Wednesday, August 19, 2009

50. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

Hop Rod Rye is from the Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg, CA; we had this on tap at the Trolley Stop. Once upon a time, I resisted purchasing this beer because of the lame hot rod imagery on the label. I regret that decision now. The lesson to be learned here: never judge a beer by its label. Actually, I take that back. Some beer labels, such as this one, do deserve to be judged, and judged poorly. I didn’t think it could get worse, and then I read that prose. Stunningly retarded. This one as well. For shame. But Hop Rod Rye is nowhere near in the same category as those two colossal losers. Their label may be less interesting, but it does package up a delicious beer.

Hop Rod Rye starts with a spicy rye nose; it is a reddish amber mahogany/cherry wood color with a light tan head. Beginning with a spicy but balanced malt front, Hop Rod Rye has a malty rye middle that finishes creamy, clean, and dry. The hoppiness and bitterness of the beer are not really prominent in any portion of the profile, but they are felt in the middle and finish; the bitterness also exudes a bit of cotton-mouthy dryness in the mouth. With a medium body, some creamy slickness, and a smooth but evident carbonation level in the mouthfeel, Hop Rod Rye is simultaneously easy drinking but complex enough to warrant paying attention to as you drink. A well rounded and balanced beer—if you like rye beers, this is one to not miss. And our guest commentators had their own two cents to add: Adam really liked the creamy spicy finish, while Jenn was feeling contentious and refused to acknowledge the spicy rye nose. Speaking for myself and Elli, we’ll continue to enjoy this one on tap whenever we get a chance, and we might even let one of the ugly hot rod bottles grace our fridge.

From Bear Republic’s website: “The first American rye to be produced, Hop Rod Rye is a high performance, turbo charged, alcohol burnin’ monster ale with dual overhead hop injection that revs out the hop-o-meter at over 90 IBUs. For all that, a good dose of rye and caramel malts ensures a sturdy chassis to carry all that flavor. The rye malt adds a spicy grain character that takes this beer to the winner's circle!” While I have forgiven their label, I’m not sure I can forgive this prose. It takes the badness of the label to a whole another level...SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 90+
OG 1.074


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