It’s that time of year again when select craft beer bars (mostly in CA) have to field the same question over and over, “When are you tapping Pliny the Younger?” It’s triple season!
The triple IPA hoopla all started in 2005 with a “little” beer called, Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing. Pliny the Younger (pronounced, Pline-y not Plinny, like the man) is a bigger version of their popular, Pliny the Elder Double IPA. Double IPAs should be hopped twice as much as the regular recipe and in the case of Pliny the Younger being a triple, it’s got 3 times the hops and then is dry-hopped 4 different times. Clocking in at 10.5% ABV, it certainly packs a punch but as it often happens with high alcohol beers, it’s incredibly balanced with the extreme bitterness of the hops offsetting the sweetness of the sugars from the high alcohol.
This beer is in incredible demand with people waiting in lines for hours and kegs getting kicked in minutes at popular spots. Russian River shows their marketing mojo by only having this beer available for 2 weeks every year in their Santa Clarita’s tasting room with daily allocations. Since it’s human nature to want what we can’t have, creating that kind of limited-time demand is a proven method to increase buzz and desire for a product. This wouldn’t work if the product itself wasn’t high quality and this beer is definitely impressive.
Pliny Hunt 2018
Pliny the Younger is not going to get a wide release anytime soon. Most of the beer is distributed to the same OG spots that Russian River has been gracing with their Pliny for years. In fact, last year, Russian River announced that they were expanding production of Pliny but that expanded production would benefit the bars they already serve, getting more kegs vs. selling kegs to new bars. If this is the case, then we can use the 2017 list of San Diego bars that got Pliny the Younger as an idea of where to possibly find the elusive beer this year. Here’s a working list of place that MIGHT have Pliny the Younger this year too and the date that they tapped their allotted kegs in 2017:
Hamilton’s Tavern – 2/22/17
SD Taproom – 2/25/17
O’Brians – 2/22/17
Blind Lady Ale House – 2/22/17
Tiger Tiger – 2/18/17
Pizza Port Carlsbad
Toronado – 2/13/17
Encinitas Ale House
PCH Sports Bar
Small Bar – 2/14/17
Urge Gastropub – 2/21/17
Live Wire – 2/16/17
Regal Beagle – 2/21/17
Fathom Bait and Tackle 2/21/17
Please don’t call these places daily asking if they are tapping the beer. They’ll definitely hate that. But you can use this list as an idea of when you want to stop by the bar and see if, by chance, they have tapped it yet. Some of these spots had actual events where they promoted that they were tapping the Pliny, but a lot of them just put them on tap one day and let the word of mouth spread like wildfire. This list is not a guarantee though, it’s really only a best guess, so please take that into account when searching.
No Pliny, No Problem
So you don’t want to go on a Pliny hunt but you do want to taste the sweet, sweet nectar of a triple IPA? You are in luck! There are a handful of San Diego breweries, including Thorn, who put out their own triple IPAs around this time of year. Thorn releases our own triple Brother Scotty’s IIPA (named after one of our beloved employees).
Brother Scotty’s IIIPA clocks in at 11.2% ABV. This beer is big, hoppy and balanced with notes of pine, citrus and pineapple lingering together from the Simcoe, Citra, Centennial and Amarillo hops. While it’s a hop-bomb for sure, it’s still a smooth drinker with a lingering sweetness that’s neither cloying nor overpowering. Here are some more San Diego triple IPAs to check out this month:
- Thorn Brewing Brother Scotty’s IIIPA 11.5% – release on 2/13/18
- Benchmark Brewing Hildegard IIIPA 13.5% – release party on 2/24/18 (more info here)
Other triple IPA that have been made in the past but with no info on future releases…
- Monkey Paw Muriqui 10%
- Societe The Miser Really Big IPA 10.5%
- Stone RuinTen Triple IPA 10.8%
Please comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any SD triples to be added to this list.
Cheers and happy Triple Hunting!