Description:"Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, "Lupus salictarius", meaning wolf among scrubs." Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing 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 he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius." — Russian River Brewing Co.
Random thoughts: I've heard a lot of great things about Pliny the Elder and have been seeking it out for quite a while. I finally tasted it on Friday night at Horse Brass Pub in NE Portland. Russian River Brewing has limited brewing capacity and this is a beer where demand far exceeds supply. If you happen to cross the path of a Pliny, drink or buy it immediately.
The tasting: Light golden with a white head that left lacing. (Sorry for the lack of my usual picture. The pub's lighting was dim.) Amazing aroma full of floral and citrus hops! If you don't like beer, you'd still enjoy smelling this beer. Flavors of grapefruit, tropical fruit, and piney hops. This is a hoppy beer and it does have a sharp bitterness (it is 100 IBUs), but it is nicely balanced with some caramel malts. Medium bodied and well-carbonated, it finishes with a nice hop bitterness. It's very drinkable and the 8.0% ABV isn't noticeable.
Rating: 5 star. Liquid Perfection!Pliny the Elder is a beer that lives up to the hype. If you're a fan of IPA's or hoppy beers, this is a must try. If you're new to IPAs and start with Pliny, you'll be spoiled. If it's possible to have a session Double IPA, this is it! I could easily see drinking several of these. This is only the third time I have awarded my 5 star rating to a beer.
Have you tried Pliny the Elder or any other Russian River beers? How did you like them? I'm now on a quest to seek out and taste more of their beers. I've seen their barrel aged "-ation" series at New Seasons, but it's pretty spendy.