Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,076 Reviews
Hop Rod RyeHop Rod Rye

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Quaffer on 03-27-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,076 | Ratings: 4,710
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional IPA grapefruit highly hopped with edge of rye, which made it quite interesting. Amber. Very drinkable to the point of drop off. Hop burps citrus aroma. Malts for balance.Roast tea, bitter aftertaste.
Had this nearly three years later, it was in my basement for half a year or so, Very bitter with some rye, but did not like it as much. Still very drinkable.

 371 characters

Photo of gentlebubbles
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Redbone's

Deep coppery red with off-white crema. Strong sweet piney scent. Rich and full bodied malt, with lots of resiny pine hops and lingering sweetness. Reminds me of Arrogant Bastard. Oh yeah, this is delicious stuff, but where's the rye?

 256 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber with a very spacious, foamy eggshell head. Tons of retention and nice lacing. Smells quite citrusy with a nice amount of biscuit and lemon grass coming through. Tastes like a premium IPA should. Not a huge hop kick in the nuts, but a very balanced, strongly hopped beggining. This is followed by a slight malty reprieve, then turns back to grapefruit, lemon, and rye. Mouhtfeel is rather large and the body is moderately chewy. The alcohol is hitting me hard on this. Grand IPA.

 502 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Piked up a bomber at TJ's recently. Bear Republic is my 2nd favorite brewery anymore. Look out Stone!

This dark reddish brown brew poured a nice head leaving a nice lacing down my 22 oz glass. Smell is wonderful, of glorius floral hops, grapefruit, and rye. Taste is excellent. I have paired this off with tortilla chips, con queso cheese sauce, and hot salsa. The high alcohol content is masked extremely well by a wonderful blend of rye, sweet malts, and a ton of hops. My tounge feels totally alive as a result of a more than generous share of hops. This is an extremely drinkable beer but as my credo goes, "Beer will always be my friend as long as you don't abuse it"!

 676 characters

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

Gigantor. Robust hops -- the rose of Centennial, the grapefruit and tropicalia of Cascades, the dry lemon of Amarillo, and astringent pine; I have no idea if those are the hops that are actually here, but it makes no difference in the end what the names are.

Hop Rod Rye blooms with flavor. Apparently quite malty, but never aggressive with sweetness. Malts peek in and out as if this beer is being seasoned as I drink it. Loads of fruit from the hops. Dry, pressing bitterness on the finish is intense, but more evocative than anything else. It lingers and, after some time, pains me. Yet it brings more hop flavor -- never washing out. Some grain. Rosemary. Herbal.

Rye berries as it warms. The spicy grain of the rye is a perfect match for the toturous hops, to the point where all of this beer's flavor seems to be coming from the hops. There's an indescribable finesse to these hops -- you taste all that West Coast goodness, but there's something more. To my surprise, this is the rye which, once the beer really warms, comes off as pumpernickle, but is so delicate and such a fantastic complement that I don't think I would have known what it is without the label.

And, oh yes, that bitterness again. Oh, the effort it takes for me to not move the back of my tongue, to not excite it and awaken those raw hops yearning to make me cry. I think it has been destroyed. Think of this beer as an exercise in anatomy. I've read about the four main regions of the tongue; Hop Rod Rye excites them all, makes them each individually recognizable and simultaneously stimulated. This overload of a single sense has forced the rest of my body to shut down to compensate. I can't hear any more and everything I see looks like a hop bud. And my tongue is numb. Really.

The finish goes on for centuries, asymptotically approaching a final, bran-melting bitterness that, in the end, is tamed by tremendous hop flavor. An unnerving balance of extremities. Well, unnerving at least.


Relax, relax.

 2,020 characters

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

App: Very deep amber, almost brown. Head is thick and light tan; sticks to the glass all the way down.

Smell: A mixture of overripe fruit and hops. Spicy. Cake like malt. Alcohol comes through as well.

Taste: Very spicy fruit flavors. The hops come through and kick you in the face. Alcohol is plesantly apparent. I can't get over the spice factor.

Mouthfeel: Definately thick. The head is still there till the last drop and adds to the creamy feel. Aftertaste is great bitterness.

Drinkability: A few of these will put you in your place. But the taste leaves you wanting more.

 593 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After all the good beers I have had from Bear Republic I was excited and had high hopes for this one when I found it on the shelves. This came in the usual 22ozer from BR with a hop rod car on the label. This poured out a nice dark amber color with a good sized rocky beige head. Nice rings of lacing were left around the glass as I drank this. Aroma is full of hops as the name would suggest as well as a bready malt presence. I could also smell the rye distinctly after a few sips as it warmed which added nicely to the aroma. The taste opens up with light malt sweetness and hints of rye before the hop rod drives through your palette and deliver a good does of earthy hops and a nice bitter rye aftertaste. This beer is perfectly balanced, not overpowering in any aspect but not weak in any either. This has a nice medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Drinkability is very high and no sign of the alcohol can be detected. Fantastic beer from Bear Republic as usual and I highly recommend it to all.

 1,005 characters

Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.36/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Maybe, the great things I'd heard about this bear had unreasonably bolstered my expectations but I found this RyePA to be a bit of a let down. It was bitter, acrid, and overly hopped. While there was a hint of rye in the aroma, and an undeniable rye component to the beers flavor. Overbearing, and uninteresting hop flavors dominated. Yes,. the hazy brown-amber brew looked excellent beneath a white, and somewhat lacy head. Unfortunately, I found little else within this bitter brew to garner my interest.

 506 characters

Photo of CBFanWish
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bear Rupublic has proven itself one of the nations premier breweries time and time again. The have taken the term "big beer" seriously and i think will continue to do so.
Hop Rod Rye is one of those great big beers that are brewed out there in the Bear Republic brewery in California. It is a fine example for it's style and always will be.
Pours a thick, almost unfiltered looking hazy amber colour with a thick head that just cascades from the glass, no matter how much care you put into the pour.
The aroma is strong with the rye, It's almost all that is smelled. I'm happy that the yeast isn't as pronounced as it could be. Rye bread isn't my idea of a good drink.
The taste is also very strong with rye. There is a nice hoppy bitterness that lingers on the tongue for a few seconds after the sip has been taken.
Not a bad beer, in fact, it is a fantastic beer for it's style. The only area that I ha to give it below a 4 is drinkability, just because I really don't enjoy the rye beers as much as I probobly should, but to each his own, I guess.

 1,055 characters

Photo of PSUDREW
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, solid amber color, and, has a solid, white, frothy head.
Smells nice, sweet and hoppy all together.
Intial taste is a push of hops to the forefront, followed by the sweetness of rye and finish of for a nice balance.
Very balanced, becuase while the flavors don't mix, the do combine and finish out nicely. Medium mouthfeel contributes to it's drinability.

 374 characters

Photo of jdhilt
2.36/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours with a two-finger bubbly white head that fades slowly leaving a ton of lace. Clear amber color. Medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Medium carbonation. Starts crisp and finishes hoppy, very little malt sweetness. $4.60 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

 267 characters

Photo of Onceeven
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally found this one on special at the pub, so I couldn't resist after reading the stellar reviews. I don't know why but I was surprised at the hop presence in this beer. I guess the name HopRod didn't click. It was a good surprise though, totally made the night.
Arrived at the table looking mighty appetizing with its deep red glow, and creamy perfect head. Was greeted to a wonderful citrusy hop aroma and a slight rye character. Hops weren't overpowering like with their Racer X, but were definitely in the forefront. The taste is predominantly west coast hops but finishes with a semi-sweet rye note. Extremely balanced and drinkable. I really wanted another, but another 20 oz. pint would've done me in. Until next time.,,

 731 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured crystal clear deep amber with a yellow, moussy and everlasting head which laced the glass from top to bottom.

The aroma was malty and hoppy with citrus and fruity aromas and rye.

The flavor was malty with a slickness from the rye and a substantial bitterness that shines through the flavors. The bittering and maltiness along with the mouthfeel work together to keep the beer from becoming overly bitter or overly sweet.

The finish was dry with a pleasant yet muted hop bitterness lasting into the aftertaste. The body was medium, actually just a bit more, but not quite medium full.

A great beer!

22 ounce bottle.

 646 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is amber, with a good thick white head. The smell is the dry rye mixed with a citrus hop. The taste is a citrus and pine/grassy hoppiness with a strong rye dryness laying underneath of it, and a very slight alcohol; the aftertaste is a strong rye. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, this is definitely a beer I could have quite a few of.

Probably the best rye beer I've had. A rye pale ale, for lack of a better term, with a good dry backing to the citrusy West Coast hops. I just hope that I'll be able to see Bear Republic beers in Western PA soon!

 619 characters

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat of a murky, off-brown in color, appears liquidy, with a thin bubbly white head. Hops and some ginger and pine spices on the nose, very strong and intense, and call it inviting. A huge tongue to throat blast of hops, and a mild sweetness to it. Piney offerings as well as sharp grapefruit and fresh citrus notes. Some rye tastings are just enough to offset the massive hops; becomes a bit acidic and bitter, yet in a good way; some caramel malt notes towards the bottom of the glass. The balance seems to be pretty decent, a definitive hops based body, but is quickly backed by the noted tastings. Could easily pass as an APA in style, yet the rye/barley offerings place it in it's own class, and at the lead; seek and destroy!

 735 characters

Photo of Skidz
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, opened and greeted with a big whiff of hops out of the bottle. Pours an orange-brown and sits a dark reddish-brown in the glass with a nice half finger creamy white head on top.

Aroma is big on hops, but there is a nice bit of rye that break through. Light grassiness and caramel beneath.

Taste is big on bitter, doesn't quite hit you at first but really comes out strong fairly fast. Nice citrus flavors, orange and grapefruit, as well as a bit of rye flavor as well, not as much as you might expect though. Finish is bitter, still hitting hard with the citrus notes and leaves you with even more hops well after swallowing.

Mouthfeel is smooth and rich, medium-full body, with wonderful carbonation. Another beer to quench the hop cravings, one will definately do the trick.

 799 characters

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

RyepeeAyyy...and 8% ABV at that. Bear Republic has made it to Chicago. It's dark...not in the opaque sense but more like the Rauchbier sense. It has a lingering head of about 1/8" and the bubbles are tight. I smell hops and I'm looking for a rye smell and nothing jumps up to greet me.

The taste is bitter and hoppy is still going on on the smell side. It almost tastes like smoked beer. The rye is supposedly 18% of the bill and I now taste it but not like other rye beer I've had. Perhaps the rye works better in a wheat ale than an IPA.

The mouthfeel is thicker than I expected. It's a little silky. It's tasty. I don't know if I'll rush out to buy another but sometimes memory gets my feet to flappin' and there I go out for more.

 740 characters

Photo of Reidrover
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After a dissapointing beer i was looking to this to make my night.
Came in the brown glass bomber.
What a fantastic looking beer!..dark slightly murky amber with ruby accents..lovelly tan head..with gorgeous bubbles of foam..great lacing..a work of art!
Smell too is great..fresh and "piney" with dark alcohol undertones
Taste is exquisitlly balanced..who would have thought it? Sweet malts to start then massive hoppy grapefruit and pine flavour which is undercut by the sticky flavour of the rye..This is good the brewer has balanced the malts, hops AND rye to a tee!
Very good feeling on the palte..exciting to the taste buds.
For one so strong..very nice and drinkable..I shall buy many more tommorrow!

 712 characters

Photo of WetCoaster
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slighly cloudy burnt amber with ruby highlights and a gold undertone. Thick, dense slightly off-white head that lasts for a quite a while. Thick lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel candy apple with a hint of butterscotch diacetyl. Nice. As it warms, the hop spice comes through with a vengance.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mmmmm. Rich blast of malty sweetness, with bittering hops trying break through. There is a sense of rye; the flavor is subtle, but you know it's there. Slightly peppery. Finishes even with malt/rye sweetness on the tip of the tongue, a drying bitterness in the rear. The mouthfeel is dense and chewy, but the carbonation keeps it lively.

Drinkability: Too big to session, but the great flavor makes it tempting.

This is an enormously satisfying brew. Rich, flavorful, complex, well-balanced--I can see why this is a favorite.

 854 characters

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

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades. The aroma is great! It has a nice malty scent with an intense aroma of floral hops. The taste is great also. It has a rich and creamy dark malt flavor with a smooth bitter hop taste. The rye helps to mellow the hop flavor. It has a dry finish, but has good mouthfeel. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an awesome beer. I love the dark amber color and great hop characteristics. This is a good drinker.

 515 characters

Photo of nomad
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An even amber color is transparent with a somber crimson hue. Generous amounts of carbonation supports the pocky head. Thick stain and lace is present and accounted for.

Smells begins with a grapey amber malt with hops that are a nebulous mix of arborous, spruce, and grapefruit notes. The rye component is interesting to my nose as a bready scent with peppery spice. Solid but not wowing.

Rye spice is delicious as amber malts and Northwest hops banter back and forth. Fruity bits of grape run astray because the hops, Centennial in sort, dominate with earthy bitterness and speckled dryness. This beer rolls with flavor, turning over similar shades of complementary flavors (roast barley, rye, rough fruity hops) that aid in drinkability. An absolutely slaking combo comes from these well-treated ingredients touched off by a fresh, tart finish of biting lupulin oil. Could a beer be tastily chalky dry yet still wet? Only because there are so many flavors creating a balance. The full mouthfeel with dead-on carbonation is impressive for a bottled ale.

Dangerous drinkability with that alcohol volume. Simultaneously thirst quenching and inducing. This is why the bomber sized bottle exists. Kick ass label design, too. I really dig this beer, I could drink it any day.

 1,282 characters

Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dull hazy brown, with a rich golden honey tint. Head is small, but thick and foamy. Lace is small and, well, lacy. Smell is fairly subtle. You can find the rye/grains and a kind of honey sweetness too. The yeast is also present. Theres a slight spiciness and fruitiness also. The taste is light and pleasant, and as this is my first rye beer, I do say that I like it. It's got a bit of eatrhy sweetness and grainy flavors too, with a bitterness definately from something other than hops. Mouthfeel is medium in body, but it is very low in carbonation. It would be great if it had just a tiny bit more carbonation. All in all, it's definately a good beer, that I would love to have again

 702 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

18% Rye, 8.0% ABV, OG=1.074, 90 IBU.

Pours out to a beautiful deep garnet, forming a creamy tan head with superior retention and lacing. A recent bottle poured out silty, which is fine with me. Probably the boatload of hops and rye they put in here. The head remains at least 1/4" thick until the last drops. There are flittering pieces of hop leaves suspended in this gorgeous brew. Aroma is intensely hoppy with piney and citric notes galore...sweet and not too harsh, but definitely West-Coast. Mouthfeel is semi-smooth with a medium-dense body. Taste starts with a ton of citric, followed by piney hops with a distinctly woody note, followed by a sticky amber malt body, some grainy dryness (rye), a bit of grain husk towards the astringent and intensely hoppy and moderately-strong bitter finish. The finish is very earthy and woody with more notes of dry grain dust (biscuit malt?).

In a blind tasting, this would consistently be called a Barleywine/Old Ale. In fact, this tastes very similar to Kzoo Old Ale, Kzoo Batch 6000, Stone Old Gaurdian, Hog Heaven etc. Good brew, but I would much rather drink their Black Bear Stout:)

 1,136 characters

Photo of david23
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is one you simply have to try if you haven't allready.Had a 20 oz draft. When served just a perfect frothy head with excellant retention. A beautiful ruby brown color. Aroma is all hops with a light piney aroma.Lots of hop flavor but balanced well as a roasted rye flavor is not hidden. Smooth and creamlike on the tongue with a carbonation level that is right on. Could probably have several of these but the higher A.B.V. would be tough to handle unless just staying at home.

 482 characters

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

1Pt 6Oz. Bottle 8%ABV

Apperance: Ruby red, gets darker around the edges. The head on this brew is nice. It pours tight, with tiny bubbles. After it sits a second it opens up and the head becomes rocky. Very nice head. I'll judge retention later. The head is so thick it almost looks pliable, like playdo on top of your glass.

Nose: Wow, you could smell the hops as soon as you opened the bottle. When you tip your nose to the glass it's like grabbing a hand full of hops and sniffing them.. Maybe some mild berries. Some grapefruit as well.

Taste: And now the taste; maybe this is what it would be like if they made hop gum! I get some grapefruit in the middle. This has a burnt after taste, like roasted coffee. No alcohol taste at all. maybe a little roasted malt at the begining.

Notes: I enjoyed this very much. If you love hops, this is a must. You could sum it up by saying this has a "roasted hop" flavor. And about the lacing; the rings are nice and even, but thats about it.

 989 characters

Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,710 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.