One of the most talked about beer that beer fans travel for will see a limited release early next year. Russian River Brewing Co. will brew its widely popular Triple IPA, Pliny the Younger, in 2021 but its release in February will be much smaller and very limited as compared to previous years.
As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian River Brewing Co., just as other breweries, have had to alter its beer release schedule, especially ones that bring in very large crowds. Each February, thousands of people converge upon Sonoma County for the annual release of Pliny the Younger that creates a huge tourism boost to the area. Now this will have to wait until 2022.
However, to satisfy the Pliny the Younger craving for its loyal California fans, Russian River will brew and bottle the coveted Triple IPA in February 2021. Pliny the Younger will be packaged in 510mL bottles, just as it was done last year for the very first time. The brewery will sell bottles of Pliny the Younger as part of a direct-to-consumer mixed case. Each case will include 4 bottles of Younger plus 2 each of a few other fun RRBC beers. To be able to order this mixed case, one must reside within the state of California. Pliny the Younger bottles will not be available any other way.
Keg distribution of Pliny the Younger will also take place in February 2021. The quantity that Russian River will brew and package in kegs will be a last-minute decision based on the current COVID-19 situation in California, Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Here is the email that was sent out this past weekend fully explaining the plans and restrictions for the February 2021 release of Pliny the Younger…
Like most major beer releases and other special events during this COVID-era, we are hitting the pause button on our annual 2021 Pliny the Younger release. While we are sad to miss seeing our loyal friends and fans from around the world, it has become clear that it will not be safe for us to gather again by February 2021. Furthermore, neither of our pubs have been allowed to reopen for indoor dining since we closed in March 2020 due to the unrelenting spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. At this time, we are busy preparing ourselves and our pubs for a long winter with limited outdoor seating in the cold and rain. For those of you who have attended past Younger releases in particularly wet years, you know exactly what a true Northern California winter can feel like. But we simply cannot go a whole year without making at least some Pliny the Younger! Our signature 510ml bottles will be available for sale as part of a mixed case for a limited time on our website for direct shipping to consumers within the state of California. Vinnie and Natalie will plan to host a couple of virtual tastings via Facebook live so more people can join in the experience. The only draft produced will be distributed in very limited quantities to a handful of accounts. However, with many of our accounts still (or potentially soon to be) shut down likely well into February, wholesale distribution will be unknown until the very last minute. But we fully expect to be back in business and better than ever in 2022!
Pliny the Younger is a Triple IPA, meaning that it is higher in alcohol and has tons of hops. Though the ABV usually finishes at about 10.25%, it is remarkably dry for the amount of malt used in this recipe. Loaded with hop aroma and flavor, Younger is remarkably well-balanced with malt and a lingering dry and bitter finish. We brewed Younger for the first time in 2005 as a winter seasonal release, building upon the Pliny the Elder recipe while pushing the envelope with malt, hops, and alcohol just to see how far we could go!
Pliny the Younger was the nephew and adopted son of Pliny the Elder. He was a lawyer and an author in Ancient Rome and witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which took the life of his uncle while trying to save others. Pliny the Younger lived from 61 AD to 112 AD. He wrote many letters which survive today and have great historical value. We thought it was only appropriate to also pay tribute to Pliny the Elder’s nephew by naming this special beer after him!
Pliny the Younger 2021 Limited Release in BOTTLES!
Pliny the Younger 510ml bottles will be for sale on our website for a limited time late January, early February, date TBD. At this time, we are only able to ship within the state of California for cost, compliance and legal reasons. In an effort to recreate a true RRBC tasting experience, each mixed case will include 4 bottles of Younger plus 2 each of a few other fun RRBC beers. Bottles will neither be available at our brewpubs nor released for wholesale distribution. Each bottle will be marked “NOT FOR RESALE” to discourage illegal reselling. 2021 will be only the second time we are bottling Younger and a first for shipping direct to consumer. If you see bottles some where they should not be, please let us know!
Wholesale distribution of Pliny the Younger will look very different this year. How much we make and package in kegs will be a last-minute decision based on the current COVID-19 situation in California, Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Draft accounts who receive a keg of Younger will be asked to refrain from hosting events, thus avoiding throngs of thirsty customers unsafely gathering at their bars and restaurants. Accounts will be asked to simply tap the beer and serve it on-premise. Growler fills or other takeout containers will not be allowed. Like all things in 2020, this situation is fluid and subject to change at a moment’s notice!
Happy Holidays and stay safe, everyone!
Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo