Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"
A few years ago I decided to tip my cap to one of my favorite Californian breweries which uses the state's history and fondness for all things bear as the impetus behind their name. It's, of course, Bear Republic Brewing that takes their inspiration from the Bear Republic period of California's past, and, considering CU is facing the Golden Bears tomorrow, I figure it's fitting to dip back into their well of excellent offerings.
Back in 2011 I went with Racer 5, which continues to be one of my favorite IPAs on the market. As much as I love that beer, I'm not one for repeating (unless it's Utah week), so I'll turn to another one of their styles that sets my heart aflutter. How about something with a slightly spicy rye kick? Yeah, that'll do nicely. That beer, Bear Republic Brewing's Hop Rod Rye, is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
Hell yeah, rye! I love it, both in whiskey and beer forms, as it brings a unique sweet/spicy zing to the party, one that is a refreshing change of pace from more straight-laced 100% barley-based malts. Hop Rod Rye uses the titular ingredient quite well, and the resulting spicy twang offsets the traditional notes nicely. Bear Republic uses an 18% cut of the grain in the mix, which I hear is quite a lot, and explains the prominence of bitter on the aftertaste. It's an American IPA, so there's a nice hoppy tilt to the proceedings, as well. Floral on the nose, bitter on the palate.
All-in-all, a well-crafted beer, one which should strike your tongue as a unique twist on a craft staple. You will be able to find Hop Rod Rye at most liquor stores with a deep bench, probably in a 6-pack. Share with friends, however, as it clocks in a 8%.
Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Golden Bears!