Friday, January 11, 2013

The Rye Guyz Collaboration

There they stood ... the fat man and the gargoyle.  At first sight, the two seem completely at odds, as if they should not be standing anywhere close to each other.  First impressions can often be deceiving.  As one watches the fat man and the gargoyle, it becomes clear that the two are perfect  together.

The fat man is Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon, where the Head Brewmaster -- Matt Cole -- has been hard at work producing some amazing beers.  I have previously reviewed two of those beers: Headhunter India Pale Ale and the Hop Juju Imperial Pale Ale.  Both the Headhunter and the Hop Juju are perfect hophead beers, exploding with the citrus and pine flavors.  

Those hoppy beers are what makes it clear that Fat Head's works very well with the gargoyle, Stone Brewing, and its head brewmaster, Mitch Steele.  I have reviewed many of Stone's beers, including, by way of example, the Double Bastard Ale.  That beer, like Matt Cole's Hop Juju, explodes with hops in both the aroma and taste. 

(t) Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon
So, when I heard that there is a collaboration between Matt Cole and Mitch Steele, I knew that I would have to try that beer. The collaboration was called Rye Guyz.  The "Rye" comes from the use of 22% rye malt in the brewing of this beer. Now, when I think of a rye beer, I think of an ale or Roggenbier (a German rye beer -- a variant of a dunkelweizen -- first brewed in Regensburg, Bavaria using at least 50% rye malt instead of wheat malt). However, Matt and Mitch throw a curve ball, using the rye in the making of a saison.

This is where the Rye Guyz is unique.  I had never seen rye used in the making of a saison.  To me, it seemed different, because I would not normally associate the flavors from rye malts with the flavors that are present in a typical saison.  The beer pleasantly surprised me. The rye does not really contribute a "rye" flavor; instead, it is used to provide spice to the aroma and taste of the beer.  There was a little tartness in the aroma of the beer, which was complemented by the traditional aromas one would expect from a Belgian beer.  The Rye Guyz also provided some of the traditional flavor elements from a Belgian ale.  However, the most prominent flavor of the beer was bubblegum, which I would have never expected from a beer made with rye malt. Needless to say, the spice from the rye malt was also present in the beer.  Overall, the Rye Guyz provided an interesting, and tasty, introduction to new ways to use a familiar ingredient.  (It is also why Matt and Mitch are the professionals, and, I am just a novice who enjoys their beers.)

To my knowledge, the Rye Guyz was available only on draft at Fat Head's.  By the time I post this review, it will have most likely been sold out.  I hope that Matt and Mitch will make this beer again.  If they do, then it is just another in a long list of reasons why you should visit Fat Head's and Stone Brewing.  


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