Posts Tagged ‘rye beer’

12 Beers of X-Mas: Upstream Horse Feathers Rye

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Matt and Juliet gave everyone a craft beer or wine or gourmet coffee or milk, along with the promise to make a meal pairing the beverage. Such an inspired, ideal gift. For me they chose bottle #154 of Horse Feathers Rye. This strong rye ale is brewed by Upstream Brewing Company in Omaha and aged in former Templeton Rye barrels.Upstream Horse Feathers Rye To pair with this spicy beer they appropriately made a spicy Indian lentil dish and fresh naan.

The Horse Feathers Rye is quite hazy, a ruby tinted hazelnut brown with a creamy, off-white head. The aroma is strong with ginger, to the point where you could confuse it for ginger ale. But there is plenty of rye spiciness and Templeton sweetness to it as well. There is also some caramel, and plenty of vanilla from the oak.

The flavor is a remarkable balance between the competing forces of the rye, rye whiskey, and ginger. The malt adds a significant presence, so there is an overall sensation of licorice, caramel, and even cola. Lingering spice and sweetness are light enough to reveal a hint of the alcohol. The body is light and active, but full and rich.

Brewing a beer with the strong flavors from either rye or barrel-aging is an exercise in delicate balance, but both together, not to mention the heavy ginger addition, takes the challenge to a whole new level. Upstream delivers admirably.

++Upstream Horse Feathers Rye

4.4 (3-9-8-5-19)

Sixpoint Righteous Ale

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Tonight I will continue to represent my new town with a beer from one of the “other” Brooklyn breweries, Sixpoint Craft Ales. Sixpoint is one of those places that’s two parts good beer and three parts mystique. But they know how to hide a good pun. And they have cans. I’ll taste the Righteous Ale, a beer which marries the flavor of hops and rye.

Sixpoint Righteous AleRighteous Ale pours a ruddy caramel color, quite hazy, with some creamy tan head. The spicy rye character is prominent in the aroma. Fruity and herbal hop notes compliment it well. Just a hint of caramel malt sweetness adds to the remarkably complex nose.

The flavor is likewise quite complex. The rich spiciness of the rye blends assertively with the hop bitterness. A solid malt backing supports with bread, caramel, and toast flavors. The herbal hop character leads the tongue right back to the rye, forming something of a flavor cycle. The body is just a bit too heavy, with a sweetness that lingers on the tip of the tongue, where the rye bite should be.

+Sixpoint Righteous Ale

3.8 (4-8-7-3-16)

Peace Tree, Day Two

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A major factor in the success of the Peace Tree Brewing Company has been the wide availability of their beer. Distribution has always presented something of a chicken-and-egg problem for small breweries. Winning the shelf space of retailers without any brewing history is difficult, and taking away tap handles from other brands (especially ones from the big three brewers) can be next to impossible. Fortunately things have been changing, and the state of Iowa has slowly built up a craft beer culture. It is onto this burgeoning scene that Peace Tree has burst.

They wasted no time at all building a wide distribution network. Though they are anchored by a dozen locations around Knoxville, including their own tap room, the real strength of their growth can be seen in the liquor section of Hy-Vee. Timing their opening just perfectly with a recent push by that store to expand craft beer and wine selections, Peace Tree beers are now available at more than forty Hy-Vees statewide. Considering beer purchasing is done individually by each local store, this illustrates a dedication to making their beer available.

But what is most impressive is the number of Peace Tree’s draft accounts in Des Moines and Iowa City. There basically isn’t a bar of consequence in either town without at least one of Red Rambler or Hop Wrangler. Peace Tree is quickly becoming Iowa’s own little New Glarus.

Tonight I will have two more beers. The first, a seasonal farmhouse ale, is brewed with not just corn, but also corn stalks. I’d also say that the name Cornucopia fits very well with yesterday’s discussion of roots. After that I will have a bottle of the year-round Rye Porter.

Cornucopia pours a very pale straw color, just barely shy of brilliantly clear. The head is bone white, just a thin little pillow that doesn’t linger. A rich but delicate bread character from the malt supports the fruity aroma that is the star of the nose. This characteristic raspberry peach calling card is created by Peace Tree’s strain of Belgian yeast. They use the same for (almost) all of their beers, but nowhere else does it shine like this.

A spicy yeast flavor and a alcoholic sharpness make this beer a bit more intense than one would expect. The alcohol turns quickly to warming, and the black pepper and coriander almost yield to the malt. The corn makes the body quite light, and the corn stalks give a bit of a graininess to the flavor. Certainly a beer to drink fresh.

Now to the Rye Porter. This one is a very dark, very hazy, chocolate color, with some creamy, sandy brown head. The nose is at first roasty, strongly of burnt toast. A light berry fruitiness grows to balance, and the roast character turns to coffee.

Rich toast and caramel marries with the spiciness from the rye, creating a deep and intriguing combination. Espresso and strong dark chocolate flavors balance the milky palate and sweet caramel malt residual. Very thick and rich, but still refreshing.

+Peace Tree Rye Porter

3.8 (4-7-8-4-15)

+Peace Tree Cornucopia

3.5 (3-8-6-3-15)

Session #30: Beer Ice Cream

Friday, August 7th, 2009

session_logoThe Session is a monthly beer blog carnival. You can read about its origins here. This month (Beer Desserts) is hosted by David Jensen of Beer47. The prompt is located here and the roundup is posted here. David wants to know if beer goes with or in desserts and asks, “What beer desserts have you tried and liked?”2009-08-07-sun-rye

Just days before the prompt was posted my friend Jordan and I spoke about making ice cream. We had discussed several strange and interesting flavor ideas (including chili pepper) but somehow beer had escaped us. Fortunate, then, that this Session topic is beer desserts!

We made four varieties: one with my homebrew altbier, one with Redhook Sun Rye, one with Boulevard Single-Wide IPA, and one with Murphy’s Oatmeal Stout. For the first three we loosely followed a recipe from the Pencil & Spoon, chosen for its simplicity.2009-08-07-jordan The idea here is just to combine the dairy (we used half & half), beer, and sugar and churn. For the Sun Rye and altbier we mixed at a ratio of 6:3:2 half&half to beer to sugar. They both turned out fine but are quite subtle. On the Single-Wide we upped the ante, with almost one-to-one beer to half & half. This turned out to be about the right ratio, yielding a great hoppy flavor.2009-08-07-murphys

For the stout we went with a traditional egg based recipe somewhat like this one at Brian’s Belly. We boiled the half & half and beer while mixing the eggs, sugar, and a bit of cocoa. After tempering the eggs with a bit of the cream we mixed it all, cooked for a bit, then cooled it before churning. The flavor was not all that different from the others but we could tell right away that it was a lot creamier!2009-08-07-eggs

For all of these we used a bit of xantham gum, which acts as a binder as well as preventing the formation of ice crystals.

Every one of these beer ‘screams turned out great, but the Murphy’s and Single-Wide were particularly fantastic. The Murphy’s tastes much like a coffee ice cream, but the bitterness and malt flavor remind you that it’s actually stout. The balance between the sugar and hops in the Single-Wide is ideal, and the floral hop taste is just incredible.

2009-08-07-churnRed Hook Sun Rye Ice Cream
5 cups half & half
20 oz Sun Rye
1/2 cup sugar

Homebrew Altbier Ice Cream
3 cups half & half
12 oz homebrew
1 cup sugar
pinch xantham gum

Single-Wide IPA Ice Cream
3 pints half & half
36 oz Single-Wide
1.5 cups sugar
a few pinches xantham gum

Murphy’s Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cups half & half
16 oz Murphy’s
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 cup sugar
pinch xantham gum

Goose Island Mild Winter

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Goose Island released their Mild Winter ale almost a week ago, so I figured it was time for me to try it. (Truth be told I’ve already had three…) They put a hefty measure of rye in this one, as well as roast barley and crystal malt, giving it a complex malt character.

If I’m not mistaken, Mild Winter (like the forthcoming Imperial Brown Goose) is a regular seasonal at the Clybourn brewpub location that has been promoted to distribution. Greg Hall, the Goose Island Brewmaster, calls it an American Mild, backing up the name by saying brewing with rye makes it more American, a strange claim as roggenbier (German for ‘rye beer’) is an old German style.

Mild Winter pours a brilliant rust with a redness bordering on purple. The head is a creamy straw, but doesn’t last long. The nose is subtle and spicy. A floral spiciness, something like potpourri, is followed by an almost grassy note. There is just a hint of fruit.

The taste is predominantly rye, which has a paradoxically fruity spiciness. There is something of a hop herbal flavor as well as a noticeable but not invasive hop bitterness. As the spiciness fades more malt flavors come through: biscuits and a light caramel sweetness. The palate is quite lively, and the light sweetness, slight bitterness, and spiciness balance quite well. A well executed mild ale.

By the way, I have no idea what Bull means by the comparison to Wayne Brady. That he is mild? I guess almost anyone seems mild next to Dave Chapelle, just as almost any beer seems mild next to lots of offerings from American micros.

+Goose Island Mild Winter

RateBeer: 3.6 (2-8-7-4-15)