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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The Gift of the Magi

Much more enjoyable than selling your hair just before getting a gift comb, Gift of the Magi Golden Ale from Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA, is a treat.  This beer is a deep gold-to-amber color, not much carbonation, and floats a thin head.  The hint of swwet spices in the bouquet is explained by the inclusion of frankincense and myrrh.  Good hops, sharp, sweet and roasty, it’s a good sipping beer, best served in a snifter, and as it acclimates to the room, it gets even better.  The alcohol content is a bit high, and explains this somewhat disjointed post.  Zum Woll!

312: Urban Wheat Ale

When I was a lad, 312 was the only area code and Old Chicago was the only beer associated with Chicago.  Well now Peter Hand is long gone, 773 and 872 are in use and Chicago is producer of many fine brews.  Goose Island was at the forefront of the Chicago brewing renaissance in the late 1980s and has continued to produce above average beers, even as their output increases annually.  312 Urban Wheat Ale is one of my favorites in the Goose Island repetoir, and certainly not a provincial offering.  This cloudy, straw yellow wheat ale has plenty of carbonation and holds its head high, with plenty of lacing to boot.  The bouquet is sweet, with a hint of lemon and light malt, and just the lightest touch of spicy peppercorn.  The texture is a bit more substantial than a typical wheat beer, being both smooth and sweet, with a dry hoppy finish.  The spicyness is again noticed at the end.  It’s a very drinkable American wheat beer, and would not be confused with its German counterpart, lacking the banana/clove esters.  I highly recommend 312, even to those who are not big fans of traditional wheat beers.  There’s a lot more to this one, and if you are fortunate enough to find it on tap, all the better!

Organic Revolution

New Glarus Brewing Co. continues to produce fine beers.  Organic Revolution is a bottle aged golden ale.  It’s mildly hazy and golden orange in color.  This beer has a consistent 1/4″ head and leaves a lot of lace, a testament to the quality of the malt.  The bouquet starts sweet and malty and finishes with a mild hoppy bite.  There is a hint of yeast, earthy and not stinky, which I dig.  The carbonation is not vigorous, but it makes its presence known.  Rich and creamy on the palate, a touch of sweetness and spicy hops on the exhale, and ditto that in the finish.  Get some, and make your summer evenings special.