Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pliny Proves a Point

What dreadful timing, and how annoying: a bottle of Pliny the Elder made itself available to me today. This is sincerely not good.

The reason I'm probably the least excited beer drinker ever to anticipate his first taste of what some people consider to be the finest IPA (indeed, beer) currently made, is because of my last blog post. In it, I whined about the lust for exclusive, exotic beers that drives many to ignore the quality and potential of their local breweries.

And here I am, staring at the one beer that might send me weak at the knees and make me look like a proper prick for getting on my high horse about localism: this thing was brewed 1,400km away and took ten weeks to arrive here (brewed 02.24.2011 according to the label). It is among the most coveted of North American beers that are regularly produced (probably losing out to Dark Lord with its freakishly over-attended launch parties). And to rub it in further, this most fetishized of beers arrives as a direct result of the trade made by Dave that inspired me to complain in the first place.

No sense beating myself up about it, let's drink this thing.

All right, I know it would be convenient for my argument to give a less than stellar review, but I have to say this is not as incredible as I hoped it would be. Yes, yes … vindication has touched my lips and its taste truly is sweeter than Russian River's finest. This beer is good, very tasty in fact. As expected there is a strong grapefruit flavour and a stewed pear sweetness, maybe a little coconut — quite my favourite style of IPA. But it is not explosive, not zingy, not particularly sexy.

I sip it slowly as Dave (bless him for sharing this with me) and I hammer some baseboards into the walls and it improves with warmth: a little spiciness from the 8% abv opens the flavour up a bit. I almost get giddy, but it is oddly muted, as though I am drinking it through a muslin gauze.

I have no reason not to believe all the people who rave about this beer, but I think this one has probably deteriorated somewhat. It is likely the storage or transportation — possibly a less-than-perfect batch — because Dave has heard on good authority that the brewer himself prefers this beer after 2 months in the bottle (which this is). There are probably ten IPAs that shook me more forcefully than the beer in my hand, and all but a few of them were from closer to home.


  1. Jeez, mate, have a howl!


  2. This was one of my eye opening beers. At this point in my 'ticker' saga, I had not tried too many big IPAs. It was truly a great beer. Other great, and local, IPAs have come since then. Hop Donkeys comes to mind. In this town we are very spoiled with the number of regularly available IPAs: Fat Tug and Sergeants.

  3. Pliny is local to me so I'll drink the shit out of it and ALSO not be a beer mileage asshole like Dave :)

  4. Yes Drink the imports if you have em.. But Fat Tug and Red Racer are my go to Beer....

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