So, you know that one thing that you really want and think that you could never have? That same thing that causes jealousy when you see or know someone else who has enjoyed it? That’s Pliny the Elder for me.
Since the early days of posting on here and checking in through Untappd, I have expanded my knowledge of beer (obviously) and for the longest time, whenever I checked in to an IPA (which is about 1/3 of all the beers I have logged) I kept seeing this Pliny beer. I looked it up because I was curious. Turns out, it is one of the most sought after beers in the craft scene and is in the top 25 of at least three beer aggregate sites.
So when I heard that my brother was going to Southern California, I had only one request: Pliny!
While he was there, he kept checking in to different breweries: Lagunitas, Southern Pacific, Anchor Steam and finally, with a shot at me, Russian River. He told me that he and Teri tried a few beers, but Pliny wasn’t one of them. I didn’t ask if he got me any because that would just be rude.
When he got back, he posted a picture on the Facebook with the caption “So this happened”. Do you see what I see? (other than 4 bags of beans)
I was a little giddy.
It just happened that I was going to be in Toronto the week after he came home, so it was the perfect opportunity to get together and pick it up. The getting together part never happened, but I did swing by his office and pick it up. Turns out, he also got me a Pliny glass and a great Lagunitas mug that has quickly become my favourite outdoor beer vessel.
All around the label was printed such phrases as “Sit on eggs, not Pliny. Drink Fresh” and “Age your cheese, not your Pliny”. So I figured that I should probably drink it soon. I was hoping to find a time that Mark could be there to share (a sip) but between his wife away for work and his sick kids and mine possibly having pink eye, it just wasn’t in the cards.
I decided that the best time to enjoy a long-awaited, supposedly hoppy IPA would be our usual after-training-pizza-night Wednesday. The wife and I made some pizzas and I poured Pliny out into his very own glass. It was a light amber IPA colour and it smelled like sweet grapefruit. The wife suggested I taste it before food, so I can get the full, untainted (she said taint) experience. It tasted very citrusy with the grapefruit standing out in flavour as much as it did in smell.
As I ate and drank and drank and drank, I couldn’t believe that this was a DOUBLE IPA, with 8% ABV. It tasted more like a session beer, it was so smooth and had almost zero bitter after taste. Knowing that it was made with 100% Simcoe hops, I didn’t think that I was going to like it as much as I did. You see, I have been under the pretense that I don’t like Simcoe hops because beers like Lord Simcoe’s Revenge and The Princess Wears Girly Pants. I’m glad to report now, that I was wrong. Simcoe Hops are delicious. This kinda tasted like a far better version of Keith Cascade Hops. Like way better.
I have heard from other people out there, who consider themselves hop-heads (like I do), that the build up and anticipation to drinking Pliny kinda made the beer a little underwhelming. I mean, we have all been spoiled as of late with 100’s of different hop-focused beers coming to market.
I really enjoyed my Pliny, but it wasn’t as mind-blowing as I would have expected it to be. I really hope that Heady Topper doesn’t suffer the same fate.
Country of Origin: United Stated
Alcohol Content: 8%
Vessel: A Pliny Glass