Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: 4 Hand's Divided Sky Rye IPA
By Jason Baldacci in Food on Jan 2, 2015 9:45PM
With a new year comes new beer. Although, if you're us, you tend to come across new beers all the time. We're certainly not complaining.
Divided Sky Rye IPA comes to us from 4 Hands Brewing Co. of St. Louis, Missouri. It pours a translucent, pale gold color in the glass, and we picked up a significant whiff of citrusy, floral hops on the nose. Those hops definitely stand front and center on the first sip, but the flavor profile is more reminiscent of earthy pine. They don't pop up front as much as we thought they might from the aroma, but they do kick in pretty quickly, and linger long through the finish. They're balanced well against a solid malt backbone, with the rye in the grain bill lending a pleasant, underlying spiciness for depth and complexity. At 6.5 percent alcohol content, Divided Sky is definitely hop-forward, but not overwhelmingly so, and still very drinkable even if you might be a little sensitive to bitterness.
We're going to go ahead an kick off the year with a reminder that while most beer is often best to drink as fresh as possible, this rule is exceedingly true with IPAs and Pale Ales. While some beer can develop pleasantly if you lay them down for a while, most beers aren't going to necessarily get better with age like some wines will, they just become different. Hop aromas are usually the first thing to fade in a beer when oxidation sets in, so even if something has held up relatively well over time, it still might not be a true representation of what the brewer had intended the beer to taste and smell like. In short, freshness is key, and a beer that's a day old tastes different than the same beer when it's seven days old, versus a month old, versus six months old, ect. If you happen to bring a bottle of Pliny the Elder home from a trip to Northern CA with the intention of sharing it with a beer-loving friend, invite them over the day after you get home if possible.
Divided Sky Rye IPA is available on draft, in bottles, and in cans. Check beermenus.com to see where you can find some today.