Rye on Rye
Rye can be polarizing. In both whiskey and beer, the grain imparts peppery notes that can be a turn-off for some drinkers, while others yearn for rye’s crisp, distinctive flavor. Boulevard’s Rye on Rye strikes a balance between sweet and spicy. This riff on a Belhaven-style Scottish ale has a base of two malted ryes aged for eight months in Templeton Rye barrels, resulting in a rich, caramel and spice-tinged slow sipper perfect for winter.
You’re in for a surprise: Based on the bottle alone, you might expect a beer that looks like a barrel-aged stout, but Rye on Rye pours a copper color. Boulevard’s sleek, Burgundy-style 12-ounce bottle also wins design and style points for its simplicity. As for the ale, there’s a slow carbonation here, with light lacing and moderate head retention.
Despite its extended barrel aging, Rye on Rye shows more hop character on the nose than one might expect. In fact, the barrel notes may boost the orange and spicy characteristics of the ale’s Citra and Magnum hops. Fruit esters, dominated by blackcurrant and fig with some cinnamon apple, add another layer of complexity.
Rye on Rye should appeal to both Scottish ale and rye whiskey fans, with the caveat that it’s sweeter and lighter in body than most winter barrel-aged beers.”
The Crystal and malted rye pair with a Munich malt, resulting in flavors of bready grains and caramel. The barrel influence adds some depth to the beer’s fruity and spicy character, though the extended aging and ABV take it right to the tipping point between decadent and cloying. It stays on the right side of this high-wire act, but it is inarguably a sweet dessert beer.
Rye on Rye should appeal to both Scottish ale and rye whiskey fans, with the caveat that it’s sweeter and lighter in body than most winter barrel-aged beers. A snifter of this would be killer with a plate of hard cheeses like Gouda and cheddar, and it’s an obvious winner with a caramel or chocolate dessert.