Happy Monday, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Today, I’m once again turning to one of my favorite breweries, Southern Tier, to try their 2XRye Ale. I’ve had maybe two rye ales before, and I don’t remember either of them. But, I have a lot of faith in Southern Tier. They pull through in the clutch. They get the job done. They do, yeah enough with the sayings. Let’s go drink some beer, shall we?
Prying off the crown reveals an initial bloom of fresh hops. It’s not quite as potent as an IPA, but the pine and citrus notes are definitely stronger than in many other ales. Beneath that hoppy vanguard is a deep smoothness that rises up until it’s just below the surface. It’s somewhat malty, somewhat spicy. Whatever it is, I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet. That’s alright – a lot of people get shy when they’re stared at.
The first sip from the bottle is a wonderful combination of hops and malts. If I had to give it a super specific quality, I’d name it the missing link between an Oktoberfest and an IPA (you know, if there actually was a missing link). Bitter hops are the first flavor to hit the tongue, bringing the usual crisp bite of an IPA. But, immediately following is a wave of smooth malts, mellow and slightly bready. It stays quite smooth over the tongue, clinging to every inch of your mouth. At the back, there’s a subtle sour tang with an edge of hop bitterness, but it’s very subdued. Each drink leaves a nice tingle across the tongue and gums. Not too harsh, but definitely showing a glimpse of its 8% ABV. The aftertaste is long lasting, staring out as pine, and ending with a slightly tangy bread.
Poured out into a pint glass, faint hints of flowers mingle with hoppy notes, softening the edge of the potent pine and grapefruit peel. The hop profile is the major player in the post-pour aroma, dominating just about every other scent. The malts are nowhere to be found, but that’s alright; I know they’re just waiting – chilling out until the time is right. Visually, it pours an amber-pumpkin with a pale khaki head that stays for a fairly decent amount of time.
The post-pour flavors throw me through a loop. Each taste is smoother than it was from the bottle, but in direct contradiction to what I just wrote, the malt notes are very diminished, dominated by hops all the way to the aftertaste, where they return with a bready strength. Bitter pine and citrus peel make up the major taste, bringing the same tingle from before. Despite the lack of malt flavor, I’m really digging the smooth feel of it. The typical crisp edge of a hoppy beer is almost absent here, showing just the briefest appearance of a biting edge, before it diminishes into a flowing smoothness. There is also a mildly sour tang that shows up after a few drinks. It could be the malts trying to force their way through, but whatever it is, the flavor never becomes more than a mysterious anomaly. Mysterious and tasty.
This beer is quite a shifting collection of complexity. Never quite sure if it was supposed to have more of a malt vibe or a hop vibe, it combines a piney hop bite with the smoothness of a richly malted ale to create, well, itself. The malts fade a bit once poured, prompting the beer to wear its IPA fedora with great pride. Despite that, the aftertaste is rich and bready, reminding you that there are definitely malts in there somewhere. I loved how each taste was almost like drinking two beers at once. One taste could be strong on hop, while the next could boast the bread. Despite the big hop flavor, it goes down super smooth. I would advise slow drinking with this, mainly because of how complex it is once you get into the swing of things. Like always, the price can be a bit high, but you can pretend that each bottle is like drinking two beers at once, so it would probably even out in the end. Ok not really, but it’s a nice thought.
This would be a great social beer – one that you could drink with friends over an extended period of time. It’d also be nice on a mildly chilly evening – that time of year when you can open your windows and not worry about mosquitoes, or freezing to death. However you drink it, it’ll be mighty tasty. Southern Tier’s 2XRye earns an A-, X2.
Lasting Strength: 10/10
Overall: 9/10 A-