Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Russian River's Pliney the Younger Visits Occidental

Barley and Hops Tavern in Occidental sent out an email blast early Monday, Feb. 11, letting us locals know that at 4pm, two kegs of Russian River's Pliney the Younger would be tapped. Since I had chosen not to wait in line at the brewery itself, this seemed the ideal way to try this year's version, which according to Natalie Cilurzo, had "the most hops ever." She is the wife of brewmaster Vinnie (and co-owner), so she should know.

Off I went, around 3:30, to see what the beer fates held for me. First picture below is what I found.

Talked to a few people in line, including Jeff Parker and his wife, Faith (pictured below) who live in Caszadero.  Jeff had tried the Younger the day before at Russian River's brewery in Santa Rosa, liked it and was not going to pass up an opportunity to have it again. He describes it as, "golden on the palate."

Faith owns a business just two doors down from here, so her trip was real short after deciding to join the line.

Promptly at 4pm, the doors were opened and the line moved quickly up the stairs. As I reached the porch to wait my turn, here was a lovely sight:

The "golden grail" so to speak!
Inside, the bar area, which is not very big to begin with, was filled to the max with anxious and eager Pliney lovers (the Elder was also on tap). Saw my bud, JT, from Beercraft down at the end and I suspect he may have used his close relationship with owner Noah Bolmer to circumvent the line... anyway, we all got in, had our glass (or three) of Vinnie's and Natalie's "nectar of the Gods," as one person put it, and a good time was had by all. And isn't that what it's all about.

Inside view of Tavern's tap room, JT last on the left.

JT Fenn, r, and friends Natalie and Gene Miller

Noah hands me my first serving (10ozs) of Pliney the Younger
And the moment of truth finally arrived. I can best sum up my reaction by saying it is truly one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had, the 10.8% abv not even noticeable. Medium bodied, some malty sweetness and a perfectly balanced finish. It has been touted as the best beer in the world. I don't feel qualified to make such a pronouncement, but I can say I think it's worth all the hype. Yum!

One hour later, still a bit of a line... but I'm sure they all eventually got their glass.

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