REVIEW: Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing

Quick Characteristics
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Location: Chico, CA
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.60%
IBU: 55
Appearance: Coppery-Orange Pour with Off-White Head
Aroma: Crisp, Hop-Forward, Piney Citrus & Peppery Rye
Flavor: Hoppy Freshness mixed with Peppery Rye
Availability: Spring Seasonal — Bottle & Draft
Pairs With: Jerk Chicken, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Asiago Cheese

I have always been intrigued by the idea of using rye in brewing. Rye is one of the newer domesticated cereal grains, with a record extending back to about 400 B.C., though it grew wild long before being brought into the fold of domestic agriculture. Rye, best known for its use in bread and whiskey, does have a long history as a beer brewing ingredient.

Historically it was used in German roggenbeir (a style of beer made using barely, wheat, and rye) and Finnish sahti (Juniper Beer). It has enjoyed a new rise in brewing use that has greatly coincided with the recent “rise of the craft brewer”. Its ability to thrive in harsh soils and colder temperatures adds something to the allure of this grain and perhaps, it is these conditions that give it its distinctive black pepper taste, a taste that has made a slow yet steady resurgence in the craft brewer’s repertoire.

Most beer drinkers out there will, at the very least, have a passing awareness of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Most likely, for their Pale Ale. If you are unaware of this brewery I encourage you to peruse their lineup and do some tasting. In fact, we listed them as one of the best brewery tours in the United States. Ruthless Rye was added to the lineup about three years ago replacing Glissade, a golden bock that is now discontinued, as their spring seasonal.
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