Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder, brewed by Russian River and named for a Roman scholar, is renowned as one of the best American IPA's! 

Russian River brews this famous beer in small batches and the distribution is limited.  It is also meant to be consumed as fresh as possible.  

The odds of getting a Pliny of the Elder are difficult, under the best of circumstances.  But, it's pretty much impossible to get a bottle of this beer on the east coast.  

I was thrilled to near death when I managed to get my hop loving hands on a bottle of Russian River's flagship brew.  

The label is simple and understated.  Not that it matters.  It's what's inside the bottle that matters.

Pliny the Elder (8% ABV) pours a bright clear liquid gold.  Even with a moderately gentle pour it built up a big poofy head that left behind remarkable lacing on the glass.

The aroma is ripe with hops.  Citrus, resin and floral aromas tease the senses.

The taste is at first mildly sweet.  Then the bitterness washes through - a tantalizing combination of citrus, pine and earthy hops. In classic double IPA style, there is a clear malt presence that balances out the abundance of hops.  
The finish is crisp and bitter with a lingering essence of pine.

The mouth feel is light to medium with nice effervescence.  This is a smooth drinking beer.  

I liked Pliny the Elder a lot.  Even my stout loving husband thought it was tasty.  I was wishing I didn't have to share but was happy to enjoy it with someone who appreciated it as much as I did.  Well, maybe not as much, but at least it wasn't wasted.

Here's the big question.  Do I think Pliny the Elder is one of the best IPA's that I've ever had?  To be honest, it is up there but I've had others I've liked better.  I am willing to concede that it had to travel a great distance to get to me, not necessarily under optimal conditions, and it was undoubtedly not as fresh as preferable.

Overall: excellent


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