A TV Party in a bottle: Revolution Brewing's rye IPA

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Because we're in Chicago, I don't imagine I need to recap the story of Revolution Brewing for you. They've been making their TV Party Rye IPA at the brewpub for a couple years, and all the while the style has been growing in popularity—it's even been mainstreamed by the ubiquitously distributed Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye. I've already reviewed one example, in fact—Three Floyds' Rye da Tiger double rye IPA. Bottles of TV Party first arrived in stores a couple weeks ago.

"Our rye IPA is clean and refreshing," says Revolution, "brewed with two-row malt and flaked rye for toasty, nutty undertones up front, but with a huge hop flavor and aroma from the Amarillo and Fuggle hops."

I presume I'll be able to evaluate all of that, but I should apologize to Revolution now in case my palate is rubbish—I've been fighting a sore throat and a nagging cough for a spell. I wanted to stick to this column's weekly schedule, though, so I decided against putting off my next review till I was well. This time of year, you never know when that's going to be!

The head on TV Party isn't particularly sticky—it leaves little to no lacing and fades quickly. I had to keep swirling the beer in the glass to whip up some froth and bring out the aroma, but the effort (such as it was) turned out to be more than worth it.

The smell of this beer is wonderful. Fruit dominates: tangerine, fresh apricot, mango, and ruby red grapefruit (Three Floyds' Gumballhead also has lots of Amarillo hops, and you'll recognize their contribution if you're familiar with that beer). I get a little mown grass, young pine, and scallion at the end, and maybe some milk caramel—the rye can't compete with the hops, and as far as I can tell it isn't present in the nose at all.

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The taste opens up dramatically, so that on top of orange, citrus, and more apricot, I pick up a few dimensions absent from the aroma: peppery, grassy rye and garlic chives, plus sweet buttermilk biscuit, black bread, and a touch of hazelnut from the malts, followed by grapefruit-rind bitterness in the finish.

TV Party tips the scales at a reasonable 7.6 percent alcohol, but though it's light bodied and not at all palate fatiguing, it's perhaps a little strong for it to be entirely safe for you to drink as much of it as you could. Overall it's not as spectacular as Rye da Tiger, but it's several dollars cheaper per bottle and still a very good beer—better, for instance, than Bell's delicious rye ale Smitten, which recently began turning up on shelves in Chicago. (At eight bucks or so for a bomber, TV Party ought to be better—ounce for ounce, that works out to almost three times as expensive as Smitten.)

I'll depart from the metal theme of these Beer and Metal posts to acknowledge the obvious Black Flag reference here. The band's song "TV Party," originally from 1981's Damaged, appears on the beloved soundtrack to Repo Man, and Revolution's rye IPA is just one of a series of beers the brewery has released to pay homage to that collection. (I don't know if I could pick a favorite line from the movie, but "Let's go get sushi . . . and not pay!" is in the top ten.)

The others, of course, are the Coup D'Etat saison, named after the Circle Jerks number . . .

Institutionalized barleywine, a nod to Suicidal Tendencies (the barrel-aged version is called Straight Jacket) . . .

And of course Repo Man stout. Befitting his stature in the punk pantheon, Iggy Pop contributed the title song.

Philip Montoro writes about beer and metal, singly or in combination, every Monday.

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