Indy Beer Buzz: The cache of ryes 

Is Rye Beer the new IPA?

click to enlarge Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton - FLICKR
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton
  • Flickr
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A specialty Rye just hit the Broadway marketplace via Hamilton cast members brewing in collaboration with Bronx, NY-based Gun Hill Brewing. Rise Up Rye was created to raise funds for Graham Windham, the private orphanage founded in 1808 in Brooklyn by Hamilton’s wife Eliza Schyler Hamilton. Word on the street? It’s Tony-worthy.  

In Portland, Oregon, Beer Week starts June 10 in concert with Rye Beer Week, featuring 20 Rye Beers as a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Association.

And right here in Indy, The Tap is headlining Phoenix Theatre’s 21st Annual Brew-Ha-Ha on June 18 with their newest special, Double Barrel Buckshot Bicentenni-Ale, a smoked Roggenbier. At 4.8% ABV and 16 IBU it’s expected to be perfect on a hot, hectic day.

Can’t get to Broadway, Portland or Brew-Ha-Ha? No worries—right now four breweries in close range have Rye beers on tap including Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Sun King, Grand Junction, and The Tap.

click to enlarge The Tap's Double Barrel Buckshot - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • The Tap's Double Barrel Buckshot
  • Submitted Photo
On June 10, The Tap is tapping Double Barrel Buckshot at 5 p.m. at 204 W. Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington, and at 6 p.m. in Downtown Indy at 306 N. Delaware St. The Tap’s Indiana Bicentenni-Ale is a blending of two traditional German styles: Roggenbier (rye ale) and Rauchbier (smoked beer). Nearly 100% of the malts for this beer were sourced from Sugar Creek Malt in Lebanon, IN. It features plum wood smoked rye malt. Soft caramel, rye spiciness, banana and compliment noticeable sweet smoke reminiscent of dark fruits.

We caught up with The Tap’s head brewer Jarrod May via email.

NUVO: What drew you to the Rye and how did you come up with the delightful Rauch Rye concept?

Jarrod May: I love rye malt. Super spicy, packed with flavor and Roggenbier is one of my favorite styles. When I was researching this [Bicentenni-Ale] project I decided to highlight some local producers. I already had been in contact with 812 Hop Farms for the fall beer, but wanted to feature local malt so I reached out to Caleb at Sugar Creek Malt. Their selection of smoke options for malt is incredible. Since plums are native to Indiana I decided on plum smoke. Sugar Creek smoked a small run of plum smoked rye malt just for this batch! I felt the fruity smokiness would pair well with the unique rye that Sugar Creek carries and the traditional weizen yeast would add some neat complexity to the overall beer.

NUVO: How did you and Caleb work together at Sugar Creek Malt to obtain exactly what you want?

Jarrod: I wasn't sure what I could get from Caleb so I called and began asking questions. Caleb was super helpful in helping me decide on the malts to use for this beer and was more than delighted to do such a unique and small batch of this unique smoked rye. We talked a little about the woods that he uses and some of the flavors that may come off of them. We both decided that plum would be fun and give a unique character to the finished beer. When his assistant maltster delivered the finished malt to the brewery he was super excited to tell me about how incredible it smelled and tasted. He was totally right!
click to enlarge Smoked rye from Sugar Creek Malt - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Smoked rye from Sugar Creek Malt
  • Submitted Photo
NUVO: Whose hops did you use?

Jarrod: We stuck with our hops that we currently have in house. At such a low IBU and not being a hop focused beer I felt it wasn't as important to the beer as showcasing the malt. We used German Tradition hops.

We have a full batch of this beer. I will be moving it for service Friday morning, so I'm not sure of my final yield yet, but I'm assuming around 9 barrels. This will supply both restaurants and should last into early August or late July.

Rye beers now on tap around Indianapolis in addition to The Tap are at:

Grand Junction Black Hat Brigade Black Rye IPA with a 54% Rye Malt base affords a unique spicy pumpernickel flavor at the finish. 6.6%ABV, 76IBU.

click to enlarge Sun King's Alrye'd Alrye'd Alrye'd - SUN KING
  • Sun King's Alrye'd Alrye'd Alrye'd
  • Sun King
Sun King Alrye’d Alrye’d Alrye’d Rye IPA “is brewed with Crystal Hops from Michigan for a pronounced dankness, citrusy bright character, and an agreeable spiciness that plays will with its rye malt base.”

I Got Rye on It at BRBP “is brewed for the bike polo group here in Indy,” says head brewer Jonathon Mullens. “This beer is a malt liquor that breaks some traditions for the style; brewed with Warrior hops that allow a nice herbal note that gets balanced out by the slight sweet rye spice from the malts. Like the warriors that ride the courts this brew rides across your palate and leaves a bitter sweet finish on your tongue.” ABV9%, IBUs28

And there’s more to look for throughout the year:

Bare Hands: Rye The F Not?; We Brought 31 Rye IPA

Barley Island: Rye Bock

Black Acre: Rye Stout

Bloomington Brewing: winter seasonal Rye IPA with organic Rye from Herr Station Malt in Lebanon. BBC own reports, “Jeff Evard created Indiana’s first malting company.”

Chapman's Brewing: RedRyeding Hood Imperial Red Rye

Deer Creek: RyeIPA

Figure Eight: Barrel Aged Rye Knot Baltic Rye Porter

Grand Junction Brewing Company: Roggenbier; Eye of Rye

Half Moon: Raz-Rye, Rye IPA, Honey Rye

Indiana City: Forefathers Roggenbier Rye IPA

New Corner: Muntucky Rye, a true Rye-PA.

Planetary Brewing: Apesh#!t RyePA/Hefe

Powerhouse: DILLIGAF Rye Ale

Sun King: Alrye’d Alrye’d Alrye’d:Imperial Session Rye IPA; Pale Ryder Rye Pale Ale; Poff the Magic Dragon Red Ry IPA; Rye Barrel Batch 666; Sympathy for the Devil Rye Barrel-Aged Belgian Style Black Ale; XXRye IPA

Triton: O’Rye-N Galaxy Pale Ale

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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