I first tasted North Coast Brewing Company's Old Rasputin imperial stout while setting up and pouring beer for Santa Rosa Brewing Co. at the Napa Valley Mustard Festival working with Charlie Gow on 3/17/96 in Napa.
It came as a total surprise--I didn't expect it. What a freak out delight! The brew folks served it on tap and displayed the 12 oz. bottle that they are retailing it in the better beer stores in N. California, and hopefully for everyone else out there, elsewhere. It sells in four-packs, I've seen prices range from $5.99 - $8.00. I'd like to know if it's being made available outside my region.
At the imperial stout and Don Tomas cigar night at the Toronado on April 17, Old Rasputin was one of six imperials on tap. Our group of beer lovers rated the Rasputin and the imperial from Moylan's as the best of the lot. Rogue was third (and one of the originators of this style in the USA, Grant's, came in last; too thin as compared to the other 'entrants' including 20 Tank and Pacific Coast).
I got my first bottles of Rasputin during one of our TGIF afterwork parties -- my supplier finally got some and brought over a whole case. I bought half the case for a friend and me and the love affair with one of America's best bottled beers began. The other half the case was consumed happily by the party attendees. It went fast and furious. I believe that, pound for pound, our company has the finest beer geeks in the country (breweries excepted of course).
Just the other day I bought the entire on-display rack space of Old Rasputin at the San Jose Beverages & More. Time to stock up and not go without. It's best to be prepared--you never know when Dave Brockington or any other famnous beer person may stop by!
Old Rasputin won a gold medal at the 1995 and 1996 "World Beer Cup/Champs" or whatever that event actually is. Is it a reputable contest? Who knows...
Its style is thick, creamy, sweet, Malty, hoppy, strong, and bitter. The on-tap version tastes a little creamier & sweeter than the bottled stuff. Both version are a nearly opaque black color with a nice creamy head. Alcohol content is about 9.3% volume.
I rate it as a perfect **** beer. Both on style and taste.
North Coast Brewing Company is in Fort Bragg, California, on the Mendocino coast, a few miles north of the tourist town Mendocino.
Their web page is: North Coast Brewing electronic taproom
http://www.rahul.net/kpapai/beer/rasputin.htmlUpdates, June 27, 1996: Old Rasputin in bottles has been reported in Santa Barbara (S. Calif.) and in the DC area. Also, a couple of reports have arrived saying it's in Michigan too. It's everywhere! My brother says it's available in Indianapolis too.
-- Ken Papai XXXX Hot Sauce Connoisseur Marin County, California Beer & Wine Capital of the WorldAug. 3, 2002 final update
rasputin.html last updated July 3, 1996