Friday, March 2, 2012

Pliny The Younger - Be Jealous or It's Not Just About Beer

Well we PACNW folks are truly blessed. Not only do we get an amazing array of beers distributed up here. But the beers in that array are truly amazing. Worthy of special events. In this case Russian River's Fabled Pliny the Younger was in town over the last few weeks. I was fortunate enough to wander 8 blocks from my house and get myself a pint. It was not as easy a feet for some as it should be. More on that after the break

Russian River's Triple IPA, Pliny the Younger is a once a year event on the magnitude of Founder's CBS or Dark Lord. But it's handled a bit differently. You can't buy bottles or go get a growler. It's firkins only and only at select bars. It's an amazing beer and worth seeking out. But Russian River needs to consider the customers and simply provide full kegs of this if they are going to distribute. So before I get to the beer let me get on my soap box.

Beer and beer events are about sitting in a comfortable establishment with friends and like minded people celebrating and enjoying together. It's the most un-elitest of beverages. And this is where Russian River needs to re-think their current distribution model. They distribute it in such small amounts that each bar that is lucky to get it will only have 60 glasses of beer to hand out. So it ensures that there will be haves and have-nots. It creates a tense, uncomfortable situation where people line up outside, growl at each other if someone gets in line in front of them before the bar opens, or gets upset if the bartender shorts them 1 or 2 ozs. This is not beer drinking. This is more like dogs fighting over a steak. It's sad and unenjoyable. How can I enjoy my beer when my friend who showed up 10 minutes after me sits there next to me and doesn't have one? Sure they also have the Elder for the pleebs and the slow pokes who didn't get their first or muscle their way to the front. But that's just salt in the wound isn't it? The bar I was in was packed. Sure the owner loved it but the bartenders and waitstaff were nervous. They didn't want to screw up a single pour. And sitting there watching more than half the bar watch as my glass was brought over to me was...embarrassing. 

So here's my review: Send full Kegs.

If I can get Pliny the Elder every 3 months and Supplication on a regular basis in the grocery store now, cut that back once per year and make enough to send full kegs. Or send less kegs with more in them. Let people show up feeling comfortable they'll get a glass and be able to enjoy a few with friends and like minded people.

Sure it's a great beer. But who cares if you destroy what's great about beer and drinking with friends in a bar to get one.

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