Damn you organic beer!!!!!! Why? Why is something so potentially wonderful almost always such a dismal failure? If you recall, I scribbled out a treatise on this some time ago, coming to the conclusion that organic beer was really in its infancy, and while it might not be great yet, it has a ton of growing to do. As the market opens up, we should be in for an organic embarassment of riches. Well . . . then we have Eel River.
Eel River Organic fell into my hands for free, a result of managing a restaurant that sells beer and skews natural/organic. Our distriubutor apparently hounded our other location EVERY OTHER DAY to try this stuff, which must mean he goes home and cries at night because his job involves relentlessly pushing some absolutely useless organic concoction to natural joints around the city.
After perusing the four bottles I was given, I opted for the porter, seeing as it offered me the best indication of my chances. If they could make a porter that impressed me, then they must really have something going. Eel River Porter has a fizzy, light appearance with a roasty, almost woody scent. Not terribly unpleasant, but not exceptional either. The head is equally light and fizzy, dissipating very quickly, even in a small, friendly glass. The taste skews heavily coffee, with hints of sweetness. It is clean and crisp, but without any richness or character to it. As the coffee and earthy notes try to assert themselves, they are constantly hindered by a watery tang, and the body is thin as can be while still maintaining as a porter. This watery, thin body and flavor makes the whole beer feel totally incomplete and off target.
Not surprisingly, their other beers couldn't really hang either. The IPA is the most basic, standard, unremarkable IPA I've ever had and their California Blonde is pleasant while making sure not to be "too good" or adventurous. The brewery is just flat out boring and undercooked. As for that fourth beer? I gave it away.