Behold a 10 ounce glass of super hoppy golden goodness that is called Pliney The Younger, an awesome triple India Pale Ale (IPA) from the folks at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA. And not to be confused with its available year-round double IPA relative, Pliny The Elder. I mean, it would be understandable, but still wrong. But Elder is a great fallback, one of the best IPA’s out there. And that’s saying something as craft brewers have been IPA crazy over the past year or so and you can’t swing the proverbial dead cat without knocking over a glass of double/triple/imperial IPA.

Anyhoo, I made the executive decision to completely blow off what should have been a hard-working nose-to-the-grindstone in-the-office Tuesday and, instead, drive an hour-and-a-half to drink beer. Really, when you think about it, it’s a no brainer. That is, if you’re in the position to do that. And fortunately for me, I allowed myself that positioning, and good friend Steven was in as well. So, we’re off.

There was an actual urgency to this trip (as urgent as beer drinking can be, that is) as this particular nectar is only brewed once a year in a very small batch, and was only going to be guaranteed available for two weeks at the brewery. So you see, we really had no choice. Man, am I glad we did, as this beer is pretty damn awesome, hopped to the gills. It had that super bright grapefruity finish that I love in my beers…and my coffee. However, those Kenyan coffee beans don’t come with an alcohol content that tilts just north of the 10% mark. Wow.

The brewery was cranking for 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon; no tables available when we got there about an hour earlier (belly up to the bar!) and not much to choose from when we left at 3pm. And while there was a lot of different malt beverages being imbibed (Russian River also brews a slew of Begian-style ales as well), the beer of choice was definitely skewed to Pliney The Younger, though there were still a number of folks drinking Elder, and a few undertaking their own side-by-side taste tests with both. I don’t know what the hops-to-drinker ratio was in that room, but it was very, very high.

Sadly, with no designated driver, we had to cut ourselves off. I mean, we had to go home and it was probably best to do so while there was still some light in the sky. So, finding ourselves sufficiently hopped, we retreated to the car and back to Sacramento. I’m soooo already looking forward to next year’s pilgrimage.

Yeah, this has nothing to do whatsoever with vinyl. Or even music. The Grammys are two-days in the rear-view, so I’m just gonna let that go (especially since I haven’t yet watched it all). I will note that I recently bought a nicely curated collection of blues, jazz and 20th century classical records (mainly Elliot Carter stuff) and will be posting that, hopefully, later today. The blues stuff is primarily 80’s Chess reissues, some collections and some reissues of classic stuff from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. All in really super shape. The jazz is fairly eclectic, about half being some adventurous ECM material and the rest simply being adventurous (Anthony Braxton and Max Roach-together-anyone?).

Again, that stuff will be on Musicstack and Gemm later today. I suppose I should get cracking on that. Cheers, kevin