Pliny the Younger returns and so do the beer aficionados

Pliny the Younger, the exceptionally popular India pale ale released for a limited time each spring by the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, is back. 

The triple IPA will be available on tap again starting Friday. The annual release enticed a group of its devoted fans to camp out overnight for a chance to get one of the first pours of the day.

It's only available in the Santa Rosa pub and Russian River's Windsor location until April 4. The beer is sold on draft and in bottles.

"It's like hosting a 14-day wedding. You gotta be "on" the whole time. But our staff loves the energy they love being here," Russian River brewmaster and co-owner, VinnieCilurzo said. "People want to be here. It's not like waiting in line at the DMV."

Pliny the Younger is a popular India pale ale that is released for a limited time each spring by the Russian River Brewing Company. (KTVU FOX 2)

Fans say it's a delicious happy beer with some fruity flavor. Enthusiasts said waiting in the early morning hours is all part of the experience to get one of the most sought after beers. 

"We kind of see the same crowd every year," said Pablo Martinez who has been going for 11 years. "We all know each other… I see all of these guys about once a year."

The Russian River Brewing Company started brewing Pliny the Younger in 2004, but it wasn’t until six years later that it gained world-wide acclaim when it was rated as one of the top beers in the world. Since then, crowds of people have come to the brewery to sample the Pliny the Younger limited edition release.

"I've always liked to say, it's like liquid sunshine," said Rob Snyder of Vacaville, who lined up at 4 a.m. Friday to sample the suds. "It's citrusy, it's piney, it's super well-balanced."


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By the time the doors opened Friday, more than 100 people were in a line that wrapped around the pub's block on 4th Street. 

"Everybody here is part of this family whose priorities are so far off they're willing to come out here and do this," said Lindsey Weddell, 71, of Santa Rosa, who was officially the first person in line.

The Russian River Brewing Company first started brewing Pliny the Elder in the early 2000s. Pliny the Elder was an ancient Roman naturalist and botanist who wrote about hops, which is why Cilurzo named the beer after him. Then, in 2004, they wanted to come up with a new variation and named it Pliny the Younger, after Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. 

Because of the beer’s popularity and limited release, customers who line up and come to the brew pubs can only stay for a 2.5-hour period and will be limited to ordering three pours or three bottles of the IPA at a time.