New from the Nano-Brewery: Roggen Wolf
We’re excited for you self-proclaimed “hop-heads” and IPA lovers out there to check out our newest IPA Hopology pack, which features a wide range of IPAs. Each beer in this pack brings something different to the table, and we are trying something new with our most recent addition: Roggen Wolf, a Rye IPA.
A beer is a “rye” beer when rye is substituted for some portion of the malted barley. It was common to use rye in beers in Germany until the 15th Century when a series of bad crops caused a big shortage of rye. When this happened, rye was only allowed to be used for baking bread. The practice of using rye in beers has since made a resurgence in Germany and in American craft brewing.
We caught up with one of our brewers who works in our nano-brewery, Eryn Bottens, to talk about his first commercially available brew and to find out what it’s like to work in the Samuel Adams nano-brewery.
Q: What is your role as a nano-brewer at Sam Adams?
A: I’m a brewer, and one of my jobs is to help create new beer recipes in the nano-brewery, which is located within our Boston brewery. We do all of our beer development and trial brews here.
The nano-brewery is essentially a mini brewery where we can be creative and innovative. Working on a small scale, we can do a lot of experimentation.
Sometimes we want to try brewing with a unique or special ingredient or try a new process. Recently we did some test brewing with several new varieties of hops. We brewed a series of single hopped beers to see how the different hops change the profile of the beer, what is the sensory effect, and if we might want to use them in an upcoming brew.
Q: What is Roggen Wolf, and what is it like compared to other IPAs we have brewed in the past?
A: Roggen Wolf is the first Rye IPA that we’ve released. The use of rye helped us brew a mellow IPA with a robust spice character. Roggen Wolf is brewed with Galaxy and Ahtanum hops – which are two pretty unique hop varieties. Galaxy hops are from Australia and add really nice citrus, peach and passionfruit notes while the American Ahtanum hops add floral, earthy, citrus and grapefruit notes to the brew. The hop notes are really complemented by the subtle peppery note from the rye in the finish.
Q: What was the process like for developing Roggen Wolf?
A: It took around three months to get from the initial idea to transition into production. The challenging part was figuring out how much rye to include in the malt bill – if you add too much, it can lead to a stuck mash.
I enjoyed working with rye because it imparts a spicy quality that malted barley doesn’t. It is an ingredient that we don’t use in our beers that often – it makes for a unique flavor contribution.
Q: What would you pair Roggen Wolf with?
This beer pairs really nicely with smoked Gouda or charcuterie because the hoppiness off the brew cuts through the richness of the cheese. The combination of hops and the spiciness of the rye also accentuates the flavor of dishes like jerk chicken or pulled pork.
Q: Roggen Wolf was a big project for you – how did it feel the first time you saw the final bottle in the IPA Hopology Pack?
A: I was really excited! The beer came out great and the label is really awesome. I’m looking forward to hearing what people have to say about it outside the brewery. It’s really rewarding to see something I worked hard on come to fruition and be made available to drinkers.
Q: What is your favorite Samuel Adams beer?
A: Black Lager – it’s delicious. It’s a dark lager with a good hop profile that is light, and not super boozy.
Want to try Roggen Wolf? It is available for a limited time in our newly released IPA Hopology Variety Pack.
(Photo provided by Hannah O’Leary, Oregon State University Photographer)