Russian River Daytrip

I’m the wrong person to write a post about Russian River. I really am. I can’t do it justice, and for that, I’m sorry. I can, however, tell you that the Russian River brewpub is located on a quiet street in a cute downtown area – quiet and cute in the middle of a Tuesday, that is.

Russian River

As promised, it was considerably warmer in Santa Rosa than in SF, so we were happy to enter the cool and dim interior, and to face down an intimidating board of options. On the left, the sour Belgian-style ales with religious names befitting the seriousness of the beers:

One of Everything

On the right, everything else, including Pliny the Elder, rated the #2 beer in the world by Beer Advocate (Pliny the Younger is #3):

One of Everything

What to do but to have one of everything? OK, we never would’ve been able to get back to SF had we actually done that – but we did make a fair pass at the Belgians – sour and boozy, perfect on a hot afternoon. And oh, did you notice the prices? $3.75-6.75 for a pint of the Belgians. Outrageously good prices for outrageously good beers.

Beer Mecca?

Food was really necessary, and Kiya said that we had to try the pizza bites. Basically: take a pizza of an undetermined size. Chop it up into bite size pieces, toppings and all. Serve with a wee cup of marinara to happy drinkers. Nibble an dunk your way into a happy greasy pizza coma.

Like I said – I can’t do Russian River justice, but perhaps Shane will weigh in with more information about the beers. That said, he was in a jolly place when we left, so perhaps he can’t do it any more justice than I can.

A Man in his Element

After Russian River, the remainder of our daytrip hardly bears mention. We stopped for an espresso at Flying Goat on our way out of town, then stopped for adequate beer at Moylan’s in Novato. As we drove back into the city, Kiya asked if they could take us to just one more place, and so we ended up at Bender’s, a grubby dive-y bar reminiscent of the Galaxy Hut – which, if you know us at all, you know is a high compliment.

Among the things not allowed at Bender’s are fisticuffs:
Bender's doesn't put up w/shit
Photo by The Mitzikin Revolution

Among the things on offer are a damned good Bloody Mary – including a beef stick! – and Fernet, which we all inexplicably tossed back while Shane and Kiya played pool. It was a great way to end a great day.

If you go:

Russian River Brewing Co
725 4th St
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 545-2337

There’s only one reason you’d make the trip here from SF, and that is the beer. Fortunately you can get a damned good pizza (or calzone or basket of pizza bites) while you’re there.

Flying Goat Coffee
10 4th St
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 575-1202

An out of the way little coffee shop in downtown Santa Rosa. A good place to sober up with a single origin espresso after your lunch of pizza bites and Pliny.

Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant
15 Rowland Way
Novato, CA 94945
(415) 898-4677

Not really worth the trip unless you need another beer after Russian River. Which you probably won’t.

806 S Van Ness Ave (between 19th & 20th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 824-1800

Grubby, dive-y neighborhood bar of the best possible sort. I hear they have good food, but their Bloody Mary was nearly dinner enough for me.


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  1. Pingback: (Last) Morning in the Castro and the Mission | Outpost 505

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