I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been on a bit of a rye beer kick recently. The subtle spicy flavor of rye can add complexity when used as a minor adjunct grain or major flavor when a more generous portion is added to the mash. American craft brewers have predominantly used rye in two styles of beer. Rye IPAs meld floral, aromatic and bitter hops with the spicy grain while rye additions to the Belgian saison style complement the expressive yeast flavors. I enjoy both of these styles and understand why they are popular, but I am always looking for creative uses of rye in other styles of beer. An innovative local example is Two Roads Rye 95, a Belgian style tripel brewed with rye. There are many similarities between tripels and saisons (light color, expressive Belgian style yeast, typically moderate to low hop flavor), so the use of rye in this beer style make sense, even if it isn’t a traditional ingredient. Based on the label Rye 95 pays homage to I-95, one on the central highways that connects the states of New England and the rest of the East Coast. It also refers to the 9.5% ABV in the beer, the kind of full bodied booziness that the tripel style is known for. Two Roads Rye 95 is available on draft and in 12 oz. bottles during the late winter and early spring.
Two Roads Rye 95 pours a clear light orange with a mild white head. The scent is a mixture of spicy yeast and rich malts. The taste is malt forward, some spicy rye, with touches of cracked grain, biscuits and a little sweetness. This mingles with the yeast flavor, notes of pear, clove, pepper and apricot. Many American tripels include extra hop character and this is no exception, the hops add some grass and lemon and dry out the finish. It’s not a “hoppy” beer but the hops add complexity to the palate. The beer is a medium bodied sipper at 9.5% ABV and you get a little bit of the warming alcohol in the aftertaste. Overall this is an interesting take on the tripel style, lots of diverse flavors that work pretty well together. I personally would have liked a little more robust rye character, but others might appreciate the restraint. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
Previous Two Roads Reviews: