Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rye on Rye My oh My

I have been looking forward to Boulevard's Rye on Rye coming out since I first saw the barrels marked "Rye" in the barrel room at the brewery. As regular readers here know, I love rye beers and I really wish every brewery made one. Having the hometown brewery make a rye beer is just the sort of thing that makes me happy. Having the hometown brewery give me a bottle before they release it was reason enough to dust off the Lido Deck bar deep in the bowels of la manse du Vard and invite people over.

Chimpotle, Weston and Yeti came over to sample the Rye on Rye with me and then do a blind tasting of porters (this will be covered in another post). Chimpo was kind enough to bring over his Smokestack tulips, the recommended glassware for the Rye on Rye, since I don't have any tulips. The rye on rye poured out a nice whiskey color and if I could pour a good glass of beer consistently I could tell you what the head looked like. As it happened, two of the pours had a finger wide head, one was almost all head and one had no head at all. I think the moderate head ones will be the normal experience. It had a real heavy whiskey smell and had me a little worried that it was going to be like drinking a glass of whiskey. While I love rye beers I've been a little worried about the aging in the Templeton Rye barrels. Bourbon or whiskey barrel aging almost always seems like a better idea than it turns out being. The beer ends up tasting like whiskey and loses it's beery goodness. The Rye on Rye does suffer from this as my first thought was that it was whiskey-y. It still had a good rye beer flavor and was enjoyable but it's more of a whiskey lover's beer. Weston kept insisting that it tasted like Delirium Nocturnum, something I would never say since I haven't had Nocturnum in a couple of years.

This is an all night sipping beer or what I'll call a destination beer. This is something you can pull out of the refrigerator at 8, pour yourself a half glass, pop in a Netflix and drink while you munch on some cheese popcorn and keep the bottle on the counter and go back for more until it's gone. If you're more worldly than me you can pop it open, cut up some aged cheeses, crack open a book and keep going back for more until it's gone. I would recommend that you drink a bottle with a buddy because of it's 11% ABV. The ABV is presumably to blame for Chimpotle uttering the nonsensical line "this is the chili dog of the Double Wide" in reference to another beer about 10 minutes after we finished off the bottle of Rye on Rye. For the $12 it retails for it should be seen as a destination, the kind of beer you pop open for a night when you want to give your taste buds a workout and you don't mind getting a little drunk for that workout. Rye on Rye will be available at KC liquor stores on Monday the 22nd.

Disclaimer: Boulevard gave me the bottle of Rye on Rye gratis. It did not affect this review, but you can be the judge of that.


  1. Man,
    I am quite jealous. I had Collaboration the other night, but that's because a buddy visiting from MO brought it to me. I might have to make the trek from OH for this one.

  2. Let me say that I hate the flavor of whiskey and don't drink many Rye beers and found the Rye-on-Rye to be enjoyable. Popcorn enhances the whiskey flavor.

    Let me also say that "chili dog" was in reference to the sexual maneuver, not the food.

  3. Not sure where the bar is for calling something a rye beer, but rye was included in the Imperial Stout and played a significant role.

    So the Worthog and I are headed to Des Moines to judge a beer competition in a few weeks. We were scoping out the local beerage and discovered that Court Avenue Brewing Company has made a rye beer aged in rye barrels for a few years. So maybe a rye-on-rye-off is in order.

    I'm personally looking for more breweries to make a version of American Wheat (preferably a hoppier version like Gumball Head) with rye instead of wheat. Homebrewers do it a lot and its really a great use of rye, though not as flashy as barrel aged rye beers.

  4. Er, I meant to say in the past comment that the Court Avenue beer also uses Templeton barrels. Small world.

  5. I believe the exact comment was "Imperial Stout is the chili dog of Double Wide."

    Later followed up with utterings from the movie Mask, and me being introduced to Rocky Dennis.

  6. Sounds like I may pass on this one unless I happen to be around when a bottle is opened. This was a pretty honest review...I think you're just trying to throw all those who call you a Boulevard homer off your scent.

    And I still implore anyone who likes rye beers to grab a sixer of Bell's Rye Stout if you can still find it.

  7. I share your feeling of beers aged in whiskey barrels and wasn't aware that this was going to one of those (although, "Rye on Rye" does seem obvious). Did it seem well balanced or somewhat muddled? Would a bit of cellar time help? As far as your pouring technique, you should pick up a copy of Randy Mosher's "Tasting Beer".

  8. I hear you about the whiskey. I still think Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout is the best barrel-aged beer I've had personally. Yeah, it has a good shot of whiskey in it, but it enhances the beer, rather than being there just for the hell of it. I'm a big fan of rye whiskey Old Fashioned's (made the old fashioned way, not with a bunch of fruit floating in the glass), so I'll have to give this a try.

  9. John, Interestingly we drank a bottle of Imperial Stout later in the evening with some chocolate frosted cupcakes and it was fabulous. I wasn't aware (or I forgot) that it had rye in it. I like the spicy feel that the rye gives beers so I would guess that I mean I like spicier beers.

    Brandon, the whiskey presence was there but not prominent. I don't know if you've had both batches of Bourbon Barrel Quad or not, but the first batch was real bourbon forward. It was the first, middle and last taste note. The secon batch they toned down the bourbon and, for me, made it much more enjoyable (some disagree). The Rye on Rye is most like the second batch of BBQ. Rereading this post makes me think that I didn't make that point very well. Rye does have a whiskey note but it's also very enjoyable and drinkable. Whiskey is not the only flavor note happening.

    As for pouring, 3 people were watching and 2 of them pour a lot of beer professionally. I had performance anxiety.

  10. Gotcha. You should see me in bed.