I picked up a few bombers of this one at Finger Lakes Beverages after visiting the brewery itself. They were tapping the new batch at 5:30, but I couldn't stay that late in the area so the previous batch's bottle is my first experience, and I love rye soooo....
This one comes packed with a real nice head, about two fingers deep in my Duvel tulip, thick and slightly off-white. As it slowly fades it leaves its mark all down the sides, giggity. As for the hue, at first I thought it was almost a light pumpkin-orange from the light, but as I let it sit and revisit it in normal lighting it is a more medium ruby-auburn, hints of gold, and pretty clear.
The nose is a curious sweet that almost reminds me of fresh cherries. Not that it smells like a cherry so much as a very faint hint, a touch of grassy hops, and not much else. Maybe I'm getting stuffy or something, but even after sitting for a good 10 minutes it hasn't really opened up, but it is a pale ale, not ipa, so I let it go.
Up front the malts hold the court, a hint of spice and citrus join the party, and then the rye slowly comes out. The rye sticks with you in the finish, along with the bitterness of the hops, like really sticks with you. As this warms a bit I like it even more as the rye becomes more pronounced in all parts of the sip and dries out the beer a bit. The carbonation on this is a touch above spot on but nothing that takes away from the experience. I drank this whole bomber with not even a second thought, secretly happy I didn't have to share ;-)
I was really excited to find there were bottles still at FLB as this and the pumpkin were my main reasons for heading down there from Syracuse. Horseheads is a real gem, they produce solid beers, and the wife there listens to good hard rock. I wish I lived closer, but I have no problem making the trip down there when I am in da 'Cuse. I can not say it is my top rye beer or rye pale, but like my top rye's this too is not available locally to me and I will pick it up anytime I am able to.
Pours a brilliant reddish gold into my nonic glass, with a white head that hangs on forever. Just a beautiful pint of beer. Aroma is faint apricot and honey, with an underlying hop spiciness and aroma of rye grains. Incredibly appetizing aroma that promises a very fine brew...
and the flavor follows up the promise big time. Starts out with a balanced toast-and-apricot initial hit, firm but not overdone bitterness, and spicy-smooth, slightly peppery rye grain right down the middle of the tongue. The rye flavors, spicy yet not overly grainy, are the highlight of this one, but the bitterness, properly sharp and bracing, comes through especially in the end to balance it beautifully. Faint vaporous grassy citrus hops are in the background. Finishes with a lingering hop bitterness and a clean, dry rye flavor. Light to moderate mouthfeel, not uber-chewy and frankly all the better for it.
An incredibly clean and drinkable pale ale with a flavor note from the rye that makes it all the more interesting. A beer I would not get at all bored with on repeated bottles. Next time, getting a case of it.
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