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Forget the rain, beer drinkers line-up for signature brew in Santa Rosa

Hundreds stand in line in the cold rain for Russian River's Pliny the Younger in Santa Rosa

They came from all over the world for what they believe to be the holy grail of beers.

On Friday, more than 200 people stood outside the Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, some for hours and in the cold rain, hoping to score a glass of the brewery's signature beer, the Press Democrat reported.

The brew pub opened its doors at 10:30 a.m., half an hour earlier than scheduled, to allow customers to get out of the rain and drink some beer, co-owner Natalie Cilurzo told the newspaper.

Cilurzo could not be reach for comment Friday.

Every year, during the first two weeks of February, the brewery sells limited amounts of Pliny the Younger, an extra-hoppy triple India Pale Ale.

It's popularity abounds. According to the company’s website, the average wait time in 2014 to purchase the beer was at least 12 hours.

This year the company said it was limiting the amount of time guests could stay in the brew pub to three hours.

Pliny the Younger was the nephew and adopted son of Pliny the Elder, a writer and naturalist who created the botanical name for hops.

A lawyer and an author in Ancient Rome, Pliny the Younger witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that destroyed and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pliny the Elder died during the eruption while trying to rescue friends.

The brewing company has named beers in tribute to both men.

In 2001, Russian River brewed its first batch of Pliny the Elder, then two years later it released its first batch of Pliny the Younger.

Since then, the beers have grown in popularity as more and more drinkers discover craft beer, according to John Verive, a beer writer for the Los Angeles Times. 

The high demand for the brewing company's signature beer and limited supply has led the beer to obtain somewhat of a mythical status among some drinkers.

The company delivers the beer in unmarked trucks because some fans started following the trucks from store to store, according to Marketplace.

Frank Midaa, who owns California Heights Market in Long Beach, knows how difficult it is to obtain the brewing company’s beer.

Midaa says he currently has about 200 customers waiting for Pliny the Elder.

“Every day I have about 10 calls and people are always asking: do you have Pliny?’” he said. “It’s hard to get it, and that’s why people want it.”

Midaa says he doesn't quite understand the beer's popularity. He said there are others that are just as good, if not better.

“It used to get called the best beer in the world because there was nothing like it,” Verive explains. “However, in recent years there have also been some other breweries that have made IPAs in that same over-the-top-style, and now, Pliny The Younger is no-longer the only triple IPA on that block.” 

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