The most popular grain in San Diego? It’s not spelt, farro or even quinoa. In our laid-back community of craft beer, cocktail and spirits-loving locals, rye reigns. The mighty grain has been nourishing humans since Neolithic times. No longer simply relegated to bread with distasteful caraway seeds, rye can express itself in luscious liquid forms. Lower in gluten than wheat and higher in soluble fiber, rye pleases our palates and tummies, and piques our interest with every sip. It brings complexity, spice and that je ne sais quoi that sets it apart from other grain beers. This girl’s in love.
Check out what our San Diego brewmasters and mixologists are doing for whiskey, craft beer, and cocktail geeks citywide:
Banker’s Hill Bar + Restaurant, Left Coast Cocktail: Wonderfully balanced and complex with rye whiskey, Gran Classico, Carpano Antica and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters.
Bertrand at Mister A’s, Burnt Orange Old Fashioned: A delicious twist on the classic with High West Double Rye Whiskey, charred orange reduction, blood orange and Angostura Bitters.
Counterpoint, The Centennial Manhattan: Take it straight up with this remix using cognac, Rittenhouse rye, Luxardo, house-made root beer bitters.
Lion’s Share, De la Louisiane: After my own New Orleans heart and made with rye, cognac, Benedictine, Peyshaud’s Bitters, and a dash of absinthe.
Polite Provisions, Pine Street Sour: Aromatic, refreshing and spicy with rye whiskey, fresh lemon and grapefruit, pineapple and Italian aperitivo.
Rare Form, Borough Park: A kosher twist on Brooklyn cocktail, this interesting concoction mixes rye whiskey, slivovitz, Manischewitz, Cynar, and Abbott’s Bitters.
For craft beer lovers:
Acoustic Ales, Back in the GSSR Rye IPA, 6 percent ABV: Cheeky and delicious, it’s made with five Australian and New Zealand hops. Cue the Beatles while you imbibe.
Alpine, Nelson Golden Rye IPA, 7 percent ABV: Made with Nelson Sauvin, it might be the best rye IPA ever made.
Ballast Point, Reef Rye Brown, 6 percent ABV: Taking browns to a new level, Reef contains 32 percent rye and eight other grains, with coriander and Palisade hops added post fermentation.
Green Flash, Road Warrior Imperial Rye IPA, 9.0 percent ABV: Named for the Green Flash sales team, crystal and rye malt meet Columbus and Mosaic hops with a dose of Amarillo and Mosaic dry-hopping. Charge onward.
Helms Brewing, Wicked as Sin West Coast-style Rye IPA, 6.6 percent: Spicy, piney and earthy, this rye IPA is part of their yearly lineup.
Mike Hess Brewing, Umbrix Rye Imperial Stout, 10.2 percent ABV: Chocolaty and delicious, the Umbrix uses rye and six other malts to create complexity and richness with the perfect balance of spice.
Rip Current, Rye-der-Rye Session IPA, 4.5 percent ABV: For rye lovers who want to enjoy spice and hoppiness on summer days, after a run, and at all day-picnics.
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.