This week, I was treated to a wonderful experience. When I go to buy a case of beer, I usually lean towards a sampler pack from a certain brewery. This way I can try more than one of a certain kind of beer, but still get variety. I was walking around in Township Line Beer & Cigar, my local one-stop shop for manly vices, when I ran into something unusual. Sure, they had samples that breweries put together and ship out, but the people there also make up their own samples. They were really creative, because I ran into their “Dark Beer Collection.” Dark beers are my favorite kind, and they had assembled 12 different kinds.
What caught my eye the most was one by my second favorite brewery, Southern Tier. They listed the 2X Rye. The last rye beer I had, I hated adamantly, because it was light, smoky and spicy. The thought of balancing it with dark sweet flavors appealed to me, and I’m always willing to give something another try, so rye beer was next on my chopping block.
I poured it into a glass because a beer like that needs to breathe. When it’s going to have more volatile flavors, it’s best to give it that much-needed surface area, so you can breathe it in while you drink it down. It poured a thin head, with a dark deep reddish brown color as many dark beers do. Have you ever heard someone tell you that beer is liquid bread? I’m going to say that a lot about this beer. The beer smelled like a bakery that makes really quality bread. The rye notes came through and they were mellowed during the process of brewing excellently. I couldn’t smell any hops, but malt was very heavy.
Taste came down to being easily described as liquid bread. I’ll try to do a better job of selling it to you, but when you put it up to your lips, you’ll realize that nothing else could be more accurate. This beer had a deep sweetness that wasn’t sugary. It had an umami kind of sweetness. No surprise, rye was definitely a flavor in it, but it wasn’t overdone. Most beers don’t have that flavor in them, and this one didn’t try to compensate. It was subtly used and really accented by the dark deep tastes.
The satisfying “Aah” that comes after a good sip of a good beer really takes things to the next level. The aftertaste is fragrant and has that slight spicy flowery note common with rye and fennel seeds. The drink itself is heavy, and if it stayed like that, it could start to weigh you down, but the rye really allows it to refresh you at the end. This is definitely one of those beers that I could drink all night without becoming bored or tired of it.
Out of 10, I’d have to give this one an 8. It didn’t do anything wrong, I just prefer some other beers more. It comes in at 8.1 percent, which is more than your normal beer, but less than a strong one. This beer really goes well with good conversations and perhaps a card game. It’s sophisticated and easygoing. It won’t let you down, and can really fit the mood of a relaxing evening. I’m sad that my case only had two, but I feel that this beer won’t be the last one from the case you hear about from me.