I’m sure I don’t have to explain how limited Pliny The Younger is and how just a lucky few, get a chance to taste this. I’m one of those lucky bastards that had a chance of drinking Younger, but it was an experience years in the making.
The long lines that accompany this beer.
I got my A ticket… that’s for the older generation, to remember Disneyland.
I find myself at home now writing this Younger experience and I have to say, damn, it’s been too much bullshit just to get a drink of it. I’m going on a few years now trying to get a drink of Pliny The Younger; last year being the one that left me disappointed the most. For years I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a taste of Younger, but last year I said OK, I need to put an effort into it, if I’m not taking a drive to Santa Rosa California, I need to find it here in Los Angeles. I would try to go get in line after work somewhere only to find out the line had an hour wait and my chances were slim to none at getting a taste; after two attempts, I gave up. This year, I tried going to a few places and I missed it just by a few hours, I’d read about it on twitter or facebook and by the time I got there, they were tapped out. I had a few places near me that I was going to try to make it to after work, but I just knew it would be impossible to get some if I weren’t in line like a Twihard camping, waiting for the midnight showing. This is where 38˚ Ale House and Grill come into play. It was a location away from the West Side and Los Hipstaland Angeles, and I knew, my chances would be greater at this event.
I was scheduled to visit Eureka Burgers in Claremont this past Thursday for a tasting of Younger, but family responsibilities forced me to cancel and had me searching for another place that would be serving Pliny The Younger this late in February. Luckily I found out that 38˚ Ale House and Grill in Alhambra, would have it as of 11:30 a.m. this Saturday morning, I was all over it. They were going to be selling flights of Russian River beers and one of them would be Younger. The flight consisted of Damnation, Blind Pig, Pliny The Elder, and Pliny The Younger; people on my Facebook post were calling it, the Holy Grail of Beer.
Needed some grub for the tasty beer.
Based on my previous experience of long lines and it tapping out early, I asked my buddy Rich to be at my place at 7:30 a.m. as I didn’t want to take any chances. Had an issue with my phone and my alarm not going off and the wife woke me up at 7:40 a.m. Luckily we got there and there was no one in line and had time to go across the street for some coffee. We let the line grow a bit and crossed the street, at this point we were about 15th or so in line. We had a chance to meet Joel and Norm in line and chatted about beers as the clock ticked to 11:30 a.m. and how they heard of Pliny on the radio and this was their first attempt at trying to have it. This pissed me off a bit as I wanted a back story of how they traveled through the Mojave on foot for two days without a guide and water to get here, but no, it was their first attempt and they were in; it’s all about luck I tell ya! They turned out to be great guys; we sat next to them at the bar and had a celebratory cheer when we had our first sip. I hope I see them again as I mentioned I’d go visit them at Verdugo Bar, a place I haven’t been to, but it’s been on my radar.
Norm & Joel
So here we are, the moment of truth when I get a chance to sip the beer and say to myself, OK so what do you think Omar? Well Internet, I wasn’t let down, it was FANTASTIC! I knew it would be, but in the back of my mind I thought, this might be like in Citizen Kane (spoiler alert) where Rosebud turns out to be a fucking sled from Kane’s childhood that’s thrown into the basement furnace at the end of the movie; all the hype for nothing, is the point I’m trying to make. And although I think Citizen Kane is the best movie ever made, I wouldn’t go as far as calling The Younger the best beer I’ve had, I just can’t, but it’s a damn great beer and close to it. All these years of chasing the unicorn were worth it and I’m glad this one has been marked off the bucket list.
A flight of Russian River Beers & New Belgium.
The beer had a fruity aroma where peach and grapefruit were dominant, pine citrus hop showed up and alcohol. The aroma was deceiving as I thought I’d have a very sweet beer, especially at 11% ABV, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. The light carbonation gives it a nice body and mouth feel, the citrus and grapefruit flavor played well off each other and it was tart enough to make you pucker and invite you to sip again. The sip of beer warms up in your mouth and you can taste the delicious bitterness, you will have alcohol burn when it washes down.
Pour, pour, pour favor!
My second ticket.
I had two pours of it and it was enough. I was satiated and the morning turned out to be a great one for all beer lovers in that bar. I have to say that the staff worked their Asses off to make sure everyone had a chance to sample the beer and they were pouring the four beers of the flight non-stop for the first few hours. I was expecting a nightmare in there to get my beer and the rest of the beer crowd; well done 38˚ Ale House.
Five Beer Caps for Pliny The Younger!
Throw one back for me ~ cheers!