While rye beer isn’t a style all on it’s own, adding rye to a beer changes a beer so completely that it might as well be. Rye is an ingredient that can be included into the malt mixture when brewing, transforming beer styles with it’s earthy, spicy taste. Rye has been added to beers for centuries, however, it is just now becoming trendy with most breweries producing a rye beer seasonally or as one of their mainstays.
Rye works best in more complex beers like IPAs, Pale Ales, and Stouts, but we have also seen it successfully added into lagers and pilsners. To be considered a “rye beer” the finished beer must have a significant amount of rye in the grain bill and strong rye flavors present within the beer. The addition of rye will add a characteristic spice to any beer, similar to pumpernickel bread. It can also change the color of the beer to include more of a reddish tone.
We are a fan of adding rye to IPAs because the dry, astringent spice of the rye plays well and highlights the hop’s bold and bitter flavors. Our seasonal take on the Rye IPA is Joy Rye’d, a beer that Historic has been making for years with a devoted fan base of its own. This Rye IPA has a slight spiciness on the nose with a hop forward smell that is pleasant and not too aggressive, pulling you in from first whiff. As you sip Joy Rye’d you can taste the earthy flavors from both the rye and the hops that this beer is brewed with. This beer is crisp, with a malt forward taste and a strong hop backbone. The beer finishes with the rye aftertaste, hop bitterness and a delicious spiciness. It’s a definite rye spiciness, similar to the flavors that linger after you chew on a fresh piece of rye or pumpernickel bread and it lingers on the palate long after you’ve taken your last sip.
Rye beers have grown in popularity over the last ten years and we don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. They contribute dimension, spice, and great flavor to the beer styles they are added to, and as more and more brewers get comfortable adding rye to their grain bill, we’ll continue to see new awesome rye beers emerge. Our Rye IPA, Joy Rye’d, is a favorite among many for its distinct flavor. This beer will be back on tap at all of our locations by the end of January, but it’s a small batch so don’t hesitate to expand your palate and grab a pint of it before it’s all gone.