Wednesday, June 2, 2010

337. Russian River Pliny the Elder

Two in a row from Russian River—I call that a good couple of days. Nothing says enjoyable drinking like doubling up on the beer equivalent of Norm from Cheers. Yes, Russian River, sometimes we want to go where everybody knows our name...

Pliny the Elder pours a lightly hazy gold with a crisp white head that slowly rings the glass. Nice hoppy nose—there is mainly spicy pine at the beginning, mixed with earthy aromas, and bready and/or biscuit malt rounding things out. Flavor-wise, Pliny has a fresh bready and biscuit opening that moves into a spicy and piney middle and a fair amount of bitterness along with fresh citrus hop flavors. In the late middle there is a slight tobacco and toffee taste that gives Pliny a chewier flavor that runs into the finish. The end is pretty clean and very bright to accompany the lingering bitterness—we’re thinking this is from the freshness of the beer, as the hops really pop on the palate. Pliny the Elder has a medium body with medium carbonation that has a bit of bite at the end; there is only a slight amount of alcohol tang—it is hidden by the hop puckering on the tongue as the beer closes, but there is a small bit of prickling on the back of the throat from the alcohol. Clean and crisp, and ever so delicious, Pliny the Elder is a tasty tasty treat, and the fact that it is super-fresh makes it even better—we’re guessing this is why IPAs and their ilk are always better fresh because those hops are still young and delicious in the bottle. Pliny is certainly the most drinkable DIPA we’ve come across this year; we’ll close by noting that we’re making this one a Top 10 Best Contender.

From the bottle: “Pliny the Elder, born in 23 A.D., was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Pliny, and his contemporaries, created the original botanical name for hops, ‘Lupus Salictarius,’ meaning ‘wolf among scrubs.’ Hops vines at that time grew wild among willows, likened to wolves roaming wild in the forest. Pliny the Elder died in 79 A.D. while saving people during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what his uncle experienced during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This beer is an homage to the man who discovered hops and perished while being a humanitarian.”

ABV: 8.0%
OG: 1.071
Bottled: 5/12/10


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