Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bootlegger's Rustic Rye

Now here's an interesting beer from our growing neighbor Bootlegger's to the south.  I have to admit, I haven't had a lot of rye beers, and I don’t think I've ever seen a Rye IPA before.

For those that don't know, rye beers simply use rye grain in the bill in order to promote spicy and sour flavors in the beer. The aroma is fairly floral in the hops variety; a bit of citrus, perhaps some raisins.  I think the most surprising thing upon drinking this beer is its very light body combined with an astringent mouthfeel and high carbonation.  The cumulative effect of those qualities makes the beer not unlike a heavy pilsner.  Perhaps this IPA has a bit of an identity crisis.

Otherwise the flavors are not unlike a standard IPA without much of a wallop at the end.  What punch is there is more beta acids than alpha.  The rye is rather hard to detect, however, a bit of sour and spice in the finish is your final clue to that mystery.  There's also a bit of a smokey flavor that comes out in the waning moments, however, I think this due more to an earthy hop strain than to the rye.

Overall, this beer is so light it's an incredibly drinkable and at 6.2% makes it a great early evening beer.  Not much to really critique here, with a crisp mouthfeel and very detectable flavors this isn't really an overly complicated beer, yet it clearly achieves the simple goal it lays out. I can't help but wish the rye were a little more discernable to give it some more character.  We paired this with few cheeses for fun and found it excellent for pairing because of it's astringent finish.

Rustic Rye: ***

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