I haven't made it a secret that I enjoy rye beers. I'm just drawn to them. The word "rye" immediately catches my eye when browsing store shelves or beer menus, so a lot of times those beers get a little more of my attention when I'm searching for the next brew to try. So what happens when a brewery I enjoy adds rye to one of my favorite beers? Come on. I have to give it a shot. So here we are, with Sweetwater's LowRYEder IPA. According to the label, we're looking at Mt. Hood and Centennial hops with a 25% shot of rye malt. Sounds delightful, doesn't it? I don't know how I wasn't aware of this beer sooner, and I find it a bit strange that a Sweetwater beer wouldn't get a little more hype in my neck of the woods. Not to worry, though. I'll make sure that all my friends know the LowRYEder real soon.
Brewed by: Sweetwater Brewing Company
Style: American IPA
Bottle size: 12 oz.
How does it look?
LowRYEder pours a copper color, nice and bright in my pint glass. An aggressive pour yields right around two fingers of white foam. About half of that fizzes away realitvely quickly with the rest remaining until the final sip. Sheets of bone-white, sticky lacing coat the inside of the glass, always a good look. There's just something about an empty pint glass plastered with lacing that makes the drinking experience a bit more enjoyable than a glass that looks as clean after the last sip as it did before you poured the beer in there.
How does it smell?
I totally expected this beer to be Sweetwater IPA with rye, so I was a bit surprised when it smelled more like Sweetwater 420 with rye. Not that that's a problem or anything. LowRYEder doesn't quite have the same brash hop aroma as the standard IPA, but I suppose it makes a little sense given the bigger malt bill. Still, though, we're dealing with bright citrus notes and spicy rye. There's also an earthy scent, which I'd assume comes from the Mt. Hood hops, that really ties the room together.
How does it taste?
Now we're looking at something more like Sweetwater IPA with rye. The citric hop character blasts through the initial malt sweetness, transitioning nicely into some lingering bitterness. As expected, there's a good spicy flavor both from rye and hops. We're also dealing with grainy and peppery notes, more near the finish, to keep this beer interesting from beginning to end. It's the kind of beer you wouldn't mind taking a little trip with.
How does it feel?
I'm liking the texture here. LowRYEder is medium-bodied, with a relatively low carbonation level. It's not too lively on the tongue but it's not syrupy, either. I think Sweetwater found the right balance here. The hop oils give some slickness to the feel. The beer coats the inside of the mouth nicely, which really allows those lasting flavors to linger even longer. Its dry finish means you're pretty much ready for another the sip as soon as you start to put the glass back down.
How does it drink?
I've often considered Sweetwater IPA a dangerous beer due to its great flavor. You can easily sling back a handful without even realizing what you've done. Its rye-containing cousin is no different. I can't use the term "session beer" here, because session beers can't contain more than 4% ABV. The LowRYEder is a little higher. At 6.2%, we'll just call it immensely drinkable. And that 6.2% ABV never presents itself during the drinking experience. After that, it's all up to the consumer. Basically, we're looking at an all-around solid beer that never gives you a reason to put it down. So if you're into rye beers like me, or just like trying new, flavorful options, the LowRYEder is the one to meet. Yeah.
Final score: 4.15/5 Pints