Adventure: The Hunt For Pliny!
Holy deceased ancient philosophers! It's that time of year again!
We have currently entered the apex of the consumption window for the world-renowned Pliny The Younger from Russian River. The beer, which is traditionally released on or very close to the Super Bowl at the Russian River taproom in Santa Rosa, has officially run dry at the source. All those who patiently camped out like the force was awakening or something, or the new über smart smartphone was dropping or something, have to hit the road and try their luck at the few restaurants and watering holes in California lucky enough to get a keg.
Would I do this for a beer you ask?
Ohhhhhhhh no. I have been to the source on a regular ol' weekday and it is a circus. A delicious beer and pizza filled circus, but a circus nonetheless. Metaphorical clowns in a sacred craft beer space is a weird combination.
Would I do this for a "best beer in the world" beer?
For this particular beer, ohhhhhhhh no. The only thing it has going for it at this point is brilliant marketing and being incredibly drinkable and well-balanced for a 10% Triple IPA, a style which normally melts your face due to the absurd amount of hops that are required to complete the bill.
Would I endorse this kind of hype and dedication and fanfare towards a single, solitary beer?
Ohhhhhhhh yes. What makes this beer and this time of year so special is the way it brings people together. It's a craft beer drinker's pilgrimage to Mecca. During the search for this illustrious beer, you get to meet people who have traveled hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to experience it for the first time. You get to chat with people who have had it AT the brewery when it was essentially released from the bright tank. You get to discuss past batches and speculate how Vinnie and the brewing team altered the combination of hops from previous years (and in my case, make outlandish claims like they added Nashville hot chicken spices to the batch). Most importantly, you get to see how large the craft beer community has become, the dedication they have to drink heavily on a Monday or Tuesday, and how passionate they are about the culture they have helped create.
Do I know where you can get in on the festivities here in LA? Nah. I heard they went too heavy on the szechuan peppercorns this year. I'll wait for 2019.