PW's Year of Beer: Russian River Pliny the Elder

By Eric San Juan
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 14, 2013

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We love beer. That's why we're devoting an entire year to discovering (and drinking) cold ones from near and far. Know of a beer worth shouting out? Send us a note.

Russian River is something of a legend these days, and on the East Coast, where their beers are unavailable except for one city — Philadelphia — Russian River’s reputation nears myth-like status. Their true expertise is in creative sour beers that win raves across beerdom, but the beer that put them on the map is far from sour: Pliny the Elder, a double IPA that is considered perhaps the gold standard of the style. No surprise there, as owner and brewer Vinnie Cilurzo is credited with inventing it. Pliny the Elder is one of the top-rated beers in the world for a reason. Its snow-white head gives off wafts of pine resin and faint hints of citrus. The taste is an exercise in pure balance. Wonderful caramel malts, a medium body and a crisp, dry finish help the bitter grapefruit and pine of the hops shine throughout without overpowering the beer. And though usually only available on the West Coast, Philly is a special exception — so in this city, at least, myth can become reality. Believe the hype. Pliny the Elder is often on draft at Monk’s.

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