Beer lovers lined up early Friday for the release of a hugely popular, award-winning brew out of the North Bay.
The Russian River Brewing Co. drew large crowds at its locations in Santa Rosa and Windsor for the release of its Pliny the Younger triple India pale ale.
The beer has won numerous awards and typically draws the big crowds on its release date because of its limited supply.
Pliny the Younger's release event over the past 18 years has attracted thousands over its two-week span to the Russian River Brewing Co.'s brewpubs in downtown Santa Rosa and Windsor.
"Beer enthusiasts are equivalent to the old comparison to Star Trek 'Trekkies.' It’s that sort of thing," brewery co-owner Vinnie Cilurzo said. "People into craft beers are really into it, and they travel to different parts of the country for an event or release. We’ll have folks from not just around the country but the world come out for the Pliny the Younger release."
The in-person release was canceled in 2021 because of the pandemic, and the brewery had a limited online sale last year for customers.
Demand for Pliny the Younger is so high, each guest will be given a custom, uniquely colored and dated wristband before entering the pub. The wristbands have four pull-tabs to be redeemed for the ability to purchase three 10-ounce pours and two bottles of Pliny the Younger.
The three pours are non-transferable, but those who do not want to buy two bottles can transfer that allocation to friends.
The brewpubs are open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through April 7, and the company warns people should be prepared to wait up to six hours during the busiest times, which are typically Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.