This beer has some crazy coincidences surrounding it. Let’s start at the beginning. Tommy Stahle of Eartly Delights was talking to my boyfriend Ryan about Julio’s Liquors in Westboro, MA and how it would be right up our alley. They have thousands of craft beer selections, plus a whole section of the store devoted to hot sauce. All the way up my alley..
Cut to about 3 months later. Ryan is at home visiting his family for the weekend and I’m sandwich-hunting. I end up at Earthly Delights where Tommy informs me that he went and checked out Julios a little while back and presents me with a bottle of Smuttynose Ry(e)an Ale. Super cool. I call Ryan to tell him that there’s a beer named after him, only to get a call from him first.
Ryan: “Hey, guess where I am right now.”
Me: “Hey, guess where Tommy just went.”
Spoken at the same time. So he’s friggin’ at Julio’s AAAAAND, what I later found out is that this Smuttynose beer was brewed specifically FOR Julios. Spooky. I thought it was neat. Anyways.
Ry(e)an Ale looks like an effervescent sody-pop. Pours a chestnut/amber color with lots of bubbles. The aroma is strong; vanilla, maple, bourbon, rye malts, oak, and a slight fruitiness. Very nice.
And the taste. Whoa. It is incredibly rich. This is a barrel-aged rye beer so yes, it does taste like a whisky barrel and that alcoholic sweetness can be slightly off-putting to some. The taste is booze-soaked fruits and spices followed by a hearty rye malt. The blend of rye and bourbon nicely accentuates both the sweet and spicy elements of the beer. The finish is spicy, crisp and a-plenty boozy, along with some sour notes as well. Very low hoppage.
A medium body, paired with a subtle carbonation make this a smooth and sticky beer to drink. I really can’t believe it’s only 7.7%. There’s a lot of that alcohol heat plus, I drank this whole 22 oz. bottle and started to feel whiskey drunk afterwards, I swear. I.e: I start getting a little too close with the Internet, become overly emotional at Ryan when he comes home late, then pass out in the middle of Game of Thrones. One beer, folks.
This beer is a lot more drinkable than I expected. It’s almost like a sweet Scotch ale. The bourbon does overpower the malt at times, but not necessarily in a bad way. The rye is still noticeable in the way it dries out the flavors, especially in the finish where the bourbon totally disappears. This was a really fun beer to drink so I give it an A-.