Russian River Four Letters
Russian River Four Letters – Businesses that rely on visitors to the lower Russian River have struggled to recover from February’s flooding in time to welcome in peak season crowds, but the waterway, the region’s lifeblood and occasional runway, is throwing up more obstacles.
Heavy spring rains have raised river flows to what many consider dangerous levels, prompting park officials and some business owners to advise against swimming and water play over Memorial Day weekend — traditionally the opening of the busy summer season.
Russian River Four Letters
Monte Rio and Johnson’s beaches will both be closed, as will Burke’s Canoe Tours in Forestville. Sonoma County Regional Parks will keep its river beaches open but is discouraging visitors from entering the water or boating, officials said.
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“The river is too high,” said Dan Poirier, co-owner of Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, where the campground and six of its 10 cabins are fully operational and booked for the weekend, although the beach remains closed. “The water is too fast and it’s not safe.”
It’s a short-term gesture made in the interest of keeping people out of harm’s way at the expense of some holiday customs and lost revenue for sellers who have made the choice to wait a week or so before jumping into summer.
“You have to respect the water,” said John Menth, a county park lifeguard who also rents stand-up paddle boards through his company, Russian River Paddle Boards. He will not rent any this weekend due to river conditions.
The weather and river will also be cooler than is often the case at this time of year, so the water may prove less than inviting after all.
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Business owners say the region still has plenty of activities to offer its visitors — including redwoods, ocean views, wine tasting and hiking. A wide area of the river near its mouth in Jenner also offers safer paddling for kayakers and canoeists.
Merchants remain hopeful of support from out-of-towners through the summer and fall as newly restored resorts reopen and regain their footing after devastating winter floods.
Several businesses have already returned and more are scheduled to reopen in the next three or four weeks.
“The overall attitude of the city is very positive,” said Jeff Bridges, general manager and co-owner of the R3 hotel in downtown Guerneville, where work crews expect to complete a full overhaul of the resort in the next month or so.
Russian River Pliny The Younger (triple Ipa)
The wet weather that has prevailed this year sent the Russian River overflowing its banks twice during the winter, causing minor flooding in mid-February and then, on February 27, raising the river to its highest level since 1995 , flooding downtown Guerneville and parts of Monte Rio, Rio Nido and Forestville and the river’s lower reaches.
Damage was most concentrated in Guerneville, where Fife Creek runs through town on its way to the river. During flood events, it backs up several nearby resorts.
Among them is The Woods, where floodwaters reached up to 10 feet in four cabins, while also flooding seven cabins and four adjoining regular rooms, as well as the office, laundry room and utility quarters, said owner Michael Preaseau.
In a dilemma faced by several other local owners, Preaseau has been fighting with his bank to pay out insurance funds he has needed to move forward with restoration work. The bank has demanded to see receipts for work done before funds are released.
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“It’s been more stressful than the whole flood,” he said. “It hurts the whole economy of the city.”
Still, Preaseau is set to host visitors in mid-June, so he’ll be busy for part of the season.
“There are a lot of hotels still open, and then there are those businesses that are open again, and it’s just a matter of getting the rest of us slowly but surely back online for the rest of the summer,” Preaseau said .
Karen O’Brien, owner of the Rio Villa Beach Resort in Monte Rio, found herself in a similar situation. Her establishment, located on the banks of the river, absorbed a large amount of water, but she had access to private funds that made her recovery possible, despite what she said was micromanagement by the bank. She plans to reopen on June 5.
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“All these businesses have been slowed down tremendously, and then we’re missing our very short season,” O’Brien said.
After the flooding came 18 months out of the year after devastating wildfires in 2017, it’s an unusually difficult time, business people said.
“We will recover,” Highland Dell Lodge owner and general manager Herb Loose said. The Monte Rio-based inn hosted its first wedding of the season last weekend and has reopened for regular business, with rooms booked this weekend and more weddings on the calendar for June and July.
Michael Volpatt, co-owner of Big Bottom Market on Guerneville’s Main Street, said his employees have heard customers say they want to support businesses affected by the flooding.
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“We’ve had people say, ‘I’m so excited that I’m here because we know how important it is that we’re here,'” Volpatt said.
As for the river, Menth, the county lifeguard who was born and raised in Sonoma County, said, “I’ve never seen it this time of year.”
Regional park officials said the flow is high enough that the beach patrol team hasn’t even taken its usual preseason dive to survey the newly gouged holes in the riverbed yet.
Supervising Ranger Scott Bolin said park staff would patrol river beaches, in part to enforce new bans on alcohol consumption at Steelhead and Sunset beaches in Forestville and promote the safety message to beachgoers. They do not plan to lend life jackets as usual in an attempt to discourage people from entering the water.
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“The water temperatures are colder. The current is a lot bigger and it’s not going to be safe, especially for weaker swimmers,” Bolin said.
Burke’s Canoes owner Linda Burke said she expected to be ready to get people out on canoes and kayaks in a week.
“It always comes down and relaxes its banks, and then it’s summer,” Burke said. “It’s show time for us.” “What a tasty beer, I’ve been drinking this for the last week or so and I have one now and it smells and tastes great. I took a growler of it to our brew club and it was a big hit. If you’re thinking about brewing this, do it, you won’t regret it.”
“This beer is just as I remember Pliny the Younger back a few months ago, Incredible! Followed the recipe to a ‘T’. Every recipe I’ve brewed based on Kal’s recipes has turned out great!!”
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“I just tapped this guy last night. Having never had the real thing, I really can’t compare. I can say, however, that this is one of the best beers I’ve brewed to date. Like Kal thought I think what a PITA this beer is going to be. Once you taste it, you forget how much work went into it and how much of a mess it made.”
“This was one of three beers we served at a local festival yesterday. It didn’t quite kick the barrel, but it was well received among IPA lovers.”
“I finally got around to brewing this beast. It was by far the most hoppy and difficult beer I’ve made. In the end, it’s delicious! I always ask myself the same question when I buy or brew a beer that’s new for me: Would I buy or brew this beer again? In this case, yes, even if it wasn’t for the event I had in mind. I love my hoppy beers and this one is great. The only problem is that at almost 11 % , it’s best sipped at home and not drunk at a sporting event! Thanks for the recipe and insight Kal!”
Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Younger is a Triple IPA that has gained a massive cult-like following over the years, due in part to its limited availability.
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Pliny the Younger is not sold in bottles. It is only available for about two weeks each February straight from the kegs at the Russian River brew pub in Santa Rosa California, or in VERY limited distribution through local pubs in the region, some of which have had to resort to a lottery system or issuing tickets to keep things fair.
Alen, a sequel to the popular double-jump Pliny The Elder, was only a local story until 2009-2010, when something came out about Younger.
Several factors are driving the growth: Russian River’s stellar reputation, beer drinkers’ affinity for extreme hops, and the demand for a rare, outstanding beer that is missing. When Beer Advocate named Younger the best beer in the world in 2009 (displacing the legendary Belgian Westvleteren 12), the frenzy grew.
This only helped push a tough stretch of beer into near-impossible-to-get status, with some patrons driving cross-country and queuing for hours to enjoy a single pint over the course of two weeks the window.
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Demand is so high for this beer that they have even stopped filling growlers at the Russian River brew pub because in 2010