RJ Rockers Brewing Company - Bell Ringer
- ABV: 8.3%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 48
- Serving Temperature: 48-55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Pint Glass
- Malts: 2 Row Pale, Munich, Caramel 60
- Hops: Nugget, Cascade
Will RJ Rockers ring your bell with this big 8%+ brew? Well, that depends on how fast you drink it and how many you have. But, in our experience… well let’s just say our beer panel was quite the lively event the night we sampled this one. On the pour, Bell Ringer offers a delicious-looking hazy amber color with an off-white head with decent retention for the high ABV. On the nose, look for a floral and lightly grassy hop profile with subtle undercurrents of pineapple and grapefruit. Beneath the hop aromas is a rich and somewhat bready malt center with a touch of earthy yeast and a light impression of straw or hay. As you take a sip, the core of sweet, biscuity malt comes to the fore accompanied by hints of brown sugar. Hanging on the malt backbone is a hop profile with enough bitterness to provide plenty of checks and balances, while offering a delicious flavor profile that’s at once subtly spicy, grassy, floral, and citric. The mouthfeel, which is soft, round, and quite full, makes Bell Ringer a pleasure to drink, and the spicy hop bitterness that lingers in the fade kept beckoning us to take another sip. No wonder it rang our bell!
The slogan at RJ Rockers is “Handcrafted. Every beer. Every drop. Every time.” But it’s not just an empty boast or vacuous marketing B.S. – it’s a true reflection of the passion for beer that comes from the top of their organization and flows down to all employees. Founder and owner Mark Johnsen still works hands-on, brewing Rockers beer with his own hands.
The RJ Rockers story begins when Mark was stationed in Germany after serving in the Gulf War in 1991. Germany is of course towards the very top of the list of fantastic places to live if you love good beer, and there’s no better place to learn the art and science of brewing if you have the interest. We’ve lost track of how many American brewers we’ve featured over the years who awakened to the world of beer during stints with the military in Germany, but it’s a very large number. Mark was no different, and he took full advantage of his prime location to study as much as he could about the brewing process.
After an honorable discharge, Mark was ready to jump into the brewing industry himself. Originally from New Jersey, he decided to settle in South Carolina, where he opened RJ Rockers as a brewpub in the historic Morgan Square area of downtown Spartanburg in 1997. Over the next few years RJ Rockers developed a strong following of devotees, and it became well-known as a local meeting place and watering hole, featuring live bands and games of trivia hosted by Mark himself. After five years of growing his brewpub’s following and building a reputation for great high-quality microbrewed beer, Mark took RJ Rockers on the leap from brewpub to full production brewery, offering bottled and draft beer to pubs, restaurants, and stores throughout the Southeast. A new building was acquired to serve as brewhouse, and a 30 barrel brewing system was put in, giving the brewery an annual capacity of 25,000 barrels – quite a step up from their brewpub system! To learn more about RJ Rockers Brewing Company or scheduled brewery tours, visit www.rjrockers.com or call 864-585-2337.
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