Sierra Nevada & Russian River – Yvan The Great (Beer Camp 2014)
A Belgian-American mashup.
As longtime friends, Russian River brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo and our own Brian Grossman are no strangers to brewing experiments. While looking for inspiration for this collaboration, Vinnie and Brian decided to honor the creations of legendary Belgian brewer Yvan De Baets with their own hop-forward American-Belgian mash-up.
From complex Belgian-inspired styles to American wild ales and hoppy Double IPA’s, Russian River always pushes boundaries while respecting technique and quality. Co-owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo are longtime friends of Sierra Nevada and they always have a six-pack of Pale Ale in their fridge at home.
Belgian Blondes are usually amazing or a total dud to me, and I went into this with high hopes because any beer I’ve had from Russian River has been amazing.
Super light and see-through, a really nice pale head on top.
This has the typical “Belgian smell” that I get from most/all Belgian beers I drink. It has an aroma that I cannot place as something other than distinctly Belgian. No hop smell at all, no pine, citrus or tropical fruit.
A kind of bland Belgian, no real hop profile to speak of in the aroma or the taste of this beer. The overwhelmingly balanced Belgian part of this beer redeems it though. A nice Belgian on its own.
For this style, I either love it or hate it, so to think this beer is average is a good thing I guess. I just felt like it was going to be a homerun and just came short. An average beer from two amazing breweries. Maybe they should have done a sour, or an IPA–two things that Russian River are known for.
3 out of 5
Until the next beer: