When a liquor store gets the rare shipment of Pliny, words spreads and it sells out quickly. When a bar gets an even more rare keg, it's typically gone within 24 hours.
But the hype over Pliny the Elder pales in comparison to the excitement generated by its nephew, Pliny the Younger, a "triple IPA." It's currently rated as the third best beer in the world on BeerAdvocate, falling just short of the Elder and Trappist Westvleteren 12.
When Pliny the Younger is released each year, people drive (or fly) for hours, sometimes days, to get to Santa Rosa, in Northern California, where they wait in line for hours more just to sample this uber-hoppy monster (weighing in at 10.25 percent alcohol by volume).
That day was February 4 in 2011. But after the release, Russian River sends a very limited number of five-gallon kegs of the Younger to beer bars around the country.
In 2010, Denver's Falling Rock Taphouse got a couple of these kegs. The first one sold out in 23 minutes. The second was empty after twelve. This year, the city's granddaddy of beer bars will get another shipment -- sometime after February 11.
Do you believe the hype? Chris Black does, and the owner of the Falling Rock is tired of your phone calls. In fact, he sent a letter to customers last night asking them to stop bugging him about when Pliny the Younger will be in the house.
It's a tantalizing note, and it succinctly sums up both the cult around Pliny and the Falling Rock's typically brusque demeanor. Read it below:
Pliny the Younger was released Friday Feb. 4th @ the Russian River Pub in Santa Rosa, CA. Sometime after that date, my distributor will get a truck to pick up Pliny the Younger plus Colorado's monthly allocation of other delicious Russian River Beers. The truck carrying all of this deliciousness will start driving towards Colorado. As you know, sometimes that drive can take around 3 days when the weather is all sunny & beautiful. February is not one of the times of year that it is often like that. Between Santa Rosa, CA & Denver, CO the Interstate goes over the 2 highest mountain ranges with the worst weather conditions in the U.S. (if you're driving, however if you are skiing, it's the best conditions). That means sometimes it takes a few days longer for the truck to get here.
Once the truck arrives in Denver the distributor will check in all of the beer (to make sure that some of it didn't get hijacked during transit) and then it will get shipped out the next day to us. We will get about a 48 hr advance warning of when it will be @ the Falling Rock.
We will divide our allocation into 2 parts. The first part will be served the day that we receive it, the second will be around a week later to allow those of you that don't live here in Denver a chance to plan a trip knowing when Pliny the Younger will be pouring for a few minutes. Last year, Pliny the Younger sold out in 23 minutes on the first day & 12 minutes on the second day. I would advise getting here in advance of the tapping (heck, you can drink some of the 85 other delicious beers including Russian River Beers like Blind Pig IPA, Damnation, & Pliny the Elder while you're waiting). Good Luck. Just to make it a little more fun, once the Younger runs out I'll tap into something else like maybe a little Consecration or something...
February 8th Update : My distributor will be picking up Pliny the Younger on or a little after Feb. 11th so check here on this page for an update on the progress AFTER that date.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE BAR ABOUT PLINY THE YOUNGER! WE ARE GETTING 3-4 DOZEN CALLS A DAY. IT IS REALLY HARD TO SERVE THE GUESTS IN THE BAR WHEN WE HAVE TO STOP EVERY COUPLE OF MINUTES TO ANSWER THE PHONE. I REALLY APPRECIATE THE ENTHUSIASM. RELAX.
I will be sending out an email when I get the call from the Distributor about It's arrival in Denver. Shortly after that I will update the website. You can find the announcement by clicking the "view Beer" under the Beer heading on our homepage.