8 Ball Rye IPA

Beavertown: 8 Ball Rye IPA (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Caramel brown. Small froth caramel head that leaves a sud rim around the glass.

Nose: Toffee. Light prickle. Orange. Cucumber. Greenery.

Body: Bitter. Toffee. Some hop character. Malt chocolate. Dried apricot. Greenery. Smooth texture. Orange zest. Lime jelly. Caramel. Chilli seed. Vanilla. Banana.

Finish: Bitter and rye bread. Light toffee. Apricot. Malt chocolate. Dried spice. Custard and banana.

Conclusion: This is a bit smooth for a rye IPA, also a bit brown for an IPA in general. The unexpected smoothness can be attributed to the low level of spiciness from the rye, just a touch and accompanying dryness. For the most part the sweetness rules the roost over either the hops or the rye. There is a lot of toffee and malt chocolate notes which push their way out mid body, it makes for an odd interaction with the bitterness of the beer.

It feels similar to some of the less complex black IPAs in how it handles that bitterness. The actual hop bitterness is high, but the flavours come in slightly muted. There is some including apricot, and maybe the banana comes from hops? Could be malt as well. Anyway, the main point is that you don’t get much of that fresh hop prickly flavour to go with the evident bitterness. It feels more that the hops are closed and the sweet malt has the reins.

It doesn’t really feel like what I would expect of an IPA because of this, even as a rye IPA it doesn’t seem to have the hop flavours of other examples I have encountered. However separated from those style expectations it is a tasty beer. It hangs half way between a luxury dessert beer, and a hop oil delivery system. It doesn’t do great in either, but by doing solidly competent and combining them it makes for a satisfying one.

It is a beer that tastes how it looks, caramel and toffee but with cloudy grit. Nothing really pushes it into the excellent beer range, but it has a nice range of flavours that combine and contrast, so not a bad one either.

Background: I’ve mainly had Beavertown in collaboration beers so far, which have been impressive. I’ve had on tap a few of their solo efforts as well, but this bottle is my first review. This was drunk in the newly done up “The Boater”. It is now a Fullers pub, with a few guest real ale taps, some of the local BeerD on keg, and a good bottle selection. It is a definite improvement though I feel they could do with more bottle and BeerD rotation. Still, a nice atmosphere to drink and review, even if the bloody footy was on. Anyway, yes this is an IPA, made with rye. Pretty simple eh? Incidentally I love the image on the bottle and tried to capture as much as I could for you lot. Light wasn’t great so it is a bit grainy, and I messed up the focus depth but hopefully it will get across the gist.

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