Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Rye Wyne Ale

Brau Brothers
Lucan, MN

Style: Old Ale

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

When Nigel made his great journey out West to make the five-hour-and-38-minute slide show that he forced all of us here at headquarters to watch during our last company meeting, he also brought back some beer to share. The one he gave me was a great big bottle (one pint and nine fluid ounces, to be exact) of Rye Wyne Ale from Brau Brothers Brewing Company in tiny (read Nigel's review of their Cherry Bean Coffee Stout to see just how tiny) Lucan, Minnesota.

As you can tell from the beer's name, this one's big in ABV (the "Wyne" part) and made with a healthy dose of rye (the "Rye" part). What you might not infer from the name is that Rye Wyne Ale was also aged in used rye whiskey barrels from Templeton Rye Spirits in Templeton, Iowa. Some of you may have noticed that the resurgence of craft beer in America has been paralleled by a reawakening of what's referred to as the craft cocktail or Prohibition-era cocktail movement, where mixologists create fabulously flavorful adult drinks based on recipes from the golden age of bartending using high quality spirits from small, independently owned distilleries. One of these distilleries is Templeton Rye Spirits, and their eponymous whiskey is considered the crème de la crème of the new wave of ryes.

So not only is tonight's featured brew a big, complex beer, but it's been aged in barrels from a kick ass rye whiskey. High hopes, indeed.

The color is unassuming, a dark copper body with a thin but sticky tan head. Out of this comes a wonderful vanilla and cherry aroma, with some chocolate notes appearing as the beer warms. The sipping starts snappy and sharp, quickly overwhelmed by a sticky sweet chocolate malt middle. The finish is long and boozy with a capital BOOZE, sporting big, oaky highlights of vanilla and dark fruit. At the far end of the taste, increasingly as things warm up, I get a zing of alcohol across the tongue.

This is one heady brew. I didn't get any of the dryness or spiciness you might expect from a rye-heavy beer, but the big malt presence coupled with the complex flavors brought on by the barrel aging made this a complex, highly enjoyable, not to mention inebriating, drinking experience. Rye Wyne Ale is perfect for sipping by the fire, sharing with that special someone who you want to get a little tipsy, or (my recommendation) having for dessert after a nice meal. A great entry from a tiny brewery showing lots of promise. Almost worth sitting through Nigel's marathon dissertation for …

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on March 25, 2013.
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