Sunday, March 4, 2018

Russian River Pliny the Younger (2018)

(Pliny the Younger Review -- 2015 Release)
(Pliny the Younger Review -- 2016 Release)
(Pliny the Younger Review -- 2017 Release)

Beer Name: Pliny the Younger
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa, CA)
ABV: 10.25%

How sold: Only available on draft; usually one glass per person due to the hype.
Where bought: Woodsman Tavern (Portland, OR)
Price: $8.00 for a 12 oz pour

Date Kegged: February 2018
Date Tapped/Drank: March 3, 2018

What's on the Website: "Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder's nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don't make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth." Click here for more!

When brewed? Seasonal beer. Only released in February. Places in Portland lucky to get a keg of this will usually get it by late February and tap it right away.

Where distributed: Russian River does NOT bottle this beer and only distributes Pliny the Younger in kegs to four states to put on draft. Pliny the Younger is released at the brewery first in early February, then gets distributed in late February to early March to very select places in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Generally, the same places get the beer every year, and it is up to them how to sell it. Russian River's main instructions to account holders are to tap Pliny the Younger ASAP, and to prohibit growler fills for obvious reasons.

Portland got its kegs of Pliny the Younger a bit late this year due to bad weather. It's likely that Portland's shipments did not arrive until around February 28, with the first kegs (secretly) tapped the next day. Even places in Philadelphia and throughout Colorado were tapping their kegs before Portland.

Some places in Portland (although seemingly fewer in number every year) hold publicized or ticketed events, while most others place the beer on tap with no fanfare. In either case, the beer does not last long. Other known spots that already tapped their kegs of Pliny the Younger (2018) include:
  1. Apex. Secretly tapped late on March 1, lasted barely into March 2. $8 for 6 oz.
  2. The Upper Lip. Secretly tapped on March 1 and kicked before 5 PM. $8 for 10 oz.
  3. Beermongers. Secretly tapped on the evening of March 2. Disguised on the board as "Miller High Life" and still only lasted 90 minutes because the locals know better. $7 for about 8 oz.
Other places that (probably) got a keg this year include Roscoe's, Side Street PDX, Belmont Station, and Horse Brass. Belmont may or may not wait until their Biercafe remodeling is done. Horse Brass usually waits until everyone else in the city has tapped their kegs.

Appearance (5%): Poured clear golden into a tulip glass. White head. Wonderful lacing. 4.75/5

Smell (25%): Balanced with more of a berry or sweet tropical experience. No octane, and the malt complements nicely. 4.75/5

Taste (40%): Follows the nose, with more of the berry and/or sweet tropical increasing towards the aftertaste. Virtually no octane. Still an extremely dangerous Triple IPA. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel (10%): Medium-bodied, good carbonation. Not too dry, with sweet tropical lingering on the tongue. 4.5/5

Overall (20%): An outstanding to world-class Triple IPA. I thought it was very similar to last year's release and perhaps even the past two years.

Make no mistake, Pliny the Younger is still an awesome beer. But as more and more breweries show up with delicious brews, it is no longer as big for just any beer fan to get Pliny the Younger every year around this time. That being said, the 2018 version of PtY was still tremendous. I remember last year having to tell myself to slow down a bit to savor every sip a bit longer. The same applied this year.

To date, this was one of the best deals to get Pliny the Younger around Portland. Other places could charge the same price and you'd get far less (anywhere from 6 oz to 10 oz). Woodsman Tavern, at least to me, was one of the last places I considered looking for Pliny the Younger...and it just so happened that they had Pliny the Elder on tap at the same time. 4.5/5

Final Weighted Rating: 4.675/5

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