skaughty (652) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - AUG 9, 2004
Thick, dark, unfiltered. Even darker than expected - almost menacing. Heavy hop aroma that carried all the way thru. The sequence goes like this: Smell hops, Taste hops, repeat. There is NO finish in this one. The carbonation just dries on the tongue and the beer instantaneously disappears. Crockett (1117) - Southampton, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 9, 2004
Pours light mahogony. Big creamy head settles into a firm rocky foam. Lots of hop in the aroma with a light licorice scent. Toasty and chewy. Grapefruit, rum, butter, lemon rind, burnt sugar. Long bitter finish with lots of citrus. Should have a more pronounced rye character. Alcohol is very well hidden. shadey (2136) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - AUG 6, 2004
Well I should have known. When it’s from California and it says hop on the label, I am prolly going to think it is way over-hopped. I just don’t get it and I probably never will. What is with all the hops?!?!
The head and lacing on this beer were amazing however. The head was a soft pillowing fluf that just never quit. Even after I started drinking there remained big snowy puff of head on the inside of the glass. Unreal. Sven (229) - Lancaster, California, USA - AUG 6, 2004
Brilliant reddish-amber colour, excellent head retention obviously from the rye. Hoppy aroma. Well balanced flavor of hops and malt. Dry finish, big, well-rounded mouthfell. Rich aftertaste. cherr (162) - Rochester, New York, USA - AUG 2, 2004
I had this on tap. The beer is a nice amber. The smell is of hops. The taste is balanced with with malt/hops. The taste isn’t as hoppy as I had expected, but is above average for IPAs. The alcohol is not noticeably high in the taste. I had this on tap at MacGregor’s Rochester, NY.
ElGaucho (2401) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - JUL 29, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 2, 2007 12/2/07: Re-rate. Draught at brewpub. The standout beer in the 10-beer sampler I had. Caramel malt notes in the aroma with substantial hop. Very dark amber color with off-white head. Excellent lace. Strong with rich hop. Delicious! Hard to top this brew. Lovely. 7/29/04: Another winner from the folks at Bear Republic! Hoppy & sweet aroma. Beautiful, cloudy red color with excllent lace. Despite less than ideal head size appearance is one of this beer’s strong suits. At first sip, the substantial ABV is noticeable. Nice perfumy hop profile as well. Really nice flavor with some subtle hints of caramel and chocolate. Warming and very good. Ar 8, Ap 5, Fl 8, Pal 5, Ov 17 Frank (4195) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 25, 2004
I feel a rambling a-comin’ move on to the next review if you want something to the point.... I gotta wonder if a big, hoppy brew is the best way to showcase the unique flavors rye can add to the beer. I mean--and maybe this is just my virginal palate speaking--I cannot for the life of me figure out exactly what character rye adds to this beer. Maybe it’s that hint of molasses and spice in the nose or the earthy overtones in the finish. Maybe that’s the hops. Who knows? What I’m wondering here is: should I rate this beer lower because I can’t discern the rye character even though it’s labeled as a rye beer? If a beer were labeled as an IPA but didn’t have a nice hoppy signature, I think that I would be tempted to rate it a little lower than if it were labeled simply as a pale ale. I guess in the end--style and labeling be damned-- I’m rating beers based on if I like them or not. And I found Hop Rod to be rather good, as a matter of fact. It pours a delectable mahogany color with wisp of a white foam that lingers and leaves a couple delicate spots of lace on the side of the glass. The nose is hoppy, slightly earthy with hints of honey and molasses. Those hints are really what make this beer enjoyable as they add balance to what would otherwise be a simple hop-monster. Yay for balance! The palate is full and somewhat sticky. I think a little more assertive carbonation would have helped to give this beer a little more zest on the tongue and stopped it from feeling so heavy. But, overall, it was really very enjoyable. I might have another should the muse strike for me to drink something brewed with rye that doesn’t taste like rye. For the record, I liked the Racer 5 I tried earlier today better. BennyTicklez (621) - USA - JUL 23, 2004
Pours amber with a big head. Aroma is floral hops. Taste is hops and alcohol. Not as much hop taste as I expected though. Lots of sediments in this beer, being unfiltered. Decent hop aftertaste. jimmack (1223) - Nutley, New Jersey, USA - JUL 21, 2004
Dark amber with a large white head. Great hop aroma with hints of citrus and
pine. Nice hop flavor, not overpowering but assertive. Strange undetectable
flavor that I must assume is rye, never tasting a rye ale before. Warming alcohol finish. One of the best surprises
at the festival. kwoeltje (2233) - Manchester, Missouri, USA - JUL 14, 2004
Deep copper with nice cream head. Citrus/rye aroma. Full bodied. Wel hopped with a noticable rye flavor.