Two Excellent Styles of Rye Whiskey to Drink Right Now
LIQUOR.COM | April 01, 2015
by Kara Newman

Attention rye whiskey fans: Maryland-style and Pennsylvania-style ryes are making a comeback.

What exactly is this hyper-regional style of rye all about? In the 1700s and 1800s, rye (the grain) grew abundantly in the fertile Susquehanna River valley, which savvy settlers (many with Scottish or Irish roots) distilled into rye (the whiskey). Then, come Prohibition, these local pours all but disappeared.

Maryland- and Pennsylvania-style ryes are now making a return—and some are even giving Kentucky-made ryes a run for their grain-loving money.

In general, Maryland-style ryes are relatively bright, often with a grassy character, while Pennsylvania-style ryes (also known as Monongahela rye) tend to be sweeter and more robust.

We test-drove the rye whiskies made in those states, as well as whiskies made elsewhere but in the style of Maryland and Pennsylvania.


HOMETOWN HERO: Maryland Free State Rye Whiskey (St. Michaels, MD)

Craft producer Lyon Distilling started making its crisp, lightly floral, unaged whiskey in March 2014. The one-year-old aged version will be bottled in April 2015. We got a sneak peek, and it’s spot on—with brown sugar overlapping a light, faintly floral core, and finishing with a wash of vanilla and spice.


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