A few weeks ago Party Town announced that they would start selling their own beer on their growler station. Carla and I were out of town the first week it was out, then we got busy and didn’t make it over there.
Then we got our first taste of it. We knew immediately that this was something special. We asked Joe to to give us the story on how it came about, and he sent us the following account [items in brackets were added by me for clarity].
Jeff, Coy and I (Joe) took a trip to the Great Lakes Brewery and obviously spent a few hours in the brewpub. We were fortunate enough to try a one off beer called Rye of the Tiger while there. It was a rye India Pale style and quite impressive. It did have a tinge of that vague metallic flavor you find in Commodore Perry when it is drank too young. We had encountered similar beers throughout the years such as Reds Rye from Founders and Red Rocket From Bear Republic. We really liked the flavors to be found in the style, but we found few examples, and all seemed to be lacking something to our tastes.
We decided to brew a batch of said style for ourselves, but before we had a chance Jeff had already gone one step further and talked to BBC [Bluegrass Brewing Company] about brewing the beer at their St. Mathews facility. We all put our requests in (Jeff, Drew, Coy, Aaron, and myself) and took some notes and did some research and talked to [BBC Head Brewer] Jerry [Gnagy] down south and he liked the idea a lot.
We were thinking about a citrusy beer accentuated by the spice of rye malt. We wanted a larger addition of rye than we had seen in other examples, so we were thinking 28% would be sufficient. Jerry thought 33% would be better, and we agreed. For the citrus hop profile we wanted, a whole lot of Cascade and Columbus hops were added to the boil, and then Simcoe for the dry hop. I am normally leery of the catiness of Simcoe, but when used as a dry hop you get the good and leave the bad. We met our target of 7.5% ABV and 75 I.B.U.’s using only hops, malt, water, yeast, and love. That’s all I have to say about that.
So enough of the story, how’s the beer?
It pours a rich copper color with a fine head that exhibits moderate lacing. Its aroma is a pleasing combination of malt and a touch of fruit. I’m guessing that the rye gives the start a nice sour bite that immediately morphs into a grapefruit finish. The effect is wholly balanced: something different going on all the time, nothing overwhelming anything else. This beer has a strong flavor. “Robust” comes to mind. It’s probably not going to be to everyone’s taste (what beer is?), but if you’re a fan of hops, you’re going to want to try this.
Overall Impression: 4/4
GRADE: Party Town’s Rye 75, A (19/20)