Beer Review: Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager

In the tradition of Germany’s Reinheitsgebot, or beer purity law, only barley, hops, water, and yeast can be used to brew beer. Today’s craft brewers often stretch, or even outright break, these rules with the addition of alternative grains, sugars, herbs, and spices. Wheat, oats, rye, corn, and rice are all fair game, especially in cultures where barley is less common. These experimental brews often shake up the status quo and always serve to keep innovation and creativity in the beer world.

Great Divide’s Hoss’ rye content first shows itself in its rich brown color. The lagering, or cold fermentation process, brings about a visual clarity as well as a crisp and clear flavor. At the forefront is a fruity hop flavor similar to grapefruit, mango, and a hard-to-define floral perfume.  The hop bitterness is mellow, while still offering some bite. German lager yeast gives a mild yet noticeable flavor, hinting at such German beer styles as Oktoberfest and Marzen. The rye re-asserts itself at the aftertaste, with a sweet roasted cereal flavor and a slightly metallic twang.  Together the bitterness and sweetness are well balanced for a subtle and drinkable beer.  Plus, at 6.2% alcohol it is light enough to have more than one in a sitting.

Great Divide’s Hoss offers a mild yet interesting and flavorful alternative to conventional beers as it is neither overpowering nor boring. It earns a B+ grade and a recommendation along with Great Divide’s Samurai Rice Ale and other unconventional beers.

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