You may not have noticed, but we’re once again reintroducing wildlife to the West: Big Sky Rye Pale Ale. This beauty has been in the works for years, even to the tune of the Brewery Mom painting the artwork over 10 years ago. If you’re lucky enough to live in Missoula, you’ve probably also tasted variations in the taproom. This style has sparked some curiosity, so decided to ask brewer, cellar, lab, all things beer around here guy, Kyle Sillars, to give us the lowdown.
Why the Rye?
We try not to get caught up in style guidelines around here, but rather brew to our own tastes. If we had to categorize this beer, it would fall into the Specialty IPA: Rye IPA category (BJCP 21b). We decided to call it a Rye Pale Ale however as the IBU’s are a little restrained for an IPA and we instead focused the hop presence on flavor and aroma from whirlpool and dryhop additions.
Inspiration for this style?
This beer was inspired by a few boxes of fantastic aroma hops that we had on hand to experiment with in the brewhouse. Ella and Equinox make up the hop component of this beer and they contribute fruity, sweet and floral aromas along with specifics of lemon and lime.
How does Rye impact the flavor profile?
We decided it would be a nice contrast to balance those hop flavors and aromas with the complex spicy, earthy qualities derived from Rye malt. We wanted to match the intensity of these flavors while providing a distinct juxtaposition to the hops. The result is a very bold, unique beer.
Have you ever taken a Bison Selfie?
Not yet, I’m still shopping for the perfect selfie stick. Tourist 0, Bison 4.