Friday, December 18, 2009

Saranac Rye IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 15, 2010
If you know me you know I’m a hophead and I love the India Pale Ale style the most of all beer styles. While I don’t think I could ever tire of trying different IPAs I do enjoy something original regardless of quality. Saranac Rye IPA is able to do exactly that as it’s able to effectively use rye malt to create for a very unique taste without coming off as gimmicky.


I was a little surprised to see this beer has a clear dark gold body rather than the more typical copper or orange color I associate with IPAs. It’s fairly effervescent and produced a thick, white, almost spongy head. It’s slow to dissipate and leaves noticeable lacing on the glass.

The aroma is standard for a beer of the sort with a strong hop nose that is accompanied by a dry rye scent. It’s slightly floral but more indicative of a spicy beer. Regardless, it’s quite interesting and inviting.


Many pedestrian beer drinkers often complain of beers being “too bitter,” but I would argue most beers aren’t nearly bitter enough. Saranac Rye IPA is a good example of the bitterness I expect a beer to have. Like any good beer of the style the hops are strong and dominate the palate. There’s even something of a crunchy hop bite on the back end.

But as the label indicates this isn’t just an ordinary IPA, it’s made with rye and it’s no lie. The malt is well-balanced to give a dry, bready and almost sweet flavor to the palate. It leaves a noticeable aftertaste akin to eating a slice of rye bread.

Obviously, this flavor combination is not going to appeal to everyone, but for what it is I find it innovative and quite tasty, actually.


There are two distinct “movements” to encounter while drinking Saranac Rye IPA. The initial mouthfeel and taste is clean and hoppy without any kind of watery component. On the finish there’s a strong, but dry hop bite coupled with a bready rye flavor. They combine to form a very bitter taste. The aftertaste is strong as well as the rye malts and hops linger, but not for too long. The mouthfeel itself is smooth, but significantly weighted.

At 5.95% ABV this is a beer that’s intended to work as a session brew or with a meal. It’s quite versatile.


Beer snobs tend to find Saranac too pedestrian for their tastes, but with Rye IPA (and most of the beers in their “12 Beers of Winter” mix pack) it seems that the Matt Brewery has stepped up their game. In fact, it’s almost a paradox since this beer might be a little too intense for Joe and Jane Six Pack, but doesn’t quite approach the levels of the championship-caliber beers. Either way, I still enjoyed it and think most drinker will as well.

Grade: 8/10

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