Ruthless Rye IPA

76/100I’m not a traditional Reinheitsgebot kind of guy, but there are certain extra ingredients that do work well in beer and other that definitely do not.  I remember trying a jalapeno lager a few years back.  Rancid.  Lately more brewers have been introducing beers brewed w/ rye malt, and these I tend to like.  Hop Rod Rye, Red’s Rye PA and Biersch’s Rogenweiss all come to mind.  Rye gives a spicy, earthiness that adds to the complexity of the beer.  Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA is one such beer.  It pours deep amber-red with a generous head and is loaded with of piney hops of the Bravo, Chinook, Citra and experimental variety, with rye’s earthy, grassy qualities in addition.  At 6.6% ABV you can expect a light alcohol tang, but that helps temper the spicy, peppery rye, a flavor unusual to typical IPAs.  Ruthless Rye IPA is bitter, sharp and all-in-all an agreeable beer, but it is a sipper, not a quaffer.  It would go well with flavorful meats like lamb chops.  Not for the faint of heart.

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Sky High Rye

Got this one for $3.49 for a single 22 oz. bottle.  The fact that it was made with rye and that it was on the discount table made me buy it.  I almost did not buy it because of the awful, amateurish label art.  Really, didn’t someone look at it before it went to the printer’s?  Granted, the fresh batch seems to sport a nice new design, as you can see on Arcadia Ales‘ website, but my bottle…bad.  Anyway, this is one super fizzy, super foamy beer.  Huge head, and a thick lace-producing glob lingered all the way to the bottom of the glass.  Nice!  Sky High Rye is honey-colored and cloudy, with a hint of blush.  The bouquet is really enticing, being a well-balanced melange of sweet, hop and mild spice.  Sky high is full flavored yet, medium bodied, making it quite drinkable.  6% ABV makes it just strong enough to enjoy a buzz without feeling the need for a nap.  The flavor profile starts hoppy, and maybe a bit soapy, but the richness of the malt, the earthy pepper-spice and the dry bitter finish cast the soapiness aside quickly.  There’s a little sweet flower in the exhale.  The dryness and bitterness subsides in time for your next mouthful.  This is a really good rye beer and I’d buy it again, if I found it on the discount table.  The thing is, as rye beers go, this is good and quite enjoyable, but I prefer Cane & Ebel in the rye beer category.  Yes, I recommend it, definitely worth a try.

Red’s Rye P.A.

Red-orange and clear, Red’s Rye P.A. from Founders Brewing Company in Grand rapids, MI doesn’t display much of its carbonation, although you can feel it on the tongue.  The whispy white head leaves some lacing, but not a lot.  The bouquet is a good balance of hoppy and malty with a touch of earthiness thanks to the rye malt used in the brewing process.  Red’s Rye P.A. is sharp, piney and mouth-puckering with a thinnish texture.  It tastes a little flowery, and there is some bitterness and dryness in the finish.  It doesn’t seem to hit too hard for a 6.6% ABV beer, which is good.  It’s good, and it would go well with spicy Indian food.  I recommend it, it’s very drinkable and doesn’t put on any false airs.

Charkoota Rye

The idea of smoking barley malt to add flavor to a beer is intriguing if nothing else.  I have tried two smoke beers in my career, so I review this as a novice and you should take that into consideration while reading this.  Charkoota Rye Smoked Doppelbock Lager pours a deep ruby-to-burgundy and floats a thin tan head.  The bouqet…OK, it smells like a band aid, then like beef jerky and finally like shoe leather.  Off-putting.  The taste follows the bouquet exactly, with some sharpness and a malty, sweet backbone.  I paid $6.99 for a 22 oz. bomber so I really wanted to drink it, but I dumped it after 4 or 5 ounces and cleansed my palate with a 312.  If you want to dabble in smoke beers, try Schlenkerla Rauchbier, which is smoky but not gross.

Dirty Old Man by Tyranena

Whoa, I think I just tasted the best porter of my life!  Dirty Old Man.  And, it’s fun to say to your bartender “I’d like a Dirty Old Man.”  This Imperial porter is aged in rye whiskey barrels, and contains some of the best flavors I’ve ever enjoyed.  Now, porters aren’t my favorite type of beer, at least I rarely seek them out, but this one could change that.  This deep brown beer is able to produce a dark tan head that lasts a few minutes, but then it collapses into a sparse film on that remains throughout.  It leaves lots of Brussels lace as well, but it doesn’t appear particularly well-carbonated.  The bouquet smells of vanilla, coffee and alcohol, all wrapped in a roasted carmel malt and tangy hop mantle.  It’s creamy and surprisingly smooth, and the smoked rye malt used shows itself at this point, and finishes with a large dose of hops.  The vanilla and creaminess is again featured in the exhale.  This is a special brew, and it would be good either with a heavy meal or for sipping and savoring.  This is a highly recommended beer, and I will be enjoying it again soon!

Sunrye Summer Ale

http://www.redhook.com/Default.aspx?p=37  Not much on the label to give me a hint, so here goes.  I can safely assume rye malt was used, and

a good, or at least decent, summer beer

it’s undoubtably wheat malt that makes up the bulk of it.  It’s unfiltered and virtually headless.  It’s pretty bubbly none the less, and bright yellow in color.  I smell cereal in the bouquet with a hint of fruit, and a hint of…paper?  It does leave more lacing than I would have expected, and the taste is sweet, smooth and creamy.  The aftertaste is sweet and there’s a bit of alcohol in the exhale.  This would be easy to consume quickly and in quantity on a hot summer evening.  It’s good, but not really complex or noteworthy.  The graininess may be the best aspect of this beer.  It would wash down some spicy pork and green chile tamales for sure.