At 11:00 AM today, the grand opening of the new Russian River Brewing Co. production brewery and brewpub in Windsor, California, took place. The 85,000 square foot building houses a 75-bbl state-of-the-art brewhouse, a tank farm, barrel room, coolship, and much more. Eventually, they’ll offer both a guided tour and a free self-guided tour that will give visitors a unique view into the brewery’s operations. To see the whole thing, you really need to take both tours. But that part of the experiences is still a few weeks away as they focus on other aspects of the business.
The extrance to the restaurant/brewpub. (Photo yesterday, courtesy of Natalie Cilurzo)
What will open today is the restaurant and brewpub, which owners Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo refer to simply as the Pub. It has a warm, rustic feel and includes several areas and seating for nearly 190 guests. In addition, there’s a 1,000-sq. ft. gift shop, a separate tasting room, and a tour lobby (for when the tours start). Growler fills will be available in three locations. Here are the basics:
Russian River Windsor
700 Mitchell Lane,
Windsor, CA 95
(707) 545-2337 (BEER)
Sunday-Thursday: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Friday-Saturday: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
I was fortunate enough to have visited the brewery leading up to today’s opening, and here is what you can expect to see when you visit the brewery.
There’s a larger circular fireplace with comfy chairs where you sit with a beer and wait for your table, or just sit and converse with your friends.
Of course, you can just sit at the bar, too.
Or sit for a meal and one of several dining areas.
The menu is completely different from the original downtown Santa Rosa brewpub, with no pizza, but they do have a selection of salads and other nibbles.
Along with several entrees, like these delicious burgers topped with malted bacon and cheddar fondue.
There’s also a second back bar in an adjacent dining area, that in the summer will open up to an open area that overlooks several acres of wetlands. The first beer brewed at the new place was Windsor Porter, a variation on Vinnie’s award-winning Porter (fun fact: Russian River’s very first medal at GABF was for their Porter). It was also the first beer he brewed at the original brewery at Korbel, and also when the opened the downtown Santa Rosa brewpub in 2004. It’s now pouring in the brewpub (and is quite tasty) along with the first batch of Pliny the Elder, with many more to follow.
You can also pick up bottles of the Windsor Porter in the gift shop, and they’re labeled “Batch 1.” The gift shop itself is fairly large, and in fact, just the cooler in the adjacent shop is larger than the whole gift shop at the original brewpub.
Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo in the new brewhouse, which is 75-bbls, a little bigger than their previous one, which was 50-bbls.
But the new brewhouse is a cathedral of beer, large enough that you can barely make out Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, who are looking down from the top of the spiral staircase at the upper center of the photo.