One of the beers we sample this week is a rye beer - or what has become popularly referred to here in the U.S. as a \u201cRyePA.\u201d Rye is one of those ingredients sometimes used in beer that brewers need to use sparingly ... and carefully. Rye is a very strong, and distinct tasting grain. Consider how special a good rye bread tastes, and how great it combines with something like corned beef. In brewing, however, rye can quickly and inadvertently become an overwhelming element in beer - especially to the American palate. To wit, many brewers - big and small - just leave it alone. The term \u201cRyePA\u201d is kinda jokingly used because the flavors in hefty rye beers often lean toward a traditional IPA rather than a subtler ale. The rye somewhat highlights the hops and forces a perception of sweetness. There is a style of beer in Germany called Roggenbier that is largely based on rye malts. This was once a lot more popular than it is today. In fact, for quite a while (hundreds of years!) Roggenbier simply wasn\u2019t brewed. It is making a niche comeback over the past couple decades - but still isn\u2019t wildly popular. The Finns have a drink called sahti which is brewed out of rye and juniper berries, and around Eastern and parts of Central Europe there is a fermented beverage called kvass that is sometimes called black beer or bread beer. The style of rye beer reviewed below - Alaskan Imperial Rye - is very subtle. It is hard to discern the rye. The difference between this and other beers might be best noted in a distinctly different kind of sweetness Some more traditionally brewed rye beers end up tasting a bit like a pretty beefy rye or even a pumpernickel bread. This is definitely not so in the Alaskan Brewing offering. Give it a try and enjoy something new. Actually, the Alaskan Imperial Rye is so well brewed, you may well not notice a difference! And now ... Some \u201cpatriotic\u201d beers you might consider for the coming holiday. Ale To The Chief - Avery Brewery American Beer - Pittsburgh Brewing Company Brew Free or Die IPA - 21st Amendment Commodore Perry - Great Lakes Brewing Company Liberty Ale - Anchor Brewing Pilgrim\u2019s Dole - New Holland Brewing Plead the Fifth -Dark Horse Brewing Company And more ...and more ...and more. Enjoy. And Happy Independence Day! Alaskan Imperial Rye (Pilot Series) Alaskan Brewing Co. Juneau, Alaska The folks at Alaskan Brewing are turning out some exceptional beer. They probably have been for some time now, but at least some of their offerings are just hitting the lower 48 states recently. Thank goodness! Imperial Rye was in a word - wonderful. First pour offered a richly colored amber brew with a crisp white head. There was a sweet-ish hoppy aroma at first sniff - a little fruity even. This will certainly appeal to those who don\u2019t especially like the darker more brooding ales. I might suggest this was something of a Belgian-style ale, more sweet than some at first wash. A touch ...I guess the word might be slick. Sweet but not sticky or cloying. A bit spiced, but not heavily so. As noted in the scenting, Imperial Rye is a touch fruity, but there is just a hint of pine at the finish - a very muted touch of the flavor of the Greek wine Retsina. This really is a good brew, a great one to be shared properly chilled this holiday weekend. Arcadia B-Craft Black IPA Arcadia brewing Co. Battle creek This is a yummy offering, especially to those who appreciate a darker beer. B-Craft pours a delicious dark brew with a moderately brown head. At first nose, there is a distinct smokiness from the get-go with hints of malty goodness - a touch of chocolate and smidge of coffee scent as well. That isn\u2019t really too unusual in this style of beer. The taste is just what this doctor ordered - not too sweet, not too bitter. Well balance, but leaning somewhat sweet with bucket loads of malt character and just a tinge of hoppy bittering. This brew was properly chilled but managed to warm up just a bit outside on the deck. That did not diminish from the hefty flavors in the least. If beer can \u201cage\u201d over a 15-minute period, this aged exceptionally well! B-Craft was very tasty properly cooled, and very pleasant as it warmed a bit. Arcadia has produced a wonderful black IPA without an overwhelming hoppiness ...at all. This is beer the way I appreciate it most - subtle, balanced, maintaining taste from start to finish. Well recommended.