Alaskan Brewing Co.’s Pilot Series is another one of the breweries special lines that have grown out of the Rough Draft Series, much like the Hopothermia that I reviewed back in February. The Pilot Series rotates through these beers, much like seasonals and are a limited production that is shipped nationwide to all states they distribute in.

Today I’ll be drinking the Imperial Rye IPA, one of the newer additions to the Pilot Series.

Alaskan Imperial Rye IPA bottle

An interesting thing that Alaskan Brewing does on its site is give us the story behind the label, so here’s what they had to say about the Imperial Rye IPA:

Largest of the heron family, the Great Blue Heron ranges from South America all the way up to the northernmost point of its range, Alaska. With a wingspan of over 6 feet, and a height of 4 and a half feet, this imposing shorebird has adapted to many habitats including oceans, estuaries, lakes and streams. Alaskan Brewing is committed to keeping these key areas clean, which is why we established the Coastal Code to fund shoreline cleanup efforts. In Alaska, the Great Blue Heron heads south when cold weather freezes the shallow waters where it feeds, but spring always brings the welcome sight of these beautiful birds returning to our state’s fertile feeding grounds.

Pouring the beer into my glass, it has a wonderfully rich burnished copper and tangerine color, is transparent, and has half an inch of thick creamy head that has a tangerine tint to it. Bright hoppy citrus and fruit notes greet me as I take a big breath in through my nose, with very little resinous pine and just a few hints of malts. After swirling the beer around the glass, legs of head foam linger along the sides of the glass long after the rest of it settles back down.

Alaskan Imperial Rye IPA

Taking my first sip, the taste is immediately familiar yet unique at the same time. Bright, fresh hops and pine attack my tongue while subtle fruit notes of apples, pears and citrus sneaking their way in as well. It creates a refreshing, flavorful profile up front that immediately draws you back in wanting another sip. On the finish there are more subtle fruit notes that linger on the middle of my tongue while a slight bitterness keeps the finish from being too sweet. The mouthfeel is a perfect lightness with just enough dense carbonation that continues with the refreshing and satisfying profile.

Beer for this review was sent to Tenemu by Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaskan Imperial Rye IPA
BREWERY: Alaskan Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Juneau, Alaska
STYLE: Imperial rye IPA
ABV: 8.5 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
Having enjoyed many of Alaskan’s IPAs, I was excited to try another one in its lineup. The Imperial Rye IPA has a flavorful, unique profile that is quite enjoyable and refreshing. The bright hop notes alongside the rye give this beer a smooth profile that isn’t overly bitter or resinous as some IPAs can be, making it an easy drinker that pulls you in and leaves you wanting more. If you can get your hands on this, it’s an easy recommendation in my book.
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