Aug 24, 2009

Pliny, Homebrew, Stouts and More

While visiting my wife’s family this past weekend for birthday celebrations for our daughter, I had the opportunity to sample a beer that seems to take on legendary status for some of those that have enjoyed it, meet the new head brewer at a local establishment and snag several stouts that have been on my holy grail list for quite some time.

Let’s try and tackle this chronologically…

I knew heading down on Saturday that I would be treated with a very special brew, so I was pretty amped up upon arriving at the front door. This particular bottle of Pliny the Elder made its way to my father-in-law by way of suitcase from San Francisco — lucky for me he was willing to share.
We split the beer into a couple of Duvel chalices.

Pliny pours a rich golden in color, but didn’t form much of a head, leaving only a wisp of lacing on the surface. I can tell you this however, you can smell the hops from a mile away once that cap comes off — floral, piny and lightly spicy. It certainly looks and smells amazing.

The first sip is pure, unadulterated hops. Far from a brutal attack on the palate, Pliny the Elder, instead, is a wonderful blend of hops that is smooth, crisp and tasty as hell. The hops deliver a subtle sweetness, citrus notes and piny presence. The finish does have a refreshing and welcoming bitterness with light spices and leaves a residual, sticky sweetness on the lips.

I loved this Double IPA and could see many many bottles disappearing from my fridge on a regular basis, but I’m not sure that it was life-altering. It’s certainly one of the better IPAs that I’ve ever had the chance to taste.


After splitting the Pliny we hit the road for a Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders (FBI) meeting that allowed us to sample, among other brews, a nicely crafted Pliny The Elder clone. Brewed by The Pub’s head brewer Lyle Brown, the Pliny clone was damn near spot on and was definitely a favorite, filling my cup often. Other beers available on the rain-soaked back porch, were a smoked blonde, a couple of ambers (that I didn’t get a chance to taste) and a pretty darn good Saison.

Much of the conversation was well over my head, leaning toward home brewing specifics and recipes. I understood a bit of it, but as I’m not involved in home brewing, I just happily stood by and enjoyed some tasty brews and food.

Super Stouts

Finally, after a couple of hours of tasting we hit the road once again to pick up pizza for dinner. Having placed our order we decided (perhaps unwisely) to head a couple of blocks down from the restaurant to check out the offerings of Kybecca. I love the selection at this shop, but their prices get me every time. Saturday was no different, as I walked away with a mixed six pack consisting of: Nøgne Ø Porter, Thirsty Dog Siberian Nights Imperial Stout, Weyerbacher Heresy, De Dolle Extra Export Stout, Brewdog Paradox Islay (batch 009), and Avery Mephistopheles (batch 2 bottled Nov 2006).

I am super stoked on my purchase, but man, the wallet wasn’t all that thrilled about it. I’m going to try and let these sit till colder weather has a firm hold on the house, but with me you never know.

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