Pliny the Younger—One of the Highest Rated Beers in the World—Returns to SoCal

Plenty of beers get hyped these days, but there’s nothing quite like Pliny the Younger hype

Russian River Brewing Company has made quite a name for itself over the years, namely for the quality of its sour beers as well as its extremely hoppy beers.

Pliny the Elder, Russian River’s prized double IPA, continues to hold a perfect score of 100 on BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. (No small feat.) Being in the same state as the Petaluma-based brewery ensures that we’ve got a fairly steady supply of Pliny the Elder flowing through our SoCal taps, but the Pliny hype does reach a high point near the beginning of each year as its beefed-up relative, Pliny the Younger, gets its annual release.

We’ll get a few kegs down here in Los Angeles, and several local bar owners have found a way to tame the madness, introducing charity and lottery components to ration out the sweet, rare nectar. Here are a few places that serve it:

  • 38 Degrees Ale House & Grill (Alhambra) — On Saturday, February 22, Pliny the Younger will be served alongside its hoppy Russian River cousins: Row 2/Hill 56 pale ale, Blind Pig I.P.A., and Pliny The Elder. A flight of all four beers—each a five-ounce pour—will run $14. First-come, first-served. More info to come on the Facebook event page.

  • Beachwood BBQ & Brewing (Seal Beach and Long Beach) — Behold the 3rd Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle! After losing friend Tony Carbone to skin cancer, Beachwood BBQ decided to raise some funds for cancer research by raffling off pints of PtY. The $5 raffle tickets (cash only, no limit) will be on sale from January 14 at 11:30 a.m. through February 22 at 10 p.m. Afterward, 130 winners will be chosen at random to come in and consume their tasty winnings. Over $9,000 was raised for the Melanoma Research Foundation with this event last year and they’re hoping to break the $10,000 mark this year. More information.

  • Blue Palms Brewhouse (Hollywood) — $20 for a 10-ounce pour of beer may seem steep, but when you learn that all proceeds are directed to the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, all is right with the world again. Saturday, February 22 beginning at 2 p.m. First-come, first-served. More information.

  • Haven Gastropub + Brewery (Pasadena) — Play hooky! Work is overrated and you deserve a(nother) three-day weekend, don’t you? Doors open at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 18 and guests will be first-come, first-served. An eight-ounce pour of Pliny the Younger will run you $8; spend $14 to get a flight with eight ounces of each: Pliny the Younger, Pliny the Elder, and Blind Pig I.P.A. More information.

  • Mohawk Bend (Echo Park) — More happening on 2/22! Mohawk Bend will begin distributing first-come, first-served tickets to guests at 9:30 a.m. and the keg will be tapped at 11 a.m., getting 280 lucky guests a six-ounce pour for $6.

  • Tony’s Darts Away (Burbank) — Tony’s is cutting into the workweek with a Tuesday, February 25 tapping of Pliny the Younger. Two six-ounce pours and a limited edition “I Got Younger at Tony’s Darts Away” glass will set you back $17; two pours and two glasses will be $20. Tickets are first-come, first-served, and they will be handed out beginning at 3 p.m. for a 5 p.m. tapping.

Craft beer hotspots such as Father’s Office, Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Lucky Baldwins, Naja’s Place, Surly Goat, and Verdugo Bar got in on the PtY action last year, but thus far I’ve spotted no details on whether or not they’ll be hosting events or quietly tapping a keg this year.

Alternately, if a 6+ hour roadtrip is on your mind, then by all means, hop in your car and get thee to Russian River Brewing! They’ll have Pliny the Younger on tap at the source through February 20, but do prepare to wait in lines reported to be as long as eight hours.

(Hat tip to The Full Pint for the Mohawk Bend/Tony’s Darts Away info!)


RELATED: Lancaster’s Kinetic Brewing took 1st place with its “After Burner” beer at the 14th Annual Double IPA Festival, held annually at The Bistro in Hayward as part of San Francisco Beer Week. Also to note, Kern River Brewing’s “Citra” earned the People’s Choice award.