Pliny the Younger, one of the rarest, most highly rated beers in America, has made its annual trip to Colorado, where the Triple IPA -- made by California's Russian River Brewing -- will be tapped by just fourteen establishments in the state. The six-gallon kegs of Younger are usually gone within minutes after being tapped, especially if the beer bar or brewery that's serving it releases the information early.
But the entire truckload will be gone sooner than usual. That's because Russian River owner Vinnie Cilurzo sent a strongly worded message via his distributor, Elite Brands of Colorado, that the beer should be tapped within two weeks of arriving.
"Vinnie is asking that it get poured within fourteen days from when they receive it because it's so much better when it's fresh," says Elite Brands president Terry Cekola. "Last year, somebody sat on one and wanted to do an event later with it, and he didn't think that was cool, so he asked our bars to do it this way."
The first tapping in 2010 -- and again this year -- was at Falling Rock Tap House (there will be two more tappings there as well), where owner Chris Black is often cited as the reason that Russian River distributes its beers in Colorado at all. Falling Rock gets a good portion of Colorado's Younger allotment.
"Like all fresh food products, this beer has a very short shelf life and is meant to be consumed only when in season," Cilurzo has written on Russian River's website.
So where can you get your Pliny? So far, three establishments -- Falling Rock, Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont and Trinity Brewing -- have announced the days and times for their tappings, which you can find below.
But in the Denver area, Pliny will also be available at Hops & Pie, the Cheeky Monk on Colfax and in Westminster, the Vine Street Pub and Freshcraft. It will also be poured in beer bars in Boulder, Nederland and Fort Collins.
February 18 Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids (first tapping). Fifty tickets (one per person) will go on sale at 10 a.m. today. The Younger will be poured at 1 p.m. You can show up anytime between 1 and 6 p.m. for your pour, but if you don't arrive by 6, your Pliny will be sold to someone else. Tickets are $12 for a ten-ounce pour.
Falling Rock (second tapping). The beer mecca opens at 11 a.m., and employees will issue tickets to people who pay in advance; everyone who gets a ticket will get a pour. The tapping is at 1 p.m. Last year, it cost $8 for a ten-ounce pour.
Wednesday, February 22
Freshcraft will tap its 1/6 barrel keg of Pliny the Younger tonight. The restaurant will start selling tickets at 5:30 p.m.; once it has sold all fifty, that will be it. The younger costs $10 for a ten-ounce pour.
February 25 Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids (second tapping). Fifty tickets (one per person) will go on sale at 10 a.m. today. The Younger will be poured at 1 p.m. You can show up anytime between 1 and 6 p.m. for your pour, but if you don't arrive by 6, your Pliny will be sold to someone else. Tickets are $12 for a ten-ounce pour.
Falling Rock (third tapping). The tapping is at 5 pm., and the staff will issue tickets to those who pay in advance; everyone who gets a ticket will get a pour. Last year, it cost $8 for a ten-ounce pour.
Lucky Pie in Louisville will tap its own 1/6 barrel keg of Pliny the Younger today at 3 p.m. Tickets are $9 for a nine-ounce pour. Tickets will go on sale at 2 p.m. and there will only be 55 available, one per person.
Wednesday, February 29
A rare day (Leap Day) sounded like a reason for the Cheeky Monk on Colfax to tap its keg of Pliny. The beer will flow at 7 p.m. Get there early.
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Trinity Brewing. Tapping will be at 5 p.m. No tickets, and prices are TBA.