On Monday, April 20, 2015 I headed to Brooklyn Brewery for yet another Brewmaster’s Reserve Series beer release event. This time the beer was a “Rye IPA” (style not specified) called I Wanna Rye-It!. As usual I filmed brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s words of wisdom and quickly edited together the above video so I could share them with you.
BREWERY’S DESCRIPTION: In the “old days” (days you may recall from movies like “High Noon” and “True Grit”), when people drank whiskey, it was almost always rye whiskey. And in the “old country” (which you may remember from countries like “Estonia” and “Germany”), when people ate bread, it was often rye bread.
So what’s so great about rye? Look at it this way: rye is the bad-boy cousin to those two better-known grains, barley and wheat. There’s nothing delicate about it; it’s tough and it grows where it wants, when it wants. Rye is fun, but it has an edge to it, like a gruff antihero riding into town. It’s got complex spicy, nutty flavors, and that makes it exciting, but it sometimes gets a little out of hand, especially when it hangs out with equally edgy American hops.
Don’t get us wrong, rye can be silky smooth and seductive when it wants to be, making it pretty irresistible at times. Brooklyn I Wanna Rye-It takes that wayward grain on a little joy ride through spicy flavors, a light smack of caramel, an explosive pop of hops and a sharp dry finish. And when your pint is finished, we think you’ll pick yourself up, dust off your jacket, smile and ask us for another one. You’d better ask quick, though—rye doesn’t like to be kept waiting.
Brooklyn I Wanna Rye-It is pretty awesome with pastrami, ham, barbecue, burgers, steaks and hard cheeses. The rye is pretty loud, and all this attention is likely to rile it up even further. Actually, this beer sorta reminds us of our Production Manager, Jimmy Valm. Hmmm… must be a mysterious backstory there somewhere.
My Thoughts: Going in to this beer I didn’t know what to expect. After all, as Garrett described in his “words of wisdom” rye has elbows i.e. it’s a grain that can express itself in a variety of ways. So when I was handed my first glass of I Wanna Rye-It! I curiously sniffed and sipped it for a couple minutes, gathered my thoughts, and then asked my friends what they thought of it. To me this beer has a remarkably refreshing and balanced complexity. The first thing that stood out to me was that I could taste the crisp breadiness of not only the crystal malt, but also the Crisp pale malt and enjoyed how it rounded out the finish of the beer and reminded me of an English bitter. Upfront the spiciness of the rye blended with floral and citrus notes from the American hops were the stars of the show. Though they seemed quite bold at first, the hop and rye flavor combination never overwhelmed my palate. So after enjoying a glass of Brooklyn’s Gold IPA I finished off my drinking for the night with yet another glass of I Wanna Rye-it! At 7.5% this beer is quite drinkable and perfect for pairing with a wide variety of foods (see suggestions above). I hope to find it at a bar or bottle shop that fills growlers so I can bring some home to enjoy with dinner on a warm Spring evening. Cheers! Rating: 8/10