The Firkin for February 2011

PtY madness is a disease. But it is treatable.

This month’s Pliny the Younger release from Russian River Brewing was a much smoother affair than last year. Growlers were replaced with glasses and more people went away happy with a bitter beer.

The only downside to PtY or Dark Lord from 3 Floyds or Black Tuesday from The Bruery or Kate the Great from Portsmouth is the mania that goes with each beer.

I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts about how to fairly distribute a scarce product. It’s hard. And what works one year may not the next.

First, let me be clear, these are great beers. You do not get people returning, year after year if they are not. That is not my issue.

My concern is that the rest of a brewer’s line up is settled for at best and dismissed at worst. This mania creates a small sub-category of beers that are worthy of treasure hunts or put on pedestals. And to me that is the opposite of what craft beer is about.

We spent years drinking one type of beer. We now have choice. Why limit ourselves again? I want to have Russian River’s entire selection, not just one beer. The brewery should always be first and foremost. Not PtY but Russian River’s Pliny the Younger and then add, “one of many fine IPA’s brewed by Russian River”. It’s redundant but the focus needs to be fixed onto the brewery and not individual brews. Otherwise we can end up with one trick pony breweries.

PtY day is like beer Christmas. A day that people wait for all year long. But I want people to remember that the other holidays are great too.

In the Tap Lines for February 2011

The shortest month of the year is upon us.

Here is what is planned this month for all of you readers/drinkers.

~ e-visits to four breweries of New Zealand
~ video reviews of two beers from my local, Eagle Rock Brewing (I mean it this time!)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my opinion on the craft beer world
~ my 2011 Beer challenge will be expanded
~ plus many more posts about new beers, beer products and breweries

P to the T and the Y

For those who love the elusive Pliny the Younger, here are the details according to Russian River …..

We are releasing Younger at our pub in Santa Rosa on February 4th. When the pub receives it’s allocation, those kegs will be allocated to last for exactly 2 weeks. Therefore, we may run out at the pub each day, but will have more the following day for 2 weeks. It will be available in 10 oz. glasses only- no growlers or bottles to go. This will allow more beer enthusiasts like you, as well as our regular customers, to enjoy some Younger this year! And we won’t see it on Ebay!

Following are the markets to which we will send Younger (same as last year):

San Francisco
East Bay
North Bay
Southern California
Seattle, WA
Portland, OR
Philadelphia, PA

I will celebrate the start of PTY season with a nice Blind Pig a great IPA that I don’t have to fight through a crowd to get.

San Francisco Beer Week

Continuing the California theme, now is the time to check out the SF Beer Week website to see what you are going to either A) go to / buy tickets for or B) cry about not being able to attend. But you can’t get to every beer festival (or can you?).

Here is a teaser of events for the beer week that starts on February 11th….
-An Opening Gala at Yerba Buena Cultural Center on February 11th
-A Double IPA Festival at The Bistro on February 12th
-Triple Fermented: Cask Beer, Cheese, and Bread at ThirstyBear Brewing Co. on February 13th
-Beerunch with Mateveza and Dogfish Head at Public House re-airing Game 5 of the World Series on February 13th
-A Pig Roast and Barrel-Aged Beer Tasting at Drake’s Brewing Co. with Chop Bar Restaurant on February 16th
-A Barleywine Festival at The Toronado on February 19th
-A Chocolate and Beer Festival at the Craneway Pavilion on February 19th

Stone Winter Storm


Super Bowl be damned! I would rather be at this party…
“Stone Winter Storm is back for a fourth and glorious year! All 32 Bistro taps (and more!) will be pouring an avalanche of year ’round beers, special releases, archived vintages, barrel aged brews, collaborations, brewer’s one-off creations, casks, and more bottles than you can shake a Christmas tree at. We’ll see you here for an amazing week-long celebration of the rarest and tastiest Stone brews to be found outside of our 8,000 sq. foot cold box!”

Follow this LINK to get the updated information.