Last year, timing issues kept the belle of the Beer Week ball from attending the festivites: An earlier Beer Week schedule pegged to the Super Bowl meant that Pliny the Younger, the highly sought-after limited-release beer from Russian River Brewing Company, wasn't available until after Beer Week. But this year, drinkers can expect a return to normalcy. With the festivities back to February (the 10th to the 19th), the coveted triple IPA will be back in San Francisco, starting at the opening gala.
But while the brewery prepares for that, owners Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo have something else on tap. The duo is getting ready to break ground on a massive, expanded brewhouse in Windsor with a capacity of 35,000 barrels. Those plans were first announced last summer, and now The Santa Rosa Press Democrat writes that the brewery hopes their $30 million structure will be open in Summer 2018.
Russian River Brewing won't be making changes to its Santa Rosa brewpub, where 300,000 visitors per year often brave long lines to get a taste. Helpfully, the brewery has generated a guide to getting your Pliny on this year, including hotel recommendations.
“We hope to release a little pressure from downtown so that there’s not the ginormous lines every weekend to come in,” Natalie Cilurzo told the Chronicle of the expansion to Windsor. "The regulars will get their old pub back.”
Russian River has come a long way since 2003, when Vinnie and Natalie bought the rights to spin off the beer brand from Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville when that label left the beer business. The new Windsor facility will include exciting features like an open-top fermentation coolship, allowing for wild yeast fermentations. "We’ll be able to brew much like they do in Lambic,” Cilurzo told the Chronicle, referring to the region of Belgium known for its spontaneously fermented sour beers. While the style doesn't generate the interest that Pliny does — “It’s not something that makes us a lot of money," she tells the Press Democrat, "it’s something we are passionate about."