In our history books, Pliny the Younger, whose full name was Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, was a Roman senator who lives in the 1st and 2nd century A.D. In additon to this political career, he was famous for a collection of letters he wrote that detail both historical events and personal stories.
In today’s world, the name Pliny the Younger elicits a different name recognition from those in the know: it’s the name of Russian River Brewing Company‘s most celebrated beer. Russian River brews several highly rated and award winning beers, but Pliny the Younger is the most sought after for several reasons. Maybe it’s because it rose up to become the top beer in BeerAdvocate’s rankings. Perhaps it’s the VERY limited annual release of the beer, distributed once a year in February and only to a select few distributors and bars. Or perhaps it’s because it just tastes amazing and has the complexity matched by very few beers.
Pliny the Younger (the beer) is a triple IPA, hopped three times more than Russian River’s standard IPA. It packs a punch at 11.0 percent ABV. And, most importantly, because Philadelphia is such a great beer city, we’re the only area east of the Pacific Coast and Colorado that has Russian River beers, and Pliny the Younger in particular, available.
The availability of Pliny the Younger, of course, is extremely limited. Only a few bars are fortunate enough to receive a sixtel (containing a little more than 53 servings of 10 ounce pours). I was fortunate enough to first taste the beer last year at Tria Washington Square and was again lucky to receive one of the tickets to Sunday’s sold out tasting at Khyber Pass Pub. For those who have not had it, the beer meets the hype. The initial whiff of the aroma is quite pleasing. The actual taste is simply amazing, especially if you like hops. It hits you, and it hits hard. Much respect goes to local bars Khyber Pass Pub and Monk’s for donating profits to various charities, rather than taking advantage of the hype.