Rye 95

Rye 95 lager
$12.49++ six pack, 9.5%ABV

Purchased at Maximum Beverage, West Hartford

ryeThis is a very strange beer. And considering it’s from Two Roads, masters of the “Let’s make something that sounds creative but really isn’t all that much” beers, that’s saying something.

That’s not really a knock on Two Roads; they’ve identified their niche and they have gone after it… hard. And quite well, actually. They are, by far, the social media champions of Connecticut beer as well as far and away the best at capturing the younger, “I want to graduate from Blue Moon and Bass” crowd.

So it strikes me as quiet surprising they did a rye lager. With a ton of Mosaic and Amarillo hops – two varieties that make great DIPAs and single-hopped IPA’s. Yeah, I know… weird.

Even weirder? This rye lager tripel with two hot DIPA hops tastes not of rye, not of lager, not of those two great DIPA hops and as far as being a classic tripel? I’ll say no, but caveat that by saying that I doubt they were even trying.

Two Roads says:

Buckle up for a Two Roads 9.5% Rye lager! Detour from the Old World Order for an American rye tripel using Amarillo and Mosaic hops. Next Exit – intense fruit, spice and hop character

Here’s my theory: Clever marketing once again trumps what could have been a top notch and interesting beer. This is, above all else, a very cleverly marketed beer.

To wit: Rye 95 is a play on I-95. (The label makes this clear even for the most distracted drunk.) Two Roads sits in an old refurbished factory mere feet from… I-95. The much-maligned highway takes Stratfordites directly to? … To New York City.

Two Roads announced their entrée to the Big Apple at the same time they released Rye 95. So, HEY! NEW YORK! GET IT? WE’RE RIGHT UP I-95! DRINK OUR BEER!

Oh, and of course 95 is a “Road” but that is way too obvious for this brewery. But! -

- This beer is 9.5% alcohol. As in Rye 95. I’m telling you, these guys are goooood. And hmmmm, I wonder what city is halfway in between Stratford and New York, right on I-95? I dunnooooooo, could it be RYE, New York?! Two Roads is simply amazing.

WHOOT!Secondary to Two Roads is the beer itself. This beer is a bit of a mess – OMG, wait a minute – it’s got holes in it and – HOLY COW, don’t tell me – it appears to still be – HERE IT COMES – under construction!

Genius! I know I’m sounding a bit – NOW I’M GONNA DO IT – wry here, but perhaps the true intent here was to release a beer named wryly after a crappy yet serviceable highway that is purposely a bit of a mess; cobbled together from bits and pieces of other perfectly fine but not as utilitarian beers, and…

Usually I say at this point that I know I’ve gone off the rails. But I am not so sure in this case. This beer is a little bit of everything. It left me confused. The rye is so hidden as to be a non-entity. The high ABV is hidden just as well, which is true craftsmanship. The Amarillo and Mosaic? First, why? Second, all I got from them was a soapiness and some melon and fruit. The “tripel” Belgian yeast is there, but it doesn’t play off the hops in a good way. And let’s be honest, the yeastiness here is just not like the yeast in a true tripel.

So… crap, right? Wrong. I liked this beer. It’s quite drinkable and the confusing nature of it somehow works for me. I like the faint spice the minimal rye (Two Roads says the mix was 43% rye, which surprises me). I love the hidden high ABV. The weird soap and spice and fruit and soft tripelly carbonation is intriguing. I’m not sad I paid over $13 for a six-pack of this stuff.

But damnit, they really should have gone with “Wry-95.” Then the circle would have been complete.

Overall Rating: B
Rating vs. Similar style: n/a

Two Roads Brewing Company
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