Russian River, Pliny the Younger (2014)
Style: Triple IPA
When there is hype there are always vaunted expectations. For Russian River’s Pliny, the Younger, there is a mystique surrounding it and its limited release helps fuel this. This leads to long lines and at times disappointment as some of my friends were the victims to being turned away and rejected as they made it to the front of the line and found out the tap runneth dry. When the opportunity arose that guaranteed a taste I took it, partially to lord it over them but mainly because I wanted to know why the hype.
As a rule I attempt not to buy into the hype before experiencing something. At first glance it is deep copper almost like deep topaz and in the right light I have been told it twinkles (well not really, but I am sure it does for some). When giving it a sniff the hops were the obvious standout in the bouquet but you also detect hints of citrus. For being a Triple IPA, it was surprisingly well balanced and smooth without the bite that you expect from a Triple. As for taste it has robust full flavors of pine with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. I have to admit I am glad I attempted not to allow people influence my opinion of Pliny, the Younger before I actually tasted it because this was a great surprise when I finally had some.
Pliny the Younger’s limited release will mean you have to be good at tracking taps or at least know someone who is. I was lucky, to be at the right place at the right time especially in a city like Irvine. I was able to get a ticket to the tasting at the Anthill Pub & Grill at UC Irvine. So often things do not live up to expectation, but Pliny, the Younger is an example of something that does deliver on expectations and once in a while can exceed what is expected.