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A Brief Behind-the-Scenes Look
Following up on this year’s RateBeer Best awards, I’m hoping to catch up soon with both Hill Farmstead (Top Brewer in the World) and Pipeworks (Top New Brewer). As we’re gearing up locally for San Francisco Beer Week, though, I wanted to first take a quick look back at last week’s preceding Pliny the Younger release.
Pliny the Younger is sort of a lightning rod for a lot of other conversations, whether they entail the rare-beer-seeking subculture or an influx of n00bs who happened to read about the latest fancy beer release in their local paper. (As a friend would put it: “They tossed down the PBRs, pulled on a pair of skinny jeans, and peddled to Santa Rosa as fast as their fixies could carry them.”) There’s this idea of invasion, or the similar worry that, somehow, the craft beer scene's splitting at its seams.
From ground zero of the rare-beer world, I’ll say this: the positive mojo of craft beer is still alive and well in Sonoma County. I arrived at Russian River early on release day, and I was inside with other media folks before the doors opened. I got to see the preparatory nuts and bolts: boxes stacked, chalkboards updated, pictures posed for, a quick employee pep talk from Vinnie, fortifying pre-event shots of Younger...

I saw gracious welcomes and group cheers. Employees who were excited to be working, even an employee with the day off who'd showed up just to check if they could use any extra help. (They could.) I saw free first rounds poured for enthusiasts who’d been in line before dawn, as well as painters depicting the scenes out front and news teams filming the proceedings inside. I tried to talk to everyone who'd talk back: folks who'd traveled from Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, and Chicago.
And maybe it’s just me, or how I choose to look at such things… But I didn’t see anything other than the same things that got me excited about craft beer in the first place, back before the limited releases and craft beer’s ascent into mainstream awareness. I saw good people genuinely excited, ready to enjoy world-class beer.

Ken Weaver (RB: kmweaver)
Russian River Brewing's Chalkboard - Pliny the Younger


Pliny the Younger Day - Brookston Beer Bulletin

Pliny the Younger Line - BeerPulse

Hill Farmstead Memberships - Embrace the Funk


RateBeer Winter Gathering Details - Jacksonville

And the 200,000th Beer Added to Ratebeer Is...


...was much cooler before everyone started using it?
Meantime Brewing Company - Make Time For A Great Beer.
Firestone Walker Parabola 4.56
Rochefort Trappistes 10 4.53
Westvleteren 12 (XII) 4.52
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - Cherry Rye Barrel 4.47
Bells Black Note Stout 4.44
Other notables: Stone Ruination IPA, Peg’s G.O.O.D. RareR DOS, Crooked Stave L’Brett d’Or, Revelation Cat Woodwork Series Acasia, Struise Cuvée Delphine

Northern Brewer's Rebel Rye - Breaking The Mold with a Bold, Powerful Statement of Stubbornness.
Surly Oak Aged and Vanilla Bean Darkness 4.32
Struise Black Berry Albert Whisky Barrel Aged 4.27
Tired Hands Perfect Touchdown 4.2
Wicked Weed Saison IV 4.13
Gänstaller-Bräu Akkurat ROCKS Steinbier 3.98
Other notables: Amager The Sinner Series Pride, Revolution Winter Woman, Cigar City Humidor Series Baltic Porter, Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 YYZ - Coconut Kona Porter, Indeed / Northbound Hot Box Imperial Smoked Pepper Porter, Hornbeer Viking Chili Stout (Megagrisk), Struise Weltmerz, Pizza Port (Carlsbad) Deeeez Nutz, Four Peaks Vanilla Stout, Jack’s Abby Almond Joy

Luekens Liquors - Order online. We ship! Southern Tier, Dogfish Head, Cigar City, and More.

2/8/2013 San Francisco Beer Week San Francisco, CA, 2/8/2013 SF Beer Week Opening Celebration San Francisco, CA, 2/9/2013 Bistro 13th Annual DIPA Fest Hayward, CA, 2/10/2013 RateBeer’s Best Of The Bay (by style) San Francisco, CA, 3/2/2013 LS XIII: Saint Sunshine’s Day Brier, WA
2/9/2013 Cider Summt - Chicago Chicago, IL, 2/15/2013 Cincy Beerfest Cincinnati, OH, 2/23/2013 MN Gathering @ Skyview VI St Paul, MN, 3/2/2013 Day / Night of the Living Ales 2013 Chicago, IL, 3/30/2013 Firkin Fest 2013 St. Paul, MN
2/21/2013 RateBeer Winter Gathering Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL, 2/23/2013 Florida Craft Brew and Wingfest Vero Beach, FL, 3/9/2013 Secret Stash Bash Sandy Springs, GA
2/8/2013 Night of the Barrels Boston, MA, 2/9/2013 Extreme Beer Fest Boston, MA, 2/15/2013 Max’s 9th Belgian Beer Festival Baltimore, MD, 2/23/2013 Brewvival 2013 North Charleston, SC, 3/2/2013 Imminent Liquidation III Hummelstown, PA
2/6/2013 23rd Battersea Beer Festival London, ENGLAND, 3/8/2013 Braukunst Live! Festival München, GERMANY, 3/8/2013 BBF Barcelona Beer Festival 2013 Barcelona, SPAIN, 3/16/2013 Mikkeller & Friends - We are Opening A New Bar In Copenhagen Copenhagen N, DENMARK, 3/29/2013 RateBeer Japan Gathering 2 Tokyo, JAPAN

CA - San Francisco Pine Street Brewery, CO - Boulder Fate Brewing Company (CO), IL - Ava Scratch Brewing Company, MA - Stoughton Battle Road Brewing Company, MA - Boston Pintley Company LLC (Oncemade beer), MI - Grand Rapids Mitten Brewing Company, MN - Minneapolis 612 Brew, MN - Lake Park Junkyard Brewing Company, MS - Ocean Springs Crooked Letter Brewing Company, NC - Asheville Altamont Brewing Company, ND - Mandan Buffalo Commons Brewing Company, ND - Minot Souris River Brewing Company, OH - Granville Granville Brewing Co., OH - Chagrin Falls Hungry Bee, RI - Pawtucket Bucket Brewery, RI - Woonsocket Ravenous Brewing Company, TX - Cedar Creek Wide-In-Wisdom Meadery, WA - Seattle Machine House Brewery, WI - Elkhorn Apple Barn Orchard & Winery, WI - Campbellsport Armstrong Apples Orchard & Winery, WI - Chippewa Falls Autumn Harvest Winery, WI - Shell Lake Clover Meadow Winery, WI - Marinette Forgotten Fire Winery, WI - Ellison Bay Island Orchard Cider, WI - Freedom Kerrigan Brothers Winery, WI - Withee Munson Bridge Winery, WI - New Glarus New Glarus Primrose Winery, WI - Waukesha Pieper Porch Winery & Vineyard, SCOTLAND - Dundee MòR Brewing Limited, RUSSIA - Perm Perm Brewery (Sun-InBev), RUSSIA - Perm Vaclav Brewery and Restaurant, POLAND - SÅ‚awice Hotel & Browar Slociak, PHILIPPINES - Bacolod City, Negros Island Bogs Brew, PHILIPPINES - Iligan City Fat Pauly’s, KAZAKHSTAN - Almaty Carlsberg Kazakhstan, JAPAN - Takashimashi, Shiga Pref. Fukui Mihira Shoten, JAPAN - Makino, JAPAN - Kyoto Matsumoto Shuzo, JAPAN - Nara Umenoyado Brewery CO., LTD., JAMAICA - Kingston Razz Breweries Jamaica Ltd, ITALY - S. Martino di Colle Umberto (TV) Bradipongo Birrificio, GERMANY - Wanne-Eickel Hülsmann Getränke UG, GERMANY - Brensbach Landbrauerei Bierbacher, GERMANY - Borna Ritterguts Gose GmbH, GERMANY - Bamberg St. ERHARD GmbH, FRANCE - Strasbourg Bendorf, FRANCE - Paris Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, FRANCE - Bérigny Brasserie Gildard, ESTONIA - Tallinn Põhjala, ENGLAND - Hartlebury Attwood Ales, ENGLAND - Bury Deeply Vale, ENGLAND - Elephant School Brewing Co, ENGLAND - London HOBO Beer + Co., ENGLAND - South Petherton Honey Pot Farm Cider, ENGLAND - Yeovil King Brain Cider, ENGLAND - liverpool Melwood Beer Company, ENGLAND - Manchester Privateer Brewery, ENGLAND - Ledbury William’s Orchards, DENMARK - Hundested W-Brew, COLOMBIA - Espinal, Tolima Cervecería Pijao, CHINA - Zhuhi Chicago Brewery and Grill, CHILE - Puerto Varas Cerveceria Tronkos, CHILE - Santiago Cerveza Insular, CHILE - Curicó Cerveza Maihue, CHILE - Puerto Varas Cerveza Morchela, CHILE - Puerto Varas Chester Beer, CHILE - Santiago Trog, BRAZIL - Brotas Beer, BELGIUM - Zeebrugge Henricus, BELGIUM - ertvelde van steenberghe, AUSTRIA - Langenzersdorf Core Brewery, AUSTRIA - Sektkellerei Gebrüder Szigeti GmbH, AUSTRALIA - Epping, VIC Sideshow Brewers, ANGOLA - Cerbab - WELCOME!

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