Beer Review 0099: Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye

Since I have reviewed a number of beers from Sierra Nevada on this website, I’ll skip the full history lesson this time and just tell you they are located in Chico, California, and have been producing beer for a long time. Chances are, you cut your craft beer teeth with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (85 points) or another brew from this groundbreaking brewery.

If you have been following beer news of late, you’ll know that Sierra Nevada is about to break ground on a second brewery, located on the east coast. The additional facility will greatly increase Sierra’s brewing capacity, as well as help their distribution. It will be located in Mills River, North Carolina, which is about three hours away from where I reside. To say I am excited about this is an understatement; not only is it cool to have a brewery with the reputation of Sierra Nevada come to town, but it brings with it almost 100 full-time jobs, something resoundingly positive.

Ruthless Rye is the latest creation from Sierra, and it becomes their new spring seasonal offering, replacing Glissade (86 points). Brewed with rustic rye grains and whole-cone hops, some of which are classified as “experimental,” this beer is to have bright citrus flavors along with some peppery spice provided by the rye.

Ruthless Rye produced a large head, pillowy in texture and lasting. The beer was amber colored with just a mere hint of cloudiness to the body, with no particles or sediment present. The lacing was generally good with several bits left hanging out on the glass.

The aromas were a rye bomb, giving off a bread-like and spicy scent, with some light hops playing a background role, dishing out some general citrus notes and a lovely grapefruit. If you like rye, you will love the nose on this beer. I did note that the aroma started to fade a bit after about fifteen minutes in the glass.

On the sip, there’s a blast of both rye and a bright citrus grapefruit note, with the rye dominating and eventually winning out by the middle of the taste. The mouthfeel was almost biting, although the carbonation was just average, in my opinion. This is a creamy beer but it does dry your mouth out, thanks to the huge bitterness wave that greets you on the finish, along with some spicy pepper notes.

Sierra Nevada have hit a home run here on two fronts. Replacing the usual spring seasonal, Glissade, with this is for sure a wise move. And the use of the rye in this beer is masterful. I think you will like this beer if you’re partial to the hoppy beers or you just dig rye bread in general.

In short, pick this one up while you can; it’s a winner.

Welcome to North Carolina, Sierra!

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, 93 points. Price: $8.99 US for a six pack.

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