Category Archives: Russian River

Review of Avery/Russian River Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Collaboration Not Litigation Ale produced by the Avery Brewing Company located in Boulder, Colorado and the Russian River Brewing Company located in Santa Rosa, California.

This beer was batch #3 bottled in February, 2009.

I found a cool little back story of how this concoction was devised from the website,

Salvation. The name of two intricate Belgian-style ales, created by us, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing.

After becoming friends a few years ago, we realized we both had a Salvation in our lineups. Was it going to be a problem? Should one of us relinquish the name rights? “Hell, no!” we said. In fact, it was quickly decided that we should blend the brews to catch the best qualities of each and create an even more complex and rich libation. In April 2004, in a top secret meeting at Russian River Brewing (well, actually it was packed in the pub and many were looking over our shoulders wondering what the hell was going on), we came up with the perfect blend of the two Salvations.

Natalie, Vinnie’s much more significant other, exclaimed, “We should call this Collaboration, not Litigation Ale!” “Perfect,” we shouted! We celebrated deep into the night (or is that morning?). Fast forward to November 14, 2006. After talking about it for over two years, we finally decided to pull the trigger and Vinnie made the journey to Avery Brewing to brew his Salvation exactly as he does in his brewery.

Let’s see how it is, shall we?

This beverage comes in a 22 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 8.97%.

It poured a considerably hazy, deep ruby red to burgundy color with an off white crown.  The head was kind of small in size, somewhat soapy and frothy.  The retention time was slight as was the lacing.  I did see a few clear alcohol legs hanging on the sides of the chalice when tilted however.

The bouquet brought out a nice dose of dark cherries and raisins.  It also had a slight grape juice like quality.  Some bready and yeasty characteristics with just a touch clove.  Deeper in the nose some sugary caramel malt became evident.  Not a bad fragrance at all.  Well balanced and suitable.

The taste provided a touch of tartness from the dark fruits.  Cherries and grapes mostly.  A decent burst of alcohol was tasted, however it seemed to mellow and become more harmonious as the brew warmed.  A solid amount of spice from the clove really meshed well with the yeast.  It even began to develop some toasted bread snippets.  Like the aroma, the caramel sweetness didn’t begin to be established until after it opened up a touch.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied, although it was a little thinner than I thought it might be.  Very dry, chewy and smooth.  A low amount of carbonation was to be had.  A sturdy shot of warmth was felt and a nice amount of flavor was left behind on the palate after each sip.

Well, I think we have a very solid beer here with plenty of complexity to ponder.  The drinkability was comfortable, however it’s best taken in small sips in my opinion.  Definitely worth a try if you are able to obtain a bottle.  I would really be interested in seeing how other vintages compare to this one.  I think it would be an excellent companion on a cool Fall evening.  I’ll probably try to procure another bottle once the crisp days start arriving.  So with that being said, if you guys have had the Avery/Russion River Collaboration Not Litigation Ale, I would be interested in hearing what you thought.

Thanks for checking in on another review guys.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.85 out of 5
Grade:  B+   


Review of Pliny The Elder

Hello once again good craft beer people.  Today I’m going to be trying one of the most sought after beers in the world.  Pliny The Elder produced by the Russian River Brewing Company located in Santa Rosa, California.

Now, I can’t get Russian River products here in Kentucky, but Ryan Hudak ( was gracious enough to send me a bottle.  I want to first thank him for his generosity.  I appreciate it Ryan.

From the website,, we find this enticing and lengthy description of Pliny The Elder. 

Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!

Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”. Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!

Pliny the Elder was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who wrote about his uncle succumbing to ash and smoke during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. while rescuing people. Cheers to the scholar, historian, officer, writer, and Roman Naturalist- Pliny the Elder!

I can’t wait any longer.  Let’s drink this thing.

This brew comes in a 16.9 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 8.0%.

The beer poured a slightly hazy orange to golden color with an off white head of great size.  It was soft, soapy, fluffy, frothy and a bit rocky.  The retention time was outstanding and the lacing was nice, thick and clingy.  It stayed on the tulip glass for the entire drink.  A thin skim of film remained on top of the liquid for the duration also.  Simply, a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing beer.

The nose brought out a ton of tropical fruit smells.  Orange, pineapple and grapefruit citrus.  It was also quite floral, piny and resiny with a significant amount of hop oils entertaining the nostrils.  Now, one thing I would like to point out is that this brew has a couple months of age on it, so I am getting a bit of that sweet malt aroma.  It seemed as though the hops had faded a bit, but it still had a spectacular bouquet in all honesty.  Bright, lively and enjoyable.  

The taste was very similar to the fragrance.  More tropical fruit of pineapple, orange and grapefruit.  It was very juicy and sweet.  The bitterness was near perfect.  It left a good tickle on the tongue without ever becoming lip puckering or obtuse.  Some piny attributes with just a touch of that sweet malt were noticed, but again, I think that may stem from the slight break down of the hops.  No matter, it still tasted mighty fine I thought.  It still had enough life to satisfy me that’s for sure.   

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  It was smooth, super dry, slick, chewy and sticky.  A touch of warmth was felt in the chest, but it quickly dissipated after a few sips.  An awesome amount of flavor was left behind on the palate after each sip as well.

Well, I can totally see why so many people flip for this beer.  It is very, very good to say the least.  Even the bottle I sampled, that had a bit of age to it, was still outstanding.  The appearance, aroma and taste were still better than most of the beers I get on a regular basis.  The drinkability was top notch in my opinion.  I found myself taking huge gulps when I should have been sipping.  I would love to be able to grab another bottle of this at some point to enjoy this Summer.  I would definitely recommend you guys picking up Pliny The Elder before your craft beer journey is over.  No craft beer excursion is complete without trying it at least once.  Thanks again to Ryan for sending a bottle my way.  I can’t thank him enough.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.25 out of 5
Grade:  A- 


Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Country: USA, Russian River

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