Rye not? Rye beer and why you need to taste one today

Those of you who have received your February beers will no doubt be chugging them back savoring every sip as we speak. If you’ve cracked open the Dainton Family Brewing Red Eye Rye then you’ll know what a treat it is but you might be wondering about the whole “rye” bit. We can help you out with that.

In short, rye beers are the result of a portion of the malted barley being replaced with malted rye. It’s a versatile ingredient and there are no hard and fast rules about how much rye needs to be incorporated into the grist for it to constitute a rye beer. A German style Roggenbier needs to have around 50% to be, well, a Roggenbier. But otherwise brewers can play around with very small to pretty large amounts of malted rye to get their desired aromas and flavours.

If you’re a whiskey drinker or fond of a slice of pumpernickel bread from time to time, then you’ll already be familiar with that distinctively spicy, earthy quality that rye offers. If you’re neither, then now is a good time to get your taste buds into some of the excellent rye beers that are appearing more and more regularly on the craft beer scene.

Even given those unique spicy and earthy characteristics, rye beers can still be anything from sweet and malty to dry and hoppy because rye malt mixes and matches so well with such a range of other beer ingredients, especially hops. Obviously the more rye that is used in the grist bill, the more those spicy and even sour notes will dominate. Think of that slice of dark rye toast you ordered at that hipster cafe the other day – remember how it gave you just the slightest mouth pucker, but in, like, a good way? Yep, that’s the kind of flavour you’ll be aware of when sipping on a rye beer. Imagine it combined with a big wack of citrusy hops – I know, right? Totes awesome. Give BrewCult’s Superfly Rye IPA a try. Or if IPAs are not your thing (no judgement. Just kidding. Total judgement), then go for something with a sweeter, more malty base. The Rogue Farms Roguenbier Rye might be more up your alley.

Either way, food-wise, you want to pair it with something bold. For spice on spice action, we can’t go past a fiery Thai green curry. Or go for one of those epic burgers that are around so much these days – and add the lot. This is the time to really max out with flavour.

Here at Beer Days, we are obviously fans of the Dainton Red Eye Rye which combines the pleasures of a red ale with a rye and makes you believe, at least for a moment, that you’ve converted to the dark side and will never need to drink another pale ale in your life. Until of course, you open the Lost Coast Aarrgh Pale Ale. But that’s another blog post...

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