Pliny time again: Beer fans to line up for Santa Rosa brewery's once-a-year ale

  • Russian River Brewing Co. brewer Al Gorton fills kegs with Pliny the Younger at their Santa Rosa bottling facility on Thursday, February 2, 2012.

The kid is back in town.

That means long lines outside Russian River Brewing Co.'s downtown Santa Rosa brew pub on Friday and lots of voice mail messages on brewer Al Gorton's phone.

"I get a lot of friends this time of year," Gorton said Thursday at the company's south Santa Rosa production facility.

2012: Pliny The Younger Release At Russian River Brewing Co.


Gorton was in the process of filling kegs with Pliny the Younger, a Triple IPA (India Pale Ale) that is so popular with beer aficionados that people come from all over just to sample it.

Last year, that included beer enthusiasts from Japan and Denmark, said Natalie Cilurzo, the company's co-owner.

Pliny the Younger, which routinely earns raves from critics, packs a wallop despite its relatively low alcohol content compared to, say, vodka.

Credit the hops, which Cilurzo said share genetic properties with the main chemical found in marijuana and magnify the beer's 10.7 percent alcohol content.

"It's Pliny the Elder on steroids," Cilurzo said, referring to another Russian River India Pale Ale that is available year-round.

The Plinys were uncle-nephew Roman naturalists and historians of the first century A.D. The elder was credited with the first botanical classification of hops.

Russian River introduced Pliny the Younger eight years ago. But it wasn't until BeerAdvocate rated it the top beer in the world in 2009 that things got loopy.

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