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Beer lovers line up for annual Pliny the Younger release (w/video)

  • Walnut Creek residents Sean Hudgins and Amy Adams, wait in line for the release of Pliny the Younger at The Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa on Friday. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Despite steady rain, hundreds of people gathered Friday in the annual hours-long wait for the release of the limited and much-anticipated Pliny the Younger ale in downtown Santa Rosa.

The Russian River Brewing Co. opened its doors at 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes early, and let in the first wave of customers, all anxious to get their lips on a glass full of the extra-hoppy beer.

Bowman Chaney and Chico State University buddy Brandon Frankel were first in line — having stepped outside from drinking at the bar at 12:30 a.m. to start the line.

Pliny The Younger Release

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Chaney also was first to taste.

He was allowed in early, for a television interview, and was briefly given a glass of the limited release triple India Pale Ale.

“Smooth,” was his reaction as the brewery's co-owner Natalie Cilurzo quickly took the glass away and returned him to his envious friends in the line outside.

Cilurzo said the opening-day line was the longest ever, despite the adverse weather. The crowd was, however, cheerful and well behaved.

“It's a mellow party in here,” she said in the mid-afternoon, after at least 300 people had been served. “The rain has mellowed everyone out.”

Follow on Twitter at #PlinyTheYounger

This is the 10th year the brewpub has released the seasonal beer, which regularly sits at or near the top of lists of the best beers in the world by critics and beer fans.

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