Pliny the Younger, the ultra-rare triple IPA from California's Russian River Brewing, has already been tapped at the Falling Rock Taphouse -- which got seven of the twenty five-gallon kegs allocated for Colorado -- and at FreshCraft, which opened one keg last night. But there are still a few more chances to get your hands on a glass of this cult beer, currently ranked on BeerAdvocate as the best brew in the world.
(Look below for details on where and when).
Is it worth the hype -- and the lines?
That's a tough question to answer. Drinking beer is supposed to be fun and mellow -- those are the words of Falling Rock owner Chris Black. And that was the reminder he gave patrons Saturday as they gathered for the second of two Younger tappings (the first was on February 19). Drinking doesn't usually make people orderly, but that's what Falling Rock's no-nonsense approach did to a situation that could have been maddening.
Customers were each issued a ticket good for one ten-ounce(ish) pour of Pliny -- at $8 a pop, and they waited in a line that snaked through the bar so as not to rush the bartenders.
And it actually took more than forty minutes to drain four five-gallon kegs -- amazing considering that they were gone in a half to a third of that time last year. It also gave some people -- like myself -- the chance to go back for seconds. And seconds were worth it.
Younger is the rare beer whose hoppy flavor lives up to the beautiful floral aroma coming from the glass. It has a surprising creaminess that both accentuates the bitterness and complements it. And the flavor carries through from the nose to the finish, and from the first sip to the last.
I thought it was far superior to Pliny the Elder, the beer's uncle, which, though rare, can regularly be found on tap and in bottles around town. But I would also say it is comparable to Russian River's other big IPA, Blind Pig, which is also easier to find.
Eight of Colorado's twenty kegs have already been tapped. So, where can you get a taste of the remaining twelve? Here's a list of what I know so far:
TBA Vine Street Pub, Denver
TBA Lucky Pie Pizza and Taphouse, Louisville
March 3 Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids, Longmont, 6:30 p.m.
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March 6 Hops & Pie, 3 p.m. (along with Pliny the Elder in bottles and Sanctification on tap)
March 12 Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids, Longmont, 1 p.m.
April 11 Trinity Brewing, Colorado Springs, 5 p.m.