Nick Carr on April 20, 2015 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: La Cumbre Brewing Co. Location: Albuquerque, NM Style: Red Rye IPA ABV: 6.5% IBU: 75 Original Gravity: 1.066 Final Gravity: 1.017 Hops: CTZ, Meridian, Mosaic, Chinook, Centennial, Nelson Sauvin Grains: Canadian Superior Pale malt, Durst Munich II, Durst Vienna, Crisp Caramel 77L, Weyerman Cararoma, Weyerman malted Rye, Flaked Rye Appearance: Dark, Ruddy Amber; Glittering Ruby When Held Up to Light Aroma: Elequent & Heavy on Fruity & Citrusy Aromas; Malty Sweetness Rounds Out the Hoppiness to Create the Perfect “Malty Hop Bomb” Flavor: Caramel & Rye Hits You First, Then Fades into Hoppiness; Bitter & Biting Aftertaste Availability: Year-Round Pairs With: Mexican Foods; Asian & Thai Dishes; Jerk Chicken; Smoked Gouda & Asiago Cheese I was up in Albuquerque doing a certification this last week and of course had to take the opportunity to try some new beers from local breweries and also grab a couple of six-packs of the choice brews. Today’s review is one of those choice brews. I love La Cumbre’s beer, so every time I make it up to Albuquerque I make it a point of picking up a new La Cumbre, something that catches my eye and hasn’t made it down to my part of the state yet. Enter Red Ryeot. Ah, life is hard when you have to try a brand new beer so you have something to write about. Well someone’s gotta do it I suppose, so again… I’ll sacrifice myself. Looking at the hop and malt bill for this beer you’ll notice La Cumbre didn’t begrudge much of anything in its making. Seeing as this is about the longest list of hop varieties I’ve ever seen in a single beer I thought I’d give an idea of what each variety might be imparting to the finished product. CTZ is short hand for Columbus, Tomahawk, and Zeus. This references the reality of proprietary naming rights and the fact that often identical or near identical hop strains are sold under multiple names. So, just an FYI to all the brewers out there; for all intents and purposes these three varieties are the same. They are super-alpha hops and thus ideal for bittering. It can impart a depth of herbal earthy character to a beer and could be the driving force behind the often used “dank” descriptor. Meridian is a newer flavor and aroma hop. It can impart punchy fruit and citrus with a crisp clean profile. Mosaic is a daughter of both Simcoe and Nugget variety, and most often used as an aroma hop. It brings a invitingly complex mix of tropical fruit, floral, and earthy characteristics to a beer. Chinook was first released in 1985. A bittering hop with nice aroma characteristics of pine and grapefruit. Centennial is often the brewer’s go-to hop. Created back in 1974 this one is part of the old guard. It can serve a dual purpose of flavor/aroma and bittering. Imparts floral and some citrus character. Nelson Sauvin is a New Zealand hop variety. It can be used as a dual purpose hop and is most known for a fruity character, of gooseberries, or something not unlike what is found in white wine. Ok, now that we’ve got a rundown of what to expect, let’s drink a beer. The Pour and Aroma Pours a dark almost ruddy amber. Its depths remain in hidden shadow until held to light. then like a ruby held to that self-same brightness, its deepness is suddenly chambered in purpled-red and you can see carbonation rising. A thin head forms, but quickly gets knocked back, presumable by the abundance of hops. Aroma is eloquent, heavy on the fruit and citrus with grapefruit prominent and maybe some pineapple. Piney earth and spice are also prevalent. A little malt roundness kicks its way through the hop door, leaving enough caramel and darker rye spiciness to harmonize nicely with the fruit. Mouthfeel and Taste Body is medium full pushed by mid carbonation. Mouthfeel is slightly oily with the recognizable astringent qualities of an IPA. Caramel and rye spice leads the rambunctious taste, but just barely wins the race before combining and then disappearing behind the hops. Bitterness is widely noticeable across the palate, not just toward the back. And it transitions from a bitterness akin to eating the skin off the inside of a grapefruit peel to a more recognizable hop bitterness at the back. Nice overlay of resin, citrus, and spice. Aftertaste is biting, bitter, and long in the settling. Finishing The Impression This beer fits right in with the Stone Delicious IPA and Alaskan Brewing Big Mountain, as beers offering up something different. The Delicious was very lemony, the Big Mountain had its grapefruit moment, this one… well, I’m actually at a loss of what to call it. I could point to the big and changing bitter flavor that wonders the palate front to back, or the almost smoky spice qualities, or its bigness and complexity. I’ll just say that it does it well. Cheers!