Russian River
Guerneville, CA


Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.0%

From Russian River: “Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D.
According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created
the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops,
currently known as Humulus Lupulus.”

Their brew is even more acclaimed. One of the highest rated beers in the world
on Beer Advocate, Russian River’s flagship brew is known far and wide as one of
the holy grails of brewing. Very limited production – and distance – make this
a tough procurement for a Beer Dork from the Midwest. A friend on a return trip
from Cali was kind enough to include a couple bottles in his provisions,
however, and I was all too happy to partake.

The Elder pours a deep golden color with a small head and gentle lacing on the
beer clean glass. Immediately, one is struck by its exceptional balance.
Despite falling into the Double IPA category, the IBUs are reasonable and in
spicy harmony with the medium body. There are notes of pear, raisin,
grapefruit, and pine and it lingers in your mouth like a fine scotch. This is
complex, yet satisfyingly clean and easy to drink without overwhelming the
palate in any particular direction.

I was surprised that such a subtle and nuanced beer has found favor among some in the beer geek world, who often tend to overlook more delicate concoctions in favor of sledgehammers in my opinion, but they’re right on this one. I was
pleasantly surprised, after adjusting for my expectations of HUGE flavors to
find a world class brew: balanced and exceptional.