Nearly 250 people were waiting in line for a taste of Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger beer when the doors of Monk’s Cafe opened to a round of applause at noon on a bright and sunny Monday.
First in line was Chris Tomins who had set up his chair about 7 a.m. When I asked what inspired his early arrival, he told me that his trip up from the Baltimore area was about more than just the beer. It’s about the charity, the travel, and the chase.
“People who do stuff like this are interested in going traveling and checking out different parts of the country and trying the beer. You have to go out to California to get this beer,” he said. “This is the only place, Philly is the only area, that carries it this time of year from the West Coast.”
Pliny the Younger is made once a year in a small brewpub in Santa Rosa, California, said Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk’s Cafe.
“It’s a very limited release, and, instead of people clamoring for it and clawing over top of each other, I use it as a fundraiser, and we donate 100 percent of the proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand.”
This year’s brew is 10.25 percent alcohol by volume, just a touch higher than last year’s batch. It’s hoppy and fresh and. by now, Monk’s is likely working its way through the last of the two half kegs it received — more than anyone else in the city by far.