It’s that time of the year again as Santa Rosa, CA’s popular Russian River Brewing released their annual cult favorite Pliny the Younger. Even though California is at the height of a state-of-emergency-sized-drought, constant rainfall–the first the area has received in months–couldn’t keep people from lining up down 4th street in record numbers.
Those thirsty for Pliny had already begun a line as early as 11:30pm the night before the release and were brought coffee and doughnuts early in the morning from Russian River staff to help warm and wake them up.
What about this beer makes it so special? According to their website, Pliny the Younger, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, is categorized as a “triple” IPA, simply meaning that it is higher in alcohol and has tons of hops. The alcohol should finish at about 10.25%, although it is remarkably dry for the amount of malt used in the recipe, and it is loaded with hop flavors, bitterness, and aromatics. The hops used in this year’s recipe are of excellent quality from the 2013 harvest: Simcoe, Warrior, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, and Tomahawk. We brewed Younger for the first time 10 years ago as a winter seasonal, building upon the Pliny the Elder recipe while pushing the envelope with malt, hops, and alcohol just to see how far we could go! It is always brewed only once a year and released the first Friday in February, rain or shine.
Pliny the Younger is not bottled nor is it available from the brewpub in growlers. The only way to get it is by visiting the brewpub, waiting in a line (that can sometimes be as long as 8 hours to get in) and enjoying it there. Very select craft beer bars will receive kegs in San Jose, Sacramento, Oregon, Colorado, and Philadelphia sometime in February.
Pliny the Younger will be available February 7-20th, 2014 and will be on draft each day at their brewpub until they run out of that day’s allocation.