I got my first chance to try Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA that is coveted among beer geeks. It is released seasonally in limited quantities on draft only, and because of the small quantity, getting a taste of this beer can be an adventure. Lines form hours before the pubs even open.
I got the chance to experience part of the madness. UC Irvine’s Anthill Pub announced their tapping of Pliny the Younger for 7:00 PM. I showed up forty five minutes before this and got one of the last few tickets, 100+ people down the chain.
This is a great beer, very floral and so complex. Even after taking a sip it feels like the beer is still sitting on your tongue, even a minute after your last sip. For such a big beer, it’s pretty damn smooth too.
While I would gladly buy a pint of this given the chance, for me to be willing to lose an hour or two of my life, the beer has to be both great and special. Pliny the Younger is definitely great, but I feel like there are so many great beers that are maybe a notch under this one that don’t require me to wait in line to drink. Getting a good beer shouldn’t be something to worry about.
While Russian River will tell you it’s time consuming and difficult to brew this beer, they could produce more of the beer. The lines prove they can sell more beer if they produced it, but it probably has more value in being made a rare commodity. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve looked up other Russian River brews because I heard they produce a legendary beer in Pliny the Younger, and I was curious what else they brew. It’s their own mass marketing machine.
Fortunately for me, I get to have another pint of Pliny the Younger this season without having to wait in line. I won a pint through Beachwood BBQ’s raffle!