I was nearly nonplussed for a moment, speechless, staring at my glass. The vibrant red color of Founders Brewing's red IPA, titled as Founders' Red's Rye P. A., had whetted my appetite.
This red beauty hails from Founders' beer works in Grand Rapids, MI, and is one of their most outstanding creations. I recently had a glass of this at the Bar on Buena, the veritably charmed pub on the north side, a cozy spot to sit and drink, eat, watch sports in classic corner bar comfort.
Red's Rye is brewed with Amarillo hops, rye malt, and just enough caramel malt to assuage the hoppiness. Above that rich, deep red color sits the most beautiful billowing white cascade of foam that smells of pungent grapefruit and pine hops, accurately suggesting the beer's initial flavor. You get the most pleasant nip of hops in the first sip, then a gradual descent into a flavor profile combining candied malts, earthy rye, and citrus. That color seems to enhance the taste. The mouthfeel is moderate; it is well concentrated but not overly voluptuous. By comparison, Port Brewing's Shark Attack Red and Two Brothers' Cane and Ebel can be a bit too plus-sized at times, leaving one feeling overly full after just one glass.
This beer is perfect as a stand-alone sipper, but also seems ideal for burgers or for sausages with spicy mustard. I would even drink this with spicy Asian or Indian food, perhaps Korean barbecue.
Red's Rye is another winner from Founders. Impressively, the majority of Founders' everyday beers, such as this one (sold in rather pricey six packs), blow away most brewers' seasonal beers or celebrated one-time releases.