I don’t taste a lot of commercially available beers. A couple months ago, I read an article about Pliny the Elder from Russian River. It gets a lot of raves from enthusiasts who like highly hopped beers. I decided that it would be worthwhile to give it a try.
Problem is, Pliny is in great demand and is rarely stocked in stores. Couldn’t find it anywhere nearby. A few weeks ago, we took a day trip over to the coast and stopped at a place called HopMonk in Sebastopol. Great place for food and beer lovers (I always get the mussels and fries; the preparation is usually a bit different each time, according to what they have fresh). They have it on draft!
Does it live up to the hype? In a word, yes. If it’s on draft and you’re on a quest for one of the ultimate Imperial IPAs, it’s not to be missed. The impressive thing about it is that unlike other beers in the style, Pliny is balanced — there’s just the right amount of malt character: toast, hints of caramel. It’s rounded it with bold pine and citrus, but it’s not so over the top or overly harsh that you don’t want to drink, rather than sip, the beer. Or have a second one (watch out, it’s over 8%!).