Pliny the Elder on tour in Sydney Harbour

Pliny unleashed

As has been previously mentioned, BotF is very lucky to have Rachel in its membership ranks. Rachel travels frequently and has brought back some very interesting beers, which have ended up being taken on journeys to Sydney’s sights. The United States is one of Rachel’s favourite destinations and whilst she has brought back some pretty sensational stuff in the past, she’ll have to go to extreme lengths to bring back something to top her latest bottle.

No higher praise

Rachel gets to hang out with some high falutin’, high finance types and she was clearly wheeling and dealing at a top end joint when she regaled her companions with stories of Back of the Ferry carrying-ons. Now her new found companions weren’t just experts on matters financial – they clearly knew about amber goings on as well. A minion was directed out the back of the bar in which Rachel was imbibing and he returned with a bottle that these captains of capitalism reckoned would impress Rachel’s antipodean mates.

Pliny Under the Bridge

Well, they chose magnificently. Pliny the Elder is a super star of the US Craft Brewing scene. It is a Double IPA, brewed by the Russian River Brewing Co. Its fame is partly derived from the fact that the co-owner of the Russian River Brewing Co is widely acknowledged to be the creator of the first Double IPA. I reckon he’s perfected it with the Pliny. The name is also distinctive and comes from the fact that Pliny the Elder, a Roman natural historian, was one of the first to refer to hops in his writings, and may have even named them. The beer label hyperbole is also great – imploring drinkers to drink their Pliny as soon as possible after acquisition. “Age your cheese, not your Pliny” “Pliny is for savoring (sic), not saving” “Respect you Elder. Keep cold, drink fresh, do not age.”

Pliny and the Opera House

To be honest, no beer lasts too long once it comes into the possession of this correspondent. So 27 days after the published bottling date (20th August 2012), I was delighted to crack this opened and share with fellow correspondent – illiards – at my backyard bar. Of course, such a fine beer deserved the full Back of the Ferry beerporn treatment and before ending up in my bar fridge, we took it for a spin on the Harbour. So, what’s it like? Any possibiity of anti-climax (this is a beer that rates 100 on Beer Advocate) was immediately eliminated by a hefty sniff. You could probably spend an afternoon breathing this in. It’s bright, fresh, pine forest, lemon orchard sort of stuff without singeing your nasal hairs. The first mouthful though, is where the magic really starts. It is an assault, but one that is worth submitting oneself to over and over again. The pine bitterness dominates at the start, but the citrus fruit-farm comes in and then it is just a swirl of flavours that just keep hanging around. There’s a pleasany oiliness to it all, which seems to keep the whole sensation going. It is all very well put together and whilst its big in every way – you don’t really notice the 8%. All in all, a must do beer experience. Thanks, Rachel.

Pliny at the turn