Friday, February 03, 2012

By an amusing coincidence, reader Dismuke emailed me this morning to recommend the very beer I've been enjoying at the end of the day for the past couple of weeks, and was thinking about recommending here: Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye IPA. Since Sierra Nevada is one of my favorite breweries, I am quite familiar with their product line and recognized this as a new product as soon as I saw it on my grocer's shelf. Since I like rye beer and IPA is my favorite style, giving this a try was a no-brainer. Here is the brewer's description of the beer:

Rye has been a staple grain for millennia -- sought after for its stubborn resilience in the field and revered for its unique flavor. Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors -- combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to spring.
As you might guess and Louiville beer blogger Jason Lyvers confirms, this is a seasonal brew:
Sierra didn't really do too much to hype this new seasonal that replaced the Glissade Golden Bock of previous years, and I didn't even know it was a seasonal at first.  I had seen it around town and had heard whispers about it being very good, but for the most part it arrived without much fanfare.  Mine appeared in front of me with a decent one-inch head on it that was moderately thick and held on for a decent amount of time.  This copper colored IPA delivered.  In my first sip I got a nice spicy, peppery kick from the rye followed by a decent bitterness from the hops.  It's a very well-balanced IPA, which was confirmed to me when I discovered that it weighs in around 55 IBUs.  Not too bitter, but just bitter enough to be an enjoyable, what I would consider sessionable, IPA.  At only 6.6% ABV you should be able to enjoy a few without getting into too much trouble, and I can see this pairing well with some pepper jack cheese or pulled pork.

At the end of the day I personally feel Sierra Nevada took a step up by replacing Glissade; the Ruthless Rye puts it to shame in my opinion.  The thing that probably disappoints me the most about this beer is the fact that it's only going to be around for a few months each year.  Trust me though, pick up a pack of bottles or catch it around town on draft.  While you're drinking it start a conversation with someone about craft beer.  Whether it be in person or via a social media like Twitter, you'll hopefully get the feeling of community that I described in the first paragraph.  Beer is one of the bricks in the foundation of civilization, and even though here in 2012 we've built skyscrapers onto that foundation, it doesn't ever hurt to sit and discuss your roots.
I have to second Lyvers on two counts: This is far better than Glissade, and yes, I will be sad to see this one disappear from the shelves until next year when the next seasonal comes out.

Get it while you can, and thank me later!

-- CAV

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