Pliny the Elder

Posted: April 30, 2011 in American Double IPA
Tags: , , , ,

A couple evenings ago, I had been hanging out with a friend, talking about beer.  Her favorite beer is Great White and when she found out I hadn’t yet reviewed it, she suggested we stop by Billco’s on the way back to Napa to try one.  I walked in, fully planning on having one glass of Great White and then returning home.  As we waited at the bar, I scanned the wall of taps to see if anything jumped out and grabbed me.  Well, hanging out on the top row was a little inconspicuous round red logo…Pliny the Elder.

Pliny is brewed by the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA and is considered one of the best beers available.  Beer Advocate Magazine rates it A+ and calls it “One of the best DIPA’s on planet earth, ever.”  In beer circles, this is on everyone’s list of beers to drink before you die.  I would have been a bad Beer Chick indeed if I passed this up.

Before drinking this beer, I actually hadn’t read much about what to expect from it.  I kind of like to experience a beer without any preconceived notions of how it should taste.  It poured a beautifully clear orange/gold with a fluffy white head.  I was very surprised when I smelled this beer.  There was a strong hop scent and…something else…  The smell was so unfamiliar to me that I was a good ways into the actual tasting of it before I figured it out.  Pine!  I’ve never had that smell or taste in a beer before (or at least not as strong as this), so it was certainly unusual for me.  There was also some subtle citrusy notes to it.  Oddly, it wasn’t as bitter as I would expect from something so hoppy…and then I found out later that it’s rated at 100IBUs.  So the bitterness is masked quite well by everything else going on.  It’s moderately carbonated and has a slightly astringent mouthfeel.  Overall, while IPA’s aren’t my favorite style, this is a nice beer to drink.  For those of you who like hops, this is a very nice beer.  If you have the chance to try this one, do!

Just a side note:  I realize I’ve been drinking an awful lot of IPAs for someone who prefers other types of beers, but it seems IPAs are the unofficial state beer of California, so I guess I’m stuck for awhile. =)

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