About 20 years ago I moved to Santa Rosa in Sonoma County and a friend took me to a coffee shop that had North Coast Brewery's Old Rasputin emperial Russian stout on tap. I had never seen a coffee shop with beer on tap, and the taphandle picture of Rasputin's hypnotic eyes made me want to give it a try. It was delicious from the first sip, and it changed my life. The coffee shop offered a drink called Anastasia's Revenge, a pint of Old Rasputin with a shot of espresso in it. I would have a Revenge before my typing class, and it always perked me up into just the right mood.
Since then, I learned about other Sonoma County-brewed treasures, like Racer 5 from Bear Republic in Healdsburg and Brown Shugga from Lagunitas in Petaluma.
|Charlie Papazian autographs The Joy of Homebrewing at Russian River|
When RRBC first opened, they had both Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger on tap. It was no big deal at the time; it was just something we locals took for granted. While The Elder was a year-round release, The Younger was a seasonal release that came out each February. For long-time regulars, it simply came down to a decision between an 8% Elder in a 20-ounce glass or an 11% Younger in a 10-ounce glass. Sometimes you felt like the bigger glass, and sometimes the smaller.
|February 2013 release of Pliny the Younger in Santa Rosa, California|
Since then, nobody is allowed to buy growlers of Pliny the Younger anymore, but hundreds of people still come from all over the world to stand in line over eight hours for the change to get a 10-ounce glass of golden ambrosia. The Sonoma County Economic Development Board says those beer tourists brought in $2.3 million during the two-week event.
More details about the 2013 Pliny the Younger release at Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California.