“Tapping the Keg” is a weekly review of craft beers brought to you by staff writer Dan Wood.
Typically when a new local beer takes NYC by storm, I will hear about it before the move to retail. But this is a first for me; Bronx Brewery is anomalous in that regard, as my first encounter with this brewery was in the in candy/beer isle of our local Storrs Price Chopper.
I decided to start with their rye ale as opposed to their big sellers. As much as I enjoy a well-celebrated IPA, I wanted to see what this brewery was truly made of, as this beer seemed a bit strange next to their regular brews.
A second and arguably more important reason I chose the rye IPA is because of the ecological value of creating an economic market for rye. Rye is an important crop in modern agriculture because of the nutrient returns it provides when farmers rotate their crops. Because there is not much of a market for rye and rye products in the states, farmers are put under financial strain when they choose to rotate a rye crop, as it is not as lucrative as a second planting of soy or maize, resulting in land that is more often abused when it could be revitalized.
Bronx brewery also seems to exclusively sell in cans, a positive environmental and economic decision that I have discussed in previous commercial beer reviews, so props to them in that arena as well.
Out of the can and into a chilled glass, this rye ale has a nice buttermilk-colored head formation of fine sudsy bubbles that dissipate rather quickly. The color of this beer is slightly cloudy with a rusty, yellow-brown hue.
One thing that struck me about this beer is the fact that you don’t have to get close to get familiar with the nose. The second you open the can, you get a whiff of what smells like an active bakery. But don’t let any creamy or toasty qualities in the appearance or smell fool you, this beer has a bit of a sting upon the first sip.
The top of this beer has an acidic as well as astringent bite to it at first that fades as you get into the glass. The top imparts only slight hints of sourdough and extremely subtle notes of floral citrus. The mild top gives way to a more full middle with a medium body prominently displaying notes of cut pine and rye bread, with sweet grassy undertones that make for a uniquely balanced beer. The bitterness of the finish does linger on the back of your tongue, which is to be expected to some extent when drinking any IPA; but with this beer, it is not overwhelming by any means.
With a slightly above average ABV of 6.3 percent and its campfire-reminiscent qualities, this rye ale is great for drinking in the winter for “those nights under the stars with friends, music, and a fire pit” (From the back of the can).
An excellent pairing to this beer would be anything cooked over a wood fire. The woody qualities of this beer would bridge just about any meat that is seared by open flame. Due to the complexity and almost savory taste, weaker proteins won’t stand up right, so try to stay away from white fish and under-seasoned chicken or pork. This beer would be great with any cheddar-style cheeses that have similar nutty, woody or piney-sweet aspects. Think Irish or British cheeses like Dubliner or Leister on a stoned wheat thin cracker. These cheeses have all three qualities and I highly recommend them.
All of these goodies can be found at our local Price Chopper. I cannot say for the price of cheese and crackers, but a six pack of cans from Bronx Brewery will run you around $10. It should also be noted that no fire pits are permitted on or near campus housing grounds.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.