I have a special fondess for beers created by happy accident, such as Lagunitas’ Brown Shugga. Hoppy Brewing of Sacramento, California, is re-releasing their own happy accident, Ryer Islander’s Rye Ale (I also have an unnatural fondness for rye beers) as a seasonal ale that should be returning every year as a summer seasonal. Looks like I’ll have to get my lazy self up to Sacramento one of these days soon.
From the press release:
The next brewer’s special due on tap near the end of June is the return of a “new” annual favorite – Ryer Islander’s Ale. The Brew Crew has decided to add this beer to our small line of Perennial Specials (i.e., beers so well liked that we make them every year). So far they are all pale ales – broadly speaking. Fancy that… The progression will go from Tyson’s Twisted Pale Ale in the Spring, Ryer Islander’s Rye Ale in the Summer, Super Hoppy Pale Ale in the Fall, and after all of these years you should know by now what happens in the Winter… 😉
The back story on the Ryer Islander’s is the glory of serendipity and happy accidents. Often brewers will set out to make a beer style that is new, or experiment with new ingredients, and after those beers are made, there are usually partial bags of hops and malt that do not get used for anything else. With that being the case, then Ed will make what he likes to call “Sound Inventory Management” (SIM) beers – basically use the stuff up before it gets old and goes bad. It is kind of like the creations we have all made with the chicken in the freezer, half a bag of corn, some rice, and the remains of all of those dressing and condiment bottles we want to clear out of the refrigerator door. Sometimes those meals come out so well that we wish we had written down the recipe…
Ryer Islander’s Rye Ale is just such a recipe. First there was a mistake in one of the orders. Ed got three sacks of rye malt instead of the three sacks of rye flakes that is used in the Liquid Sunshine. After several subsequent deliveries where he completely forgot to send the rye malt back with the driver, he pretty much had to use it or lose it. Add that to a couple leftover partial sacks of Carapils and Extra Special Malt were thrown into the mash as well. On the hops side, Ed had partial bags of Challenger and Santiam to use up, and he always has plenty of Liberty that gets used in the Hoppy Face. The thought being – that ought to go well – shouldn’t it???
It did!!! The beer flew out of here like it was FREE or something… Almost as importantly, Hoppy’s General Manager, Mr. Kenny Turner really liked it, so we knew that we had not seen the last of it…
Ryer Islander’s Rye Ale is brewed with just over 30% Rye Malt, this unfiltered ale has a distinct rye bread character with a hint of roasted flavors and a tantalizing orange hue. A blend of Galena, Hallertau, and Liberty hops provides a spicy aroma. Alcohol by volume is about 6.0%, it is not really comparable to anything, and it should be on tap about mid-June.