How To Find ‘Pliny The Younger’ in San Diego 2020

What is Pliny The Younger?

Some (myself included) would say it’s the best beer ever.

It’s a triple IPA (IIIPA) made by Russian River in Santa Rosa, California. And it’s 10.25% ABV, which means just one will get job done.

It’s had a cult following for more than a decade now, even getting to the point where folks stand in line for hours just to get their hands on it.

It’s released only once a year (in early February) and it can ONLY be enjoyed in their tasting room – sold by the glass. No growler fills though I’m sure someone who knows someone has gotten the chance to do that.


If you started planning your trip already, Pliny The Elder is also kegged in mass and sent to breweries, bars, and brewpubs across California and some places in the Pacific Northwest I think (but who cares about those people).

You can get a taste of this sweet nectar of the Gods in San Diego at select and exclusive places like…

O’Brien’s Pub

Kearny Mesa

Started with this one, because it’s probably the most obvious. Pliny The Elder is always on tap here, so it makes sense they would get the yearly release of their signature IIIPA.

They get a few kegs they tap randomly, and if you’re lucky they’ll post when the last one is tapped on their Instagram so you don’t miss out.

This is a place that despite its random location has always cared for beer lovers in San Diego.


North Park

This year they had (3!) scheduled tappings of Pliny during the week. The always get a few kegs as they’re a San Diego staple. They’ve been around and tapping this stuff longer than just about anyone else. Side note: they also kind of put North Park on the map, which is now known for its beer culture.

Unfortunately, 2020 will be Toronado’s last year with Pliny and last year in general. They announced in January they were closing for good.

Hamilton’s Tavern

South Park

Another beer bar that people flock to for the best and rarest beers in San Diego. Hamilton’s does it the old fashioned way – first come first serve. But they get a couple kegs so they let you have two glasses (max). That’s a pretty sweet deal if you can beat the rush. You’ll certainly be stumbling out of there, so plan accordingly.

Blind Lady Ale House & Tiger!Tiger!

Normal Heights and North Park (respectively)

Personally, my favorite Pliny event in San Diego. That’s because unlike a lot of other events where it’s purely chance, these you can plan for. They sell tickets for a specific dates (sometimes weekends) where you can sit, relax and enjoy a pint of Pliny the Elder and 12oz of Younger at the same time.

It’s a little pricier, but worth as you get two beers, a good buzz, and the proceeds go to a different charity each year. The cool thing too is you can purchase the ticket online!

Encinitas Ale House


Here’s one for you, North County!

And it should come as no shock to you that this is the place to find it up in your parts. A brewpub with a German vibe, it always has a great list and is considered by locals to be among the best the city has to offer.

Similarly to Tiger!Tiger! you buy a ticket (they call it a card) to gain entrance to their establishment when they tap it. Unlike Tiger!Tiger! though you have to physically buy the card in person.

Live Wire Bar

The Boulevard

Live Bar is a dive bar and therefore the best possible place to enjoy some Pliny. Though, I’ve never been able to get it there, I have no doubt they pour full pints of it (instead of 12oz). I’ve gotten Speedway Stout in a pint here, so they certainly aren’t stingy with their stuff and don’t care how drunk you get really!

Pizza Port Carlsbad & OB

I had to give another option for my North County folks and my first one for our beach dwellers. OB is the best beach option in general for beer lovers. It’s a little odd though that Pizza Port would be the ones that would get some Pliny, considering they’re technically a competitive brewery. I guess by that logic they’d also be the ones connected enough too. Either way, it’s your gain with two locations (that I know of) that tap the stuff.


North Park

SD Taproom

Pacific Beach

In conclusion…

Follow these places on Instagram at the very least during the month of February to start tracking Pliny down. Refresh your feed and repeat. And repeat until they all start dropping down in San Diego.

Pick the one that works the best for your schedule, a lot of them tap on weekdays so it can be tough for all you grinders out there (myself included).