Luck of the Irish: A Review of Tollan Rye Hopped RyePA by Three Notch’d Brewery In Charlottesville, VA

I am glad I saved this beer so that I could have it shortly after St. Patty’s Day in celebration of Irish heritage. Three Notch’d brewery makes this single hop beer, annually, using a different hop every year. Tollan Rye is brewed in dedication to the Irish immigrants that helped to build the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Crozet, VA. Tell me that job doesn’t take true grit, and I’ll show you a liar.

This year the beer was brewed with mosaic hops. It has a powerful hop aroma straight out of the can. It has a couple finger width head and is golden orange in color with moderate carbonation. As with most ryePAs this beer is packed with bitterness at 75 ibus. It has an earthy and peppery nose with a mellow citrusy back. The hops overpower the 6.5% ABV that this beer clocks in at. Perfect beer to have while overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I would recommend having this beer without food to really enjoy the complexity of the rye peppery profile and juicy hop punch. Not much else to say about this one, other than I look forward to seeing what they do with the 2017 series. I give this beer 4.5 tunnelers!


Beerstory #1- St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. Seems like this cold that I have contracted is starting to win the battle and there will be no beer drinking this St. Patty’s Day. This unfortunate circumstance has lead me to create a new segment for this blog, which I am excited about! It is called “Beerstory,” which is Beer + History= Beerstory. I will be doing some light research into the history of beer and beer related events to add to my overall appreciation for beer!

I thought it would be timely to delve into St. Patrick’s Day as the holiday is synonymous with drinking beer (stouts come to mind) and whiskey. Speaking of whiskey, please head over to my main blog A is for Ambivalence to see my most recent post “Gentleman’s Yack!”…Now moving on to the Beerstory.

St. Patrick was considered to be the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in the late 300s A.D. In northern England and wasn’t even named Patrick. His real name was Maewyn Succat. He, for good reason, didn’t like being given a name you might find in the Lord of the Rings, and preferred to go by Patricius. Now, I know what you are thinking, on name alone, this guy sounds like a straight up leprechaun, but that’s actually not when they come into play. Patrick, as we will refer to him, was not a very religious fellow. He was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland when he was 16 to be a shepard. He was later also captured by the French. It was after his experience in France that he started to get into the whole holy trinity thing and wanted to bring his new found Christianity to Ireland. So he willingly went back to Ireland and banished all their snakes and taught everyone the ways of the holy trinity by using the three cloves of the shamrock as a visual representation. Okay, he didn’t actually banish the snakes, as lore has it. Ireland never had snakes to begin with, but the first part with the shamrocks is true. The dude became very popular and started many churches, and as any civilization that is converted to Christianity does, they go apeshit about their new found religion. ” What about the beer,” you ask? Yes, let’s get to the drinking.

St. Patty’s Day started as a religious celebration in Ireland in the 17th century to commemorate St. Patrick (not an actual Saint by the way), and the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. They would have a feast day on March 17th as he was said to have died on that date in 461. He first ever St. Patrick’s day parade was held in Boston in 1737 when the custom grew more national popularity with immigration and such. “So.. Beer?” I hear you continuing to say. Well that comes in because in a roundabout drunk history sort of way, the day was observed as a reprieve from following Lent for one day, and you could feast. Drinking was still frowned upon in the old country, but as recently as the 1980s, Budweiser tried to convince us otherwise and popularized the notion that the Irish ( and fuck it, everyone) should also drink and be merry on that day.  Thank you capitalism! This perpetuated the belief that all Irish people like to get drunk, especially on this day. “So what should I do?,” I hear you asking. Well, if you are lucky enough to be in Ireland right now or have access to some of these good sounding brews, have a couple for me!

What to drink: Guinness and Jameson are the obvious choices. Really, any stouts or Irish beers would do. So here are the top 5 Irish favorites from Rate beers— 1.Galway Bay “Two Hundred Fathoms” (Imperial Stout) 2. Galway Bay “Of Foam and Fury” (Imperial IPA) 3. Western Herd “Back Beat Witbier” (Witbier) 4. White Hag “Black Boar” (Imperial Stout) 5. Western Herd “Siege Pale Ale” (American Pale Ale).

I hope to have all of those beers some day. Best of luck to everyone celebrating today, and please be safe.