Many have heard of it; some have not. But whenever it arrives, it sure doesn't last long. Kegs drain in record time. Bottle shops have a run on it and must impose a bottle limit per shopper - and they still run out in under a day in most cases.
What am I talking about? That'd be Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny The Elder Imperial IPA. And those who don't know, Pliny The Elder is one of two 'Pliny' beers made by Russian River (The other, of course, being Pliny The Younger). Both are excellent Imperial IPA's, but that's not the only reason demand for both Plinys has gotten so high.
Beer Advocate, a beer culture website based out of Boston, MA, last year declared Pliny The Younger, quite smiply, the best beer in the World (based on reviews from their readers - all beer styles were allowed/considered).
Head to their site to see a list of their 100 Top Beers. You'll note that Pliny The Younger is right on top. Does it deserve to be there? I honestly don't know. I've never tasted it.
Pliny showed up in Washington state late last month. My local bottle shop was sold out of Pliny The Elder in just a few hours. Also, at Brouwer's Cafe in Seattle, they tapped a 1/6 barrel (5 Gallon) keg of Pliny The Younger at 10:00PM on Tuesday, March 1st. According to their Facebook page, the keg was drained in approximately 7 minutes!
Now, I can appreciate a well made Imperial IPA as much as the next person; perhaps even more. However, I think that the lengths some people are going to in order to get their hands on a pint or bottle of Pliny is a bit over the top. Is it an excellent beer? Without a doubt. But in your mad dash towards a Pliny, don't overlook all the other amazing beers that are also likely staring you right in the face.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there!