Brewing Begins At Russian River’s New Craft Beer Destination

brewing, Brewing Begins At Russian River’s New Craft Beer Destination

“And so it begins,” Gandalf’s famous quote from the Lord of the Rings trilogy has become its own pop-cultural touchstone over the years…And in this case it applies to one of craft brewing’s most anticipated new openings.

But it’s not open yet, fans will have to wait till October to enjoy the brewery’s new taproom or take a self-guided tour. But the Press Democrat is reporting that after four years of planning and construction Russian River’s new craft beer destination is almost a go and that they’ve already begun brewing.

Located on 10-acres of prime turf in Windsor, California, Russian River’s soon-to-open 85,000-square-foot brewing hub will be a huge upgrade from their current brewpub which opened in 2004 and hasn’t expanded much beyond its 175-customer capacity, as well as over their current production facility in Santa Rosa with a maximum annual capacity of 20,000 barrels and doesn’t offer tours.

And excellence doesn’t come cheap…

brewing, Brewing Begins At Russian River’s New Craft Beer Destination

Russian River’s sprawling new complex, which features a state-of-the-art German brewing system that will enable the brewery to more than double its annual production to 35,000 barrels, is a labor of love that cost more than $30 million.

But industry watchers and Russian River’s owner’s Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo are betting that the new facility will be well worth the money as well as the wait.

brewing, Brewing Begins At Russian River’s New Craft Beer DestinationRegarded by many as one of the nation’s best breweries, Russian River’s new complex is seen as a boon that will galvanize the region as a major beer tourism draw, just as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium’s new hubs re-positioned Asheville, North Carolina as one the east coast’s most important craft beer destinations.

According to Natali Cilurzo her husband brewed the inaugural batch in Windsor last week, and surprisingly enough for a brewery that’s built its considerable reputation on huge IPAs like Pliny the Elder, it was a porter crafted in an open-top fermenter…a first for Russian River.

And the fact that he followed a “first-ever” porter with two sour beers, a brown ale aged in pinot noir barrels with sour cherries and a dark ale aged in cabernet barrels with currants, speaks to the even more exciting directions that the brewery will be embarking on, in the wake of their new expansion.

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