Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1286) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 21, 2015

When a brewery mentions that the beer uses rye and even incorporates it into the name of the brew, it can throw me off. Some beers happen to have rye in them, but they’re not “specialty grain” brews per se. In the case of Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale there’s no doubt that it’s a rye-forward beer and it works because of that reason. A delectable palette that remarkably easy to drink – I’m impressed.

I poured a 16oz can into a mug. It was canned on 1/19/15 and cost $3.15 ($0.20 per ounce).

Appearance: Amber color; fairly hazy body but consistent carbonation is visible. Pours to a large, off-white, foamy head that retains and laces very well.

Smell: Spicy rye; slightly bready; light clean citrus notes too.

Taste: To say this beer tastes of rye is a bit of an understatement. It’s the most predominate character from start to finish. At first there’s a light zesty character, but also quite malty; akin to rye bread. Through the middle I get a lot of citrusy and herbal hop flavor. It’s bitter for sure, but nothing too intense. The finish brings the rye back in an even stronger, spicier, and drier delivery. There’s underlying notes of lemonpeel and a hint of black pepper. This is a delectable palette to be sure, and an impressive one considering it’s “just” an American pale ale brew at the core. Well done, Bell’s.

Drinkability: Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale is one of the few beers that incorporates the best of both worlds – a full-bodied brew that’s easy to get down (and how). The mouthfeel is crisp, but in no way light. That’s impressive, considering the beer weighs in at 6% ABV. Though I wouldn’t consider it refreshing, it’s in no way cloying or overwhelming. Versatile, too; pair it with a spicy meal or enjoy it on its own in any weather. 
Grade: 9/10

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