California Love – Pliny the Elder Delivers

Before I’d tried Pliny the Elder for myself, I was slightly skeptical of my beer geek friends’ infatuation with the 8% ABV Double IPA. I thought that they might be borderline obsessed simply because we live in New York State and things from California are different and exotic. Maybe they were thinking there’s some kind of magic, chilled out, laid back breeze that blows off of the Pacific and makes beer taste better?

Pliny the Elder

I didn’t doubt that the Russian River beers were good, I just thought my friends must be talking them up and romanticizing them because they’re so rare around here. Then I had Pliny the Elder.

Holy moly me oh my, it’s incredible. I’ve read that it’s brewed with 40% more malt and twice the amount of hops as the regular Russian River IPA and the extra love certainly comes through in the taste.

It was a little bit drier than a typical DIPA but I think it was one of the freshest tasting beers I’ve ever had, and it came from a bottle! It’s way too drinkable considering it’s 8% (there’s hardly a trace of alcohol in the taste) but I enjoyed it so much that a headache the next day would have been a small price to pay. The cloudy golden/orange color and creamy head are an inviting preview of what’s to come. There’s a little bit of resiny pine flavor and caramel sweetness but the citrus fruits really set the tone and steal the show.

Take away all the hype and you’re left with an incredibly complex and very well balanced beer. I love an IPA that exemplifies the style without being a hop bomb and this my friends, is it.


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