Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye Review
While waiting for the next batch I thought I'd write up a review of Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye that I picked up over the weekend. In the homebrewing community Rye malt usage is increasing as I see more and more recipes including up to almost 10-20% of the grist in some instances. Rye Malt can lend a spicy character to a beer and is usually subtle and not overpowering. This isn't rye bread after all.
This beer starts off with an interesting color when poured. It's a darker red and a bit cloudy. It may not be a filtered brew. The head on this beer is off-white but seems fairly balanced in carbonation. It's not highly carbonated which I personally prefer. The nose is sweet, and really smells a little bit malty. I could smell hops when I took a whiff of the bottle but when poured out into a glass that smell completely dissipated.
When taking the first sip, a few things just come up and punch you in the nose. For one, the rye is there and you can really tell the spiciness of the flavoring of the rye. Second, this seems like a high bittered beer. The label says it uses some sort of dual overhead hop injection (assuming just a pun on the name Hop Rod) but I believe it. This has enough hops to classify it as an IPA in my opinion. The after taste lingers with a slight numbing effect on the palette. The rye and the hops really tend to work together in this beer. It is high in alcohol at 8% and it comes through while sipping. It has that undertone of alcohol which in some instances can be good and some bad, here it sort of works with what is going on in the rest of the beer. The hop flavor is citrus so I would suspect some form of C hops are used in this beer (Chinook, Centennial, Cascade). What I am most surprised with is the malt flavor still shining through with the rye even though it seems to be an aggressively bittered beer.
I would rate this up in the 9/10 range because it balances well, no off flavors and would just subtract points for head retention. It's a good brew, one I will enjoy the rest of.