The elusive four-pack of Righteous
cans nanokegs follows the packaging of the others. Not to speeak too much about marketing and advertising, but knowing the brewery, the box o’… nanokegs and the graphic design fits the image Sixpoint has been cultivating since day one.
I’m not sure if the name ever changed on this beer. It’s always listed on draft lists as “Righteous Rye”; maybe bars just like to give extra information to the beer drinker. Yes, Righteous Ale is made with a healthy percentage of rye in the grain bill. Rye, like pretty much any grain, can contribute starches for the yeast to eat and make into beer, but it has a fairly distinctive flavor. Use too much and you’ll probably have a very unpleasant beer. There are quite a number of rye beers available in New York, but in most cases, its flavor is drowned out to the point where its existence has to be taken on faith. I haven’t had that issue in the past with Sixpoint, so I’m excited to see how the Righteous translated into — fine… — nanokegs.
The Righteous package gets the drinker’s attention with this poetry: They should be good men; their affairs as righteous: But all hoods make not monks. Beneath a deep blanket of snow there is a cereal grain that can survive the harsh winters and acidic soils — RYE. Like a draped hood over a monk, it is the righteousness inside that shines.
So, we open the Righteous Ale to find… a burnt-orange, sorta brown beer pours out, on the cloudy side such that I can’t see through it, and it kicks up a thin tan/beige head. Immediately I recognize a spicy, herbal aroma I always attribute to rye beer, so I suspect this is how rye ought to smell in a beer. Yes, it’s a pretty similar aroma to rye bread fresh from the bakery, sans caraway seeds. The hops — did I mention this is rather a hoppy rye ale, with bittering levels on-par with an American Pale Ale? — contribute a bit of a perfumey quality to the nose, but it’s dominated by the rye.
Righteous tastes rather sharp, too, a sharpness attributed to that rye flavor permeating this beer. The hops do their thing, keeping the edges rough and “green”, in their own way, but this is about the most rye-flavored rye beer I’ve yet tried commercially. The rye has a tendency to keep the beer dry, too, moreso than a really unbalanced hoppy beer will, so as you can imagine this resiny dryness wipes out most all the barley maltiness in the beer, leaving a rather bitter, dry rye flavor coating the palate and the throat.
That’s not to say the beer lacks body. Where I can’t much taste any real contribution from the regular malt, it’s hefty enough to carry all that rye and hop flavor without turning drastically astringent and mouth-puckering. Even the telltale Sixpoint yeast doesn’t let loose with a pile of fruity esters like it does in many of their beers. There’s not much to say about Righteous Ale except, if you want to know what rye tastes like in beer, get a fresh
cannanokeg of this.
That is about the most important advice I can give you regarding Sixpoint: be as sure as possible it’s a fresh pack. I’ve been fortunate to go four-for-four on the different varieties I purchased, but my friends have not been as lucky. It seems to strike randomly, however. I get my beer at Whole Foods, typically, and I’ve yet to have an issue, Sixpoint or otherwise, so maybe it’s their source.
In case you’re wondering what other rye beers taste like, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye and occasionally, Blue Point RastafaRye (get it? get it?) Ale are around and waiting for you to give them a try, too. And your favorite homebrewer just might be trying out a rye recipe to boot. At any rate, rye in beer can be an interesting taste departure, and I recommend you give it a whirl, starting with Sixpoint Righteous Ale.