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Beer Review #208 Ruthless Rye IPA

I’m not sure how long this beer has been out, but it recently showed up on  the shelves of my local beer store and it hasn’t left since it showed up (like a lot beers tend to do). Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of  Chico, CA and it is obviously a rye IPA. I’ve had a number of different takes on rye beers (pale ales and doulbe IPAs among others) and I have really liked the extra flavor component that it gives a beer. It imparts a very distinct note to the malt character of a beer that fits perfectly with hops.

Ruthless Rye IPA pours a nice amber color and has an off-white head. The nose is packed with bright hops that leap out of the glass. The hops are full of citrus aromas with some piney smells lingering in the background. There is also a spiciness to the nose. Some people might attribute this to the rye as rye is often said to be spicy in beers, but I think it is more from a mix of hops than anything else. Maybe the rye does impart a smell, but I didn’t notice it enough to make note of.

On my first tasting I was impressed with the amount of malt that comes through on such a hoppy smelling beer. The malt is very nice and slightly sweet with a good amount of rye flavor. The spiciness pops up again but it is slightly different than a hop spice as a spicy hop flavor comes in quickly after the rye flavor departs.

I found this beer to be super drinkable and something that I could have on a regular basis. I plan on getting more so that I can try to construct a homebrew recipe around this beer. I liked it that much. The flavors are very balanced and while the hops are prevalent, they are not the stars of the show. The balance is what is key to this beer and the rye flavor just adds a cherry to the top of this one. (more…)

Beer #68 Tumbler

Generally fall beers drop into one of two categories; pumpkin or Oktoberfest. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, Ca decided to mix things up a bit, and go with a brown ale. They describe it as an “Autumn Brown Ale.” The year 2010 was clearly marked on bottle. I’m not sure if this is the first year that Sierra Nevada has produced this beer or if it follows with their other seasonal beers.

Tumbler pours a clear brown color and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is pretty malty, as you would expect with this style. There are also some nice roasty notes in there that we stronger than what I had expected. The smell and taste go hand in hand. Lots of malty components followed by some robust roast. The nice thing is that there was a hop bite at the end that did not come through in the nose. The hops really sit on the tongue and they are slightly piney. I generally don’t care for piney flavored hops, but this one really fit the beer nicely.

I think you can really tell that this is a Sierra Nevada beer. The hop profiles are very similar to their other beers, just toned down a bit. There is nothing super complex but it was drinkable. I think this beer would be wonderful on a cold, windy fall day. As I said before it was a nice alternative to the normal fall beers and I hope that other breweries explore other avenues of fall beers. I’m not sure if brown ale is the perfect fit, but it was a nice change. (more…)