Rye River Brewing Company is an incredible craft beer engine in Co Kildare. With more than 30-year-round releases, 60-plus staff, 24-hour brewing and production, plus a series of pours that are flavour-packed and complex. It’s changing the landscape for craft beer making in Ireland. Rye River Brewing Company gathered over 180 awards for their beers so far and for the last three years running has been the most awarded craft brewery in the world at the World Beer Awards. Not a bad result for a brewery that is only ten years in the making.
Rye River Brewing Company was founded by Tom Cronin, CEO, at its former home along the Rye River in Co Kildare in 2013. Success ensured this was a location it quickly outgrew, and the team now operate in their Celbridge production facility. Head brewer, Bill Laukitis, joined the team in 2015 and is rightly proud of the journey the company has travelled.
“I genuinely believe we are the hardest working craft brewery in Ireland. We operate 24/7 but with a small 25 hectolitre brewhouse. This is a much smaller scale brewhouse than most of our peers in the industry, and we believe we’re doing considerably more volume than the majority in our sector,” he says. “There’s not a lot of time to sit around sipping our beers,” he says with a laugh.
Rye River has a core collection of IPAs, pale ales, stouts, and lagers that are crisp, flavour-packed and brewed to a series of recipes that range from hoppy beers to indulgent malt-driven ales. They don’t pursue a signature flavour, Laukitis says, as much as a signature approach - and it all starts with the water.
Straight from the Source
Long before the Liffey reaches Dublin it passes through Kildare, and it’s the water from this majestic waterway that feeds the entire region, including Rye River Brewing Company. Due to the natural variation in water quality which the Liffey delivers, Rye River starts every brew by purifying the water and neutralising its mineral base. Using reverse osmosis technology, they remove the minerality in the source water and reintroduce new beer-specific water profiles, depending on which brew they’re making.
“If we’re brewing a hoppy IPA then we’ll introduce a minerality that may showcase the aroma or bitterness of the hops. If we’re making an ale then we want a different minerality that boosts the malt profile,” Laukitis explains. “With stout, we want to push the water to showcase the malt but also work with the roasts. It’s a wonderfully complex chemistry that lets us dial in what’s best for each recipe. We’ve really allowed ourselves to play with that.”
This individual approach to each beer recipe is a key component of how Rye River Brewing Company delivers a flavour range that is genuinely diverse. From fresh and bitter IPAs through to citrus-forward ales or rich chocolate, coffee and toffee-laden stouts, Rye River Brewing Company has carved out a landscape that is entirely about delivering session-able flavour and accessible craft beers.
“We’re ambitious for the brand and brewery. We want it to not only be your everyday beer but also synonymous with Irish craft. If I brew a pale ale, I want it to be session-able with drinkability being the biggest factor. I want people to say, ‘man I like that’ and want another and then when they try a different one from our range and they say the same thing. The flavours are different but the quality and consistency in every glass is the same,” Laukitis explains.
Finding the Source
Unusually for an Irish craft beer producer Rye River Brewing Company is easily sourced and their footprint is growing fast. Already stocked in major retailers, including Tesco, Supervalu, Dunnes, Lidl, Eurospar, Spar and Centra they’re also in all leading off licences.
You’ll also find Rye River being poured on draught in more than 170 pubs across the country. This number’s growing too as word spreads about this multi-award winning, Irish, craft beer producer. The top selling Rye River Brewing Company beers on draught are Coastal IPA and Upstream Pale.
For more on Rye River Brewing Company and its award-winning beers see ryeriverbrewingco.com
Here’s three summer tipples to try:
Choosing three beers from a stable of 30-plus is no mean feat but Bill Laukitis has chosen three favourite Rye River Brewing Company beers which highlight how starting with water and minerality builds on hop and malt choice to create a deeper, more intense flavour experience.
Big Bangin’ IPA
This 7.1 per cent US West Coast-style IPA uses our finest malted barley and hops to conjure a flavour profile that is superbly drawn. Fans of Big Bangin’ love its clean malt character, which allows the bitter elements they love to meld perfectly with its hops. While the malt element is the backbone, the Mosaic and Simcoe hops form the bedrock of this release.
The oily hop character clings to the palate and boosts the flavour profile. The hops are deliciously citrus, bitter and dank. The Simcoe develops that wonderful bitter element further while building the aromas of fruit and zest. The Mosaic then ties everything together with its floral, tropical, and fruity layers of flavour.
This is a great easy-drinking American pale ale. It’s less bitter than the classic IPA and has a wonderfully light mouthfeel. Its hoppy character is derived from its combination of Strata and Cascade hops. Bottled at 5.2 per cent, it produces a lighter body with a crisper fruit forward taste that is driven by Strata’s unique character.
There are four malts used in the recipe for this release – Carapils, Vienna Malt, Wheat and Ale types. They work together to lay down the foundations to support this beer. Light golden in colour with a bright white head there is just enough malt character to support its balanced hop character. A wonderful combination that results in a light and easy-drinking beer.
This modern IPA comes loaded with layers of citrus, pink grapefruit and tropical personality. It’s a lighter, easy drinking IPA built up on Pale Malt, Wheat and Oats to lay the foundation for this release.
With an ABV of 5.2 per cent, this fresh and summery beer belies its robust nature, carrying all those gorgeous tropical notes through its use of Citra, Simcoe and Talus hops. Talus, in particular, delivers the pink grapefruit and strong citrus notes that fans love about this gentle sipper.
This is an easy-drinking beer with tons of flavour that fans celebrate for its distinct hoppy character.