Cellaring Beers: Eel River Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout, Fortuna, California. At Ten Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 27, 2018
The Story— Eel River has been brewing since the first craft wave of the 90s. Like many successful breweries they’ve expanded beyond their base. The brewery started in Fortuna, California, and there is still a pub and restaurant there, but the beer now comes from Scotia. We haven’t focused on the differences. This one was from Fortuna.
The brewery asserts it is the first certified organic brewery in the United States, which is something of an accomplishment. It’s not that hard to find good quality organic malt and hops today, but not so twenty years ago. All too often we could taste the “organic” edge to the beer before we even looked at the label to confirm it. That Eel River was able to hold its own in a field dominated by those taking an easier path says much for them.
Still, when we first tasted this beer it seemed to have a bit of the organic curse to it. An Imperial Stout should have been more complex and much smoother. We bought a second bottle a couple of years later and forgot about it. What a blessing. Who knew we should have bought a case?
The Beer— Head’s pretty much gone, but that doesn’t really matter. The booze is obvious from the start and dark malts fill the palate. Chewy rich malts continue with some chocolate, some husk, and some cream. Herbal notes add breadth.
Value — Excellent, at least if you have the patience to put it down. This beer still retails for well under ten bucks a bomber. We’re going to be replenishing the vault soon with more of it.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.