We're excited to introduce the Foxtail Rye XPA. It's our first attempt at a rye beer at the Rambler and we're proud of how it came out. It's named after the foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana) and it is a high elevation tree found only in California. There are two separate subspecies of foxtail pine and one is in the High Sierra and the other is in Northern California in the Klamath Mountains. The tree is closely related the bristlecone pine and it's common to hear someone say they saw a bristlecone pine in the Sierra, which is impossible, so clearly they saw a foxtail.
Foxtails have been one of my favorite Sierra trees for many years. The photo above was taken in 2011 on the Kearsarge Pass trail. Pierce, our head brewer, and I were trying to think of a good name for this rye XPA that we had in tank. We came up with a bunch of possible names, but none were really good. Finally, it came to me...Foxtail! It's our first beer named after a tree, or any plant. I try to picture people ordering these beers at the bar and in my mind it sounded cool to say, "I'll take a foxtail." Or, "I'd like a pitcher of foxtail." Heck, wouldn't it be cool if someone ordered a keg stand of foxtail! We don't offer keg stands, but feel free to buy a keg of foxtail and tell me how it goes.
We've a had people ask what an XPA is and why not just call it an IPA? An XPA is an extra pale ale. It's a real style. According to style, this beer, with an ABV of 6.2% is a little too big to be called a pale ale. I like to think of XPAs as somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA, however, I would say it's closer to a pale ale. Also, if we called it an IPA it might be considered a weak IPA, whereas if you call it a "big" pale ale then your expectations totally change. Enjoy and let me know what think. Thanks for reading. - Joe