If you are into the craft beer scene, you might have noticed that recently there has been a lot of talk about triple IPAs. More hops, more alcohol, and a bigger beer are the hallmark of this gonzo style and if it’s one thing that San Diego craft beer drinkers can handle, it’s big beers.
Where is all began…
The triple IPA hoopla all started with a “little” beer called, Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing. Pliny the Younger (pronounced, Pline-y not Plinny, like the man) is a bigger version of their popular, Pliny the Elder Double IPA. Double IPAs should be hopped twice as much as the regular recipe and in the case of Pliny the Younger being a triple, it’s got 3 times the hops and then is dry-hopped 4 different times. Clocking in at 11% ABV, it certainly packs a punch but as it often happens with high alcohol beers, it’s incredibly balanced with the extreme bitterness of the hops offsetting the sweetness of the sugars from the high alcohol.
This beer is in incredible demand with people waiting in lines for hours and kegs getting kicked in minutes at popular spots. Russian River shows their marketing mojo by only having this beer available for 2 weeks every year. Since it’s human nature to want what we can’t have, creating that kind of limited-time demand is a proven method to increasing buzz and desire for a product. This wouldn’t work if the product itself wasn’t high quality and this beer is definitely impressive.
At this point, you can only find it in a handful of accounts in San Diego and don’t look for that to expand anytime soon. We recently had Russian River sales gal, Gina Fronke, on our Live Cast and she said that while Russian River is expanding their production facility and they will be producing more Pliny the Younger, at this point their plan is to give more beer to their accounts that they have now rather than expand their distribution to more bars/restaurants. For some of their accounts who only getting one keg of this revered beer and it then kicks in under an hour, this is great news. For the rest of San Diego, this means we might have to get our triple fix elsewhere.
With the success of Pliny, it’s no small wonder that breweries all over are also getting in the triple-game during this time of year. Thorn Street Brewery is right there too and we just released our own triple, Brother Scotty’s IIIPA 10.5% ABV. This beer is big, hoppy and balanced with notes of pine, citrus and pineapple lingering together from the Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hop bill. While it’s a hop-bomb for sure, it’s still a smooth drinker with a lingering sweetness that’s neither cloying nor overpowering.
Here are a few triple IPAs that you can get right now, on tap, here in San Diego. All delicious, and all local; make it your mission every February to taste as many of this style as you can while they are available!
Thorn Street Brewery – Brother Scotty’s IIIPA 10.5% ABV
Benchmark Brewing – Hildigard IIIPA 13.5% ABV (from Ratebeer.com)
Society Brewing – The Miser “Really Big IPA” 10%+ ABV
Monkey Paw Brewing Muriqui IIIPA 10% ABV
What San Diego triple IPA do you love?