Hundreds of beer enthusiasts have been coming to a town in Northern California and waiting in line for hours each day since last weekend for what is called a world class beer by the Beer Advocate website.
They list Pliny The Younger as the second ranked beer out of 250 beers. The beer is sold in limited quantities each day and only available for two weeks each year. It is produced by Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California.
The triple IPA (India Pale Ale) is extra Hoppy and is not for the faint of taste bud if they don't like a regular IPA. However, this beer has been getting more attention in the media and word of mouth amongst microbrew fans which is creating longer lines than in previous years.
“Every single day has been busier than last year. We're looking at a lot more interest, so it' just busier in general,“ General Manager of Russian River Brewing Company said.
“I compare this day (Wednesday) to the first Wednesday of last year and this is double the amount of people waiting in line. The last two days have been more like three and four hours waiting in line, today is going to be like six hours at least,” he said.
Getting in line at 10 a.m. The line had already reached around the corner from 4th Street where the brewpub is located. It was a little after 3 p.m. When I got inside and ordered a Pliny The Younger. At 2.pm. I went to the back of the line and spoke with people who had just got in the long queue. Brenda Hoff and Mike Steiner both of Santa Rosa were planning on not getting in until dinner time. It was Steiner's second year and Hoff's third year of tasting the beer.
At the front of the line were Michele Floyd, Brian Floyd, their son Zach Floyd and his girlfriend Adaina Espinoza from Davis, California. They came down the previous day and stayed in a hotel. Brian said he left the hotel and got in line at 5 a.m. which paid off by getting the first place.
The capacity of the brewpub is 160 people so people were allowed in waves to enter which required people to leave before the others could enter. “We limit people to three Youngers a piece so eventually they find their way out but if they do want to stay and get their bang for their bucks it's kind of hard to keep the line moving efficiently,” Deas said.
One group staying for an extended session were wearing bright yellow shirts with the Pliny The Younger logo on the back. Last year they were in the first seating and stayed until 3 p.m. This year the group departed at 6 a.m. on a two hour trip for 40 of their beer club members. “We take a 45 foot bus with seating for 50,” Frank Quacinella, the self-appointed Czar of the club said.
“We will probably sleep in the bus, we all have work tomorrow. We plan to sample them all, the stout is on my particular list,” he said.
Rob Waters of the group organized the trip. “I've got a lot of friends that like to drink a lot of beer and this is the best beer in the world, so we came over to pay respects to Pliny the Younger at Russian River Brewing Company. It also happens to coincide with the Russian Olympics, so we're taking a special nod to Putin,” he laughed.
The release of the beer coincides with San Francisco Beer Week and is also made available to some of the beer festivals in the greater San Francisco Bay Area as well as brewpubs in other areas of the country. For those who enjoy Triple IPAs, are very curious or wanting to tick this beer off their bucket list, it is a must try.