Pliny Found

After my woeful post about my growing preoccupation with Pliny the Elder beer and my utter inability to get ahold of any, I was overwhelmed by an outpouring of support and allegiance from family, friends and assorted wellwishers.

“Sometimes Haven has Pliny on tap,” commented friend Joe.

“Have you checked the Green Jug?” friend Tina emailed. “I called and they said they get it usually once a week. But it goes fast.”

“I’m on a mission to find some Pliny for you,” emailed another friend, Nadine, who is president of a company and likes to make things happen.

IMG_2963

My mom, in characteristic told-you-so fashion, offered up these words of encouragement:

“I found 3 on the door of the fridge when I was on a cleaning binge today. I would have happily sent you off with a couple of them but you still seem to be in a rebellious stage where you think you know more than I do. Nobody made a fuss when I insisted you try it here. We have had people in N. Carolina beg us to send them some but I got the ‘sure, sure’ look from you when I tried to make a case for it.”

As expressed in the previous post, I felt dejected, like a scored lover, and had almost given up. Almost. But hope springs eternal, and I’m an optimist.

I had taken my wife to pick up her car from an auto joint, and was feeling lucky. My first stop was to the British shop to see if they had any of the weird-flavored English potato chips I like — and bingo! I scored cheese & onion and roasted chicken crisps. This couldn’t help but bode well for Pliny. From there, I headed to a nearby Whole Foods that supposedly carried Russian River Brewing Company’s products. Nothing. Then I called the Green Jug, and asked if they had gotten any Pliny in. A mellifluous woman’s voice on the other end answered with the most beautiful word in the English language: “Yes.”

I got on the freeway, glided over to the fast lane, and floored it the six or seven miles to the appropriate exit. Weaving past slow drivers and timing traffic lights, I made it there in record time — I wasn’t taking any chances this time. I walked calmly into the store, as if I had just stopped by on a whim to browse, and made my way to the beer section in the back. There, on a bottom shelf, it was — Pliny the Elder. There were three bottles left, and a sign: “One per customer.”

Driving excitedly home, I felt a bit ridiculous — like I was part of an audience watching myself and laughing: “Look how the funny clown drives all over town looking for a beer!” I began to consider the amount of time and gas I had exhausted in pursuit of this single bottle of beer. It seemed as if the drivers in all the cars around were looking at me, and I slouched in my seat.

“Hey, you found Pliny!” my wife exclaimed a short while later, upon opening the fridge.

“Yes,” I replied, “But I do not wish to share it with you.”

Of course, the better angel of my nature prevailed, plus it’s more fun to drink with a buddy. So I relented and we opened the bottle.

So just how good is Pliny? Is it worth putting your world on hold and making it your life’s mission? If you like hops, it is — I have to say — pretty special. Although my friend and braumaster, Greg, is close to marketing a double IPA called “The Delicious” in his new Barley Forge brewery that may actually be better. And of course, it’s all subjective anyway.

My wife and I poured a bottle of our other new favorite beer, Sierra Nevada’s seasonal “Ruthless Rye” IPA on the heels of the Pliny. “I think I like this better,” Leslie said.

A couple weeks later I tracked down another store with Pliny, just around the corner from where my son was attending a laser tag birthday party — once again one per customer. I bought one, hung around the party a couple hours, and slinked back to the liquor store, hoping to get a different clerk. No such luck. I tried to buy a bottle anyway, but the big ruddy bearded kid behind the counter laughed and said, “Sorry bro, one per customer.” I felt embarrassed and ashamed. Recognizing my humiliation, his face grew soft and kind. “If you like Pliny, you should try Alpine Beer Company’s ‘Pure Hoppiness.’ We hardly ever get it, and it goes even faster than Pliny! I like it better.” My visage brightened — a new beer to obsess about! “Oh, but uh… only one per customer.”

The new kid in town

The new kid in town

If you find Pliny, buy it. You may be limited to one bottle. If you’re in the Russian River Valley, skip the Korbel part and go to the Russian River Brewing tasting room instead. They’ve got a really nice deck, and they’ve got Pliny on tap. But don’t hurt yourself in the relentless single-minded pursuit of Pliny.

After all, it’s only a beer.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 04:54:06

    Where is the deck at Russian River Brewery? In front? I’ve always come in from the back which is only metered parking.

    river Brewery?

    Reply

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