Benchmark River Rye
Brewed by: Benchmark Brewing Company
Beer Classification and Specs
- Style: Amber / Red Ale
- Variation: American, Rye
- Limited: Yes
- ABV: 6.5%
- IBU: N/A
Notes: Member of Benchmark’s “Parks Collection”, first canned in 2016.
Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients
This red rye is the perfect pairing of bold American hops and earth spicy rye, offering a unique complexity of flavor. It is rich but refreshing with a deep mahogany color, creamy body, and clean crisp finish. This beer is in a can, although it’s best enjoyed from a glass the can makes for easy travel.
Hops: American varieties
More Benchmark Parks Collection: River Rye Images
Artwork: Follows Benchmark’s “Parks Collection” branding, with squiggly lines icon designating “river.”
Color: Their tasting notes describe it perfectly — mahogany.
Aroma: Caramel, toasted malts, and coffee.
Arrived in: 16oz. Can
Served in: Short Tulip
If a porter isn’t the most overlooked and underproduced style of beer in San Diego, then the red ale most certainly is! For that reason, we were really looking forward to Benchmark canning River Rye, an American Red Rye Ale, from their “Parks Collection.”
But with this release, Benchmark managed to pique our interest even more, since we absolutely love rye as an ingredient in beer. “Red” and “Rye” sounded like a winning combination to us, and after a few sips we couldn’t be happier.
Some reds and ambers can pour an almost pure brown color, which was exactly what we got from River Rye. As a matter of fact, this beer was darker and hazier than brown with a tint of dark red mixed in, making it really push mahogany territory, as they stated on the can.
Not only was it brown in color like a cup of coffee, but its aroma also featured a hint of lighter roast. It started off with typical red/amber aroma of caramel, followed by toasted malt. But the very end of each whiff had some spice to it from the rye, which really came through like a fancy blend of exotic coffee.
River Rye’s malt character added depth to its viscous body, and made for a smooth and satisfying drinking experience. Its thick and rich off-white head demonstrated excellent retention, and lent additional creaminess to the beer. Between its full body and frothiness, this beer drank like a stout.
River Rye pretty much mimicked its aroma with a malty caramel flavor profile up front. From there it got a little spicy, when peppery rye notes kicked in adding a generous seasoning over the malty sweetness. The finish was surprising clean for a bigger ale, and left some lingering spiciness on the palate.
Cheers to Benchmark for not only brewing amazing “beer flavored beer”, but also putting an under represented style in our hands.
Final Score: 4/5
The introduction of rye made this a spicy red — a rarity to us, and we really enjoyed it for that reason. If you’re a fan of “bigger” beers, red ales, or rye, we’re pretty sure we’re not sending you up the river with a recommendation to try River Rye.