Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

4,716 Ratings
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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,716 |  Reviews: 2,077
Photo of animal69
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a clear deep burnished copper color w/ a thick off-white head which leaves a lacing that almost completely covers the wall of my goblet

S- smell is of strong pine and a spicy rye-like grain with very faint notes of whole grain bread and nuts, no alcohol detected at all

T- a good initial bitterness, grapefruity/piney hop flavor up front yet well balanced by the same spicy grains, some more bread and nuts in the taste than smell, a faint fruit and mineral also present in the crisp finish

M- a full mouthfeel, seemingly dry poss. from the rye, a decent co2 lvl.

D- a very drinkable brew, one of the few ryes i've had but def. the best, wish i had another 1 or 12

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'd been meaning to give this beer a try for a long time. Racer 5 is probably my favorite IPA, and I'm a big Red Rocket fan, too. The one time I've had Racer X it was heavenly. Bear Republic may be my favorite brewers, so let's see what this beer's got.

Poured from the bottle into my Swarthmore College pint glass.

Appearance: Cherry cola, a dark brown with maroon. Nice medium-sized head which leaves lovely, sturdy lacing.

Smell: Big hops, mostly citrus. A bit weak, but pleasant.

Taste: Those citrus hops mix wonderfully with earthy malt and rye. There's a bit of sweetness down there, too. Plum, I want to say. It all mixes together perfectly to create one of the better balanced beers I've had.

Mouthfeel: Big, sturdy body, with moderate carbonation. It's pretty sticky.

Drinkability/Overall: I could drink this beer all day, everyday. Perfectly balanced, and absolutely delicious. It doesn't quite top Racer 5, but it'll become a regular in my fridge. Bear Republic strikes again!

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Photo of bret27
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Very dark brown/amber. Thick foamy head w/lace. Little sediment at bottom which is expected.

S: Citrusy hops, little minty, bready, sweet malt

T: Definitely taste the rye. Hops aren't really exploding but well balanced w/rye malt + other malts. Citrus and pine come out in the hops about halfway through and leave a lasting bitterness.

M: Medium. Fairly thick for an IPA but very smooth malty.

D: Fantastic. Well balanced and delicious especially for IPA.

Overall: Just the perfect amount of rye and hops to make this one perfectly drinkable and balanced. I say this unbiased as well because I'm not that big of a fan of this brewery overall.

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Photo of number1bum
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown, slightly reddish color with about two fingers of light beige head. Keeps a thick, full lace and leaves some very nice rings of stick on the sides.

Smells of some juicy citrus hops, grapefruit pith, a bit of a toasted aroma with some rye. Not a super robust nose, but it is nice.

Taste also starts off with some citrus flavor and then transitions into some bitter grapefruit peel, bitter hops and an explosion of spicy rye. It's also quite resiny, with some sticky pine flavor. The bitterness and rye mount as you get deeper into a glass of this brew, as well, and ultimately completely take over the taste buds. This is a very tasty beer, but this is also nothing to be trifled with, that's for sure.

Mouthfeel is a creamy medium body, or a bit on the plus side of a medium. The immense bitterness and complementary rye make it very dry in the finish. It is quite smooth, however, before it drys the mouth right out, with a slick resiny feel to it.

Mmm this is tasty stuff. Easily one of the best rye beers out there, and just a fantastic beer all around.

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Photo of cavedave
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour plants a thick dark beige head of bubbling foam atop a cloudy dark red amber beer. A swirl of the snifter leaves mountain ranges of lace.

The smell is medium strength, full of yummy citrus, light yeast, brilliant notes of rye, and a gentle bitterness that balances a sweetness to the bouquet.

The rye here is strong up front in the sip, and in the finish, more than in the other four takes on this style I've enjoyed ( including a reg. in the beer rotation here, RastafaRye) Haven't tried many, but tried enough to know what makes the style great, and that I like it a lot. The rye comes with a bit of a sourness that's followed by sweet malt, yeast, citrus, citrus peel, and ends in a blend of rye, citrus, and into a bitter crescendo that is earthy, bitter, dry and delicious. Describe it? It's clean, it hits all the areas of the tongue with nice pleasure, it's complex with lots of flavor going on to make this beer a gem, and it gets better as it nears room temp.

Mouthfeel is hard to judge for me, but as it relates to promotion of a clean, long, delicious flavor and finish, I rate it very good, without trying to conform it to style.

Drinkability is good, but not better than all the others I've tried.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown that didn't let much light through in the dark bar. Nice head with great retention that would spring back up over the course of drinking anytime you would swirl.

S - Nice rye malt with a bitter hops twist.

T - This is truly a fantastic beer, can only say great things about the taste. A lot of rye with some roasted malts and balanced with the hops. Only minor citrus on this one. Any more would ruin the balance. Breadiness adds to the rye backbone in an almost perfect way.

M - Medium bodied, nice bit of carbonation only makes the experience better. Was expecting more due to the massive re-heading on the swirl, but it is just where it needs to be.

D - Very drinkable, at least until the 8% knocks you out. One of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Casey10
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up while on a business trip in Mass knowing that it had a great rating decided to pick it up.

A - Brown apperance and a two fingered head that lasted forever.

S - Malt some pine and citrus.

T - so smooth so nice the malts mix with the rest to make a nice blanaced taste that make this one great.

M - Smooth feel is unreal this is so nice leaves a great feel after consuming.

D - Fantastic brew can't wait to get another. One can only hope this gets distibuted to Maine.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-deep redish brown color, thick light brown head that leaves a decent lace

S-light rye malt and some sweet caramel hits first immediately followed by citrus hops with a hint of grapefruit finishing with a little pine smell

T-you get the rye malt, not much sweetness from the malt, a pine taste follows with some citrus and a bitter hop finish

M-relatively smooth with a fair amount of carbonation and a little syrupy

D-damn good beer, it is slightly balanced but the hops do shine through which is something i prefer.

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Photo of mbudner
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Deep chestnut color with creamy off-white to tan head (3-fingers). Dissipates leaving crazy thick, frothy lacing and rocky head.

S- Bitter citrus hops with beautiful rich malty rye ale backbone. Almost fruity. Smells pretty perfect in its balance. Some caramel sweetness also.

T- Bitterness of the rye and great hop character. Great breadiness. Freshly mown lawn. Everything there is spot on and near perfect. None of the sweetness coming through on the nose (though minor in the smell).

M- Perfect balance of creaminess from the rye base and carbonation. Nice and oily/slick, also, from the hop oils.

D- The best Rye Ale I've ever had. It's 8% abv is unnoticeable in the flavor and it goes down like a 5% rye ale and keeps me wanting more. Definitely a must try.

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Photo of portia99
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a hazy brownish dark amber with reddish highlights. Not much head to speak of, just a broken layer of tan bubbles leaving a nice collar and a few islands of bubbles on the surface. Nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S - Spicy and richly malty...nice bready aromas in the center and some earthy hops. Grainy rye aroma is prominant. Not as much hoppiness as I expected, or much at all, for that matter.

T - Quite a bit of rye, medium-dark roasted malts, a touch of caramelly sweetness. A strong, but sorta in the background bitterness that sits underneath the other flavors, perhaps a touch on the harsh side, but still good. Quite bitter, but not much hop flavor in here, a bit of earthiness, but it is hard to distinguish whether this is from the hops or the rye and roasted malts.

M - Medium bodied, tending toward the heavy side. Feels a little thick on the tongue. Carbonation is just right...plenty there, but not too much - just enough to enhance the flavors and feel - just a bit tingly on the tongue. Bitterness pervades the entire mouth and lingers for a long time after the swallow.

D - Good tasting beer...not sure I can call this an IPA, but whatever. At 8%, a little high to be sessionable. Bitterness is a touch harsh for me, which also limits drinkability for me, but not too much. I would welcome a second serving of this one. I prefer the Racer 5, but this is another good offering from Bear Republic.

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Photo of dbossman
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish amber with a wonderful 2 finger dense head with very good retention and great lacing

S: Grapefruit and spicy; also a lemony citrus aroma is present

T: Rye and grapefruit dominate; citrusy and a bit bready also; this is well-balanced--hoppy, a little sweet, and damn tasty

F: Carbonation is balanced; it fills and coats the mouth well; slightly sticky on the way down

D: Quite drinkable; alcohol is a bit noticeable, but this is a good brew

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

A- Deep, hazy copper in color with a cascading white fluffy head that sticks around for a while before dropping into a thick film with big islands of bubbles. The foam is crawling up the side of the glass and throwing gobs of lace all down the side.

S- Spicy, probably from the rye. Piny, floral hops underneath.

T- The malt base comes in first. Its spicy and smooth. The hops arent too big here. They are piny, and mostly citrusy. The finish is really spicy like allspice and cinnamon. It sticks to the back of the throat leaving a slightly bitter and really spicy oily aftertaste.

M- Thicker than I expected. Really smooth. Its a nice contrast to the sharp spicy bite of the rye and hops.

D- Decent drinkability. Some alcohol warmth and bitter lingering taste bring it down just slightly.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Damn good beer. Me likey. Probably the pre-eminent rye style beer. You really can't go wrong with a Bear republic product can you?

If I had only one drawback to speakof, well, maybe two, it would be

A) that it seems a little inconsistent. Sometimes it has been mindblowing, sometimes it has been well, very good.
B) The grain bill, malt etc. . . seems a little heavy. I dunno whether rye makes a beer lighter or heavier, but I'd be interested to taste this beer a little less out of balance, like a Hop Rod Rye Moster, where the hops predominate. I wouldn't necessarily like it more, but I'd just be interested to see the envelope pushed even further with ryes.

On a good bottle, you'll get plenty of hop brightness, accompanied by the rye. Bad bottles seem to have lost that lovin' hop feelin'. Of course, if they bottle dated, this might not be a problem, the inconsistency would just be age.

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

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue II:

The brewery describes it as a strong American IPA, not a Double IPA. You have to love the gray area within American styles. Very tiny bubbles are slow to rise but do form a sufficient head that drops stellar lacing on the glass after each sip. Deep brownish-amber color has a slight haze from the hops. Massive hop aroma of sweet citric peel, wild flowers, hint of grapefruit, pine and fresh mint. Lavish creamy smoothness from a deep-seated carbonation and a full body to boot. You'd swear the mouthfeel was massaging your taste buds. Both the spiciness of the rye and hops battle it out with a thick malt character. Hop bitterness never becomes excessively sharp and lays down a stodgy blanket of citric rind flavor. This beer is 7.5 percent ABV? Deceiving for sure. Spiciness of the rye peaks right in the middle, at the same time a heavy hand of caramel and bready malt sweetness flaunts its sturdy foundation. Finishes bittersweet, certainly more bitter, but it never clouds out the malt all the way.

Hop Rod Rye throws the gloves off and comes out swinging with flavor, certainly a snapshot of what American craft beer is about, and we love it.

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

Bomber, poured into a snifter

Pours a deep mahogany with massive fluffy, puffy, "bumpy" off-white head. Excellent retention with loads of lacing.

A challenging and complex IPA from start to finish. Pungent pine sap, tingly rye spiciness and plentiful caramel malt immediately demand attention, but there are loads of aromas and tastes to explore. Dark fruits, a hint of sorghum, citrus rind, and fresh baked bread join in as it warms up. It's fairly full-bodied and chewy, with moderate carbonation and loads of lingering bitterness and peppery spice. Very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of mcann2pu
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a- pours into glass an somehat cloudy amber color with someredish hues, I say cloudy because it has some particles susbended in it, about a fingers worth of head,
s- mostly the piney smell of hops, perhaps some of the ryecomes through, but its very faint,
t- good taste, the rye is a good ballance to the piny hops in this one, I really enjoy the taste of this one,
m- good, maybe a little oily from the hops,
d-good , the balance of rye and hops helps out here,

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Photo of woosterbill
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep, dark, slightly hazy reddish amber body with some floaties; a vigorous pour yields two fingers of light tan head recede fairly quickly, leaving a moderate amount of lace. Solid, but not great.

S: Super-charged hops (I may unconsciously have stolen that from the bottle), some spiciness from the rye, and a rich fruity sweetness as well. Complex and appealing.

T: Hops surprisingly take a back seat here (there I go with another car metaphor), with the grains' spiciness (cinnamon, especially) and sweetness showing up first; moderate alcohol heat after that, and only at the end do the bitter, piney hops show up to apply the brakes of a crisp finish. Quite good overall, but not as intriguing as the nose.

M: Rich, smooth, and fairly viscous with ample, velvety carbonation; this is a great-feeling beer.

D: As much as I'm enjoying this beer, I can't say that I'll be craving another one right away - its combination of spice, heat, and bitterness is great, but only in fairly small doses; I'm glad I opted for the 12oz single rather than a bomber.

Notes: Very good beer, but not quite as appealing as Racer 5 IMO; I'd love to try it on tap someday, and it would be fun to taste side by side with some other imperial reds (Gordon comes to mind). Solid brew to say the least, and one that I wouldn't mind trying again sometime soon.


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Photo of Greggy
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a massive billowy creamy white head over a beautiful yeasty-hazed red body. 10 minutes into the beer, the head is still a large fluffy cap.

S- MMmmm.. Grapefruit city here with ample hops. Also loads of the obligatory pine. Not a ton for rye, right off the bat here.. we'll see what develops, later in the glass. As the glass empties, there is a large amount of biscuit malt that also comes through.

T- Hello delicious-nous. Starts off with a nice piny dry malt background with hints of rye. The finish is quite dry with a residual biscuity malt present.

M- 8% gives this a very thick body, which it should. The finish is quite delicious, as well.

D- For an 8% beer, wow, this goes down quick. I'm not sure how extremely fresh this bottle is, but I'm sure I'll be getting this again. Think two hearted, a hair more alcohol, and a bit of rye. YUM!

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Photo of WeedKing4
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Pours a dark ruby brown. Maybe I had a bottle past its prime, but I was pretty disappointed with this. With all that I heard about the Hop Rod Rye, I was looking for a lot more. Its a decent beer and very easy to drink, but nothing stood out to me. Again, maybe I need a fresher bottle, but pretty big disappointment with this one, considering how much I was looking forward to it.

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Photo of devilben02
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep, burgundy color with a thick, frothy head. The aroma is certainly hop-filled, with notes of pine and citrus, but it is also much sweeter than I would have expected with a big caramel sweetness. The flavor is bigger and bolder than the aroma suggested, with an earthy, grapefruit hop bitterness that is solidly balanced against an underlying caramel malt sweetness. In contrast to this balance, the bitter hops are dominant in the aftertaste, which effectively masks any hint of the 8% alcohol. This "specialty ale" is medium-bodied and nicely (but not overly) carbonated, but despite this solid mouthfeel and largely balanced flavor, it's the overwhelming bitterness in the aftertaste rather than the higher alcohol that makes this one almost more of a sipper than a session beer. That said, I still happily plowed through this bomber in no time.

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Photo of AimToCheat
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark copper color with a medium thick head and lots of lacing.

Smell: Hops, Pine, Sage, Spice

Taste: A very complex IPA. Rye and hops finishing with a nice wave of malt and oily pine.

Mouthfeel: Almost oily for lack of a better word. pine and malt linger.

Drinkability: This is one of my favorite beers. Goes down nice for a 8% beer.

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Photo of Philabeerphia
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Badass motherfucker, right? The beer doesn't bow in heavy homage to many other examples of the style - it blazes its own path. The first time I drank HRR a few years back, it was just one of those moments... beer can be so much more!

The beer settles frothily from the bomber into the chalice. Murky hues of brown, crimson - almost violet - and topped with a tanned cap of churned bubbles that lazily dissipate. Thick and soupy, dark and intimidating.

Smells like a trip to the bakery: pumpernickel, rye and sourdough bread are front and center. A bit of wild champagne yeast makes an appearance, backed by some mildly sweet molasses. A zesty citric hoppiness shows up along with pine and earth. An herbal wisp of medicine closes the show in my nostrils. OK, not overpowering, but unique, complex and very pleasant...

Creamy from carbonation on the tip of my tongue. Caramel, orange zest, and ripe tangerines are all playing around towards the front. Surprisingly bright. Deepens into wheat and other whole grains...coats the top of my mouth and is deeper now. I'm tasting sweet notes of cherry and tobacco, combined with plenty of citric hoppiness. Bright again.. I swear I'm chewing on ripe tangerines. I'd put money on it. The hops heat up nicely in the back of my mouth. The resin hangs in bitter coats on my throat.
Great mix of oils, sugars and spreading carbonation. The MF is the character that makes the package.

Grainy, citric, earthy, dark sweet big complex. I really enjoy this beer.

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

Appearance: Pours a nice amber with plenty of white head that stays. Lacing is decent

Smell: Very muted hop aroma that is sweet.

Taste: Even more muted. Its nice but not nearly enough to leave a good impression.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and finishes nicely. Carbonation is just right.

Drinkability: Its a heavy beer but doesn't pack the taste punch I was hoping for.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is dark red brown with orange hints around the edges. The head is a full inch of mocha hued creaminess. Gobs of sticky lace cling to the rim.

The aroma is full on hop assult.Plenty of grapefruit and pine sap. The rye is is also very present. Like fresh bake rye bread dipped in sour fruit sauce. Not sure how that would translate litterally but as as beer goes it's heaven.

The flavor is unique for sure. Super charged hops followed by malt and smoothed out by a real nice rye bread tone. I love rye bread and hops so this just makes for a great mix of flavor.

Medium to full body that's very chewy and stout.

Very well put together beer here. I can see why everyone seems to love this stuff. I will keep my eyes open for this one in the future.

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Photo of cudmud
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This brew has a lovely dark carmel color, a thick rocky head, and superior lacing.

Smell: There are wonderful hop accents to this beer. Citrus (lemon?) is the most prominent aroma.

Taste: The flavor is so good that I don't know how to explain it.

Mouthfeel and drinkability: Both are superior. The beer dances accross my tongue. Each sip begs my to drink more.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,716 ratings.
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