This beer is technically a rye ale, but I consider it more of a red ale that happens to have rye. Hoppy red ales seem to be a burgeoning style these days in the craft beer community as they're very similar to IPAs. This will be my first hop-forward beer from Founders as all the other beers of theirs I've had have been stouts and a porter.
P.S. did you notice the music sounds a little different on the intro montage? That's the DEMO version of the theme song brentalfloss made for me about a year and a half ago. It's NEVER been released in any way, shape, or form until now!
4AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Appearance: Beautiful brick red/marmalade orange color. Mostly clear with slight haze and noticeably carbonated. Small, yellow, soap head is produced - but it retains well and laces quite nicely, too.
Smell: Pure tropical fruits in the nose here with massive grapefruit, tangerine and mango or guava. A lovely floral/perfume-like fragrance as well.
Taste: Hopped-up red ales seem to be the next IPAs as this is the third hoppy red I’ve had in as many months and they’ve all been along these lines. The difference with Red’s Rye PA is that, while it is indeed very bitter (70 IBUs according to the bottle), it’s not obnoxiously dry. Founders has managed to balance the hop bite with a juicy backbone. Their website indicates its brewed with four varieties of Belgian caramel malts, although there’s nothing particularly "Belgian" about this beer as a whole. It’s not the malts create for a noticably sweet palate, in my opinion, but that they keep the beer from being a one-dimensional hop bomb. The addition of rye is quite subtle and creates for just a hint of spice on the finish.
Mouthfeel: For such a hop-forward beer, Red’s Rye PA is quite gentle in the mouth. It doesn’t feel crisp or thick or sticky. Just a traditional medium-bodied ale texture and weight.
Drinkability: The hops linger and become a little bit drier with each swig, but never to the point of being obnoxious. The tropical fruit taste makes the beer actually quite refreshing despite its overtly bitter palate. This would pair very well with a hearty meal and the 6.6% ABV seems dead-on to me.
Overall, one of the best red ales I’ve had.