Beer Review 0064: Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

Coming out of the Terrapin Brewing Company in Athens, Georgia, we have Rye Pale Ale, the first beer the company ever made. Introduced in April 2002, this beer took the gold medal for American Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival that same year.

Founded by John Cochran and Brian “Spike” Buckowski, Terrapin now brews in a 40,000 square foot facility, offers five year-round beers, seasonals, and several side projects.

I previously reviewed a Terrapin beer, their Hopsecutioner IPA, and it scored 89 points.

Time for their flagship!

The pour produced a golden orange liquid, quite fitting for the summer season and not the winter one we are currently approaching. The head was small but long lasting, and the body was slightly cloudy with an extremely small amount of sediment floating around. The lacing left behind was fair to good. It’s a solidly nice looking brew.

The aromas revealed a well balanced drink; on the hop end, there were hints of grapefruit and general citrus. The malts, however, were the star; there was a complex distribution of scents that ranged between bread and grain, which did indeed impart a rye aroma, followed more subtly by touches of caramel and chocolate.

The flavors on this Rye Pale Ale were grains all the way. On first sip, there’s a bready taste that never really changes until the finish starts, when it transitions to a small amount of caramel and roasted malt. The finish turns just ever so slightly bitter before the flavors completely fade.

As the beer warmed, the hop presence picked up slightly, bringing out a little of the grapefruit found in the aromatics.

What we have here isn’t anything remarkable, but it is enjoyable. The flavors were overall a bit bland, boring, and watery, but the drink itself was super refreshing. With a low alcohol content (5.5 ABV, or alcohol by volume), this is a beer that can be enjoyed all night, especially when you are doing something and beer is not the focus of your evening. It’s a great “fade to the background” beer, and would also make an excellent starting point for the novice craft drinker.

You won’t find anything outstanding here, but you might just find a new unassuming daily drinker.

Rye Pale Ale, 78 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle.


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