On February 1st Russian River had their annual release of Pliny the Younger. My only other time attending this event was last year, when I went with my girlfriend and one other couple. It was a great time; good beer, good food, and good friends. With that in mind, I coordinated for my friends in the NorCal Brew Crew to make the trip this year.
Surely arriving by 10am would be early enough to get in for lunch. Right?
We expected a wait, but nothing could have prepared me for the line that was there when we arrived. I'll let the video tell this story.
How Long Would YOU wait for Pliny the Younger? from Melissa on Vimeo.
About the beer. Pliny the Younger is a very good IIPA. It has a rich, layered hop aroma. It is a good combination of pine and citrus. The hop flavor is very dominant, as was expected. This is not a balanced beer, the malt is buried deeply and provides very little to the experience.
The bitterness is more on the sharp side, and not mellow. I haven't found any definitive information on which hops were used in brewing this year's version of Younger, but I would have to say Chinook is present. Beyond that I would be guessing.
I highly recommend attending this release if you are in the area. I drove 4.5 hours for it, and then waited another 7 to get into the brewpub. It was worth it. We spent the day hanging out in downtown Santa Rosa, catching up, and checking out the area. Everyone in line was having a good time, and no one cared if you left line to go eat or shop. As long as at least one person stayed it was good.
If you're not up for the wait (I can't blame you btw), then going during the week should have substantially lower wait times.
Even without a special release Russian River is one of my favorite brewpubs. The pizza is great, thin-crust with a wide range of toppings available. The wings are good, without too much breading. If you like your wings hot, try the "savage" version. You won't be dissapointed in the heat or flavor. The Russian River taster is amazing in the variety of styles it has. Everything from IPAs, Belgians, Sours, and Stouts.