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Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA: A Review


 Pliney the elder 1 300x300 Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA: A ReviewIs this Double Gold Medalist the Best Beer in the World?

By Matt Goldstein

Regarded by many as the best beer in the world, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA certainly has made its mark in the craft world.  We’ve been waiting to try this beer for a long long time.  After the mini debacle and beer-less adventure at the Earth Bread and Brewery, we decided to take the show down the road to our favorite neighborhood classic craft beer joint, Mt Airy Philadelphia’s McMenamin’s.  Right as we sit down the Pliny the Elder tap is looking us dead in the face.  WOW!  We’ve finally found it, Xanadu.  Winner of two gold medals at the Great American Beer Fest, Rated #2 at Beer Advocate and #13 by Rate Beer, Pliny the Elder comes with a lot of hype. 

When we put out our top 25 breweries list a few months ago, the Beer Advocate faithful berated us for not listing Russian River at #1.  The problem is that in Philadelphia, most of us have never even seen Pliny the Elder, ever!  (Only two of our 20 writers have actually been able to try it.  Well, now its three.)  I’ve been going to bars 2-3 times a week for almost 15 years and have simply never seen or heard of Pliny the Elder or it’s younger brother and triple IPA, Pliny the Younger.  Clearly, it’s all relative to accessibility.

The bartender pours a 12 ounce draft in what is a mini pilsner glass.  The look is a beautiful gold color and the nose has a scent of hops with citrus and spice.  The taste is dry, slightly sweet and dries up towards the finish.  No doubt, this is a classic IPA.  The Pliny is crisp and has great bite.  The hops are very well rounded and not over bearing like some IPA’s.  The presence of malts are just as notable as the hops.  It’s a perfectly balanced IPA.  The Pliny the Elder Double IPA is flat out a world class beer, but maybe a bit over hyped.  Is it the best beer in the world?  Of course not!  Only the Whiskey Goldmine can tell you what the best beer in the world is.  We have the monopoly on culture, class, taste and amazing.  Don’t ever listen to anyone else but us!    

From the Russian River Web Site:  Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “Lupus salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

8.0%ABV, 1.071 O.G

Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup (Double IPA Category)
Gold Medal, 2005 GABF (Double IPA Category)
Bronze Medal, 2004 GABF (Double IPA Category)

Available year round in the pub, for distribution, and in 500mL bottles.


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5 comments to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA: A Review

  • Tim Rodgers

    I guess Pliny was too close to the lava. Couldn’t have been that bright after all.


    Matt Goldstein Reply:

    Yeah, I don’t get it. This guy is supposed to be a genius for taking a swim in lava?

    That being said, I had 3 more Pliny the Elders last night and this is a damn good beer.


    Tim Rodgers Reply:

    Hook a brother up!




    How is their stout?


    Matt Goldstein Reply:

    Boomer, I’ve never had one of their stouts, but many people swear that Russian River is the best brewery in the world. I think it’s gotta be worth a try.


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