If you have never heard of Russian River Brewing Company, then you must not know that they make the two top beers in the country, "Pliny the Elder" and "Pliny the Younger", based on the amount of awards those beers have received. Basically, this brewery is the best in the country, and there are those that argue it is the best in the world. Just visiting this brewery alone justifies a trip to Santa Rosa.
I have been traveling to Santa Rosa and visiting this brewery consistently over the last three years. If you read my other reviews here on the site, I know Santa Rosa very well and consider it my second home. As the demand for beer from Russian River has grown, the amount of people coming to visit the brewery has grown. It used to only get very busy on weekend evenings. Now it is busy all day, every day, including in the off season, which is winter time.
The brewery is a small restaurant with a big bar: they have all their beers on tap, and they have several "guest" taps of other breweries from the region. They serve some of the best pub food in the area, especially the pizza. A typical wait for a seat at the bar or a table in the restaurant can be as long as two hours on a weekend. During a release weekend, expect lines of several hours.
Coming to eat and drink at Russian River Brewing is an experience. It's not "just another bar" or "just another brewery." This is THE brewery. Arrive early, expect to wait, and be patient. If you do this, you will have an experience that is unparalleled if you are a beer drinker. That the food is good, that the people are great, and that the atmosphere is fun are all bonuses. It's loud, crowded, and amazing. If you're anywhere in the wine country, clear an evening and go for a visit. You won't regret it!
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