Seattle beer week is a magical time when breweries and bars across Seattle celebrate our wonderful tradition of making some of the best beer around. From Tacoma to Everett – the Seattle metropolitan area is littered with fantastic breweries that have a myriad of delicious beers. It is a wonderful time to be a beer snob. Now is the time to support local craft breweries, and the creative, often wonderful, beers they provide.
Rye. For centuries it has been associated with whiskey, especially in the United States. Rye Whiskey is a popular alternative to Bourbon. The rye gives a more powerful, bold, spicy body to the whiskey. It is a wonderful change of pace for whiskey drinkers, especially if you love Islay Scotch or Whiskey with less fruit or floral flavors. But alas, this isn’t a whiskey blog (Although, I do love me some whiskey). This is a beer blog, and we are here to talk some rye beer.
During this past Seattle Beer Week, Reuben’s brewing in Ballard accepted the challenge to create a rye beer for every palate. Why rye? Like in the use of whiskey, rye gives a completely different flavor profile and that provides a subtle but noticeable difference. IPAs are known for their hoppy finish, but when you create a RYE-PA you’ll still have that hoppy finish, but you’ll notice a completely different body, which may or may not be your style but it’s worth a shot.
Reuben’s makes tremendous beers. The brewery is insanely popular for a reason, and I love the idea of them having an RyeFest, something different than the norm. This year’s RyeFest had 14 or so rye beers on tap, ranging from Rye Shandys to Kentucky Commons to a Rye beer made with Earl Grey Tea.
A couple of them really stood out to me, first was the Imperial Rye IPA. This rye really packed a punch with hints of floral and citrus from the hops, but the rye body which gives it a different flavor from imperial IPAs made with all barley. At 8.4% abv and 100 IBUs, this was something I wish I could have had a pint of, but since I had to drive, a taster would suffice. Another beer that really stood out was the Tropical Rye Shandy. I know… I know… Rye shandy?! HAVE THEY GONE MAD?! Well, maybe, but it was delicious. With a tropical nose and taste, but with a different spicier body than your usual shandy, it’s a great take on a summer classic.
At the end of the day, it was a wonderful RyeFest. Next year will be the 5th year they do it and I highly suggest you come out to Ballard and enjoy the rye.