Sonoma County in California is known for their wine. Wine country… Full of vineyards, Porsches, and tourists pretending to know what the hell they are talking about when it comes to wine. Little do these clueless tourists know that in this very same area there is a place that they will very likely overlook. And what a shame that is. Bear Republic lives in these hills, with that said, enter their Hop Rod Rye:
Since I have recently been digging on rye style beers, this beer popped up on my radar. Here in Ohio, it runs around $11 a four pack, which puts it in that “Questionable Purchase” category. Especially if you are not too into the rye flavor. But let me tell you, if you want to try a new beer/style today, this is where you should start.
The beer pours a nice amber, with an off white head. The smells that float off of the pour are not as strong as one might expect, at least for me, which my sense of smell could be considered faulty. That is the price you pay to be a zookeeper. Anyway, once the beer hits your mouth it is a completely different story. Right off the bat, bitter hops hit your mouth. Not in violent way, but they definitely make their presence known. Following that first impression comes the earthy rye flavor that compliments the hops perfectly. The beer finishes with another twist, this time in the flavor of sweeter malts, which again, compliment the flavors perfectly. One thing to point out, is let this beer warm up just a bit, say, a few minutes before drinking. Ice cold from the refrigerator brings out a slight metallic taste. Once finished with your first though, you will quickly reach for another.
This is a great beer for the rye lover, and the rye novice alike. Just be careful with this hot rod, because it weighs in at 8% ABV. This beer is definitely on my short list of rye favorites. Well done Bear Republic!