Hop to it, Pliny the Younger is Back
SF Beer Week may be over, but our hoppiest times are still ahead.
If you’ve been in certain grocery stores and bottleshops on the right day of the week, you may have heard whispers in the beer section and seen knowing glances and subtle nods between customers and staff.
Most likely, they’re coordinating purchases of Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing’s popular double IPA. Often difficult to get your hands on and less frequently on tap than some other local brews, this ol’ Pliny has beer fans hunting it down all year long.
But for two weeks out of the year, hop-heads turn toward another beer: Pliny the Younger, Russian River’s revered triple IPA. It’s extremely elusive, supremely exclusive, and never ever bottled. Never even growler-ed.
Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo first brewed Pliny the Younger 12 years ago. With a boatload of hops, around 10.25% ABV, and some seriously bitter complexity, it’s now brewed just once a year and released on the first Friday of February. It’s like Christmas for beer lovers, though this Pliny gift can be a challenge to obtain.
If you’re wondering where you can find The Younger before all the kegs run dry, so is everyone else. Unless you’re willing to make what some people refer to as ‘The Pilgrimage’ to Santa Rosa and wait in line for potentially 8 hours, you’ll have to try your luck at finding it on tap at a local bar.
To get a leg up, some beer fans subscribe to receive email notifications from the site, Taplist. This site pulls data from popular apps like Untappd, where users ‘check in’ their beers. When Pliny the Younger check-ins begin, you’ll receive an email informing you of the location of this activity. Here’s to hoping the site functions smoothly so we can all quickly scramble to the nearest Pliny-serving brewspot in time.
For those who aren’t about to brave the hop-crazed crowds, maintaining a level-headed ‘it’s just beer’ mentality (these very words came from a local bottleshop employee), we thought we’d recommend a few other alternatives.
If you’re still in the mood for some Russian River brews, but want a little less than that triple-hop, see if you can grab The Elder while The Younger steals the spotlight, or have a refreshing pint of their Blind Pig IPA on tap.
For those still bent on consuming a triple, we highly recommend that you try the amazing Carnage Triple IPA that we just added to our menu. It's Black Diamond's boldest and hoppiest beer, brewed with almost 5 lbs. of hops per barrel of beer!
To skip the lines and still support a fantastic local brewery’s hoppy brews, check out the rest of our IPA selection too.
You don’t need Pliny to have a great beer night, but if you’re on the prowl, may the hops be ever in your favor.