Hop Rod Rye - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Hop Rod RyeHop Rod Rye

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2,061 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,061
Hads: 4,589
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 14.39%
Wants: 262
Gots: 318 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Quaffer on 03-27-2002

A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.

2009 California State Fair – GOLD
2003 California State Fair – GOLD
2002 Real Ale Festival (Chicago) – GOLD
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,061 | Hads: 4,589
Photo of Axnjxn
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a Lagunitas wide mouth glass. no bottling date.

Pours a dark reddish brown with a very light head. Very mild hoppy smell with a hint of rye, but not much to go by. was expecting more from the nose. taste is a tad hoppy, with a good balance of malts. its nothing spectacular but quite alright. good feel...medium bodied with light carbonation. easy to down this one and the 8% isnt detectable.

overall its a solid beer, but nothing worldclass in my eyes. it'd most certainly be better fresh, got this at a local store but with no bottling date im not sure how fresh it is. would like to try this on tap.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a 16 oz nonic glass.

Appearance - Body is mostly dark brown with edges of maple syrup that makes it look like iced tea color. Foam is almost a full finger, barely-toasted marshmallow color. Head dissipates after a minute or two, lacing is pretty spotty, almost nonexistent.

Smell - Aroma is a mix of bready richness from the rye, with notes of caramel and malt. There is just a hint of hoppiness. Very promising.

Taste - Rye bread with a kick from the hops, and well balanced with malty semi-sweetness. Finish is pleasant with some lingering bitterness. I would like a little more bite, but I do like the fact that you can really taste the rye base.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation to support the chewiness of the beer.

Overall - A tasty beer, but there are other rye beers and other IPAs that I'd pick off the shelf before this one. Very drinkable for the slightly higher ABV.

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Photo of bambam2517
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bomber poured into an Imperial pint glass, served at 50F.

A - Caramel brown body, no head but a really strong lace ring that is extremely long-lived. The carbonation in this one is a little more present than in other AIPAs I've had, I'm liking it.

S - Fresh malt with a rye sourness on top and an undercurrent of sweetness.

T - Surprised me, its a hop hammer at first! Puckering hops lead into the rye and malt character, and it does have some sweetness balancing it out as well. Some honey, also juniper. A lot to take in.

M - A real wild ride, high level of complexity in the mouthfeel. Starts off fresh and wet, then picks up with bitterness and just as it peaks it slides off with a sweet counterpoint. Finishes with a slightly herbal aftertaste, and it really sneaks that 8% ABV past you.

O - Hell of a fun beer! I like an occasional rye-heavy offering, and this one is near the top of the ryes for me.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle with a best by date of 3/10/15; into a pub glass.
Appearance - a very cloudy orange with nice floating sediment! Thick and creamy off-white head that leaves decent lacing.
Smell - earthy hops and rye bread.
Taste - follows the nose precisely.
Feel - incredibly balanced with hops and rye; easy drinking 8% ABV IPA!
Overall - solid offering from BR; enjoyable beer for any time of year!

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Photo of at7000
4.99/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First beer I have ever given a perfect score to. This beer will spoil your taste buds, I promise you that. Not sure what they have done here, or how much the rye plays a part, but this is one killer beer, in every respect. If this beer were a little cheaper in cost, it would become my main beer.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful translucent amber is one full finger of light khaki colored head. The foam take s a bit to settles, leaving behind a massive amount of lacing.

S: The nose is sweet malt, caramel, rye spice, and pine hops. This beer smells delicious. I'm a sucker for rye beers.

T: It start out with a wonderful mix of sweet malt and rye spice. The hops come through in the middle of the beer with a solid pine quality. As the beer more to the back end I get a good helping of juicy orange citrus mix with that sweet and spicy base. Delicious.

M: Medium bodied beer. It's sweet and spicy to start, but has an almost creamy texture to it. it coats the palate with a ton of flavors and it slides off perfectly when the beer is gone. There is a touch of rye that lingers on the palate.

O: Great beer. This was one of the first beers that got me into the craft scene. 100s of beers later and this one is still fantastic. I would drink this all day if it weren't so darn high in abv.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a darker slightly murky amber/brown with a solid head of cream/darker tan colored head, decent retention, fantastic lacing.

S - Lots of sweet malts, honey and nectarine, some rye and piney hop aromas as well.

T - A really nice bit of rye blended with lots of sweet/tart fruit and a decent hop bitterness. The tartness and rye is fairly unique and really nice with the bitter undertones. Some honey and sweet caramel are also pretty detectable, as is a mild alcohol burn and honey through the finish.

M - Medium/lighter bodied, quite drinkable, medium carbonation.

O - Really awesome, lots of rye and sweetness/tartness and some bitterness initially, lots of honey and a slight alcohol burn at the finish. Really enjoying this.

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Photo of aCharlie
4.87/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - slightly hazy dark brown & amber
S - Floral, pine... more of a subtle hop smell, not too much rye
T - Noticeable amount of hops, with a clean/balanced rye
M - A typical strong IPA/rye
O - The balance of hops and rye work very well together. Mature beer, appropriate amount of hops, malt, and rye - all well combined, and well distinguished.

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Photo of Hendry
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bear Republic beers are highly rated, and I bought Racer 5 based on that fact: it really missed the mark for me. This bottle of Hop Rod Rye was a gift from a friend who swaps beers with me, and he didn't seem to think much of it based on the fact that he read it was "one of the top beers that changed the world."

Where Racer 5 left me flat, Hop Rod Rye was a very pleasant surprise. Pours a deep rich amber with a reddish hue, relatively small head and not much in the way of lacing,and really no cap either. Aesthetics aside, the aroma is pleasant with some piney hops and a touch of spicy rye that thankfully doesn't show up in the taste. Other rye ales have a tendency to be acrid, not the case with Hop Rod Rye.

Medium bodied and well carbonated, it is a bit thin in some respects. The hops are present but it is extinguished by a heavy maltiness that is rich, yet pleasant at the same time. This is an enjoyable beer with a distinct flavor that is worth trying at least once. World class??
Well, you decide!

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Photo of mick303
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Poured into a tulip, colour is a ruby amber brown, no visible carbonation. Produces a good creamy head, solid retention and great lacing.
Colour is really rich and attractive. 4

S- some lighter sourish rye esters straight out of the glass. The aromas are really rich, juicy nectarine, lemon candies, rich florals, hay, some ‘bakery-like’ sweetness, with the rye malt standing out. Fresh citrusy hops, but a real rye malt character, amazingly complex. 4.5

T- a rich array of juicy floral hop bitterness, nectarine, pineapple, tropical fruits, even some berries, balanced really well with a sour rye maltiness that adds a countering kick, some cashew nuttiness, pine nuts, pepper, the rye is a big star here. Then tartness (lemon, kiwi) and a bit of oiliness on the finish, but clean, a bit of mild ‘pine forest’ hops. This is downright delicious. 4.5

M- Big presence, rather slight carbonation, smooth oily hopiness but also some perceptibly malty body with a bit of the sour candy/rye feel (sour cherry blasters). A coating slickness, a lasting tingle sensation on the finish. Satisfying, no alcohol perceptible behind the hops and rye. 4

A real must try beer. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer with such a deft combination of hops and a strong rye maltiness. Really interesting, unique, and tasty. I thought the mouthfeel was the only part that left a bit to be desired in an otherwise excellent brew. Memorable.

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Photo of arfenhouse
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy dark amber with white head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Caramel malt, spicy hops, and a bit of pine. Light on the grapefruit and a little bit of cherry.

T: Sweet caramel and pine. Some mango and spicy hops. Aftertaste is semi-sweet cherry and a bit of bitter pine.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Semi drying.

O: Showed signs of being an old bottle (lots of yeast, hop aroma/taste a bit muted) but was still decent. Since the cost was so low, I'll give it another shot.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I didn't hear a strong "pissst" when i popped the cap, so I gave it an aggressive pour to try to get the most out of what may be an undercarbonated bottle. Pours a deep, dark amber with a thick, 1 finger light tan head. Fantastic retention that held up throughout the entire drink. Sticky lacing. A very impressive looking brew.

S- Lots of florals, some citrus, and a big wave of sweet carmalized malts. Slight estery notes, herbal, sweet fruity booze. Not picking up too much rye or spice like i anticipated. Smells wonderful, bu so shockingly sweet smelling, I find myself a little perplexed.

T- Hop forward. Carmel malt backbone comes thru as smell indicates. A bit tart even at times. Some biscuit presence and....ah yes...the rye finally makes an appearance. Still not as big a role as I had hoped, but a fair supporting actor. Slight earthyness of the rye gives it another twist the nose didn't pick up. Warm finish. I like the balance. I struggle to wrap my head around everything going on here, but it seems to work.

M- Creamy, low carbonation but fine, full body. Dry finish. Alcohol is noticable, but not overpowering.

O- My first Bear Rep. Very enjoyable I must say. Not exactly what i expected, but no complaints other than I could have used a little more rye. Call me crazy, but i feel this is a cross between an American Barley Wine and a tasty ESB.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- pours a dark amber-brown with ruby hue, slightly hazy, good size creamy light-tan head with awesome retention

S- spicy rye notes with a wheaty malt background, peppercorn, herbal hop notes, biscuity malt with a caramel finish

T- spicy rye notes and citrus hop take center stage, but both are complemented by a bready caramel malt backbone, some herbal notes with a slightly sweet finish. Lots of flavors meshing well together

M- medium-heavy body, creamy mouthfeel, low carbonation, silky finish, with just a trace of alcohol warmth at the end. Nearly perfect mouthfeel

O- a slow sipper with great balance, I couldn't find a bottling date but imagine mine mig not be the freshest as the hops weren't as prevalent as I would expect. Nonetheless, still a solid IPA

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Photo of GuzzLah
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a clear, deep copper with a beige head. Nice lace. Bubbly.

S - citrus, floral and pine hops. Caramel malt and rye.

T - is like the aroma. Citrus and floral dominate upfront. Soft pine and spicy rye in the finish. Nice balance for the style.

M - medium body. Mild sweetness balanced with medium bitterness and a little spicy note from the rye. It might be 80ibu, but it isn't a brutally bitter beer.

O - a very good Rye PA. I haven't had many examples of the style, but this is currently my benchmark.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
2.12/5  rDev -50%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bottle with no freshness data into a New Belgium snifter. The pour is a murky dark burnt orange with a nice finger of head that leaves behind some nice lacing. The nose is sticky, syrupy, boozy sweet. No hops at all. I must have an old bottle. Oh well, I must review it as-is. If the brewer cared about age, then obviously they'd tell me when this beer was bottled.

Medium body and a nice, oily feel, but whatever flavor exists is absolutely dead. I get some toast and marmalade up front, a little bit of rye at mid palate, then nothing.

I'm not even finishing this. Major drain-pour. It isn't even worth the calories in the glass. Do I think this beer is better than what I experienced? Absolutely. Will I give it another chance? Hell no. I know we're not supposed to slam beers, but this is what the brewer gets for selling a product with no freshness date on the bottle. This stuff tastes dead. I could make a better beer than this with an all-extract homebrew kit. Bear Republic should be ashamed of themselves for allowing their product to sit on shelves this long. I've tried two of their beers now and both of them were bland, boozy disasters.

EDIT: Another BA graciously told me where to find freshness data on the bottle. Turns out that despite looking, I couldn't see it in the store. My bottle was nearly 8 months old. I will attempt to secure a fresher bottle and re-review this beer in the future. Until then, my review stands.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich mahogany, copper with a tinted fluffy head that lingers and leaves chunks of lacing dripping down the glass. Somewhat cloudy appearance, but wonderful carbonation.
Strong notes of piney hops, grapefruit, tangerine rind, subtle touches of pineapple and mango. Really nice grain and spice follow in the nose. Some pepper, rye, bits of caraway and licorice root. Really picking up the citrus and yeast as it warms up. Really nice!
A wonderful mix of spicey rye, tropical fruit and citrus, pine and caramel. No one flavor dominates, they all just flow together and stick to different parts of your tongue. Pineapple-orange marmalade spread on lightly toasted whole grain rye bread. Pink grapefruit and grain notes stand out as it warms while the nose has more and more pineapple.
The 8% is very well hidden and you don't so much taste it as you do feel the weight of it on the tongue. Sparks of CA citrus, HI tropical fruit, and mid-west grains. The rye really steps up to the plate. This could be a dangerous all day drinker. It just flows so easily.
I'm so glad this one is finally near me in 4-packs instead of just bombers. This is one that'll certainly start making it into the regular rotation now. Bear Republic does everything right. It hits all of the senses and leaves you craving more. Fantastic!

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Photo of AmitC
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Color is deep amber with very slight ruby hues. Very fine suspensions. Translucent. Off white - tan colored one finger thick head with excellent retention. Awesome lacing. Very few bubbles.

Aroma is of herbal and spicy weeds. A little bit earthy character. Special rye notes. Some warmth. A bit of booze. Strength is good.

A lot of piney bitterness upfront. Balanced or rather subdued to a large extent by the slight caramel and toasted malts. Dominant hop flavors are that of piney, earthy and herbal. Slight bitterness of rye as well. Finish is bitter. Bitterness strength is medium to strong. In the 70-80 IBU range may be. Bitterness is pervasive and lingers really well.

Mouth feel is medium bodied. Low carbonation. A bit of oily character. Warm.

A very nice brew overall.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice brownish red in color, has almost no head at the top, but left a great amount of lacing around the glass.

S: Up front lots of tropical fruit, on the tail end some floral notes from the hops some spicy rye and caramel as well.

T: A great taste right from the start, lots of hops and sweetness with a good backbone of rye to make it perfectly balanced.

M: Medium bodied, mild carbonation a nice sweet finish at the end.

O: I really loved this beer, perfectly balanced, I had this at the Stirling Hotel in NJ, great stuff all around.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like; I have. However, I never met a beer from Bear Republic that I did not like. This tasty ale, fuel injected with 18% rye, pays homage to the California hot rodders of the 1950s, is no exception. The initial pour sets off a cascading head that reaches the glass rim before subsiding into a chunky vanilla froth. When this ends, there is a translucent liquid of copper. Gentleman, start your engines!

There are subtle notes of caramel apple on the nose while the palate is plastered with a semi-sweet toastiness (rye toast?) that fades with a hoppy rush. (Let’s go to the hop.) If drunk at the proper temperature, this brew provides a well defined balance makes this a surprisingly smooth hot rod to ride. A few quaffs and we are ready to race Bob Falfa out on Paradise Road.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: in a pint, amber-brown with an orange glow, creamy head persisted nicely, slim ropes of lace

S: hearty malts and floral hops

T: really stunning: sweet and creamy caramel and rye malts - a little sweet spice from the rye; gently bitter aromatic pine and resin hops

M: nice medium body and thickness, some tingle of spice, some subtle chewiness

O: very impressive - forgot this was going to be a rye infused beer - the barley and rye ratio must be spot-on, because this beer was so good tasting, and the layer of IPA-style hops over the malt mix was the perfect compliment

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Photo of Mr3dPHD
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1 pint 6 oz bomber served in a weiss glass (because I wanted it all in one pour).

A - Hazy copper-brown with a medium tan head which had okay retention and nice lacing. Lots of hop sediment floating around.

S - Deliciously sweet candied citrus hops! Smells like a hop floret and a tangerine peel coated in molasses. Once the beer warmed I could smell the rye and a nice maple and almond aroma as well.

T - Rye flavor comes through right up front and through the middle. Alcohol is slightly present, but not at all overpowering...pretty subdued actually considering it's over 7%. Caramel sweet all the way through, especially in the finish, but that bold hoppy bitterness is pushing right back. Leaves a sort of subtle marshmallow aftertaste.

M - Full body. Milky smooth...almost like a melted milkshake. Very well balanced and very easy on the tongue.

O - Damn good beer! After writing this review I read a few others and noticed the hoppy flavor seemed a lot more present in theirs than mine. I have no idea how old my brew is, but I'd venture to guess it's been sitting for a bit because that bitterness didn't quite seem to reach the level that everyone else is boasting. Definitely seemed like mine was a mellow version of Jason & the BA reviews. Perhaps another attempt is in order from a more fresh batch.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Portion of a 22 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a dark burnished copper color. The head is an attractive one-finger offwhite shade that is somewhat creamy-looking in texture. It also fades slowly to provide nice lacing on the glass.

S: This almost comes off like a low-strength barleywine instead of an IPA, or even a DIPA for that matter. Grapefruit peel pops out at me first, before being followed up by caramel, brown sugar, and piny hops. Not much rye comes through here, but the aroma is quite enjoyable.

T: The faint sweetness from the caramel that initially pops up slowly gives way to a finish of grapefruit peel and black pepper. Given the chance to open up, it develops a very solid rye tone near the finish. Probably the most enjoyable feature here is the hop/malt balance. The flavor strikes me as being very 'savory' in general, instead of being sweet or bitter.

M: I notice many hoppy rye ales have a sharpness to them, whether it be from carbonation or the rye malts themselves - and this is no exception. Here, it seems to be from the former. Once the medium-high carbonation fades a bit, the feel becomes balanced if not exactly mellow.

O: I like this one. Not the most drinkable ever, but I love how rich the rye flavors are without killing the balance. A good one to veg over without any aural distractions #foreveralone

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep ruby with a one finger slightly off-white head. Left no lacing.

S - Lots and lots of clean grapefruit and bready malts. Lemon, lemon, and more lemon come through. Seriously seems like they shoved a lemon into this bottle.

T - Lots of straight lemon and bready malt, followed by some lemon juice and grapefruit. This beer feels somewhat like a barleywine in my opinion.

M - Heavy, almost chewy body with light carbonation.

O - Overall, This was a good, slow drinking IPA that is closer to a Barleywine in nature. Perhaps slightly below sessionable.

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Photo of Cobrito
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hop Rod is tremendous. Very hop forward, with the rye tasting warmly spicy instead of biting. Also nicely woven in are some nice German style malts that add a touch of euro flavor to this wonderful brew, which in the end retains its west coast ipa character.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: a Very dark brown still transparent but on the cusp of opaque. Sediments on the body with an off white head that settles quickly. With the initial pour it reached about half an inch.

Smell: Strong at first with its hoppiness, you feel light caramel to the aroma this beer but the problem is it leaves as soon as it comes. Just wish it was a little more sticking.

Taste: Little sour, and has a lemon citrus feel to it but also bitter. Lightly piney-ness to it. To take a sip is tough on this one, it improves progressively as you get closer to the end of the glass.

Mouth: The mouthfeel comes off with a little light to medium combination. The sour bread feel to it just sticks pretty damn well.

Overall: I have to thank myself for buying a four pack, this is quality brewing once again from Bear Republic. Grab a glass and pour one on me...Salud!

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,061 ratings.