This blog has a history with Russell Brewing. We had a bad experience, which they corrected admirably. I really liked the people I met there and I really want them to succeed. I also really like their Brewmaster Series, which includes their Black Death Porter, IP’eh!, Blood Alley Bitter, and Angry Scotch Ale. They were involved with the tasty VCBW collaboration ale and they do other solid seasonals as well.
Recently they did something incredibly rad. They held a home-brewing competition last year and then this year they commercially released and distributed the winning beer. That’s right, Rick August Russian Imperial Stout is available in and around the lower mainland. It’s an 11% beer and I’ve heard it’s packed with flavour. Quote from the Russell press release: “The recipe uses more than 10 types of malts, two types of hops, a special yeast strain, juniper berries and licorice root”. Sounds interesting, no? I haven’t tried one yet, but I’ve heard good things. I’m going to pick up two tomorrow, drink one and cellar the other. I mean really, what they did here is incredible: they made the home-brewing dream come true for a guy.
Russell has this really awesome side to it, but then this crazy awesome beer/story isn’t mentioned on their website besides in a stuffy press release. They continue to pump out extremely mediocre beer from their regular lineup, both in cans and on draught. I despise their lemon ale and lime lager with the very fabric of my being. And what’s up with Rocky Mountain pilsner? I just don’t get how they can be so polar. I’ve heard a couple rumours lately, one that they have two brewmasters (one who does the good stuff and one who doesn’t) and that they are nearing the brink financially. Whatever happens, I hope they keep pumping out the good stuff.