Rye of the Lager

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Rye of the Lager
Sudwerk Brewing, Davis
www.sudwerkbrew.com
Style: Rye Imperial Lager (7% ABV // 70 IBU)

A rye imperial lager sounds like an impossible contradiction, but the result delivers on the best qualities of each promised component: Dry, but light; complex, but earthy; sweet, but savory. If you’re indecisive, or unsure of where the night is going to take you, then Sudwerk’s RIPL makes a pretty convincing way to start the evening and see where it goes.

At its core, the RIPLS is an auteur’s work, a singular vision undisturbed by the compromise inherent to collaboration. There’s an undeniable edge from the process that fulfills the “pale” on the label, but the rye brings out a sour character that borders on sophistication. It’s the kind of beer that inspires a person to howl at the moon; it’s the kind of beer you chug as you work up the nerve to jump off a waterfall into the cool lagoon below; it’s the kind of beer that offers an experience you never knew you needed.

Best Song Pairing: “Blackstar” (the single), by David Bowie. The narrative driving Blackstar (David Bowie’s last album before passing away) is emotional, intimate, primal, but held together by jazzy instrumentation. These components, united, bring to the fore a sense of the sacred and profane. Rye of the Lager, similarly, offers a complex, even haunting experience which those who partake of it will likely long to revisit, and soon. — Clayton Schuster