Are You Willing to Wait Up to 9 Hours for a Mythical Beer?

Your SF Beer Week marching orders, Pliny the Younger included

SF Beer Week
We see beer flights in your future

Mid-February is inscribed in the hearts of many a Bay Area beer lover for a single reason: SF Beer Week, and the attendant release of the exceptionally limited-edition Pliny the Younger at Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa.

Do you love a beer “loaded with hop flavors, bitterness, and aromatics”? Are you prepared to wait for a period of time that may well extend into the “all three films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy” range?

If you are, it’s time to make tracks to Santa Rosa — the festivities end next week. Here, your plan for celebrating Beer Week up Sonoma way. 


Santa Rosa might just be our favorite town north of San Francisco and south of the Arctic Circle. We’ll be staying at the Sandman, which is as classic a California motor lodge as it gets — the rooms are on the basic side, but the heated pool and adjoining Pool House are spectacular (pool open daily year-round; Pool House and Bar open weekends only through the winter.) 


Spinster Sisters has the best brunch in Santa Rosa. And if you’re the kind of person who can’t relax without some time outside, head for an early-morning hike at Trione-Annadel State Park.


This is what you came for: Pliny the Younger — this year, available only until Feb. 20 (a week from today). (“Please plan to wait in line anywhere from 3 to 9 hours on the weekends once we get the doors open.”) Find all the details here for lining up at the Santa Rosa location, including suggestions for what not to bring (“Please leave easy-ups, tents, and other outdoor structures at home”), poor practices (“take turns getting coffee, food, haircuts, shopping, or whatever”) and more. New this year: bottle sales (“This year we are bottling Pliny the Younger for the first time ever!”) — only available to those who made it through the line.


Lucky for you, Sonoma County is now home to so many craft beer spots that the local tourism office put together a map of them all. Our three top spots:

Stumptown Brewery, Guerneville: Grab a Rat Bastard Pale Ale and settle in on the patio overlooking the Russian River — if it’s not raining, it’s terrific. 

Seismic Brewing Company, Sebastopol: Our second-favorite destination in Sonoma County, Sebastopol is home to the Seismic taproom. As part of an ever-expanding SF Beer Week, they’re celebrating in Sonoma with a number of events — including a perfect-for-Valentine’s Day “waffle and beer pairing.” 

3 Disciples Brewing, Santa Rosa: If you want to stay in Santa Rosa but also to avoid the madness at Russian River, consider instead 3 Disciples — and in fact, make it a two-fer with a trip next weekend: Friday 2/19 is Punk Rock Night!, with One Armed Joey, Build Them to Break, and Cut-Rate Druggist, while Saturday 2/20 sees their own release party, for Ride the Lupulin, a collaboration with HopLabs Brewing.


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