Name: Rye the Beloved Country
Brewery: Frontier Beer Co.
Country: Pretoria, South Africa
Style: Red Rye Ale
Rating: 4 / 5
After seeing Frontier for the first time at Solstice, I’ve been keeping tabs on them. At Solstice they brought this most amazing sour beer and as it turns out Brendan, the head brewer, has not only an interest in wild fermentation but is doing great “regular-ish” beer too.
In their regular line-up, Frontier offers a Lager, Hefeweizen, IPA and this Rye Ale. The first thing you have to notice is the packaging. Each bottle has a beautiful illustration that relates to the beer (go check out the Karma Citra IPA – it’s hysterical :-p). In this case, the name and label are all about African homesteads and scenery. Lovely play on “Cry the beloved country”.
Ok, to the beer. Rye as a grain is not as common as barley or wheat, but it can add spice and dryness to a beer. I drank from the bottle, not on tap. It poured a rust colour with a nice creamy head. The head didn’t stick around for too long, but the carbonation was a plenty. The aroma was malt forward and sweet: caramel or toffee apples come to mind. It’s an aroma I’m used to with my own brews.
I drank the beer quite cold, and then let it warm up a little. The experiences were slightly different. Upfront, there was only a mild bitterness. It’s earthy, nutty, biscuity but mild. The slightly higher than expected mouthfeel actually carries the flavours, so that is ends quite dry. It’s not super bitter, or super sweet. It’s one of those rare “well balanced” beers. Either way it’s delicious.
I reckon that even though the 340ml bottle was satisfying, I need some Rye on tap. It’s an easy drinker that isn’t insipid. It’s robust but also subtle. The only real criticism is the lack of lasting head; it could have just added a touch of creaminess to the beer.