There are a few “whales” in the craft brewing industry. The beers that are in short supply and high in demand. Black Tuesday from The Bruery, Dark Lord from Three Floyds and Kate the Great from Portsmouth Brewing. The only IPA to achieve that status is from Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California. Pliny the Younger.
Here is what the brewery says about this sought after brew, “Pliny the Younger was Pliny the Elder’s nephew, in the case of this beer, the “Younger” is a triple IPA. Pliny the Younger is hopped three times more than our standard IPA, and is dry hopped four different times.”
I have studiously avoided PtY as it is known. Not out of spite but because Russian River makes two other hoppy beers that I enjoy. Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder. I can get those practically year-round and I don’t have to stand in a line for hours to get it.
But this year, I fought through traffic and arrived at the Verdugo late. Yup, I thought I had missed it again. I had resigned myself to the familiar sports refrain, “Wait until next year.” The crowd at the bar was thick. Maybe I should just start planning for next year. But then the kindness of the beer community arrived (Thanks Wes) and I had a sample to try.
The aroma is really nice. Citrus dominates the proceedings but there are floral notes that waft into the nose as well. The flavor is dominated by a white grapefruit taste. The bitterness hits quick and almost fades before sticking on the back of the palate. For a triple IPA, it is very light though not effervescent.
The elephant in the room is, “Is it worth it?” It depends on the wait. It truly is a unique beer that should be tried but the hype of the beer may make the taste suffer and that would be unfair to you and the beer. So whether you try it this year or next, put all the hype aside and just taste it. Maybe with another IPA to compare and contrast.
An easier IPA to find (though vastly different from PtY) is the craft beer of the week. It is from Mission Brewery just south of us. The style is Double IPA and in their own words it is “….a big, bold, brazen beer….”. The name is Shipwrecked and it comes in 22oz bombers. You will see the pirate skull on the label of this 9.25% abv hop attack from this orange colored brew that starts hoppy and ends hoppy as well.
Your homework this week is to hype your personal favorite beer. Post a comment below. Tell a friend at the bar, Facebook update that you are drinking it and everyone else should too. Tweet your love for the pint in front of you. Let the world know what you like. Why? Because every great beer should be talked about. Not just a few.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.