Russian River Brewing Company Pliny the Younger 2016 - PtY

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by Curb71, Jan 2, 2016.

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  1. Curb71

    Curb71 Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2012 California

    Figured an official thread would be nice for everyone that is ISO a pour or two. A few of the basics for anyone looking to score for their first time.
    - Pliny the Younger is RRBC's annual triple IPA and will be released at the pub on February 5th-18th.
    - It is on draft only. There are no bottles or growler fills. There is a limit of 3 pours and a max of 3 hours at the pub this year.
    - They do distribute kegs all over California (and a few out of state). Most of the usual spots will post on their social media when and how they will be offering it. Check here for a list of who had it last year.
    - The lines are long. Very long. I remember it was up to 12 hours on day 2 in 2014. Show up later in the day and/or during the week and there's a good chance you won't even have to wait for a pour.
     
  2. Snubnoze

    Snubnoze Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2015 California

    I was at RR last Tuesday at 11:30 and they had a line, no big releases or anything. Younger is going to be a complete shit show. I'll steer clear of 4th street during its release. More power to ya if your willing to wait, but it's not worth it IMO. Definitely don't go the first week. For Beatification they had a huge line, I went a few days later walked straight inside grabbed a few and out in 15 mins LOL.
     
  3. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    I wouldn't compare Beat release to PtY at all. Beat release wasn't operated adequately. They literally stopped selling Beat the first day because they got tired of it and they wanted locals to get their fix. If they continued to closing time to sell bottles you could have very well got shut out of bottles of Beat. Or the fact that there was a wait on Tuesday, it's the holidays and close to the new year, a lot of people aren't working during these times....

    PtY has legitimate reasons for long waits. Packed house, non stop food orders from the bar and table, and everyone wanting to get their limit of a once a year draft only release of a superb beer.

    More and more people in the beer scene are forgetting what these releases are about. The experience of the event, NOT just going for the beer. Sure the beer is the main reason you want to go, but instead of crying about the wait, meet new beer enthusiasts, make new friends, and have a good time with the people around you while you wait.

    Last year was the first time I went, I Drove 5.5 hrs one way, had an estimated wait time of 3.5 hrs to get in, made friends with the surrounding beer geeks, one group was getting a table with 4 seats, they were about 10 people ahead of me but we had a big group conversation, and they told the security guard to let me fill in their last seat so he let me join in with them and cut my wait time by an hour. Stayed my 3 hrs then explored downtown for a few hrs to sober up and drive back home 5.5 hrs, got home at like 4 am. Totally worth the experience, met a bunch of awesome people, had PtY which was really damn good and had some really good pizza to pair with it!

    I'm now making it a tradition to go every year for the release, regardless of the wait times. Staying in a hotel from now on though!

    Listen to the OP, plan accordingly and you can easily avoid the 12 plus hr wait times, if you want to be a part of the madness more power to you! Make the most of your trip and wait, if you can say you honestly did that and it's still not for you then you get to at least say you got to have PtY and you met awesome people!
     
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  4. CAbeerCAbeerCA

    CAbeerCAbeerCA Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2011 Maryland

    I might make the trip on Super Bowl Sunday. Anyone know what that day has looked like in the past?
     
  5. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    It's the weekend still so it will more then likely be a very long wait, if you have the option I'd get there super early or go really late. Going late leaves no promise you'll get to try PtY either, they only set aside a certain amount for each day. I don't think they have had too many days where they have run out so I'd say going late is still a pretty good option.
     
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  6. MiScusi

    MiScusi Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2005 California

    It is for that killer instagram shot!
     
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  7. walterfredo

    walterfredo Initiate (198) Nov 22, 2011 California
    Trader

    beer always tastes better if it involves a 10 hour drive and 3-4 hours of waiting in line.
     
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  8. Ferocious

    Ferocious Aspirant (251) Nov 17, 2012 Illinois
    Trader

    Make sure you use the shittiest filter imaginable, and 5x more hashtags than you need.
     
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  9. Snubnoze

    Snubnoze Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2015 California

    Fortunately I live a 10 min drive from RR so I'm able to get that experience without the insanity of Younger. Once you're in, it really is an awesome place. Really good service given the busyness, and the food is great as is the beer obviously. I certainly wouldn't detour anyone from making the trip, just know what you're getting into.
     
  10. Snubnoze

    Snubnoze Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2015 California

    Ironically one of my first Instagram posts was of a half empty younger somebody left behind 3-4 years ago...
     
  11. CityofWind_brew

    CityofWind_brew Devotee (413) Jan 15, 2014 Illinois
    Trader


    How early would recommend getting there? I don't mind getting there early/waiting, I'd like to try to make the first wave into the brewpub. Cheers!
     
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  12. dcgunman

    dcgunman Savant (940) Jul 1, 2009 California
    Trader

    The year after the growler fill fiasco I went back with a friend the next year. Flew into SFO, rented a car and drove out to RRBC. Got there and had breakfast and lineup 20 minutes before the doors opened. We were the first 2 in line. An hour later the place was full. But no lines yet. That was on a Monday after the first weekend of PtY release. Like above said everyday there is a line waiting to get in these days. Was there back in April and yes…lines on both days we went. Every year it gets busier. Good luck. Been there. Had it. Done with it.
     
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  13. mayorQuimby

    mayorQuimby Initiate (173) Jun 5, 2009 Tennessee
    Trader

    Last year I went on the second Tuesday, arrived ~8:30am, and was the last person that got in. I was actually 5-6 people from the front but they had one seat left and I was the first single, so they let me in. I would recommend no later than 8am, just to be safe.
     
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  14. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    If you're going on the weekend you might have to camp out or show up at a ridiculous hr like 3 am, even then don't plan on getting in until way later in the day. If you're going on a weekday and want to get in when they open I'd say around 7 am and you should get in with the first wave.

    Don't hold me to this though, every release they have the lines get worse and worse. Think the manager said the average wait time on the weekends never dropped below an 8 hr wait. So expect at least an 8 hr wait, good possibility on it being longer this year.
     
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  15. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    This exactly, when I was there they had to unfortunately kick a bunch of people out. So they will definitely force the 3 hr limit if they have to.
     
  16. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Looking forward to some Younger as always.
     
  17. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Yeah the beat release is nothing compared to PtY.
     
  18. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Get in Line before 6am and there's a good chance your the first group.
     
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  19. CityofWind_brew

    CityofWind_brew Devotee (413) Jan 15, 2014 Illinois
    Trader

    Planning on hitting them up on a Tuesday morning
     
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  20. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    You'll definitely get in Tuesday if you get there around 7 am, I would like to think that that's early enough to get in with the first wave. If you don't have all day to be there I would get there even earlier so you can guarantee you will make it with the first wave.
     
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  21. Snubnoze

    Snubnoze Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2015 California

    No doubt, my point in bringing that up was don't worry about being "first". Go the second week during a weekday and minimize the riff raff.
     
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  22. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Yeah once the they started to get a line for PtY I started going later in the week, but this year my brother in law is coming down for it on the first Saturday. So I told him then we need to be there before 6am lol
     
  23. redmagik99

    redmagik99 Initiate (0) May 15, 2007 California

    guys pty isn't even that good
     
  24. Snubnoze

    Snubnoze Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2015 California

    It's good, but honestly there is going to be better stuff a week prior throughout the Bay Area for SF Beer Week. Ratebeer's Best event is gonna be amazing.

    If your coming from out of town, make it worth it and stay a few days to check out what else is in the area. A lot of taprooms in the area are going to be having some special stuff.
     
  25. CAbeerCAbeerCA

    CAbeerCAbeerCA Initiate (0) Mar 3, 2011 Maryland

    Do they have a "to go" line for only picking up bottles or growlers on these days?
     
  26. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    They had them last year so I would say yes, but I still remember them being about 30 people back so I'd still expect a wait on to go stuff as well
     
  27. munche

    munche Initiate (23) Sep 1, 2007 California

    Beer isn't about drinking beer, you guys. It's about camping outside in the rain and trying to ignore that the 10 guys in front of you magically turned into 50 guys while you slept on the street.

    These types of events don't attract chill cool beer drinkers who are looking to hang out and discuss craft beer. They attract walezbro tickers who are just there to say they did it who have shitty attitudes and do douchey shit like sidewalk "bottleshares" and letting all their bros cut in line an hour before the event opens.
     
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  28. chcfan

    chcfan Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2008 California

    El Niño is gonna make this even more worth "the experience" this year :rolling_eyes:
     
  29. rraftery

    rraftery Initiate (0) Jun 23, 2007 Iowa

    I was planning on hitting up RR before I even knew PtY was going to be there when we're there. This may be a dumb question, but how does it work between waiting in a line, putting your name in for a table, and then sitting around waiting for a table to open? Is the line just to get your name down for seat? Once you get your name in and are told the wait time, do you need to hang around or what?
     
  30. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    From my recollection for Younger they will let you in once a few spots at the bar open up or once a table opens up, no waiting then waiting again for a table.
     
  31. KnowYourCraft

    KnowYourCraft Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 California

    For the bar you will most likely just be standing around for awhile once they let you in.
     
  32. thuey

    thuey Disciple (334) Nov 13, 2015 California

    I don't know how to answer your question for PtY, but for a normal drop-in at RR...

    1. Wait hour in line
    2. Get to front of line, and they let you into restaurant/bar.
    - If there's an open seat at the bar, you can just skip to step 5.
    3. If there aren't seats, and/or you need a table, you need to go to the host and tell them how large your party is.
    4. Then you wait some more (30-45 mins?) until you get your table. I forget if you get a buzzer or something.
    5. Drink happily.
     
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  33. Goldstar81

    Goldstar81 Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2010 California

    For those looking to drink younger at a local bar that normally receives Russian River kegs I would suggest an Instagram search for the hashtag #plinytheyounger (or any beer you are seeking). I've had pretty good success with this-it worked well during the bourbon county release.

    Some bars advertise an event centered around younger and some places keep it totally hush hush and cater to their regular patrons. Anyone with a RRBC account should likely be getting at least one keg. Nothing like drinking it at the source which I've been there done that.
     
  34. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,838) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    ^
    This. Thuey's comment is the normal procedure at RR, but of course PtY "week" is anything but normal. Oh, and unless things have changed recently, they do give you a flashing light buzzer once your name goes on the wait list.

    A couple of comments and add ons to the posts above.

    I'm getting old, so my memory isn't what it used to be, but here's my recollection of how things have evolved at RR since they stopped doing growler fills during PtY week.

    There's always been a pretty sizeable wait to get in the first weekend, even though initially there was something of a drop off in crowd size once Vinnie stopped filling growlers. I actually made the mistake of getting in line the first Saturday weekend of the second year (or maybe it was third year) after they stopped filling growlers, only to find nearly 200 people waiting in line when I arrived 50 minutes prior to opening bell (I know, I know.... what was I thinking!?!?). I quickly decided I had better things to do with my time, but as it turned out, the crowd/line slowly subsided throughout the day, and later that day around 4:00, I was able to get in after no more than a 20 to 30 minute wait. The following couple of years I stopped by late Sunday afternoon the first weekend, and was able to get almost right in. I want to say the last time I did this was roughly 5 years ago (on Superbowl Sunday as I recall), as the line length only got steadily more horrific after that. I think things actually peaked two or three years ago; I remember swinging by the brewpub 3 or 4 times at off hours, and never saw the line dwindle below 100 folks in line at any one time. A couple of years ago a buddy of mine from Seattle was pleased to tell me that he got in with the first wave on a Thursday morning, after waiting "only" 2 and half hours in line before the brewpub opened. At that point I reconciled myself to never attending RR during another younger "week."

    That being said, while I didn't try to brave the crowds last year, I thought it would be a laugh to see what the line looked like the first Saturday. So I drove by 20 or 30 minutes before opening bell. The line was long, but not nearly as long as I've seen it in previous years. Used to be the line would easily run all the way down to B street and beyond, but last year RR had the line wind around the side on D street, and I was just starting to see some folks starting to queue up on 5th street. From what I recall reading last year, there was a noticeable drop off in crowd size and line size, and I think I recall reading that some folks who stopped by during off hours, were actually able to get virtually right in with no wait. So maybe there's hope that all the PtY hype will finally wear people out and 7 to 8 hour long waits to get into the brewpub will be a thing of the past (I'm not holding my breath).

    A couple of last thoughts, observations and clarifications. I think RR's decision to finally limit the number of glasses and time at a table has paid positive dividends regarding crowd size. Part of the problem in the "bad old days," was that folks who waited 5 or 6 hours to get a table had no intention of leaving any time soon. Stories of groups who would spend 8 hours or more at a table (and leave only when the check hit the thousand dollar mark) were common, and I still remember a buddy of mine from the Philly area bragging about getting in at 3:00 and then consuming (over a number of hours) 13 glasses of younger. So what a surprise that you could sometimes stand in line for an hour and barely see the line budge.

    @mayorQuimby's recommendation to get to the brewpub around 8 or 8:30 during the week to be sure of getting in with the first wave makes sense to me. I would point out that in response to a similar question 3 or 4 years ago, PtY old-timer's were recommending an arrival time of 6:00 or 7:00 at the latest, if you wanted to be fairly certain of getting right in with the first crush.

    With regard to CAbeerCabeerCa's question, in the past you could go to the back door for bottle and growler pick-ups. However, I think they stopped the practice several years back, and I believe you now have to go to the front door and tell the staff you're there for a pick-up (I think @KnowYourCraft's response is dead on). However, every year is different, so maybe call the brewpub to see what they recommend?

    Shrug. My take about PtY week hysteria coincides pretty closely with the post from @munche. But who cares what I think. I can't begin to recall all the past posts I've read from BA members who attended PtY week, and who have reported making new friends and just having the time of their life killing an entire day/weekend at RR. Also, not sure what this year will be like, but typically RR taps a bunch of other cool stuff during younger week (so it's not as if there's no reason to spend any more time at RR once you've had your 3 glasses of younger).

    Cheers!
     
  35. JNL

    JNL Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2013 Illinois

    I'm guessing this means no Younger during SF Craft beer week at any of the events or tapings in the Bay Area.
     
  36. Bigtimmyb

    Bigtimmyb Initiate (0) Jul 3, 2015 California

    Yeah I would figure that is the case. I have never had PTY and the fact that people wait just for pours of this makes me not want to go at all. I will be in San Francisco the week of the 13th and I will check and see what it is like but I don't want to wait 4 hours to drink lol
     
  37. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2013 California

    Just keep your eyes open for events in S.F. during the beer week. Shit, even if you don't get PTY, SF holds so many great spots that you'll get plenty of equally great beers at other locations without the hype.
     
  38. chcfan

    chcfan Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2008 California

    Not sure when the last time you've been there was or exactly when they made the change, John, but they now have a to-go area for bottles, growlers, and merch in the front, sort of to the left of and behind the bar where there used to be a small seating section. A line forms to the right of the front door for to-go stuff now and people are let in in waves. Can't comment on how long those lines will be during Younger but I waited 15 minutes on a "normal" weekend day in that once.

    Are you going to be in town again this year? If so, we should try to meet up.
     
  39. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (6,838) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    That's what it was like last time I was there as well, but it wasn't during younger week. If memory serves, it was something of a cluster trying to get growler fills or buy bottles, given the throngs of people during younger. So it occurred to me that they might do something different during Younger week.

    Yes, I'll be around again this year, but I'll be with the GF/fiancé (who is not a huge beer fan). I'm hoping to pop into the pub on the drive down from Mendocino (on 2/17), but that's only if there isn't a huge line. Otherwise, we'll be staying in Sonoma for a couple days... if you think you'll be around, maybe we can get together for a beer or two then. I'll shoot your a beer mail before we leave the coast to see what your schedule looks like. It's been a long time... would be great to get together for a beer.
     
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  40. Coldstorage

    Coldstorage Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2014 California

    They no longer do buzzers. Now they take your phone number and text you when your table is ready. Its a good system because you an just leave the pub and wander around and when they text you just show it to the door guy and head right in without getting back in line.

    I've said this before in many of the different PTY threads but the new system is a massive improvement. Limiting folks to 3 pours really keeps things moving. Last year I went three times at around 8-9 pm and never waited more than 15-20 minutes. I wouldn't suggest anyone queue up early unless that's the only way you can make it work with your schedule.

    That's all I got. Everyone is now free to resume patting themselves on the back for not waiting in line, declaring it's "not worth it", etc :grinning:
     
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