Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ricky and the Hendersons: Old Fashioned Premium Rye Ale

According to the label of the 650mL bottle of Old Fashioned Premium Rye Ale that I brought home from Toronto's Henderson Brewing Co., this 10% alcohol ale was conceived in response to a challenge: to "brew the flavour & spirit" of an Old Fashioned cocktail into a beer.

For those of you who only drink beer, an Old Fashioned is a simple and succulent cocktail made using bourbon (or rye whisky), bitters, and a sugar cube (and sometimes some water, simple syrup, or club soda). Typically it's garnished with an orange slice and a cherry. Just lovely.

Henderson's Old Fashioned was a fairly clear, deep copper colour. It poured with a modest eggshell head, and gave off a sweet and toasty aroma, with a fair malt presence. Details of the ingredients were scarce on the Henderson website, but a little googling told me that the beer is brewed using rye--the grain, seemingly, rather than the spirit. While the beer doesn't taste like a classic O.F., it does have sweet and spicy qualities that I associate with rye (the spirit), as well as a faint orange tint and a bitterness born less of hops than of something herbal.

At 10%, this stuff'll knock your socks off. It's a bit too sweet to be approachable, but it certainly has a unique flavour. Innovative, tasty, and strong make this a beer worth trying, and one I'll likely revisit.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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