Russian River: Pliny The Elder; Its Good to Have Well Connected Friends

Sometimes it is good to have well connected friends.  I went to Brewforia for lunch today and my buddy Rick who owns the placehad a friend drop this baby off for him a couple weeks ago.  I had heard that there can be a lot of issues with Pliny if it is too old.  Not a problem here, as this beer was bottled on August 18, so just about 9 weeks ago.  It was bright and fruity, and just as crisp and refreshing as I remembered the last time I got a taste in August of 2010.   I’d say this year’s batch was a little bigger on the fruit, and not quite as floral as last years, but it was still an outstanding beer.  I know Jim thinks this stuff is over rated, but I do not.  I thought it fit its billing as one of the greatest beers in America.

That doesn’t mean that there is no brew out there that is better, I actually think ranking beer is a bit like saying what is better dimensional lumber or an apple, but I would put it in my personal top ten.  Loved it, thought it was great.  Also be looking for some changes around here too.  If everything goes according to plan you should be able to purchase posters of some of Jim’s infographics in the not too distant future.

So have you ever had Pliny?  What were your thoughts?  What is the hardest to get beer you have ever gotten a taste of?  Let us know in the comments.


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36 Comments on “Russian River: Pliny The Elder; Its Good to Have Well Connected Friends”

  1. October 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Really? They can purchase my stuff? I can’t wait to hear how THAT’S gonna happen!

  2. Don
    October 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Of course…assuming there is any sort of interest. (you know what happens when I assume!)

  3. October 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Pliny’s okay. I’ve had some fresher than that. It was good, but I feel like I’ve had plenty that are better and much, much easier to get my hands on.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

      I feel like their are good local options too, but it is always a treat to get a taste of the Pliny. I wouldn’t go way out of my way to try this beer, but I appreciate having the opportunity. If it was available for sale locally, I certainly would put it on my buy list.

    • John King
      October 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      Took the words out of my mouth. I thought it was good, but nothing I would go nuts over.

  4. October 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    The Younger was by far the hardest to get a taste of. I had to go to three different places in Seattle before I got to try it – and I got to the bar 2 hours before it was supposed to be tapped.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      I’ve never had the Younger. My understanding is they only sell that in kegs, so no bottles out there. I have seen growler fills for sale on e-bay though. You’d have to be a fool to buy a growler of anything on e-bay!

  5. October 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Wait, what? You didn’t tell me you were having lunch at Brewforia! I feel dejected. I was in when that case of Pliny got brought in to the shop. Father of a Brewforia customer. Swear the guy looked pretty much like Santa Claus. Nice gift, I’d say. I got some, too. Thanks for sharing Rick! And thanks to whoever the generous customer was! Son of Santa Claus, I presume.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Yeah, that would be Rick Clause in our case! 🙂 It was a business lunch Chad, otherwise I would have invited you along. Rick is awesome, and always so willing to share. We should set up another ungettables lunch. I have one from New Glarus and some Duchesse du Burgonne that I picked up last time I was in Wisconsin!

      • October 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

        Funny you should say that. I’m looking at the 2nd or 3rd week of November for the next Ungettables Tasting. Probably a Monday or Tuesday at Brewforia. Noon-ish to 5-ish. So, you may want to take a half day or something. I’ll finalize the deets this week and let you know!

        • Don
          October 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

          Sounds great Chad. The New Glarus is a 750, but the Duchesse is like an 11.2 oz bottle. We’ll have to go light on that one!

        • October 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

          Well, I thinking of keeping it to 10 people or so. Each brings a bottle. We all get to share in the ungettable goodness. I think there were about that many people last time and a couple of Green Flash 12 ouncers. We made do. 🙂

  6. Evan
    October 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    I’ve had many Pliny’s over the years. I used to worship this beer, but I don’t feel like it is what it once was. But my perception may have also shifted as the game is being played by many other worthy contenders as well.

    I think Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA is the finest IPA I’ve had.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

      I definitely agree that Pliny has the hype surrounding it, and the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, so there are many nice DIPAs out there now, but it is a bit of a treat to get a taste here in Idaho. I would imagine in Seattle you are kicking pliny bottles out of the way most days. 😉

    • October 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

      Laurelwood’s beers are top notch to begin with, but I agree, their IPA is one of my favs, and easily available in Seattle.

  7. October 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I had my first one a couple weeks ago. I can’t get it here in Ohio. I thought it was great, but with the hype, I expected it to be life-changing, and it wasn’t.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      I think that is putting too great an expectation for any beer to live up to. I think it is a great beer, but it is still just a beer. It was fun to get a taste, but life change is for big things like love and marriage, and earthquakes and bears.

  8. October 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I liked it, always a solid brew but it’s actually news to me that it was that hard to get. Every time I had Elder was almost a coincidental find (much like yours by the sound of it) so I suppose if I was actually seeking it out I probably wouldn’t find it.

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      I think it really depends on where you live. I live in Idaho. Some would say a wasteland for beer, but my buddy Rick at Brewforia is trying to change that. But if you live in a place where it is distributed, then you may run into it on occasion. I don’t go seeking it out either, because that would be silly.

  9. John King
    October 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I think Pliny was/is a benchmark beers for IPAs. It is consistently good where as other IPAs sometimes change recipes or fall off a bit (see also: DF 120).

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      I would agree with that assessment John. It is like the Elvis of Beers. Elvis was the king, but then he got all whacked out on drugs and then he died. There are other more talented singers, but he is still the king because he was transformative of his industry. Pliny is a bit like that, except for the death part.

      • John King
        October 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

        So Pliny also goes well with peanut butter and banana sandwiches?

        • Don
          October 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

          I’m guessing…Yes. 🙂

  10. October 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    I have two bottles sitting on my fridge wondering if I’m going to be disappointed or not… hopefully not…

    • Don
      October 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      I liked it a lot. I think you won’t be disappointed.

  11. October 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I had it on tap about 6 weeks ago. I called it overrated and caught a load of crap for it (courtesy of our friend The Alemonger). It was good, but the Lost Abby 10 Commandments and the Rodenbach Gran Cru were infinitely more interesting. I know that they are totally different beer styles, but two out of three made a lasting impression, while the other one was just ok (allright, it was better than ok, but not quite a religious experience). And I’m with you on the whole ranking thing. Kind of silly, especially when the playing field is changing constantly.

    • Don
      October 26, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      It makes me feel better that the Alemonger loves Pliny too. I guess I’m just a bandwagoner or something, because each time I’ve had this I come away with feeling I was really glad to have it. I don’t get that with a lot of other IPAs.

      • October 26, 2011 at 9:21 am #

        I loves me some IPA! Have you had Ballast Point Sculpin, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, or Firestone Walker Union Jack? They are all quite tasty.

        • Don
          October 26, 2011 at 11:21 am #

          I haven’t tried any of those yet G. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Sculpin, and although I can get the Lagunitas anytime I want it, I’ve backed off from them ever since I heard they were going through growing pains. There not even making Brown Sugga this year because they can’t afford to tie up their fermentors for as long as this beer takes. I have yet to see Firestone Walker in Idaho.

        • October 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

          I’m fond of the Hop-Stoopid too, haven’t tried the others yet.

        • October 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

          You should definitely give the Hop Stoopid a try. I was pleasantly surprised by it (thought it was gonna be over the top bitter, but it wasn’t). I’ve grown to really like Lagunitas. Quite an interesting brewery. And the labels are hilarious (Hairy Eyeball is too damn funny)! As far as Firestone Walker, I have a Double Jack in the fridge that I’m waiting to try.

  12. October 26, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Well Founder’s Canadian Breakfast Stout is known to be amazing in this area, and I think it sold out within a day. I had some of that and it is drop-dead tasty. Definitely a favorite of mine.

    • Don
      October 26, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      Yeah, I’d love to get a taste of that, but unfortunately in this country beer tends to flow from west to east. It is usually a lot easier for me to get Washington, Oregon, and California beers than it is to get something from the east, so it probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Enjoy your CBS!

  13. October 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    I think the rarest beer I’ve had is some Vertical Epic that was fully aged ( 3 years I think) at a Stone tasting… It was fantastic… One of the best brews I ever had was an unfiltered wheat dunkel that I had at another tasting… Not sure who the brewer was but it was German and the writing on the label was German and it was delicious…

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