Friday, March 11, 2011

Review - Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

I normally wouldn't buy a beer from the Bear Republic, a brewery located in Healdsburg, California. Last year they filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Red Racer brand from the award-winning Central City Brewing located in Surrey, BC. Their claim was that Red Racer infringed on copyrights of two of their products, Racer 5 IPA and Red Rocket Ale. This highly frivolous claim, was reminiscent of the ridiculous lawsuit filed against Phillips Brewing by the unscrupulous Red Truck Brewing Co. of North Vancouver. Fortunately, a US judge denied Bear Republic's motion for an injunction last June.

As I prepared for a bottling session, however, my girlfriend arrived to help me and presented me with a bottle of the Bear Republic's Rye PA, to enjoy while bottling. I'm not one to let politics prevent me from trying a new beer, so we rolled up our sleeves and cracked the Hop Rod.

Similar to Phillip's Krypton, the Hot Rod is a Rye PA, or an IPA made with malted rye. It contains 18% rye, which is not an overly large amount of the grain to have in a beer, and I would guess this is near the same amount contained in the Krypton. Somewhat unusually for an IPA, this beer is a beautiful, dark brown colour with ruby highlights throughout. Its aroma isn't overly strong with a light bouquet of citrus hops. The flavour is of grapefruity hops balanced with rich malt that has a nice spiciness from the rye. At 8% abv this beer has a slight alcohol presence but it is not too much and actually adds a pleasing sensation in the mouth. It has a long and bitter finish that seems to lack that characteristic rye spiciness, possibly because the strong bittering hops mask this flavour.

I may not be a fan of the way Bear Brewing conducts itself, particularly in regards to small BC breweries that are the furthest thing from being a threat, but I do like this beer and would definitely recommend it.
Rating: Very Good

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