PLINY THE ELDER
(visit at Toronado in San Francisco)
Finally, years of planning, hoping, begging and I am going to San Francisco. As the original song says “If you are going to San Francisco be sure to pour some Pliny in your throat”
Well, maybe not exactly the words.
Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger Were Roman philosophers and writers. But in the world of craft brewing these are the names of the world famous IPAs produced by the Russian River Brewery in the San Francisco Area.
If I understand it correctly – Pliny the younger is only available at the brewery local pub, whereas the Elder can be bought in the SF area. Arriving to San Francisco, I was all ready and have prepared with the list of local booze stores that were supposed to sell Russian River Beers. Whenever I could I got to the first one – and, it was like slap in the face “Pal, forget it, we only get few bottles and they are booked in a big advance…”
BANG, and my world crushed in pieces…
“…but there is this multitap called Toronado here in San Francisco, and I am sure they have it from the tap!”
Hell...YEAH. Big thanks to the sales person from K&L Wine Merchants. You really made my day (same guy, have offered me some great Belgian beers they have in stock, which was funny – I just arrived there from Brussels).
Quick check online, and I have found that Toronado may be an interesting place to be. They are a kind of famous for their amount of the beers and a kind of a meeting point for beer geeks. One unfortunate thing – it’s quite far from the centre of the town, but a quick cab ithe evening will do.
From this point I wanted to send my warm greetings to the taxi driver who brought me there. I hope that you have enjoyed the Jackie Chan action movie, you have watched instead of checking the road in front of you…
It was rather late evening/night and I have to admit that Toronado is not exactly in the tourist district. Therefore, I have tried to keep my camera visibility as low as possible. Still, there are some photos to see.
First impression – you have probably watched dozens of American movies, with a tourist coming in the local bar? Yeap, that was it. Bouncing door, rather dark inside. No smoke, but all together the atmosphere was not the most inviting one, I would say. Overall, it probably also didn’t help that the person sitting at the bar next to me was literally staring at me all the time. A yes, and don’t ever go to the toilet there. Gosh…
Still – one striking thing – their collection of the beers – its freaking awesome. Respect guys. Next time I will make sure to come with some support do not feel so lonely, because I have rarely seen so many beers at the same place.
What’s more important they had Pliny the Elder. From the moment on nothing was important (ok, the guy staring at me was kind of disturbing a little). For the ones that don’t know it – Pliny the Elder is an imperial (double) IPA that is (probably) the most awarded beer in America. Just recently it was voted the best beer in America for the 8th consecutive year. I know that their succes is probably a mix of an excellent beer and a marketing strategy based on limited production**, but one thing is undeniable – it’s really great.
First surprise was actually not positive. They serve it in a typical American Shaker glass. I personally dislike them, they may be nice to drink some Bud or Bud light, but drinking the piece of art like Pliny should be considered as a crime. Another surprise was that Pliny is a golden coloured beer, I was somehow expecting a little darker, amber colour. What is really special is the aroma – pine, citrus, hops all mixed together. No doubts that the IBU value is through the roof, but its overall well balanced with the slight malts. All together I have to admit that it was probably the best balanced IPA I have ever had, and for an IPA of this strength, it is a serious achievement. All together – it certainly matched all the expectations.
Thanks Toronado, Thanks Russian River, and big thanks for the sales person at K&L Wine Merchants for giving me a hint!
** Same way Westvleteren was made the best beer in the world.