Spring has definitely sprung. It’s been an absolutely beautiful weekend so far and I’ve made the most of it: ran a 5k last night, biked to the farmer’s market this morning, went for a long hike on Sugarloaf Mountain with my dog, got a bunch of plants from the garden store, and I’m about to cook some tuna steaks on the grill with wifey.
Of course after such a great day, the logical first step is to crack open a beer and let LIBA know what I think. Today I’m reviewing Schmaltz Brewing Company’s Hebrew Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA. It’s a double india pale ale brewed with “an obscene amount of malts and hops” including a TON of rye malt. I’ve been drinking a lot of rye lately, usually Bulleit on the rocks, so this was a no-brainer.
Bittersweet Lenny’s is a homage to the classic “obscene” comic Lenny Bruce, well known for his shocking jokes in the 50’s and 60’s. Today he’d probably be considered a little tame, but back in the day his jokes were like a punch in the mouth – kind of like this brew.
RIPA pours out a deep, dark and opaque amber color with a huge foam head. There isn’t much aroma to this beer, maybe just a faint hint of malts, but it looks amazing. I must say I’ve tried my fair share of rye malted beers, but this one is beyond compare.
The first flavor you get with RIPA is serious rye – it tastes just a touch less hot than a glass of rye whiskey with ice. There are a ton of spices here, and the rye opening blends nicely into a super-stanky hops middle with some hints of roasted malts toward the end that winds down into a long bitter end note. The mouthfeel is intense but fades pretty quickly.
Overall, this is a serious beer. As in, if you’re into light or crisp brews, this isn’t for you, and with a 10% ABV it’ll kick your ass. But if you like rye whiskey and/or intense IPAs, you’ll like it to the point where it’ll probably curl your toes, and you should run to the beer store to get a sixer of this joker.