By Jeremy Thomson of the Khyber Pass Pub
The elusive Russian River Pliny the Younger has been called “The Best Beer in the World” and has caused near riots in Northern California where it is brewed. Brewed once a year and only distributed on draft to a very small handful of markets in California, Denver and Philadelphia, this brew creates a crowd anywhere you are lucky enough to find it poured.
At 11% ABV this enormous Imperial IPA, packs a punch. However, the true beauty of this beer lies in the fact that its heavy hop bill is so well balanced against a malt backbone just large enough to get the ABV so high.
Sipping this sublimely golden ale one might guess it weighs in closer to 8.0%–or less. A tropical citrus aroma emanates from the glass and these characteristics continue into the flavor but are also joined with an overwhelming piney resinous (maybe the reason “Pliny” is often misspelled “Pliney”?). Younger rounds out finishing surprisingly dry with little of the sweetness typically found in a brew this large. This beer is not a hop bomb like so many Imperial IPAs, but rather explodes with the balance that few, if any, beers achieve.
Is it the best beer in the world? Probably not. But the first time you are lucky enough to try Pliny the Younger, you may find yourself plotting, planning and missing work just to get a second glass of this big, balanced elixir.