Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Pliny Release Day!

There is a certain group of people that look forward to the first weekend of February with great anticipation, for it's Pliny the Younger Release Day

Pliny the Younger is categorized as a “triple” IPA, simply meaning that it is higher in alcohol and has tons of hops. The alcohol should finish at about 10.25%, although it is remarkably dry for the amount of malt used in the recipe, and it is loaded with hop flavors, bitterness, and aromatics. The hops used in this year’s recipe are of excellent quality from the 2013 harvest: Simcoe, Warrior, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, and Tomahawk. We brewed Younger for the first time 10 years ago as a winter seasonal, building upon the Pliny the Elder recipe while pushing the envelope with malt, hops, and alcohol just to see how far we could go! It is always brewed only once a year and released the first Friday in February, rain or shine.

You can try to attend the actual release, but that's quite an event.

Despite steady rain, hundreds of people gathered Friday in the annual hours-long wait for the release of the limited and much-anticipated Pliny the Younger ale in downtown Santa Rosa.

Although I was vaguely aware that this was Pliny Release Season, I was mostly oblivious, until, with a group of thirsty co-workers looking for a lunch-time escape, we happened unexpectedly into the middle of a Pliny Happening!

It turns out that one of our favorite local pubs, Lucky 13 on Park, had scored a keg of Pliny the Younger and just happened to be tapping it today.

I'm not quite sure how word of events like these spread, but the pub, which normally houses barely a dozen people for a Thursday lunch crowd, was PACKED; there must have been 200 people crammed in, shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, happily chattering away and keeping the barkeeps quite busy.

To deal with the crowds, the management had established a few rules:

  • You could only buy a half-pint (8 oz) glass at a time
  • Four glasses MAX per customer.

Keeping track of your consumption was straightforward: each time you were served a glass, the barman inked one of your four right-hand knuckles with his handy Sharpie. When all knuckles turned black, you are done.

Myself, I was coding this afternoon, so I had a soft drink instead, and enjoyed one of Scolari's Good Eats while passing the time with my colleagues.

If you haven't had your Pliny this season, I suspect it's already too late to hit Lucky 13, as that was probably a one-day opportunity. SFGate has some suggestions, or maybe you could just do what I did and get lucky!

Regardless, Happy Pliny Release Day!

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