Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,077 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: 2,077 | Ratings: 4,715
Photo of macher0
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to goblet.

A: Dark amber color. 2-finger frothy head that slowly retreats to a frothy head. Very stable lacing.

S: Complex, but balanced. Hints of pineapple, pine, resin, and some grapefruit.

T: Hops. Bitter. Grass and resin. Pine lingering aftertaste. The booze is well hidden.

M: Full-bodies. Slightly harsh from the booze and hops. Moderate to high carbonation.

O: I'm not a huge fan of the ales that are dominated by resin and pines and my rating shows that. The appearance of this ale is outstanding, but I found the taste and mouth feel to be too harsh and over whelming.

 590 characters

Photo of JohnG190
3.64/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber, almost red with little to no head to speak of, leaves solid lacing. Aroma of toasted rye with faint floral hops. Malt and rye hit the tongue first followed by moderate hop bitterness. Medium body with good carbonation, finishes slightly off dry with some lingering hop bitterness. Overall a good, not great IPA. It's more of a rye beer than a true IPA. I expected more hops.

 389 characters

Photo of icehawk
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


 Appearance: Dark reddish/brown with creamy off-white head 

 Aroma: Sweet malts, dark fruit 

 Taste: Pleasant bitterness 

 Palate: Medium body, with lively mouthfeel. Warm alcohol mid-palate through finish. Drying finish. 

 Overall: Very tasty complex beer. Bitterness is very present, but not unpleasant.

 358 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

I looked at Barnes and Noble, but I just couldn't find the newest issue of Hop Rod Magazine... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a finger of off-khaki foam. The nose comprises pine sap, grapefruit zest, rye spice, and a touch of lightly-toasted biscuit. The taste brings in more of the same, with the pine coming through a tad sharper. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a solid, tasty rye-ish IPA, good times despite the relative lack of balance in favor of the hops.

 589 characters

Photo of soju6
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber color with a solid off-white head that fades to some lacing.

s: Aroma of citrus and pine with some malt sweetness and grainy.

t: Taste of hops, some caramel sweetness, grain, mostly rye and a bit of spice in the background. Solid bitterness and a lingering hop finish.

f: Medium body, hoppy but not overly so. pretty well balanced as the 8% ABV is very well hidden.

O: Enjoyable beer for the style.

 428 characters

Photo of dwren89
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber gold with off white head, slightly hazy

Aroma: grapefruit And other citrus aroma, a spiciness note from the eye, slightly darker melanoidin aroma than a normal American IPA

Taste: citrusy and with a bitter finish, but noticeably toned down than regular American IPAs; definite graininess and spiciness from rue additions and more malty character than normal American IPAs, comparatively less bitter finish than other American IPAs

Mouthfeel: slightly grainy, medium bodied, medium-low carbonation,

Overall Impression: Spicy, grainy, and citrusy with a medium bitter finish. Darker and maltier than most American IPAs but the rye also adds a certain spicy quality that using crystal or Munich malt does not. Refreshing but not as much on a hot summer day as a normal IPA. this is much better suited for fall drinking. Overall, delicious and worth drinking again.

 884 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass. Dark, amber, hazy color with finger width foamy head that dissipates after 3 drinks. Slight lacing on glass. A very malty smell with hints of pine and caramel. Very malty up front tastes with a nicely balanced hop bitterness at the end. Can taste pine and caramel. Excellent beer!! Definitely one of my favorites!!

 341 characters

Photo of delta490
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep clear mahogany with a big pillowy light tan head. The head has great retention and leaves sticky lacing. The aroma has a nice blend of caramel sweetness, pine hops and a little peppery spice. The taste is a close mirror of the smell but with just a little bit more depth in all the characteristics. It has a nice weight to the body and an nice bite from the hops and rye on the finish. A nice full flavored beer.

 426 characters

Photo of Jekyll
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

American IPA or DIPA or rye IPA?!?! Who the hell knows? So judgement based primarily on not pinning it down to a specific style. Great spicy bitterness from the rye and amazing hop presence throughout. Not much balance so I can see why many would not identify it in the DIPA category as a strong malt backbone is required by some to qualify as a good IPA. I can't pin down the style and can easily identify it as all the 3 I mentioned as well as dare I say an American strong ale to boot. Good solid beer my only qualm and it is a small one is I tried this in a 22oz bomber and the mouthfeel and flavor seemed to dissipate on the last 1/2 of the bomber. Not sure if this is available in 12oz bottles but if so I would like to re-visit it in that format. Nonetheless no matter the "identity" of this beer it is a very satisfying experience. Couldn't taste the alcohol at all but after finishing it and typing this up it is slightly sneaking up on me. Excellent job Bear Republic!

 978 characters

Photo of Samp01
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark cloudy rusty brown with a large long lasting tan head with very good lacing throughout. Aroma and Taste of floral earthy pine hops, sweet caramel malt, rye flavor with some fruity notes. A medium body on the palate, smooth with good carbonation. Finishes with a combination of sweet caramel malt, floral pine hops for balance with a bit of lingering rye flavor. A very good, flavorful and enjoyable brew.

 417 characters

Photo of spoony
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 650 ml bomber into a tulip.

A-A normal pour produces very little head and what foam there is drops immediately to a collar. Not much lacing, either. The brew is dark reddish, amber, nearly walnut in color and pretty clear.

S-The brew has a nice, spicy, herbal, pine note with some citrusy (orange and lemon) sweetness. There is also a healthy pale malt base here with notes of bread dough. Alcohol is well-concealed.

T-The taste is also quite spicy with the hops and rye giving nice doses of pine, herbs, mint, and orange spice. Bitterness is high, but it fits well with the flavors and style. The beer is well-balanced for such a hop and rye-forward brew, and there is a decent malt base here.

M-The feel is moderate to heavy with low carbonation that sits gently on the palate.

O-This is a tasty brew, and perhaps my favorite from Bear Republic. The hops and rye are the highlights of this show, but they are balanced by a nice base and the flavors, while aggressive, are not out-of-whack or ridiculously showy. I really enjoyed how the spice notes and the citrus notes played together.

 1,102 characters

Photo of FLima
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Darker amber reddish color with a thick head with good retention and leaving strong laces.
Delicious predominant citric aroma of passion fruit.
Strong hoppy flavor but also quite malty. Notes of slightly toasted malts, rye, grapefruits, caramel, wood and piney. Hints of resin and flowers. Dry and long lasting bitter aftertaste.
Full body with low carbonation, you see nowhere the 8% ABV.
Interesting beer, different from what I had tasted so far. You can really taste the rye here differentiating from other IPAs. I did like this one.

 536 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. No freshness date, but whatever.

Pours a deep reddish amber color complete with about two fingers worth of an off-white head. Head retention is surprisingly decent, whittling down to a ring complete with semi large bubbles. Lacing is prevalent, although far more in the manner in resembling granite and sugar-soaked drops than anything else. Very dirty looking, actually, almost to the point of being oily. However, I find this personally appealing and as a result makes this more intriguing looking.

This bottle may be a bit old, as the hops in particular are showing signs of breaking apart, but there's still an astonishing varieties of flavor in this thing. There's an initial piney dankness that leads to grapefruit and blood oranges, and then other fruity notes such as cherries and apricots. Peppery, and well as spicy from the rye itself, which smells cracked and vibrant in midst of the hoppy dankness and toasted bready malts. Honey, as well as dried red maple leaves come in. Slightly boozy, although very well covered up by all of these phenols piled on top. Really good stuff - prickly and firm, yet warm and well balanced.

The flavor follows the same schematics as the aroma, but, to my surprise, everything is far more well integrated and even more subtle overall. There's an initial juicy bready, spiced rye character which melds into a massive citrus peel and pine profile that is herbaceous and zesty at the same time. Peppercorn, caramel, nutty flavors, and cereal pleasantries round up the explosion of hops and spice at first. Another thing that heightens the drinking experience is the clean, creamy, near chewy feel of the beer that approaches perfection. Not syrupy by any means, and not too heavy on the palate (or gut), this drinks like an everyday ale despite the intensity of flavors. The aftertaste is only slightly astringent, but otherwise everything goes down like a charm. Alcohol is marvelously hidden, with no bite to speak of. Silky, and ridiculously easy to drink.

I can't believe I passed so many chances to try this until now. While Racer 5 is my personal favorite, this may be, objectively speaking, the best thing I've had from these guys. None of these flavors conflict with each other, and the rye provides a spicy, rustic flavor that is a breath of fresh air for the style. Extremely well crafted, and world class in the realm of hoppy rye beers. I'd love to have this on tap or fresh one of these days. This is a charm to drink any day of the year on any occasion. Absolutely recommended!

 2,585 characters

Photo of MickeyD
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One and a half finger width foam, dark brown in color with lots of bubble from carbonation.

Definite floral and pine notes

Spicy hop bite with a slight caramel notes

When aerated in the mouth more caramel malt comes out but fairly thin.

Good beer but more of an IPA than a hybrid hoppy/rye. I would have loved to taste more spicy/caramel rye and malt. If you want more malt taste serve very cold from freezer. I was surprised with the rye. I expected more spice. Maybe if they would have aged in oak or something? According to the bottle they used 18% rye so I don’t know. I’m not a brewer.

 598 characters

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured into becker pint glass; deep amber with a thin, tight white head that stays. Smells of crackery malts, spicy rye malt and slight piney hops. I'm excited to smell the rye in the forefront; even though it's an IPA, I'm really getting into rye beers lately. Taste is deliciously subdued; this isn't a hop bomb, but it has a nice hoppy flavor at first, melding into rye flavors and then finishing into smooth, caramelized malts with a bitter hop pinch at the very end of the aftertaste. Alcohol is well-hidden for 8%; drinkable and delicious.

 545 characters

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

Sitting in a hotel room in Breaux Bridge, LA after consuming copious amounts of seafood tonight, I pulled a bottle out of my cooler that dutifully accompanies me on my business trips. Mind you this is not my first rodeo with Hop Rod Rye (more on that later). But this is an excellent product.

The appearance of this poured into a glass is caramel colored with excellent lacing down the glass, with a half inch head remaining. Smell is of muted hops with a hint of rye. Taste is outstanding (though in the last 8 years of having this on hand I have had to drain pour a few bottles, probably due to them having been abused in the distribution pipeline. They were spoiled.). I first tasted HRR at a brewfest in Portland in 2005, and it was love at first taste! There is little way to say how good this iteration of a rye IPA is. It is chewy, complex, simple, quenching, enticing, and of course most satisfying all at the same time. Overall I would say that this is a world class brew, and one that anyone who is a hophead should choose.

I won't go into the detail that so many patrons of BA render (not that there is anything wrong with that!), but this is one of the finest IPAs in my mind to ever hit the market. Try one and agree!

If you like a rye style IPA, this one should be on your list. I have it brought in from adjacent states to MS when ever possible. Excellent brew, and now this bottle is gone! Cheers!

 1,417 characters

Photo of lordofstarside
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to a snifter, no clear freshness/bottled on date

Pours a very dark gold, almost red. A finger of foam has dissipated quickly to a half finger, with very mild carbonation, moderate lacing. Yeast chunks when held up to the light make me question it's age

Smells of spice pine and citrus hops. Very strong caramel malts come though the back, perhaps even more strongly than the hops. Very reminiscent of a barley wine

Taste of spicy hops, and like the nose lots of pine and citrus. Also like the nose, a very strong caramel malt coming through at the back. A bit of alcohol here, but mostly spicy hop/caramel meld stick out

Feel is a nice medium body, nice spicy bite. Alcohol well concealed, pretty drinkable

Overall this stuff isn't bad. Given to me blind I'd guess it was a barley wine, lots of malts and caramel. If that sounds good to you definitely worth checking out

 882 characters

Photo of jimmah120
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no date that i could find

look is a dark cloudy copper, with tons of sediment throughout . smell is lots of sweet malt and floral hops. taste is sweet and toasty malts, generous amount of leafy floral hops, with a peppery kick of rye. feel is slightly slick.

Solid Rye pa

 290 characters

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.

 622 characters

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.

 945 characters

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.

 920 characters

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!

 406 characters

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.

 296 characters

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.

 985 characters

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.

 740 characters

Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,715 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.