PLINY THE YOUNGER. This beer comes out only once a year, and it's the 11% ABV, souped-up version of the Elder, and when it appears in its exceptionally rare handful of locations (usually just in a few California bars), it's snapped up & glugged down like a cooler full of Gatorade found after three parched days in the Gobi Desert. Right now it's actually tied with TRAPPIST WESTVLETEREN 12 on Beer Advocate's "Top 100 Beers" board as the single greatest beer in the entire world. Now me, I'm a San Francisco resident, and both Plinys are brewed about 80 minutes north of me. The fact that until a couple days ago I'd never tried RUSSIAN RIVER PLINY THE YOUNGER was a crime against drinking, and seriously lowered my credentials as a, um, "beer journalist" and maker of tastes. So when I got the email from Oakland's excellent beer bar THE TRAPPIST that they'd have a keg of this liquid gold on tap for a few hours, I drove- nay, I sped - over there after leaving work early to ensure I'd get to finally ingest a glass of the greatest beer on god's green earth.Then there's the fabled
Now you readers of this blog, you know I try to be a teller of truths, while holding a little bit of my tongue in my cheek at times. But I can't fathom this PLINY THE YOUNGER thing either, I just can't. Yes, it is ludicrously hoppy. It smells like a hop bath, and the only beer I've ever had this intense was DRAKE'S HOP SALAD - which, let the record show, is the better beer. I can't say that this is really that amazing of an experience. It is strong, it is well-constructed, but the sort of consciousness-raising beer experience one expects from the world's great beers? No, it's nothing of the sort. It's an experimental, kick-your-ass, hoppy ale that you'll remember for its intense bitterness and that's about it. And around here, my friends, that's what we at Hedonist Beer Jive like to call a 6.5/10.