In the Shadow of Mount Vesuvius...(A Pliny the Younger AND Elder Tasting!)

Waiting for Pliny the Younger to be tapped last week was pretty much like waiting for Christmas Day.  You are not exactly sure what you are going to get, but underneath a shiny package, the happiness of your day awaits...Thus, hopes (or is that hops?) and excitement runs high.  My personal level had reached a fevered pitch, so that when it finally came time, I clapped like an eager schoolgirl and felt my heart flutter like I was getting the Barbie Dream House. (Yes, I loved Barbies as a girl, and No, I never got that bloody house)...

Only served in 5 oz portions, I knew a mere taster glass would not do. So I politely asked for a wine glass, oh so gracefully poured it in, and proceeded to tune everyone else in the room out....

Pliny the Younger was a literal sensory blitzkreig. But in an intensely inviting, almost seductive way.  THAT'S what sets it apart. Explosions of pine, resin, tangerine, orange peel, apricot, and citrus.  All of that rocketing through the palate, with a wonderful resiny finish.

I wanted to smell this beer for hours. Dive in. Swim around.  Do some laps. Every time you stuck your eager nose in, a new stratum of aromatics emerged. With so many sensory layers, Pliny the Younger is truly like a fine wine in its complexity.  And to be such a heavy hitter (11% ABV), it is incredibly balanced.

But I couldn't let the opportunity to taste big poppa beside his fledgling son!! (Ok, so he was adopted) So a pint of Pliny the Elder was ordered and a generational tasting ensued.

The Elder, like an older gentleman, became refined and elegant, with more floral notes emerging than ever before.  Remember when I smelled and tasted the Glenlivet 16 with the Brewdog Paradox Speyside, and suddenly the beer developed orange peel aromas?  I was shocked, because there had been no trace of it before.

The same thing occurred here, with the Elder displaying delicate notes hidden behind the more typically vibrant hop aromas. The Elder was smoother, and in comparison, tapered off on the finish, a sensation I had never experienced previous to this. It's amazing what can surface when beers are tasted with others, instead of a vacuum.

After the Younger had faded from my palate, the Elder began to reclaim its vibrancy and seat on the throne, but I must admit, the shadow of the Younger will always remain in my memory.  What an incredible duo....

Having the Elder after the Younger was the tasting equivalent to watching classic cinema next to the new vanguard. Like The Godfather to Pulp Fiction.  Both visual onslaughts and classics in their genre. When you watch The Godfather, you know you are in the presence of greatness.  Truly classic, and never to be outdone...Pulp Fiction, rambunctious and revolutionary, carved out its own place in cinematic history through the renegade direction of Quentin Tarantino. Can you really say one is better than the other??  Tough call. For me, its exactly the same with Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. I freaking love them both...

CHEERS!!!!

Posted on February 22, 2010 and filed under Uncategorized.