Heretay akingmay, rogfays aygay! -Plinus 55AD

It was Gaius Plinus Secundus, who was of the opinion the only people that would ever eat rye, were people that were starving. Gaius was an authority during the medieval period due to his extensive writings on his observations of the natural world.  He is credited with over seven books during the first century AD (or CE if you are so inclined) on things such as grammar, Roman history, throwing the lance, and a biography of Pomponius Secundus.  He is best known for Natural History from where the above opinion is written.  He is known for his ability to string together previously unrelated concepts in a vernacular style easily interpreted by the masses, easily transcribed by medieval monasteries, and indeed can be considered one of the first to pen an encyclopedia.

Unfortunately many of those concepts had more to do with what we now call mysticism, and most of his assertions are to put it bluntly—wrong.  Quite frankly Gaius may not have been as bright as he thought he was, given that he died while investigating the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.  Though in fairness, the Romans were probably unfamiliar with the dangers of erupting volcanoes.  In all, he is probably better known by his anglicized name.

This is not my review of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.

Why not?  I can’t find it, and quite frankly I need a way better excuse to go to California—and possibly find it.  Pliny probably did hate rye, so I will honor his memory by reviewing a rye pale ale.

Rye is a species of grass similar to wheat and barley except that it grows in colder climates.  People first began eating rye bread around the Black and Caspian Seas, which is why it’s sometimes affiliated with Russian oligarchs.  Interestingly enough, it is planted in the fall, where it survives through the winter and harvested in June.  Rye is chewier, and has a more robust flavor than wheat or barley, and beverages made with it share this quality.

I don’t know about anyone else here, but I for one happen to like rye whiskey and rye bread; naturally I liked this as well. Others might just be happy this is not an IPA.   Abita Bourbon Street Rye Pale Ale 4.1/5.