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Rye Beer


Rye beers can be either an ale or lager, and are generally based on a classic beer style with the addition of rye malt that makes up at least 20 percent of the grain bill. Adding rye to a brew produces a spicy, pumpernickel character in the flavor and aroma. This beer style began in Germany where the beer was known for carrying notes of banana and cloves. In American Rye Beers, these banana and clove notes are no longer present and are rather hoppy which can yield flavors of citrus or spice.

Rye beer comes in various types of beer styles and flavors due to changes in ingredients or fermentation process. Honey Rye Beer carries the spice and flavor of most other rye beers with the added sweetness in flavor and aroma of honey. Rye Sour beers are usually aged in oak barrels with the wild yeast, Brettanomyces, to produce a sour, funky taste. Added yeast may make the appearance change to look more hazy or cloudy. Rye beers also tend to make the brew appear red, which leads to another type called Red Rye Beer.

Depending on whether the Rye Beer is a lighter or darker version, the beer color can vary from straw to copper, or amber to dark brown. The ABV of Rye Beers depends on the base beer used, ale or lager, but on average tends to fall between the 4-6% range. The brew is best served in a vase glass at a cool temperature between 46-54 degrees Fahrenheit. Rye Beers pair well with spicy foods such as Mexican food, Indian food, and jerk chicken. However, the beer pairs well with cheeses like mild blue, mild cheddar, or asiago. Not to mention this awesome recipe for Rye Mussels and Frites!

Beers made with rye can sometimes be made as gluten-removed or gluten-reduced beers. When brewing the craft beer, it can be processed using enzymes that digest the gluten particles and break it down into tiny particles. To be gluten free, the brew must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, and since the removal process isn't scientifically validated and the amount of gluten varies between batches, brewers can't claim their beer is gluten free.

We've had the pleasure of introducing our Craft Beer Club members to a wide range of Rye Beers over the years! Take a look a some of them below. Make sure to sign up for your own craft beer shipments and you'll be on your way to tasting small-batch beers from the country's best microbreweries.