Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pliny - Real Talk

During this brief intermission between Pliny events (I mean, let’s be honest Pliny is the big bait on the hook here) I think it only fair to take a good hard look at something that has been, unbeknownst to me, bubbling up for the better part of seven months now.

As the craft beer industry sees changes and challenges every single day, we as drinkers and supporters of this clandestine mission of the mash sometimes stick our noses in every nook and cranny of the industry. In a way it is easy and innocent, there are so many friendly people in the trade that everyone just gets chatting and before you know it word and words travel quickly.

Take for example the roller coaster of this Pliny business. Two bars tapping in less than a week of each other, initial excitement by most, those who know the ins and outs of things for a multitude of reasons know that PA hasn’t received any Pliny for a good long while, we all resolve to take what we can get and move on. Many had a taste at The Drafting Room’s Hop Fest on Saturday and noticed a big void in hop aroma and flavor, many also noted that a Pliny past its prime is still a darned good beer.

But beneath the surface there is something going on here dear readers. Something that is more serious. Due only to lax regulations, planning specifics, and a segment of the industry that is very adamantly debated do I bring you the coverage that I offer today. If you live in a wishy-washy world of every beer being the experience of a lifetime and every tasting note ending in exclamation then please do not click forward into the rest of this post ‘cuz I’m about to ruin the image and the style that you’re used to.

April ’08 – Pliny vs. Pliny – The Gloves of Repeal


With one Pliny tapped and another making his way towards the ring it’s come to light recently that there’s a certain half barrel whose mouth is a bit bigger than his ball lock. (Rumors of overcompensation due to a less than standard dip tube are already flying.) It seems as though Pliny the Northside, waiting in the wings alongside the Bastard and the Black IPA, is talking a good game. Now I don’t have any quotes, but the streets are talking and they’re saying they’ve heard some serious trash talk wafting up from Ortino’s cellar.

Apparently agitated that he’d been ducked for recent events and feeling like he should have been tapped during the fall months, Pliny Northside has now issued a challenge to the drained Spring House keg. He wants a fight to the finish.

Pliny The Spring House has already responded with his recap of how this beef began. “We were coming over from Sonoma on the same pallet and the shrink wrap was a little tight on his side. He was pressed right up against a stack of Miller Chill cases and they kept taunting him and threatening to ‘salt his rim’. He really had it bad from the get go. I guess he’s lashing out at me now because he thinks I got some sort of free ride.”

When asked why he wouldn’t just take the high road and roll away, Pliny just replied, “A keg’s gotta do what a keg’s gotta do.”

Pliny The Spring House is the first to admit that he wishes he had more time to train for a bout like this, but he absolutely refuses to back down. “I felt a bit out of step when I went on Saturday at Hop Fest. My hop flavor had faded big time and all those piney aromas were gone. I couldn't even smell myself.” He’s quick to diffuse any allegation that maybe he’d been beat before even stepping into the ring. “I’ve got a strong backbone,” he exclaimed. “I’m a 2-row boy and I’m .86 of a week younger. If he thinks he’s just gonna wander into the ring and beat me he’s got another thing coming. 12 hours is the real deal.”

That’s right folks you heard it here on the Grain Bill first (if you haven’t heard it already), The Drafting Room – Spring House kicked their keg of Pliny in about 12 hours. It is safe to say that Ortino’s Northside has their work cut out for them.

So there you have it: A challenge has been issued, not from bar to bar, please don’t make that mistake, this is a challenge from one keg of Pliny to another*. Tune in to this merry little blog tomorrow for the full Tale of the Tap where we look up close and personal at the stats on these two kegs, make unwarranted predictions, and take a look at just how these kegs got to where they are today.

In the mean and between time, this is an open call to my comments section for anyone who wants to leave tasting notes on Pliny The Spring House. They may be evaluated once the Northside keg has come and gone in the event of confusion, inebriation, or a recount.

* - Feel free to remove your disbelief from suspension at any time, sometimes I leave mine there for weeks on end.

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