Most craft beer enthusiasts have at least a few favorite breweries. I have several but two of my favorite breweries are Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Russian River Brewing Company, both from California. Unfortunately, Russian River stopped distributing to Washington state a couple of years ago; right around the time our state liquor laws changed and places like BevMo and Total Wine & More moved in. Personally, I miss their wonderful sours more than I miss Pliny The Elder (and Pliny The Younger).
One of Russian River’s reasons for halting distribution to Washington was due to the changes in our state laws (I heard rumors that BevMo wanted to try and buy out Russian River’s entire supply of Pliny The Elder the year they moved into Washington). However, it was also a financial as well as a supply and demand issue. The last Russian River Brewing Company beers were shipped to Washington in December 2012.
Zymurgy Magazine, the official magazine of the American Homebrewer’s Association (AHA), has released their 2013 list of the best beers in America (as voted on by Zumurgy readers/AHA Members). This is the 11th year Zymurgy has released this list and, for the 5th year in a row, Russian River Brewing‘s Pliny The Elder has come out on top. Congratulations to them and also to Bell’s Brewery who has taken the number 2 spot the past 4 years in a row with their Two Hearted Ale.
As I’m sure most of you know, Russian River Brewing does not currently distribute to Washington state, but I believe we have some excellent ‘stand ins’ that do a great job of satisfying our craving for hoppy tripple IPAs (including but not limited to ‘Whiny The Complainer’ from Big Time Brewery & Alehouse and ‘Cry Me A River’ from Naked City Brewery and Taphouse). Bell’s Brewery beers are also quite difficult to find in Washington, but perhaps you can find a beer buddy or two futher East who you can make a trade with.