Beer: Rye of the Tiger
Brewer: Great Lakes Brewing Company
Style: American IPA
Description: Rye of the Tiger is golden amber in appearance with a frothy and slightly off-white head that sticks around for a while and leaves behind a very hefty lacing on the glass. The aroma has strong hop notes of citrus and pine backed with spice from the rye malt. The taste follows the nose with a few surprises along the way. The citrus hop flavors are up front and are soon followed by a bit of peppery spice from the rye malt, creating a wonderful flavor profile that is soon combined with notes of pine and a touch of honey-like sweetness before a perfectly dry finish. The medium body and moderate carbonation combined with the malt profile create a very creamy mouthfeel that still leaves behind a pronounced dry finish. Rye of the Tiger is another great IPA that showcases the ability of brewers to experiment with the style and still create highly drinkable and enjoyable beers.
Food pairing: American IPAs go well with a wide variety of foods; however, Rye of the Tiger goes extremely well with fried foods. Try pairing Rye of the Tiger with fried chicken, as the rye malt will melt into the crunchy outer layer while the hops will pick up on the chicken and the carbonation will cleanse the palate clean in between bites. Also try pairing with fried shrimp, fried oysters, or the all-American treat – the corn dog! The spicy rye malts will add a layer of complexity to the breaded outer layer, while the hops will enhance some of the citrus flavors locked within some of the dishes, and the heftier mouthfeel and moderate carbonation can handle the heavier foods and still leave behind a clean, dry finish. This is also a beer that has enough sweetness from the malt that it can pair nicely with some desserts, but lean more towards spicier desserts or those which will play nicely off the characteristics in the beer, such as peach cobbler, cinnamon swirl Bundt coffee cake, and especially the popular Indian dessert dish Gajar Ka Halwa.
The final word: Great Lakes is a brewery with a fantastic reputation for brewing some world-class beers – and sometimes breweries can falter under that weight – but Great Lakes always rises to the occasion. Rye of the Tiger is a fantastic example of the IPA style with an extra addition of rye for a kick of spice that is present throughout the beer. It still manages to have all the qualities loved in IPAs as well, notably the strong hop presence in the aroma and taste while also leaving behind a wonderfully dry finish. While drinking a few glasses of Rye of the Tiger may not inspire you to race up a mountain, strap a log to your back and run through the Russian landscape, or challenge Ivan Drago to a fight, it will awaken your senses to the many subtle nuances occurring within this fantastic beer!
Rating: W W W W V
Where can I get it? Currently available on draft only at Backyard Ale House, Scranton. More locations are to come, as this beer is just starting to enter our market, so call around and ask. It is well worth the trouble to hunt this beer down!
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m.