Rocking the Rye

A little while back, when I was still mired in the writing of The World Atlas of Beer, I received a couple of bottles of Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA from the Harpoon Brewery. I was curious, as I’m sure you would be, too, but hadn’t the time for — ahem! — extraneous tasting. While the book is still not quite put to bed, I am able to taste non-book beers now, and so this was one of the first I grabbed.

From first sniff, I was pretty sure I was going to like this 6.9% alcohol ale. No, check that, not from first sniff, but from first sight, as it pours a pretty coppery gold colour with an impressive collar of lasting white foam. Then the nose — spicy, a bit peppery, with an undercurrent of caraway seed, which I find in a number of rye beers, and some pineapple and citrus notes, to boot.

In the mouth, the tropical fruitiness that underpins the aroma comes out first, but is quickly – yet not overly aggressively — joined by a nice mix of spicy and grapefruity hop character, all playing happily with a light rye breadiness. Towards the finish, the hop takes over, but never quite subdues the caramelly, peppery maltiness.

Overall, I find this a quirky beer, since it’s probably too hoppy for most non-IPA-mad drinkers, yet I fear also too tame for some of the more chronic hopheads. Me, I like it just fine, and despite its almost 7% strength, could easily see enjoying a couple of bottles over the course of an evening, all to myself.

Which might be exactly what I’ll be doing tonight.

One Reply to “Rocking the Rye”

  1. This looks really good, I’d love a chance of a pint of it. The Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye-PA has long been one of my favourite oddities and I have often wondered why more heavily hopped rye pales are not produced.

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