First non-running centric blog in awhile…haha. But, if we’re not getting up at four am to run a race, we might as well get up at four to get in line for beer.
We’d both heard a lot about Russian River Brewing Company and their limited release beer, Pliney the Younger. So, for Brian’s birthday, we decided to take a day and go out for the first day of the release. He did a bunch of research…found out what time we needed to be there, where to go, etc. Turned out, we’d need to leave the house at 4:30…also turned out it was going to rain. Awesome…totally like a race day.
Traffic wasn’t bad (imagine that at 4:30 am), but the rain proved to be a slight challenge. Since we didn’t know what parking would be like, we decided to take my car…though his probably would’ve been better in the rain. It wasn’t terrible, and once we got past Novato, it had pretty much stopped raining.
The brewery was easy to find once we got to Santa Rosa. Right in the middle of downtown…for some reason, I was expecting it to be in a farm field, why I’m not sure. At first, we thought the line wasn’t that long, but quickly realized it spanned several blocks as we kept driving. We found parking in a lot right behind the brewery (though we didn’t realize it at the time). Wandered around for a bit, and then finally found the line.
We made ourselves comfortable – opened up our chairs, pulled out the coffee, etc. of course it had started to rain again, but luckily, Gortex is our friend. We weren’t cold (thank you Everest clothes) or wet…well, eventually I was…not sure what the deal with my water proof pants was…Brian even got interviewed by the morning news.
As he was getting interviewed, more people fell in line behind us. That’s when we met Richard and Sean, two guys from Fresno, who’d decided to come up while enjoying a growler from Russian River the night before.
The rain came and went, and came and went again. A very smart Girl Scout made her way down the line selling cookies before she went to school. I’m pretty sure everyone bought some – genius idea. At some point the security guards started counting people and we were maybe 78(ish) in line. They came back shortly after to stamp our hands, and at that point, we were in the 100’s. Then they started condensing the line. It was kind of exciting, even though we knew we still had 90 minutes to wait. But, since we’d been waiting three hours already, it felt like the end was in site.
With maybe an hour to go, the owners (two cousins, I believe), made their way down the line, thanking everyone for being there…listening to everyone’s stories…offering us breakfast and coffee. After that, one of the owners brought his mother out to meet everyone and say hello. I was really amazed how nice everyone was, from the people standing in line to the owners, to the employees. Even as we got close to going in, an employee asked us if we needed anything – water, coffee, etc. At that point, we were ready for beer.
As they started taking people in, we decided with the guys behind us that we were either a group of two or four. Whatever made sense. And, it turned out to be a good decision. Not only did we get the last table available for the first seating, but also, we got to enjoy the rest of the day with friends.
Once you’re inside, you get three Pliny the Younger’s, and three hours inside. We enjoyed our beers, tried some of the other ones, and decided what to take home (along with the merchandise). Interestingly enough, the guy at the table next to us was from Buffalo and sporting Bills gear…lives out here now, but, small world.
Overall, it was a great experience. Pliny the Younger was delicious. Was it worth five hours in a rainy line…I’m not sure. What was worth the wait was the hospitality – meeting people in line that morning that became friends by the end of the day, meeting the owners of the bar who took the time to greet everyone (despite the rain), hearing and being part of the toast the owners did with the first group of diners, and being able to cheer as more people were able to come in and have their tastes.
Such a fun day and definitely something I’d do again. We’d leave earlier (or stay out there), apparently the rain kept a lot of people away and the line was shorter than it’s been in the past.
In other news, I’m one month out from Way Too Cool. Yikes! Hopefully I can get in shape before then. Big mileage weeks coming up these next few weeks…I see several double OTF workouts in my future…