Dan is my friend, and Dan searching for the quintessential Pacific Northwest Double IPA (PNW DIPA).
This was inspired by his/our love affair with Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA. Within our circle of friends, this beer is held in reverence, made only more intense by the fact that the closest place that we can find it bottled or on tap is three hours away in Portland. One member of the inner circle has never even had it; he has only seen the rest of us nodding in silent ecstasy as we recall the last time we had a Pliny.
Funny enough, it\’s hard to say that Pliny is the best tasting beer out there. Pliny isn\’t tasty: it\’s not like a frosting slathered, fruit-topped cake, nor does it offer the satisfaction of a rack of ribs falling off the bone, nor does it have the happy-stomach feeling of a pina colada. Pliny is best in class. Pliny is appreciated only after one has made his way through hundreds of beers. —And I mean hundreds; I stopped logging beers several years ago when I hit 395 unique beers, which is a modest number among my wider circle of friends.
Pliny the Elder is quintessential. It captures the most important parts of a West Coast IPA. I don\’t know how Russian River did it, but they did it. And the result of their magic is a heady beer that is drinkable and especially satisfying. Unfortunately, drinkable and satisfying are marketing cliches, but I think that\’s the best explanation I have. If you want an expert take on what Pliny tastes like, there\’s hundreds of beer blogs and thousands of reviews out there.
So, Dan is looking for a quintessential beer in the Pacific Northwest. He\’s turned it into a quest. And the weird thing is that the rest of us are inspired by him. Together, I think, we can see what he\’s aiming at. There\’s a grail hiding in gas station refrigerators, supermarket shelves, and liquor store displays. And he has us convinced it\’s out there. It\’s not going to be the best beer; no, it\’s much more important than that. We\’re looking for a new legend, an icon.
There\’s a lot of hangovers and hop-headaches in our future. But the cause is noble, and the cause is just.
Sometimes life is boring and slow. And when life is too slow, the mundane becomes a mythological playground.
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