There is no doubt that the craft beer business is booming – it seems like a new brewery opens in the Northeast every month! Each week local and national craft breweries release new and exciting beers, giving the consumer an overwhelming number of options. Unlike many macro-brew drinkers, craft beer connoisseurs tend to drink many different brands and styles. Even before I started this blog I would gravitate towards trying new things. This presents a quandary for established craft brewers, how do you balance making the styles your loyal customers know and love with producing innovative beers to attract new drinkers? One brewery currently accomplishing this balancing act is Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, VT. Otter Creek started brewing their line of craft ales in 1991, and merged with Wolaver’s Organic Ales in 2002. Otter Creek is known for year-round releases like their popular Copper Ale and Stovepipe Porter along with a set of seasonal releases. Their beers are currently distributed to 22 states. To accommodate the changing craft beer market Otter Creek has started to develop some new beer styles that complement their existing line-up. One of these new releases is Kind Ryed IPA, a rye IPA brewed with large additions of American hops.
Otter Creek Kind Ryed IPA pours a slightly cloudy orange with a mild off-white head. The smell is all American hops, bursts of citrus and tropical fruit followed by some mild pine aromas. The taste is very hop-forward too, strong flavors of grapefruit, lemon, and guava with some mild resin and earthy notes. The malt provides a nice balance, you get the spicy and woodsy notes from the rye along with a touch of caramel. Rye IPAs can vary quite a bit in the balance of flavors between the rye malt and hop flavors, and both are present here but the hops are stronger (which is my personal preference). The beer is pleasantly carbonated with a medium body. At 6.5% ABV it is solid but still very drinkable. The finish is slightly bitter, with a pleasantly hoppy after taste. With great American hop flavor and solid support from the rye malts, Otter Creek Kind Ryed IPA is one of the better rye IPAs I’ve tried. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.