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Beer Review: Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

May 21, 2008

terrapin rye pale aleI’ve seen this beer before, but it recently came up in a beer-centric conversation with a friend, so I thought I’d give it a shot. According to the Terrapin Web site,

Terrapin Beer Company was founded by two brewers who share a commitment to to creating world class beers unsurpassed in character and flavor. In a salute to their entrepreneurial spirits Spike and John struck out on their own to satisfy their passion for creating innovative and aggressive beers.

Terrapin is based in Athens, GA and is apparently a small operation. Now onto the beer. Here is what was written on the neck of the bottle:

By using an exact amount of rye, a grain seldom found in other micro brewed beers, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale acquires its signature taste. Made with five varieties of hops, and a generous amount of specialty malts, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale offers a complex flavor that is both aggressive and well balanced – a rare find among beers.

The Pour
This beer pours to a burnt orange/slightly golden color. I had expected it to be cloudy with grainy goodness but it was actually quite clear. It looks quite carbonated sitting in the glass as the bubbles rise up to escape through a small tight head. The head dissipates slowly. There really isn’t any lacing until you start drinking it. The beer laces the glass as you knock it back.

The Nose
The floral aroma of the five varieties of hops alternates with the aroma of rye. There are slight citrus notes present as well, probably leaning towards a more sour citrus fruit, like a lemon or grapefruit. It smells pleasantly grainy with the rye coming through.

The Taste
My first impression is that this is quite like a light hefeweizen. It’s very smooth. Late in the finish you pick up sour lemon on the back of the palate. It doesn’t have a very carbonated mouthfeel, but you do feel it seem to gently bubble on the tongue as you swallow. This is a medium to medium-light bodied brew. It could be more crisp, if you ask me. The rye is subtle but it’s there. The hops are noticeable but are muted by the malts before the bitterness fully develops.

Overall
This is not a bad brew at all, but it’s probably not one I’d purchase again. It’s not that it’s awful or anything…it’s just not right up my alley, I suppose. It is an interesting brew and a nice change of pace though. I suppose it’s kind of like getting whole grain bread instead of just white bread. It’s still bread, but a little more organic tasting and grainy. This is still a pale ale, but more natural and organic tasting and definitely more grainy (which is a good thing).

Recommended: Maybe…if you’re a fan of pale ales and just want a change, this beer is for you.

Price: $1.69 for a 12-oz bottle

ABV: 5.3%

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One comment

  1. […] thebeersnob wrote a fantastic post today on “Terrapin Rye Pale Ale”Here’s ONLY a quick extractTerrapin Beer Company was founded by two brewers who share a commitment to to creating world class beers unsurpassed in character and flavor. In a salute to their entrepreneurial spirits Spike and John struck out on their own to satisfy … […]



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