Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye from Cloverdale, California
Style: Rye beer
Serving style: Bottle poured into glass
Location: In my apartment
Cost: $15 a four-pack
ABV: 8.0 percent
Appearance: Man, what a good-lookin’ beer. It’s deep, amber, and gorgeous, offering up a thin, even head. The Hop Rod Rye is — and this might sound weird — genuinely fun to stare at.
Aroma: Smells a bit spicy, with some strong earthy undertones, and a bit citrus-y.
Taste: An onslaught of flavors, from floral to wood to fruit to I DON’T EVEN KNOW. There is so much is happening inside of this beer, it’s as if the brewmasters got together and threw in anything they could find in their cupboards. With every drink, I felt like I discovered something new.
Mouthfeel: It’s so thick it’s almost chewy. The big, bear-like substance makes it a bit of a sipper, but at the same time, the heavy mouthfeel almost forces you to enjoy the intense array of flavors.
Overall Experience: The Hop Rod Rye is just a good fuckin’ beer. I don’t mean to fill this week’s Beer UP with R-rated language, but honestly, there’s no other way to put it. It has a monster amount of flavors, and really illustrates what can be done when a knowledgeable brewmaster plays around a little bit. It demands to be appreciated.
I can’t say I’ve had a beer like this before. In a way, it reminded me of a time back when I was bouncing around the city as an intern. On my first day at a magazine located in a giant office building in Midtown — the kind of building that requires two ID’s to enter — I was wearing a V-neck T-shirt and jeans. I got through security, found the elevator bank, and punched in the floor number. It was at that moment I realized everyone else in the elevator was wearing power suits. As I stood there, shaggy-haired and holding my backpack, I felt like a child, like I didn’t deserve to be standing next to these Grown Ups with Suitcases and Real Jobs and pretending to be like them. After finishing off the Hop Rod Rye, I felt like any other beer I’ve had in my life was wearing a T-shirt.