This is what better beer fandom is all about
A Review of Hop Rod Rye by Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Posted on 4/14/2012 by Chops
Bear Republic originally caught my attention with their Racer 5 IPA, a well-balanced hoppy delight that has since made many guest appearances in my refrigerator. As I steadily drink my way through their large product line, one brew in particular has caused me to stand at attention. On a recent trip to my favorite local pub, I was fortunate to get my hands on the Hop Rod Rye. As Bear Republic describes it, this is a ''high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.''

In the glass, this beer has a coppery red coloration that is beautifully rich. It comes with a sudsy white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is thick and sweet all around, and consists of two main traits. The first is a sweet candied citrus smell that asserts itself as dominant. The second is a sweet malty rye character that acts more as a base to the citrus. While they generally lack an aromatic balance, the ratio is ultimately very pleasing. Any more heftiness on the malt side and the beer would probably come across as too heavy or lopsided.

That first sip clarifies why the aromatic ratio is as it is. The malt base might as well be a brick. You are immediately greeted with a strong and pungent sweet caramel flavor. If there was such a thing as a harsh malt profile, this one is getting pretty damn close. Don't get me wrong though, it's not a bad thing. Quite the contrary, it gives your taste buds some real meatiness to hook into. Resting on top is a strong hop profile with a stingy herbal quality that takes on a floral grassy taste. This is why the aroma came across as somewhat imbalanced. This beer needs a lot of hop strength to counterweight the malty sweetness. Otherwise, it could easily come across as syrupy. Consequently, the mouthfeel is decently smooth with a medium body. Amazingly, the flavor mix carries well through the finish with hardly any change. This beer exits exactly the same way it began, which is a truly remarkable quality in the lands of better beer.

Overall, Bear Republic‘s Hop Rod Rye is a delicious brew with lots of big flavors. I can recommend this beer to anyone who appreciates bold rich brews. Fans of imperial reds and malty IPAs will especially love this concoction. The constant rebalancing of the malt and hop profiles makes this beer a complex delight that is fun to study. I would usually recommend that novices stay away from brews like the Hop Rod Rye, but this one in particular might be a good palate builder. The hop profile is reined in enough to quell any needling aggression, and the malts are reined in enough to quell any overt sweetness. So I say dive right in and drink with the big boys because this, my friends, is what better beer fandom is all about.

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Hop Rod Rye by Bear Republic Brewing Co.
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