Tasting: August 30, 2014
Style: Rye Pale Ale
Beer #: 595
The primary grains used in the production of beer are commonly known as “breakfast grains” – the big six are – barley, oats, rice, wheat, corn and rye. In the brewing process, these grains are either malted (germinated) or un-malted. By boiling these dried grains, the starch within converts to fermentable sugars. These sugars provide food for the yeast which subsequently creates alcohol – and carbonation. Barley is by far the number one grain used in beer and comes in hundreds of varieties. Even if another breakfast grain is used, typically there will be some amount of barley used as well. Of late, there has been quite a lot of rye-based beers hitting the shelves and you can identify them as being rye pale ale (RPA) and rye india pale ale (RIPA).
These grains can also impart a distinct flavor profile or texture to beer. Rye used in conjunction with barley can add complexity, subtle spiciness and dryness – that crisp finish. I’ve had a number of good examples that I can recommend. One is by Founders Red’s Rye (92 points) That entry has some other information about rye and other recommendations on rye-based beers. Check it out.
South Carolina-based Westbrook is another beer not available in New Jersey so, this lone bright blue can of One Claw comes to me by way of New York State. I’ve been curious about One Claw because I’ve seen it offered for trade everywhere – who knows – it could be that One Claw is cherished and has a real value or maybe it’s being pawned off.
One Claw’s pour is a hazy light orange. I expected the first sip to follow the grapefruit aroma but I get a very bread-like dull sweetness before the lemon/grapefruit rolls in on top. Mouthfeel is really creamy, lacks carbonation and finishes very crisp. Mid-palate delivers the rye’s peppery spiciness. It lacks the sweet balance that I like but I don’t think that was the mission of One Claw. I think I get it – One Claw is unbalanced like a one-clawed crab.
I’ll post One Claw somewhere between cherished gem and pawned extra – this rye pale ale is a respectable 88 points in my book.