Think Pliny the Younger is popular? The beer is neither bottled nor available in growlers. It can only be had on draft at its producer, the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa for two weeks in February, then after that at a very few VIP restaurants.
Yet it’s in such demand that in previous years, waits to get in the 135-seat bar have lasted up to eight hours.
That time has come again, with the 2014 release slated for Feb. 7-20.
What’s the draw? The coveted and extremely limited production triple-hopped ale comes in at a powerful 10.25 percent A.B.V., and hop lovers adore it since it literally contains triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. But even with its very full body and tons of hop character in the nose and throughout, it is also well-balanced and smooth.
Beer lovers travel from across the country — indeed, the world — to get a 10-ounce pour of the craft suds.
The experience can a bit rowdy, so, this year, Russian River Brewing owner Vinnie Cilurzo has introduced some helpful new ideas. A web page offers advice on getting in on good behavior - remember that there is no drinking alcohol or smoking anything allowed in line. Taking “cuts” are grounds for dismissal, and the line should take care not to block neighboring store entrances.
Second, a special Pliny package is being offered with two area hotels, giving preferred room rates for people traveling to town specifically for the beer. Last year, the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa jumped in with a Pliny promotion, and response was so strong that this year, The Hampton Inn of Windsor is joining up, too. Guests simply ask for the Pliny rates at Flamingo when making their reservations, and refer to promotional code #2982817 at The Hampton.
Perhaps the best bit of advice from Cilurzo is this: “Show up with your whole party, then take turns getting coffee, food, haircuts, shopping, or whatever,” he said. “We have many great businesses in Downtown Santa Rosa that would love your support and can help make the time waiting a little more enjoyable.”
When guests do make it inside the bar, they’ll notice a whole new set of digs, by the way. In celebration of the joint’s 10-year anniversary coming up in April, Cilurzo just finished a floor-to-ceiling renovation of the building, including a new bar structure.
Details: Russian River Brewing Company, 725 4th Street, Santa Rosa, russianriverbrewing.com.
Tip: Be safe and stylish and enjoy your Pliny even more, by reserving a door-to-door ride in a Pure Luxury limo or Town Car. You can bring lots of friends in your high-end carpool, to help share the line waiting duty, too!