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In Dunedin, a rye beer to die for

Dunedin Brewery's new head brewer, Madison Roane, continues to create interesting new offerings for fans of local craft beer.

Previously, Madison brewed a thick-bodied dry stout served from a nitro tap; an Abbey Dubble-style brew that replaced Dunedin Brewery's previous Christmas beer; a heavily spiced farmhouse-style ale; and — much to the delight of Tampa Bay hopheads — a generously hopped India Pale Ale.

Roane's latest offering is the Brewmaster's Reserve Rye India Pale Ale.

Rye beers are typically spicy and, in America, often heavily hopped to compliment the natural spicy notes of malted rye.

German Roggenbier often tastes of pumpernickel and is typically brewed with a Hefeweizen yeast strain. Roggenbier is rare in the United States, though some brewers will occasionally release a Roggenbier-inspired beer as a special release.

Sahti, a traditional Finnish ale, uses a variety of fermentable and nonfermentable grains, chiefly rye. Sahti is often flavored with juniper berries, either in addition to hops or in lieu of them.

Kvass is popular in Russia and the Baltic region, and has been brewed and consumed in Europe since ancient times. It's made by fermenting finished bread, usually a black bread containing rye, and adding fruits, herbs or berries and sometimes birch sap as a flavoring. Kvass was often sold by street vendors, and with 2 percent alcohol by volume, it was considered suitable for children.

Today Kvass is marketed more as a soft drink than as an alcoholic beverage. In Latvia, which is better known for fruit-accented Baltic porters like Aldaris Porteris, Kvass saw stiff competition from Coca-Cola. But the Kvass makers packaged the beverage in bottles and cans and launched a massive marketing campaign. The strategy worked, and Coca-Cola saw its market share fall in Latvia and other Baltic countries.

Lammin Kataja Olut from Finnish brewer Saimman Panimo incorporates juniper berries into its big malt-heavy ale for a taste that has some similarities with traditional Sahti, though it lacks Sahti's typical yeast-derived banana flavors. It's 7 percent alcohol by volume, and sells for a pricy $5.49 per 11.2-oz. bottles. It's available only in specialty beer stores like Kingdom Liquors at 2026 Badlands Drive in Brandon.

Another rye beer available in Tampa Bay is Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, made by Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Ga. A fairly hop-forward beer with pine and citrus accents, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale has a balancing malt base, and the rye acts to reduce some of the lingering flavors of the hops, making for a cleaner finish.

In Dunedin, a rye beer to die for 04/17/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:37am]

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