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Natalie Cilurzo brings the 2023 Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing Co. to Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras today.
This is the 19th presentation of the new Pliny the Younger. This version is a little bit different than the one that premiered in February. The Pliny the Younger base recipe is fairly stable, at about 10.25% ABV, but there is a tweak to the hops and this year that is a new hop from New Zealand called Nectaron. Vinny decided to put a little more bittering hops into the second mix. The hop aroma is brilliant and beautiful and the flavors really shine through.
The New Release Schedule
In February they did a limited release. The first Friday in February used to be the launch date. Last year they had to postpone distribution due to a Covid outbreak, and what they found out was that their accounts appreciated the rollout this way, so they will continue to release for wholesale, draft only, in February and then in person, on draft and in bottles, for their brewpubs only, in late March.
Natalie describes about a four-month process they have to manage for the release event. There is merchandise galore to design and order, the label, packaging, timing and logistics for all that, wristbands, et cetera. There are 28,000 unique wristbands, marked with date and location, with four pull tabs. The first three tabs are redeemable for one 10-ounce pour. The fourth, or B tab, allows the bearer to purchase two bottles to go. A lot of people enjoy the social event, including meeting people in line.
There are usually 20 beers on tap at Russian River Brewing Co. in addition to Pliny the Younger. They are releasing Hopfather IPA and a sour peach beer, tomorrow.
Herlinda and Natalie were at the California Craft Brewers Association conference this week. On the last day, the final talk had Natalie, Vinny and Ken Grossman on stage talking about the beer business and then they served a taste of Pliny for everyone, which was a big hit.
There is a cheese tasting too, for people waiting in line. The California Artisan Cheese Festival is at the Fairgrounds, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove and others will be there.