I love rye. It makes kick ass beer, fantastic bread – it's the yeoman grain. Its gluten bits don't work too well so people don't make all rye bread – some ingenious/desperate Slavs excepted. It doesn't have the sugars that barley does so it isn't used as the primary grain in beer. But rye is so tasty. You just add it to something and the tastiness quotient goes up exponentially.
For centuries rye bread was the staple for Northern and Central Europeans. Germany grew more rye than wheat until 1957. So it should be no surprise that the Germans have the roggenbier, a rye ale. I have never seen an example of the style imported from Germany although Paulaner brews one so it's not like we'd be looking at some tiny brewery in a tiny village looking to ship the stuff over here. Since I can't get my hands on any from the vaterland, I am going to have to make do with Tippy Toboggan roggenbier brewed by Scott Manning over at Vintage.
Don't get me wrong – I am not complaining. My Xmas gifts last year included a Vintage growler and a gift card so, when I saw TT was available, it was a no-brainer. I really need to stop trying to take photos of beer on my table as it plus the artificial light adds a red/orange hue to photos. Here it's not too bad. Still, take it from me, it pours a majestic deep reddish brown. The foaming action was moderate and I don't recall a lot of Schaumhaftvermögen.
Tippy Toboggan is a cousin of Vintage's hefeweizen, Weiss-Blau, as they both are brewed with a Weissbier yeast. Hence TT's aroma which featured banana in addition to malty sweetness. Roggenbiers are not very hoppy and I didn't get much bitterness until the finish. The taste mirrored the aroma in that banana and vanilla were dominant but the grain bill was 40% rye so the yeasty flavors were accompanied by the pronounced rye earthy zing. This was all followed by a moderately hoppy finish. Surely there is a really lengthy German word for that feeling on your tongue which is at once heavy yet also light. TT is that way. They emphasis on malt fools you into thinking you've got a rather viscous liquid in your mouth but it is really thinner. The beer is not heavy or cloying but there are so many wonderful flavors involved that your tongue is fooled into thinking that you're quaffing something really dense.
I absolutely love this stuff. TT quickly became one of my favorite beers. You've got the fruity notes from the yeast, the spiciness from the rye, and the bitter hop finish – it's all there. My only complaint is that Scott releases this stuff in late winter when I would love to be drinking it in the summer.
Junk food pairing: Grab a bag of Pierniczki alpejskie śliwkowe. They complement TT well with fruity sweetness, some earthy spice, and a dash of dark chocolate bitterness.
Labels: Beer, Roggenbier, Vintage Brewing