Tasting: January 14, 2014
Style: Imperial IPA
Beer #: 512
For years, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder was the holy grail of IPA to those on the east coast. Since bottles aren’t distributed outside the state of California, the only way to get your hands on one is having one hauled from central California. I’ve had Pliny on a few occasions and my impression is always the same – elegant. I was totally expecting big massive hops over a pineapple syrup base but what I got was crisp, fresh, easy-drinking and well-balanced.
While I’ve been totally impressed with the latest influx of big IPA in our market – Victory Dirt Wolf (94 points) , Long Trail Limbo (89 points) and Otter Creek/Lawson collaboration Double Dose (95 points) none have matched the elegance of Pliny the Elder. Tonight is the third Hop Ranch I’ve had out of the four-pack and after what I would consider a decent sample size – I think I found a really elegant east coast IPA. It has an easy drinkability for a an imperial IPA with a strong alcohol by volume (9%). Hops influence is fresh. Another east coast IPA comes to mind – Maine Beer Lunch (93 points) . I guess east coast craft beer heads don’t really need to pine for rare gems from afar when our local bounty is ripe with quality.
I can whole-heartedly recommend Hop Ranch – 94 points. I’d suggest hurrying to your local beer store as this winter seasonal won’t be around for long – especially after my next trip.