Some (woefully tardy) Rivertown updates…

I will gladly admit: I have been seriously derelict in my posting duties lately. Between such and such and such real life has been busy, blah, blah, blah. You get the gist. The main thing is, I owe some posts. The most pressing of these is the follow up to the relatively ruthless post concerning some issues I had with Rivertown over the months preceding it. Jason Roeper of Rivertown contacted me to discuss the issues I had and we actually spent a nice morning together over beers — at least a month ago. I apologize to Jason and Rivertown (and anyone else who was looking forward to the follow up) for my tardiness in putting this up.

What I’m going to do is address the issues I had in my original post and then follow up with some miscellany that I feel is important. Read on, dear readers…

1. Pestilence 

Jason maintains that Pestilence tastes as it is supposed to taste. While we disagree on whether it tastes good, he is the brewer and brewers’ intentions are sacrosanct, so I have to take his word that it ended up how it was supposed to. This was perhaps the only part of the discussion I had with his that I wasn’t satisfied with, though he did, to his credit, stand behind his product.

2. Sour Cherry Porter 

He whole-heartedly admitted that there were problems with the initial capping, after which they recapped the bottles at Party Source. Judging by initial reactions, some ended up carbonated after the recapping and some didn’t. He made good to me, though, and gave me a bottle of the second batch which was delicious and – carbonated. This batch went up to Dayton to be some at Belmont and there have been no carbonation issues. This is an absolutely delicious beer and I’m sure if you bought a carbonated bottle you would agree with me. Kind of a bourbon barrel oud bruin.

I want to note that Jason stressed that the carbonation issues were not because of screw top caps, either with this beer or any other. I agree that the criticism Rivertown has received from some for using screwtop caps seems ridiculous. While non-craft beer often uses screw caps, screw caps to not make a beer bad. Jason did say that they would be moving to pry off caps once some equipment issues were sorted out, so homebrewers out there: soon you’ll be able to reuse Rivertown bottles.

3. Communication

He completely agreed that communication (via social media) is something they can improve on and something they are actively working to improve. They’ve got ahold of someone new to work these avenues for them and, though I’m not sure I’m allowed to say who it is, I’m wholly confident in their ability to deliver timely, responsive communication to their customers in the future. And if not, I’ll just have to keep on them about it. ; ) 

Some other miscellaneous stuff:

Jason gave me an idea of things you’ll want to be looking out for in the near and distance future. Rivertown will be doing a barrel exchange with New Holland up in Michigan, with Rivertown sending up some Lambic barrels and New Holland sending down some Blue Sunday barrels (Jason, please correct me if I have anything incorrect). Additionally, they’ll be doing a beer barrel-aged in gin barrels as a homage to the gin cocktails up at Rookwood in Mt. Adams. In the next month or two, we’ll probably also see bottles of their gueuze, which is a blend of different age lambics, hit the shelves. Finally, as you can see above, Rivertown’s barrel program is getting a little cramped, so they’ve leased additional space next door to be able to expand.

The most important thing I got out of the talk was this: if you have a problem with a Rivertown product that you purchase, call the brewery. They can’t do anything for you if you don’t let them know you have an issue. When something goes wrong, they want to be notified so they can take care of whatever went awry. 

Just as a notice, expect to hear more from me regarding Rivertown in the near future. He had some neat things to say regarding local sourcing of ingredients which I thought was cool and warranted another sit down and a full-length post.

Thanks again, Jason!

2 thoughts on “Some (woefully tardy) Rivertown updates…”

  1. Well said josh.. Thank you so much for the kind words and coming down sharing beers and experiences with me. (I’m still eagerly anticipating a bottle of your delicious Berliner Weiss:) ) and to follow up on the collaborations, we have officially brewed the new holland rtb venture called funk vessel. (New holland brewed their batch oct 17)We recieved the blue Sunday barrels two weeks ago. We just recieved the gin barrels from smooth ambler and are anxiously anticipating filling them within the next few weeks. And gueze should be on shelves by nov 15, provided they are absolutely perfect before leaving the brewery. Cheers my friend!


  2. I’m not sure anyone was stating in the comments of your previous Rivertown post that twist off bottles lead to undercarbed or inferior beer. It is my understanding that using pry off caps on twist off bottles can lead to a bad seal and contribute to carbonation issues with bottle beer. This is the reason, as a homebrewer, I don’t use twist off caps when bottling. Things may be different now with how they bottle, but I know I’ve purchased Rivertown beers in the past that had pry off caps on twist off bottles. With that said, I’ve never experienced issues with any Rivertown beers I’ve purchased in bottles…but I do know of others who have.


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