Thursday marked the end of the Pliny The Younger triple IPA beer that the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa offers for only two weeks of the year. As in previous years the beer was well received with hundreds of microbrew enthusiasts waiting for hours in line each day to enjoy it.
The beer that is currently ranked number three out of 250 beers on BeerAdvocate.com has a bold, assertive flavor because of the extra hops that are used in double and triple IPAs (India Pale Ale).
In a previous article on Pliny The Younger, beer fans talked about waiting in line to get a glass of the microbrew that is made in a limited batch with only a certain quantity offered each day.
Sitting out in the patio of the brewpub was Ryan Haggerty, who took a bus with 40 other beer club members from Stockton. “It's phenomenal, I wish it was publicly released,” speaking of the beer he said.
Frank Quacinella the Czar of the beer club was leaving after four hours of enjoying the various beers. “Oh, it was great. We had an absolute, incredible time. The beer passes (sic) everybody's expectations. The palate, the whole experience was awesome,” he said.
Because of the fire code only 160 people were let in. Those not in the first group of drinkers faced anytime from a short to a six hour wait. One person not in line but in the thick of the crowds was the hostess at the brewpub.
This was the third day on the job for Elena Valle. “It's been really, really busy but really fun. I was a little apprehensive at first but everyone has been in really great spirits,” she said.
Talking with her last Wednesday she said it was much busier than her other days of work on Sunday and Tuesday. As a hostess she was meeting hundreds if not thousands of people. “I've met people from Canada and England.”
Although she has frequented Russian River Brewing Company before she started working there, this was her first year of trying Pliny The Younger. “I think it's really good, it's really strong,” Valle said.
Gary came from Benicia for his first time to try the highly lauded beer. “It's all about The Younger,” he said pointing to the crowd down the long bar. He described himself as a Guinness drinker but still admired the very different beer he was trying. “It's really good, it's really strong and it's really good going down. It's a nice beer.”
Someone living in the same city as the brewpub was David Manning. He was familiar with the other beers offered there and was ecstatic about the special beer. “The difference in bitterness between the (Pliny) The Elder and (Pliny) The Younger is marked and delicious, so you want to have more of that Younger, it's really fantastic, smooth, delicious and slightly sweet fantastic beer,”
“What binds everybody together is this incredible opportunity to drink this Younger,” he said.
Eddie Vessel from Fremont waited in line for five hours with his friend Dan Doherty of Newark. “It's delicious, well worth the wait and I'll do it again next year,” Vessel said.
Comparing this year's Pliny to the 2012 batch he said it tasted similar. “Awesome as usual.” While it is “definitely” his favorite beer there he planned to have other beers. “I plan to sample some of the sour beers after that including the Defenestration (what the brewpub describes as a “hoppy, blonde ale”),”Vessel said.
His friend Doherty echoed what other drinkers had to say. “It's delicious, well worth the wait now that I'm here.”
While the focus was on the beer, it came with a long wait. Those in line found the camaraderie with other microbrew enthusiasts made hours waiting bearable and enjoyable.
Some of these people will return next year, wait in line again, trade stories and finally taste Pliny The Younger 2015 and hope for a similarly rewarding glass of beer.