Valley Craft Beer

What’s Pliny the Elder and why are Valley beer drinkers freaking out about it?

Pliny the Elder is the second-best beer in America, per Zymurgy’s best of list for 2019.

It had held the No. 1 slot for a run of eight years, before being dethroned in 2017.

The double IPA is the kind of brew that has long been debated – and much sought after – by craft beer snobs and newbies alike. Its maker, Russian River Brewing Company, keeps tight reins on distribution. Until recently, the beer was available only at Russian River’s brewpub in Santa Rosa (with a strict limit one case per person) and in select cities – not in the central San Joaquin Valley.

That changed Tuesday.

Per, The Fresnan blog:

Fresno is finally a Russian River Brewing town!

Only Russian River-approved businesses and distributors (thank you Delta Pacific Beverage for being worthy) are allowed to carry Russian River beer. The major requirement being that the beer must always be refrigerated and cared for properly.

So, far, it’s only being distributed to a dozen or so restaurants, bars and stores in the Fresno area – and might be gone as quickly as it arrives.

Spokeasy Public House sold out all of its bottles as soon as the craft beer bar opened it doors Tuesday and sold out its drafts by 9 p.m. Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicatessen blew through a keg and a half of Pliny the Elder on its first night serving.

Goldstein’s does have a keg and half left and also is serving Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA and STS Pils and plans to have the beer on tap as regularly as possible now.

The beer went out on the shelves at the Market at West Herndon and North West avenues Wednesday morning. People are already coming in specifically to pick up a pint, says Joe Pressutti, who runs the Market with his brother Andy Pressutti.

The store is selling bottles of Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig for $5.99 each. Bottles of Intinction, a pilsner aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels, sell for $14.99.

Customers need to move quickly.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for it,” Pressutti says.

He isn’t sure of the exact distribution schedule going forward, but hopes to have another shipment next month.

Where to find Russian River Brewing Company

Restaurants and bars

Goldstein’s – 1279 N. Wishon Ave.

Hop PK – 820 Van Ness Ave.

Spokeasy Public House – 1472 N. Van Ness Ave.

Gazebo Gardens – 3204 N. Van Ness Ave.

Kunisama – 6825 N. Willow Ave.

Tap & Cellar – 317 W. Bedford Ave.

BC’s Pizza & Beer – 1315 Shaw Ave., Clovis

Maroa Shell – 902 E. Shields Ave.

Michaelangelo’s Pizzeria – 619 Woodworth Ave., Clovis


Whole Foods – 650 W. Shaw Ave.

The Market – 7088 N. West Ave.

MGA Liquor – 342 N. Clovis Ave., Clovis

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.