Travelers from as far as Germany descended upon Windsor, California over the weekend for the annual release of a Triple IPA with star power.
Here’s the deal…
At a time when so many “event beers’’ have cooled off considerably, Russian River’s Piney the Younger release is still one of the most heralded beer events in the world.
Sold for only two weeks (or until it runs out) annually, this ever-evolving India Pale Ale which made its 2020 debut on February 4, has enshrined Russian River Brewing as one of America’s most important craft beer destinations.
Russian River’s hugely anticipated event drew almost 400,000 beer lovers to its humble Santa Rosa brewpub in 2017. And in 2020 it is expected to continue to do similar numbers.
Russian River first brewed the Triple IPA in 2005 as a winter seasonal built upon the brewery’s much tamer Pliny the Elder recipe, pushing the envelope with malt, hops, and alcohol to audacious levels that had never been seen before.
It is only brewed once a year and released the first Friday in February, rain or shine (February is Northern California’s rainy season). But no matter the weather this two-week celebration still draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Part of Pliny the Younger’s allure is due to its very limited distribution. Up until 2020 it has never been bottled, so beer fans had to travel to the brewery or to limited outlets, primarily in California, to enjoy each year’s release…
Probably the biggest news is of its 16th annual return is that Younger is available in bottles for the first time ever this year.
But to buy a bottle, you still have to wait in long lines for hours at either Russian River’s Santa Rosa or Windsor taprooms and be seated before being able to purchase a maximum of two 510 ml bottles to take home…assuming they’ve not yet sold out.
According to Russian River the best time to visit to ensure the shortest wait times is midweek. And for those who can’t make the pilgrimage to Russian River this year Pliny the Younger will be available during the second week in February at select bars in California, Bend, Oregon; Denver and Boulder, Colorado; and Philadelphia.
Younger bottles are not being distributed this year…