Sudwerk Brewing Company - Rye of the Lager
- ABV: 7.0%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 70
- Serving Temperature: 49-57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Tulip
- Malts: 2-Row Pale, Heirloom German Rye, C-60, Victory
- Hops: Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo
In 2015, we were lucky enough to be able to include this brew (in 22-oz. size) in a special offer for our Rare Beer Club members, who were among the first to get their hands on this new Rye IPL, which had previously only existed as a test batch. We’re very happy Sudwerk has been able to keep brewing this delicious beer and that we’ve been able to secure a batch for our 12-oz. beer club members. This heavily hopped rye pale lager is copper colored, with hints of spicy flavor provided by the rye malts. We found strong aromas of citrus and pine thanks to the copious dry hopping of the Pacific Northwest hop varieties. And Sudwerk’s house lager yeast strain contributes a crisp finish, complementing this beer’s full-flavored West Coast hop profile. This is crisp and refined, an exceptional melding of diverse hop character (pith to tropical to pine), with rich, nutty rye spiciness. Sudwerk recommends pairing with a Porterhouse or Smoked Salmon (perhaps with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background?). Cheers!
Sudwerk was founded in Davis, CA in 1989 by Ron Broward and Dean Unger. Not only was it among the early entrants into America’s craft brewing renaissance, Sudwerk was at the forefront of craft lager production, focusing almost entirely on lager styles brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot German beer purity law (which dates to the 16th century). Within just a few years, the brewery had grown significantly while developing much respect within the early craft beer scene.
Fast forward to 2013. The Sudwerk brand, which had never lost its quality or esteem in the industry, nevertheless found itself somewhat overlooked among all the flashy new breweries popping up within the explosively growing beer scene. Additionally, both Broward and Unger had recently passed away, and their families were looking to sell the brewery. At this point, Unger’s grandson, Trent Yackzan, and his friend, Ryan Fry, entered the picture, organizing with a group of investors to purchase the brewery and begin revitalizing the brand and tapping into Sudwerk’s latent potential. The focus on craft lagers was maintained, but the new-look Sudwerk began striking out into more adventurous lager territory. Cascaderade IPL, with its big presentation of Cascade hops, started appearing in bombers. Ditto for Three Best Friends: a dark lager brewed with roasted coffee, sweet cacao nibs, and a touch of vanilla bean. Additionally, there’s been a huge expansion of the Sudwerk barrel-aging program.
Mike Hutson currently serves as Sudwerk’s brewmaster. He’s worked at Anderson Valley as well, and graduated from the Master Brewers Program at the University of California, Davis, which is basically right next to Sudwerk and with which the brewery maintains an interesting symbiotic relationship. The program, one of the top two or three brewing schools in the country, actually holds classes just above Sudwerk’s tasting room. For more info about the brewery and scheduled tours, call 530-756-2739 or visit them at www.sudwerkbrew.com.
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