The Motherlode: Founders Red Rye P.A.

As I type this, my palate is basking in the afterglow of one of the better beers I have had in a while: Founders Red Rye P.A. I first had this concoction at the great Moe’s Tavern in Lee, MA, about a month or so ago.
Founders is one of those breweries that we can’t get where I live, and so it was imperative that I try every possible beer they had. I remember this one being my favorite. Sooo, when I got the chance to order some beer by mail, I made sure this was on the list.

So what the hell’s so great about it? Welll, first of all, it pours a beautifully cloudy red-orange, with tiny black bubbles floating up from the bottom. The head is white, foamy and thick, and it takes its coat off to stay a while. The lace is spotty, but decent: the fact that it has any lace at all is a welcome change from the recent beers I’ve had.

The aroma is a perfect blend of spicy and sweet, with the hops and malt each taking a turn. The first whiff is amber malts, with some of that rye/pumpernickel, which adds a spiciness that I didn’t expect. The hops come in as citrus first, sweetening the air above the glass, but then some mild pine oil comes in. The malt then takes another turn. It alternates beautifully between the two elements, and I’d have to say it’s one of the most balanced aromas I can think of.

The flavor … oh baby that flavor. Again, the balance is crucial, like two strong personalities. The hop is spicy because of the woods, but the malt is spicy too because of the rye. The citrus adds a nice sweetness as well, but then the roasted amber-like malts come in to balance that. Just when you think it’s gonna zig, it zags. It is the perfect checks-and-balances beer. Add some creamy thickness and a lingering, effervescent aftertaste and you have something you could drink all night, even though it’s 6.6% and you probably shouldn’t.

I would have to say this ranks right up there among my favorite hoppy beers. Unlike so many IPAs, which fetishize the hops and forget all else, it’s the malt backbone that makes this one stand out.

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~ by William H on May 7, 2010.

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