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Like most major beer releases and other special events during this COVID-era, we are hitting the pause button and scaling back our annual 2021 Pliny the Younger release! Planning for the 2021 Younger release has been a huge topic of discussion for Vinnie, Natalie and key employees throughout 2020. It is very difficult to plan for much of anything these days, let alone a major beer release which draws thousands of visitors from all over the world to our 2 breweries in Sonoma County. We have had to make some hard decisions based on many factors, first and foremost being the health and safety of not only our employees and customers, but also the community in which we live. Our business operations are also dependent upon both state and local health orders which can change, and likely will continue to change, at anytime. Therefore, there will be no in person release at either brewery this year. While we are sad to miss seeing our loyal friends and fans from around the world, it has become clear that it will not be safe for us to gather again by February. Neither of our pubs have been allowed to reopen for indoor dining since we closed in March 2020 due to the unrelenting spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. In December, we had to shut down outdoor dining again due to a major virus surge which continues to ravage all of California. Although our Downtown Santa Rosa pub is still operating with takeout only, our Windsor pub will remain completely closed until further notice.
We just brewed this year’s 4 batches of Pliny the Younger, which is about 1/3 of what we produced last year. Our signature 510ml bottles will be available for sale as part of a mixed case for a limited time through our website for direct shipping to consumers within the state of California. Vinnie and Natalie plan to host a couple of virtual tastings during what would be our normal release time in February via Facebook LIVE! We are also taking this year off from wholesale draft distribution as the majority of our accounts who would carry Younger are either closed or only able to offer takeout. More importantly, we are very concerned for the health and safety of our wholesale accounts and their employees. Large crowds tend to gather wherever Younger is available, which can lead to unintended and dire consequences during a global pandemic. The last thing we want is to be responsible for creating super spreader event. We want everyone to be around enjoying Pliny the Younger in 2022! So please grab a beer and keep reading to learn all the details of our modified 2021 Younger release!
Pliny the Younger, The Beer:
Pliny the Younger is a Triple IPA, meaning that it is higher in alcohol and has tons of hops. Though the ABV usually finishes at about 10.25%, it is remarkably dry for the amount of malt used in this recipe. Loaded with hop aroma and flavor, Younger is remarkably well-balanced with malt and a lingering dry and bitter finish. We brewed Younger for the first time in 2005 as a winter seasonal release, building upon the Pliny the Elder recipe while pushing the envelope with malt, hops, and alcohol just to see how far we could go!
This year’s Pliny the Younger is the same base recipe as last year and expected to finish fermenting at about 10.25% ABV. The hops are also mostly the same with the addition of a newer hop to us, Elixir. Last year we made Hop 2 It, our single hop Pale Ale, with 100% Elixir. This hop exhibits characteristics of citrus, spice and berry, specifically Strawberry. The rest of the hops used in Younger 2021 are: Amarillo, Chinook, Citra, CTZ, Mosaic, Nelson, Simcoe and Warrior. It always finishes fairly dry and well-balanced, even with a higher ABV. This is our 17th year brewing Pliny the Younger! We are grateful to be able to brew it again, even though our normal release plans have been side-lined by COVID-19. Everyone here at RRBC is looking forward to safely gathering again with many of you the first Friday in February 2022!
Pliny the Younger, The Man:
Pliny the Younger was the nephew and adopted son of Pliny the Elder. He was a lawyer and an author in Ancient Rome and witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which took the life of his uncle while trying to save others. Pliny the Younger lived from 61 AD to 112 AD. He wrote many letters which survive today and have great historical value. We thought it was only appropriate to also pay tribute to Pliny the Elder’s nephew by naming this special beer after him!
2021 will be the second time we have ever bottled Pliny the Younger and a first for shipping direct to consumer! Pliny the Younger 510ml bottles will be available for pre-sale in a non-customizable 12-bottle mixed case through our website store starting January 28th at 11AM PST. At this time, we are only able to ship within the state of California for cost, compliance and legal reasons. In an effort to recreate a more representative RRBC Younger experience, each 12-bottle mixed case will include 4 bottles of Younger plus 1-2 each of a few other favorite RRBC beers hand selected by Vinnie and me. Bottles of Younger will neither be available at our brewpubs nor released for wholesale distribution. Each bottle of Younger will be marked “NOT FOR RESALE” to discourage bootlegging and illegal reselling. If you see bottles some where they should not be, please let us know! Here is the scoop:
Draft Distribution: Due to the most recent virus surge and the temporary (or permanent) closure or greatly reduced business operations for the majority of our wholesale accounts throughout CA, OR, CO and PA, we will not be producing any Younger for distribution in 2021. We also do not want to be the impetus for a super-spreader event! We really do care about the health and safety of our wholesale partners and their employees. Looking forward to getting back to a normal Younger release in 2022!
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