Friday, February 11, 2011

Wake up, it's beer time

There aren't many things that will get me out of bed early -- the smell of bacon cooking in the kitchen, a fire alarm going off and of course, the offering of beer. Thursday morning it was the call of beer that had me wiping sleep out of my eyes at the crack of 9 a.m.

Once a year the northern California brewery Russian River releases a limited amount of the 11%ABV brew Pliny the Younger. After finding out from Brewery Rowe that the San Diego bar O'Brien's would have a keg on the weekend, a friend did some searching and found out we could enjoy the tasty beverage at an earlier time. Thanks to Toronado San Diego we were able to enjoy it three days earlier. A lot of other bars around San Diego are being very hush-hush on when they will tap their prized keg.

When we arrived at Toronado at 9:20 a.m. there were already 10 people in line in front of him. My job was to stop for donuts on the way to the bar and by the time I got there around 9:40 there were about 20 people in line. There were moms with kids, men in business suits, hipsters and me in my workout clothes (eating a donut and getting ready to drink beer, that's how I roll).

While waiting in line people started showing up with cameras taking pictures of the odd spectacle of people waiting in line for a bar before 10 a.m. on a workday. And finally, with about 30 people in line, the doors to Toronado opened just past 10 a.m.

Like the orderly beer drinkers we are, everyone filed in to the end of the bar and in order, took a seat at the bar. After the bar chairs ran out, beer fans filed in behind in a calm, orderly fashion. And the Pliny started flowing.

So, was it worth getting up early and waiting in line to try? When craft brews reach the threshold of 10%ABV, they have the tendency to get a bit syrupy, but Pliny the Younger was extremely smooth and full of flavor. I give the Younger two very enthusiastic thumbs up. I wish I could have had more than one, but after my inaugural drink I could feel the fact that it was an 11% beer. I knew that if I would have had more than one I would have been struggling to hold poses at yoga afterward. I am glad, however, that this beer only comes out once a year, because if it were available at all times, that could lead to some trouble -- and the addition of a beer belly.
Fallen soldiers.
By the time I left the bar around 11:30 to head to yoga class, there were probably close to 75-100 people. I read later that the first keg was dust by noon and while Toronado was lucky enough to have a second keg, it was tapped out around 3 p.m. Well done fellow beer drinkers.

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