Wednesday, June 6, 2012

[A Beer a Day] Salvation Belgian Strong Dark Ale | Russian River Brewing | Santa Rosa, CA

Momentum is a pervasive quality in the craft brewing business these days.  Its REALLLY kinda fucking hard to keep up with the mass quantity of breweries coming online within this next year (250) and those which are already established and kicking hipster-fatso asses all over the place (nearly 2,000) with constant special releases and series updates.

Assembling a cellar of rare, special, and seasonal craft beers is very much like collecting baseball cards as a kid when the extent of your allowance ensured a few packs-per-week of Donruss, and maybe one or two more if you bypass the sex sirens that were the Slurpee machine and the Galaga station that was housed in that creepy, extended rape lair of the 7-11.   

No matter how many times you were let down by the $1.25(!) lottery for your chance at the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, the persistent scrapper in you (and you and you) made us all march right back to that lousy corner store the next week with a fist full of ones in search of that stupid white whale.

So nice to see you again.
This is why I've been doing some hemming and hawing all week long on whether to write this review for a few reasons: 1) its not a glowing review 2) while not necessarily a white whale, this is a highly sought-after and coveted beer from one of the world's finest breweries, 3) so, who am I to judge these virtuosos?, and finally, 4) it was shared in wonderful company, and therefore, what about my theory regarding beer-as-an-overall-experience, and not just being exclusively about flavor?

The thing is, when I took my allowance to Hopfield's I didn't know the lottery I was about to enter.  Typically, Russian River (and more specifically, their -tion series) provides like a factory set of high-gloss, mint condition, limited edition trading cards.

Russian River's Salvation was one of the source brews that led to a beer called Collaboration not Litigation, a joint venture with another favorite brewer of mine, Avery, as a sarcastic nod to the fact that both had unknowingly authored a Belgian strong ale by the same name -- a surprisingly rare anomaly given the suplus of creativity in the brew-world and the finite number of ways you can use puns.  This was kind of like the error card of beer labeling, and the genius of creating demand over it.

And, while Avery's Salvation is a golden, Russian River's is a dark, and when they were combined to form a singular, mega-recipe, they produced Ken Griffey Jr.

In other words, Collaboration not Litigation is a beer that packs a hitters wallop and possibly one that would make you karate kick a very hard wall

But dividing Collaboration not Litigation by two, leaves Rey Quinones, starting shortstop for the Russian River Salvations; A struggling, line-out hitter that tastes like raisins and cola.  Nobody wants to collect that, not even Lou Pinella.

RR Salvation left way too much to be desired. It was over-carbonated and dry as bark.  It opened up very poorly and never really reached its potential, even approaching room temperature.  This was that stinging walk home, pockets lined only with linen, mitts devoid of Surge Slurpees, and Trapper Keepers languishing for card 1, series 1.

ABV: 9.o%
Acquired: Hopfield's


Shawn said...

Nice review. Coincidentally I just picked up a Salvation this morning. If I can remember after I drink it I'll add my experience here.

Eric said...

Please do. I'm really interested in others opinions regarding Salvation considering the rest of that series is simply stellar.