By Son Pham
In 2000, Russian River Brewing released their future flagship beer, Pliny the Elder. A delicious and drinkable double IPA, Pliny has the presence of a session beer, but packs the 8% ABV expected in this style. It is in high demand, and beer enthusiasts can be seen buying it by the case to stock up for spring and summer. In short: nobody forgets their first Pliny, and everyone goes back for more.
At first sniff, this beer reads fresh and malty, with a crisp hop aroma. There’s a strong bitter presence balanced out by malty and citrusy hops at the finish. This double IPA hits the palate with laser precision, each sip composed and refreshing.
Layering flavors is a delicate art in the world of IPAs, and Russian River uses an array of hops to achieve its signature blend of flavors. Centennial hops, which are heavy in alpha acids, give the beer strong grapefruit bitterness, while Amarillo hops add a sweet orange-citrus flavor, which contribute to the malt element in the beer. Simcoe hops give Pliny the earthy and musky flavor, and Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus (CTZ) hops have a high oil content that is rich in Myrcene.
Beer science lesson: Myrcene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is notably present in hops. Myrcene gives hoppy beers the herbaceous aroma often described as “dank.”
With the rise in craft beer appreciation and popularity, there’s no question that many IPAs will come and go. But Russian River has been cranking out Pliny the Elder for the past 14 years—and demand is still as high as ever. It’s an IPA that’s withstood the test of time, and trust us: this one is a beer for the history books.