Pliny The Elder
- Double IPA
- Russian River Brewing Co.
- 8-percent alcohol by volume
There are certain beers that have transcended the regional beer scene to obtain national relevance. Pliny the Elder is one of those beers. It has taken a back seat more recently to other highly sought after beers but this beer for a long time that represented the style of a double IPA. Current trends have moved away from the West Coast IPA, like Pliny the Elder is, which is less juicy and more piney, but that's not to say that this beer is still not a great beer that is worthy of seeking out. Like Ahab's hunt for Moby Dick, some beer drinkers are always in search of a white whale. On beer forums you'll see people references #whales, #whalez, or #whalezbro. This was one of mine so when a friend offered to pick one of up for me, I jumped at the chance.
From the bottle “Pliny the Elder, born in 23 AD., 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”. Hop vines, at that time, grew wild among willows, likened to wolves roaming wild in the forest. Pliny the Elder died in 79 AD 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.”
The beer pours golden in hue with hints of citrus and honey-like sweetness with its aromatics. The taste is a punch to the mouth of hops – citrus and sweetness from the malt used to support the massive hops used during brewing. If they made an air freshener with the scent of a freshly opened Pliny, I'd buy it all up. The taste is everything you'd expect with this style – a haymaker of grapefruit and piney finish. There's a certain honey-like sweetness which comes from the malt backbone of the beer and the 8% alcohol by volume is well hidden and never become overpowering with any off-putting ethanol flavors.
This is a classic beer for a reason and there's a reason why it has been transcendent in the beer scene. If you ever have a chance to drink it, and haven't already, then do yourself a favor and get one. This beer has chest!
4.5 out of 5 stars