Pliny the Younger is here. Kegs of the once-a-year treat have begun to be tapped around Los Angeles, and on Saturday three of L.A.'s most lauded beer bars will be hosting parties celebrating craft beer's most coveted brew, each with its own twist.
Mohawk Bend gets things started early Saturday when it opens its doors and begins distributing tickets at 9:30 a.m. A 6-ounce glass will cost you $6.50 (limit one per person), and the keg will be tapped at 11 a.m. They're serving brunch until 3 p.m., and it's anyone's guess if the keg of Pliny will last that long. Get down their early.
Mohawk Bend, 2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 483-2337.
38 Degrees is pulling out all the stops and owner Clay Harding has assembled a tap list that could pack the ale house even without tapping the elusive Younger. The main event is the special $14 flight including four 5-ounce tasters of the Elder and the Younger Plinys alongside Blind Pig IPA and Row 2 Hill 56 pale ale. Additionally, there are other rarities from Russian River (Consecration, Supplication) and all manner of big hoppy treats available from breweries both local and far-flung. The doors open at 11:30 a.m., and I'd wager there will be quite a line formed out front by then.
38 Degrees Ale House & Grill, 100 W. Main St., Alhambra, (626) 282-2038.
Blue Palms does things a little differently: It offers a 10-ounce pour of the pungent elixir for $20. It sounds like profiteering on the rare beer, but actually the proceeds from the keg are donated to charity -- the Keep A Breast Foundation this year. The cost of entry tends to keep the crowds a bit more manageable (though it can still get pretty packed later in the afternoon.) Blue Palms opens at 2 p.m. Saturday, and they'll be serving a limited menu during the scrum.
Blue Palms Brewhouse, 6124 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-2337.
The big question: Is the beer (or any beer) worth this level of hype? Is waiting in line for hours and jostling with throngs of craft beer geeks warranted to get a taste of what many have called the best beer in the world?
Perhaps, but at this point in the legend of Pliny the Younger it's not really about the beer anymore. It's about the spectacle, it's about the experience, and -- most importantly -- it's about sharing that experience with like-minded beer lovers.
So get up early, get in line, and meet some new buddies as you toast with craft beer's most notorious brews. (A frequently updated roundup of Pliny events is posted online at the Full Pint craft beer website.)