September 25th, 2010 beckel
Today I have another beer from my Great Taste trip and another brew form the folks at Bear Republic. This time around it is an 8% ABV IPA brewed with 18% Rye Malt. If it tastes any where near as good as it smells I think I’m going to be one happy man.
Pours a rich ruby hue that is very opaque barely allowing you to see objects on the other side. Three fingers of tight off white head are produced and don’t move for many minutes eventually fading and leaving a very large amount of lacing for the style. Smells fantastically of citrus hops, orange, grapefruit, pear, melon, grapes, bright floral characters, rich grain including a bit of rye, solid bitterness and a good deal of carbonation. Flavor is full of bright citrus, notably orange, grapefruit and melon, deep delicious rye, serious bitterness and a bit of alcohol. The intense citrus & floral hops play wonderfully with the herbal and slightly spicy rye esters creating one fantastic brew. Mouthfeel is clean and body is medium. Overall a quite fantastic brew. Though I have only had the opportunity to sample two of Bear Republic’s beers and both have been IPAs I have been sincerely impressed by what they present and if their other beers are anywhere near as good I will definitely be back for much more. If you enjoy bitter IPAs this brew will do a good job of showing the enjoyable attributes Rye can add to the style. Any fan of bitter, floral and fruity IPAs will be all over this one. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
March 13th, 2010 beckel
I know nothing of the French Broad Brewing Company other than the fact that they are located in Asheville, North Carolina and were founded in 2001. But I always enjoy trying new things and upon seeing their Rye Hopper on the shelves of The Four Firkins I saw no reason not to bring it home with me particularly as I am a big fan of hoppy brews and always love seeing rye used in brewing. Apparently this ale begun as a fall seasonal and is now part of their year round lineup. Sounds groovy to me, time to enjoy. Pours an attractive relatively dark amber hue that is translucent enough to see my fingers behind the glass. A fluffy two fingers of clean, tight, white head were produced and leave behind a modest amount of lacing and a solid few millimeters of residual foam after largely fading. Aroma is quite malty with a good deal of sweetness coming through, heavy on rye and assertively hoppy with a variety of earthy, floral and fruit esters as well as modest bitterness. Flavor is exactly what I was expecting. Heavy rye esters followed by serious hop bitterness. Modest malt sweetness does a decent job of complimenting the hop bitterness but certainly does not hide it. Hop notes are largely herbal and earthy and quite enjoyable with very gentle passion fruit like esters and some floral notes. Alcohol is noticeable but the bitterness does a good job of obscuring it. At 5.9% ABV it is not overly alcoholic but plenty strong and very full of flavor. I sincerely enjoy the assertiveness of the rye in this ale, similarly to the RIPA recently produced by our own local Summit Brewing. Which I should get around to reviewing one of these days…anyhow. If you enjoy hop filled bitter brews as well as rye there is no reason you shouldn’t give this ale a chance. I consumed this ale quite a bit warmer than I would typically consume an IPA and after taking a few sips of it colder I will note that this ale becomes more smooth and the flavors meld together better at below room temperature, as I find is often the case with IPAs. If your not into bitter ales, obviously leave this one alone, but I have enjoyed it and would like to see the other brews available from French Broad. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 4th, 2009 beckel
I purchased a four pack of this brew over a month ago at The Four Firkins and am finally getting around to consume my last bottle of this tasty brew. I have enjoyed many brews from Two Brothers who brew out of Warrenville, Illinois and this nicely hopped red rye ale is no exception. This beer pours a deep mahogany reddish hue that is completely translucent when brought to light. When poured straight down the glass three fingers of off white head is easily produced leaving some nice lacing around the glass after a few minutes. Aroma is full of malty sweetness with some gentle dark pitted fruit notes and some clean fruity hop notes with just a dash of rye. Rye is quite forward in the flavor as well as a touch of alcohol. A good does of malty sweetness is present to help balance the rye as well as the tasty bitter finishing notes. Unquestionably a tasty and well balanced brew. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very clean and smooth. The 7% ABV is noticeable but not overwhelming due to the malty sweetness present. If you aren’t opposed to rye are into brews with creative malt profiles yet enough hops to balance and add a nice punch you will enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.