Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing Company has a series of special releases called the Divine Reserve. Each release is a different beer style, and is extremely limited in quantity. I had the Divine Reserve Number Ten at the end of last year, and enjoyed it immensely, so when I heard that Number Eleven was going to be an Imperial IPA, one of my favorite beer styles, I was looking forward to giving it a shot.
I would have tried it anyway, but when someone on my twitterfeed wrote #DR11 > Pliny the Elder, I made damn sure to secure some. I sent the word out that I was looking for it and when the GEB said her local shop had a couple of cases, I gave her the greenlight to grab me a six.
It pours a beautiful burnt orange color that practically glows, with a nice meringue like head. The hops whack you in the nose before you take a sip. The hops are fruity, with some grapefruit, orange peel, pine and mango, perfectly balanced by the caramel malts. This a very smooth and easy drinking beer, which is dangerous as it clocks in at 10% ABV. I won’t say it is greater than Pliny The Elder, but that comparison is not all that outlandish, 9/10.
I have had this on tap a few times over the past several weeks. While still an excellent beer, all of those wonderfully complex flavors are a bit muted on draft, dropping the score to 8/10.