Thanks in large part to Russell Brewing, I had some friends over for Russellfest this past weekend. We sampled Russell’s Cream, Pale, and Honey Blonde Ales, as well as their Extra Special Lager. My friends, many of whom were affected by the original incident, got to taste what Russell’s beer should taste like. We were also treated to several of my wife’s homemade pizza’s, which were delicious and very quickly devoured. It was a great party and everyone had a great time, as far as I know at least.
Considering that Russell’s beer was the focal point, we did discuss it in depth. One piece of feedback we have for Russell is that we wish they were more adventurous with their beer. When tasting, we noticed that not much sets each beer part from the other. I do enjoy their beer, the Cream Ale the most, but I would not call it spectacular or even great. It seems to me that they are targeting the average beer drinker who prefers less flavorful, simpler beer. As a craft brewery, I would expect some greater differentiation throughout the lineup and a few interesting seasonal releases. On our tour, we noticed that they only used two kinds of hops (I forget which two, but Erik will know). We thought, why not be bolder? Keep the Cream and Honey the same, but why not make the Pale Ale something to remember? This is just our opinion.
Thanks again to Russell for making amends and taking us on a tour. We really thought they were very nice, very passionate people who care a lot about their beer. I hope they continue to thrive and I hope they release the odd something special every now and then.
Some pictures from the party: