Sunday, February 15, 2015
Over Hyped Pliny (drink local)
You know Pliny, right? Russian River's Pliny the Elder has won the top spot on Zymurgy's Beer in America list for 6 consecutive years. It is one of those beers, at least here in Colorado, that is popular enough and rare enough to find that when it is on tap somewhere, it doesn't last long.
Beer geeks love Pliny the Elder.
I love Pliny the Elder. I think it is a wonderful double IPA. It is crisp and clean with just the right mouth-feel. It is wonderfully hoppy both in flavor and in aroma. It has everything a West-Coast IPA should have.
But, gosh I think it is over hyped.
One of my first Zymurgy BBIA posts was about Pliny. I wrote at the time that I didn't think this was the best beer in America. I don't really mean that as an insult. It certainly deserves to be mentioned among the best beers in America.
I guess the thing that bugs me about is ranking year after year is that I don't think most of the people voting for this beer could have possibly tried it every year. The majority of people voting for it could not have had it fresh. There just is not that much of it around, and Russian River does not distribute to most states. Even if it did, everyone knows that IPAs should be enjoyed as fresh as possible, which means as close to the source as possible.
To me, a well made IPA straight from a brewery's tap room is automatically going to be better than a perfectly made IPA that has traveled across the country. I'm sure I'd I could get Pliny at Russian River, I would be much more likely to agree with its #1 designation.
I just don't think most of the Zymurgy voters can have possibly had it that fresh.
My point is not that there is anything wrong with this beer. My point is that you should enjoy the beers you have available to you that are made close to you.
Drink local! When I'm in Colorado, I'm going to lean toward Colorado IPAs over California IPAs every time. When I'm in California, I'm going to drink those California beers.