each, as well as 2 bottles of Blind Pig IPA and 2 Plinys. Gotta get those benchmark IPAs to make sure the best local Alaska ones are up to snuff (turns out they are doing a pretty good job).
Let’s talk Supplication. A 7% Brown Ale aged in Pinot barrels with cherries! This beer has Brettanomyces and will make you say, “What!” after taking the first sip. It has a remarkable flavor, and is aptly named, because after you have had your first sip you will be begging for more. Ironically, Supplication is loaded with Brett, but winemakers fear the aggressive yeast strain and RR Brewing is right in the heart of Sonoma wine country. RR doesn’t give a @&%#, and they do what they want. Good thing, because this libation is legit! I will supplicate myself to procure more. I wish I had more than two bottles in my possession, but at $12 a bottle for 375 ml it’s probably enough. I also have those other great options.
Cheers to Supplication! A beer so good it is worth missing some sleep over!
This original oil painting, and limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.
Supplication Ale by Russian River Brewing Co. 8″x10″, oil on panel. By Scott Clendaniel.
If you walked into a speakeasy during Prohibition and asked for a “Blind Pig”, you may have received a beer. I should have painted the pig drinking from a blank Mason jar, as that is the way beer would have been served during those times. A pint jar was known as a pig, and a blank one was known as a “Blind Pig.” Ironically, the first time I drank Blind Pig IPA by Russian River Brewing Company was not in California, but in Philadelphia at Monk’s Cafe. I ordered it thinking that it was probably the best thing on the extensive menu, called the Beer Bible, and I was not let down. I drank it again at the Russian River brew pub in Santa Rosa, and came back the next day, nearly emptying my bank account, and making a generous addition to my beer cellar. All I have left is a couple bottles of the barrel sour ales now. Looks like I will have to make another trip to Santa Rosa to refill my private stock. If you do get your hands on this treasured ale, don’t hoard it, but drink it. IPA is best fresh! So share and enjoy! Don’t let your cool pet pig get ahold of it. Once they have gotten the taste, they will never be satiated! Cheers to the “Blind Pig” — the best pig for drinking!
On the road again! What a road it is. Leaving San Jose and heading straight for the ocean, we ended up at Half Moon Bay. The last time we were there was seven years ago, when we camped at Half Moon Bay during our tandem bicycle tour down the Pacific Coast. The surf was up, and I didn’t feel like swimming, because there is a wicked rip current that will take you out to sea! We stopped for coffee and a doughnut and then drove straight to San Fransisco, and over the Golden Gate Bridge. We continued up Highway 1, or should I say roller coaster 1, because that’s what it felt like, and we were going to stop for barbecued oysters along Tomales Bay, but time was getting short, and I had a painting date at the world-famous Russian River Brewing Co. We were greeted at the door by the host, who was expecting me, “Painter Scott”. Yep, that’s me.
The drive to Russian River reminded me of being on the bike tour, and I decided to relax and let my painting tell a story of the road trip to Santa Rosa, to show the pilgrimage to the brew pub that so many people make. About half an hour into the painting, which is of Pliny the Elder, Maria gets a phone call from our college friend Moriah, who just happens to be in town for work, and so she meets us at the brewery! I get to talk with a nice couple at a nearby table, and also run into a lady who recognizes my Midnight Sun Brewing t-shirt, and stops me to tell me that MSBC’s first Chef is from Santa Rosa and just started a new brewery down the road. The woman is his daughter. Small world. I filled my Russian River growler and walked the mile home to Hotel Azura, where we watched the 6th game of the World Series, while drinking delicious Russian River beer. Even my team won the game! Overall a fabulous day! It doesn’t get any better than this!