Chasing the elusive Pliny the Younger
Some places are selling advance tickets for a glass of Pliny the Younger, the triple IPA from Russian River Brewing Co. that is released this month.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Before I could even finish the question — When will you tap Pliny the Younger? — some bar managers and owners had already cut me off. The answer, in different variations, is they aren't telling. That's the PG rated version to their responses.
The annual hunt for the elusive cult beer Pliny the Younger is on, as every beer connoisseur knows. It was considered by Beer Advocate in 2010, among others, as the best beer in the world.
This triple IPA from Russian River Brewing gets released in February, and only a few Seattle area bars get a small allotment, less than a full standard keg.
And when the beer gets to Seattle, it's game on. Who has it? When will the keg get tapped? How long will the line be?
Beer fans will line up before a bar opens if they know Pliny the Younger will be on tap. Last year, a few even called in sick from work to be among the first in line.
Some bars now sell drink tickets in advance to avoid the long lines that can cause headaches for their neighbors and disappointments for patrons who wait an hour only to hear later the keg is done.
The Dray in Ballard, for instance, had a line that stretched around the block last year. It sold out of Pliny the Younger within 16 minutes. This year, The Dray, like most bars, quietly poured it without announcing it beforehand. Regulars who came in last Monday like me got a nice treat without the wait.
The Younger is a robust, hoppy beer, with citrusy and piney notes, the high alcohol content hardly noticeable. It goes down easy for such a bitter brew. It's distinctive and beautifully crafted.
But unless you are a beer geek, I don't think it's worth waiting an hour in line when we have so many stellar IPAs out there.
You can judge whether it's worth the hype. Here are five places to try the Younger:
Bambino's Pizzeria in Belltown will tap it Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. for $6 a glass. 401 Cedar St., www.getbambinos.com
Quinn's Pub, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. 1001 East Pike St., www.quinnspubseattle.com
Whisky Bar, Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m. This downtown bar will sell drink tickets ($5 for a glass) at 3 p.m. that day and then pour only to ticket holders at 6:30 p.m. 2000 Second Ave., whiskybarseattle.wordpress.com.
Red House Beer and Wine in Renton on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. will offer a $20 tasting of three Russian River beers including Pliny the Younger. Includes bar food. First come, first served. 410 Burnett Ave. S., www.redhousebeerandwine.com
Super Deli Mart, 9051 35th Ave. S.W. on March 20 around 6 p.m. will offer a sampling of four Russian River beers including The Younger for $12 (servings will be 8 ounces). Tickets go on sale at this West Seattle store March 13 (206-937-1442).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.