Beer Review #1- Russian River Brewing: Registration Ale

Russian River Brewing Company.  Santa Rosa, CA.  www.russianriverbrewing.com

Registration Ale.
American India Pale Ale. 7.5% ABV. 

On tap at Via Marconi’s Pizza Pub in Lansdale, PA. Served very cold in a thick, heavy chalice. $5.75.

There is a bit of back story that goes with this beer. A few months ago in March 2010, Russian River was shipping one of their world renowned beers named “Pliny the Younger”. Allegedly, since the beer only arrives in Pennsylvania once a year in such small quantities, Russian River rarely goes to the trouble to register the beer with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). Well, this year, the PLCB decided to actually raid bars in Philadelphia and confiscate kegs and bottles from various breweries that weren’t registered at each drinking establishment. So, Russian River decided to create this brew to poke fun at the PLCB: hence, the name- Registration.  At least, that’s how the story goes…

Anyway, my glass of Registration arrived and I was able to begin the process. For those of you who may not be familiar with reviewing a beer, I’ll pass on a few basics that I’ve learned over the past few months.

The first thing most reviewers do is to observe the beer and describe how it looks. Registration has a crystal clear golden color almost headed toward orange. There is minimal visible carbonation and very little head.

The next step is to smell the beer and try to grasp some of the aromas that it resembles. When I inhaled, the only aroma I sensed was that of hops, hops and more hops. Very fruity varieties with a minimal bitterness in the aroma.

After sniffing the beer, which must have looked silly in the bar, I took a sip and was a bit surprised by the amount of pine flavors. The primary flavors were the fruity hops that were suggested in the aroma, but there was a strong presence of pine with a bit of fresh cut grass in the flavors. Despite the apparent lack of bitterness in the aroma, the finish was bitter as any good IPA would provide. This is a very good IPA.

Following the first taste, I usually take a few more sips to describe the mouth feel of the brew. Here is an IPA that has a bit more body than I would normally expect. Thicker than water, but not quite as thick as their Double IPA “Pliny the Elder”. Carbonation was less than expected, but still present.

Finally, a reviewer would normally make a few notes on how “drinkable” the beer is. I would have to say that Registration is high on the list of drinkable beers. It would be particularly refreshing on a 90 degree day like today. Enjoyable and easy to drink, I could definitely have a few if I had a designated driver. The alcohol comes in at 7.5% ABV, and while delicious, I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to the bigger beers.

Overall, I think Registration is another excellent beer to come from Russian River Brewing. I was very happy to have an opportunity to taste it because there were very few shipments of it to Pennsylvania. I might find an excuse to have another sometime this week before the keg kicks. Good job, guys!

Final Rating- A-

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Published in: on June 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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