New Beer: Russian River Row 2, Hill 56
This single-hop pale ale from Russian River Brewing Company is named for the location in the experimental hop yard where Simcoe hops were developed. "Row 2 / Hill 56 describes the exact location of the first ever Simcoe hop vine in the experimental hopyard that Jason Perrault was working with when he and his co-workers first breed Simcoe," Vinnie Cilurzo wrote us. "It was the second row over and the 56th hill." This beer is part of Russian River's new 'Hop Grower Tribute Series', and this one honors three Yakima-area family farms: Carpenter, Perrault, and Smith. Cilurzo says that "most of the beers we will do in the series will not be bottled and will be draft only at the pub," but Row 2 Hill 56 was released in bottles a few weeks ago, and I bought it at City Beer Store in San Francisco. It's 5.8% ABV.
Let me tell you, this is a truly delicious beer. It's quite creamy, with a bitter and super-dry piney finish to cut the rich golden malt. There's some fresh juicy orange rind character too; it's bright and lively. As usual with Russian River, there are lots of warnings on the label urging you to drink it while fresh before the wonderful hop character fades. Heed the warnings, guys. I gotta say, if you offered this to me alongside a Pliny, I'd probably reach for this one first.