HopDog Taxidermied Pachyderm

Total Score: 7.9/10 Peppercorns1Earth1Coriander1Tulipglass1

India Rye Brown Ale hey? This is stylistically (though it isn’t a BJCP certified style) new territory for me, and it combines two of my favourite beer words: India (as in higher ABV) and rye (that delightful spicy/earthy grain). Now it hasn’t escaped my attention Hennimore that I’ve had a bit of bad luck with HopDog brews of late – out of the 6 beers I’ve had that were infected/spoiled in my 650 reviews 2 of them have been HopDogs (The Pale & Abbey of the Dead). I attribute this to the size of the brewer/batches and what I imagine to be an over-worked under-staffed brewery, however for all their foibles I still think HopDog are one of the best Aussie brewers, woof people, woof!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep turbid brown body with a 1 inch tan head that won’t quit… least not for a solid minute, soon leaving a nice lace duvet on top. Turbid, i.e. cloudy as hell beers are my favourite – yeast is your friend fellow beer drinker. 8/10.

S: Bold and funky aroma hints the nose with a real wallop! Spicy pepper notes, dark fruits (plum/date/prune), musty yeast and a vinous grape character. Second whiffs all round I say! Touches of caramel and a light chocolate dusting finish off what is a real mouth-watering fragrance. 9/10.

T: This is perhaps the best example of rye in a beer that I’ve had the fortune to taste – BIG pepper/earthy tones upfront lead on to a caramel/choc mid-palate with musty yeast and it finishes off with some light herbal hop bitterness. The flavour is a little less complex than the aroma would suggest but still quite decent. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied, a bit chewy on the mouthfeel, with a light/almost flat carbonation – surprising given that Belgian yeast was used. 7/10.

D: If you want a rye beer that says rye with a capital “R” this is it. Whilst most rye beers I’ve tried over the years have had a slight pepper or earthy note to them this brew is unabashedly rye strong – with a huge bill of 40% rye used this would have been a real bastard to brew but cheers to HopDog for putting its all into a rye beer. Not sure how many times I can fit the word “rye” into a sentence but the above must be some sort of record, better call the Guinness people. I rye-ly recommend this beer [shoot me now someone]. 7/10.

Food match: I’m picturing a medieval banquet of some sort with this rye-driven brew, some roasted venison/boar with sparrow aspic, that sort of thing.