Sample Pliny the Younger, among other triple IPAs, at Hamilton’s Tavern

The South Park bar will host fourth annual blind taste test on Feb. 15, featuring a sample of Russian River Brewing’s limited release beer.


Beer nerds know that Pliny the Younger (10.25 alcohol by volume) is a.) Russian River Brewing’s triple IPA, b.) released in tiny amounts early each February — San Diego’s 2020 allotment is due next week — and c.) annually provokes a stampede to local bars dispensing the precious nectar.

This year, there are two more Pliny factoids: d.) for the first time, the beer will be bottled, and e.) good as it is, Pliny may not be the best IIIPA on offer.

Judge for yourself at Hamilton’s Tavern, 1521 30th St., in San Diego’s South Park. At 10 a.m. on Feb. 15, the bar will host its fourth annual blind taste test of triple IPAs. For $50, guests will receive three-ounce pours of 18 different versions of IIIPAs. There will be samples from Pizza Port, AleSmith, Societe, Rip Current and other local breweries; and out-of-towners like Kern River and Beachwood.

Everyone gets a vote. “And I don’t tabulate the votes,” said Scot Blair, owner of Hamilton’s and its neighboring brewery, South Park. “You are basically judging each beer.”

This is a guaranteed way to sample Pliny the Younger — every participant receives a pour of Pliny — even if there’s no guarantee that Pliny will take top honors.