Lakewood's Rock Ryder is Deceivingly Refreshing.
Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we'll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it's local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!
This week, we took Lakewood Brewing Company's Rock Ryder for a spin.
Fast Facts on Lakewood Brewing Company Rock Ryder.
• Style: American Rye Wheat.
• ABV: 4.8 percent.
• International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 20.
• Color: Pale straw.
• Availability: Year-round.
Continuing our look at Lakewood Brewing Company's year-round beer offerings — last week we reviewed Lakewood's Hop Trapp, and last year we tackled The Temptress —
with their take on an American Rye Wheat Ale, Rock Ryder. As you may have gather from its name, Rock Ryder is inspired (and brewed for) the cyclists who spend their weekends riding in circles around White Rock Lake.
Background on American Wheat or Rye Beers.
As an American Rye Wheat, Rock Ryder falls under category 6D for American Wheat or Rye Beers in the BJCP style guidelines. With an American Wheat (even when Rye is added), what I'm typically looking for is a Wheat beer base, but with a cleaner flavor profile and more hop character than what you might find in a classic German Wheat beer. This means that those banana, clove and yeast flavors most associate with the style will be muted, if they're present at all. More specifically, these beers will pour pale yellow to gold, and may be hazy. They should have a bit of grainy wheat or rye character to the aroma with a bit of malt sweetness and light hop presence. Flavors include a stronger grainy wheat or rye component with moderate malt sweetness and light hop flavor. Again, banana, clove and yeast flavors are not appropriate. The rye should impart a rich, almost spicy character to the beer.
Rock Ryder pours a hazy, pale straw color with a thick, pillowy white head, which quickly recedes back into the beer.
Up front Rock Ryder presents clean, delicate spice and rye with subtle notes of spicy and herbal hop aroma that smells of noble hops instead of citrusy American varieties. There are slight hints of grain to be had as well, but it can be hard to isolate.
Rock Ryder is quite spicy for a beer, though combined with a very dry finish and well-rounded bitterness, it winds up being very refreshing. There's a lot more of the spicy and herbal character that was teased in the aroma, and the rye cuts through the entire flavor profile nicely. Also, a faint bit of malt sweetness that helps to balance out the other flavor components. Fruity esters are definitely present, but not overpowering, and not of the German wheat variety.
This beer has a medium to slightly light mouthfeel with what seems like elevated levels of carbonation, and it finishes crisp and dry.
Stylistically speaking, Rock Ryder hits on just about all the major criteria for an American Wheat/Rye Beer. It has the grain and spice flavors and aromas which are appropriate for the style. It also has elevated hop flavors, aromas and bitterness. Here, Lakewood has clearly used a cleaner fermenting yeast which has tempered any banana or clove flavors typically found in classic German wheat beers.
What I enjoy most, however, is the balance achieved between the rye malts and noble hops. They work beautifully together, and help to establish Rock Ryder as an easy-drinking, everyday ale. It's a particularly strong choice during the scorching summer months when a heavy-handed, cloyingly sweet ale just won't do.
Much like Lakewood's other year-round offerings, you can't go wrong by choosing to drink a Rock Ryder next time you have the opportunity. It holds its own against both The Temptress and Hop Trapp, and is one of the better examples of the style in the region.
On a scale of 1-10, I'll give Lakewood Brewing Company Rock Ryder an 8.5.
What's happening in the area beer scene this week? (Powered by Dallas Brew Scene.)
• Thursday, July 24. Bishop Cider Launch Party at Craft & Growler.
• Saturday, July 26. FireWheel Brewing Co.'s two-year anniversary.
• Saturday, July 26. Dallas Brew Bus Dallas Opera Tour.
• Friday, November, 7. Inaugural NTX Beer Week Brewer's Ball.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas' Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community's Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas' Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community's Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood's Goatman: 9.5.
• Community's Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas' Thrillla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Revolver's Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House's Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community's Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas' Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners' Block Party Porter: 9.
• Cedar Creek's Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Deep Ellum's Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Rahr's Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Lakewood's Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners' El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House's Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum's GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas' The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum's Pale Ale: 8.
• Peticolas' Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works' Brunch Money: 8.
• Lakewood's Hop Trapp: 8.
• Martin House's Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Antigoon's Revenge: 7.5.
• Community's Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood's Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek's The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Lakewood's Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers' The Chosen One: 7.
• Martin House's Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Community's Pale Ale: 7.
• Peticolas' The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum's Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek's Elliott's Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery's Lakefire: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood's La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.