The last 10-ounce glass of the cult-classic ale will likely be poured around 6 p.m. on Thursday. At least that’s the thinking of Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner of the Russian River Brewing Company.
“It’s a very long two weeks for us, as you can imagine,” Cilurzo said. “I’m exhausted.”
The release of the seasonal cult wonder attracts long lines, some up to eight hours long, for a sip of the extra hoppy Triple IPA.
The reviews have made it a rock star. The Beer Advocate website rates Pliny the Younger No. 1 among the world’s beers, and Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, a Double IPA offered year round, at No. 6. RateBeer, another site, puts Pliny the Younger at No. 4 and Pliny the Elder at No. 19.
Cilurzo said they’ve been brewing Pliny the Younger for nine years, but the crazy consumer demand began about four years ago when the ratings took off.
“The first Friday in February of 2010 definitely caught us off guard and we ran through the beer in eight hours,” she said, with a laugh. “Everyone wants the most sought after wine and the one you can’t get the most of – so that’s what happens with beer, too.”
Cilurzo said they allocate a certain amount for each day and so far they haven’t run out until after 6 p.m. She said the beer is just made seasonally because it’s time-consuming and expensive to make due to the extra hops and malt in the recipe.
“The first two weeks of February is the perfect storm with massive beer consumption all over northern California,” she said. Cilurzo was referring to the overlapping of San Francisco Beer Week and Sacramento Beer Week with the release of Pliny the Younger.
On Sunday Mita Alic from Bosnia took a picture of the long line, confounded by the beer enthusiasts.
“It’s very interesting,” he said, shaking his head. “In my country we think Americans have everything – markets, restaurants and products. It’s very interesting that people would wait five hours for one beer.”
Toni Holland of Santa Rosa was celebrating her 54th birthday on Sunday and decided to make Pliny the Younger her birthday present. Her husband Tom quipped, “The line is five hours long so it’s a good thing I had an energy drink before we came.”
Evan Jaques of San Jose was back on Sunday after waiting for five hours last year to get a taste of the beer.
“It was absolutely worth the wait because the beer is amazing … I don’t really do lines anywhere else but I’m a beer snob and so this is one I appreciate.”