Beer from Here: Deep River Brewing Company – Riverbank Rye-It


Deep River Brewing Company’s Riverbank Rye-It leans on a nice touch of citrus and spice.

“Johnston County’s first legal brewery.” Those five words grace the 16 oz. cans of Deep River Brewing Company. Located in downtown Clayton (25 minutes southeast of Raleigh), the brewery boasts a 15 barrel, two vessel brewhouse that cranks out five year-round beers, including two flagships – Twisted River Wit and Riverbank Rye-It. Seasonals include the popular JoCo White Winter, Cottontown Lager (spring), Double D’s Watermelon (summer) and Pumpkin Pie Porter (fall).

Deep River crafted Johnston County’s first legal batch of beer on February 28, 2013. Owners Paul and Lynn Auclair officially opened on April 6 that same year in the home of a former cotton-spinning mill. The 17,000 square foot building is more than 100 years old! Talk about local history.

Riverbank Rye-It was one of the first rye beers after moving to Raleigh. A trending style, the rye replaces a certain amount of barley in the grain bill and adds a nice, earthy spice that is great for pale ales, IPAs or stouts. These beers are unique in their own right, and I find myself trying more and more. I even took a stab at homebrewing a RyePA that should be ready for consumption in another two weeks.

The Riverbank Rye-It poured a copper/amber with a beige, spongy head. A note of citrus on the nose quickly faded, but was complemented with a touch of pepper. While clear, particles of yeast swam freely in my glass. Some people aren’t a fan of floaties, but I don’t mind. 

At first sip, I picked up more spice from the rye that made up 25 percent of the grain bill. The earthy hops contributed a mild bitterness, while toasty breaded malt was noticeable on the end. The rye stuck to my tongue as I went in for round two. The Belgian yeast added esters. Yes, Belgian yeast, not your standard ale yeast. This is just another way Deep River is trying to be different, and that’s good. The lacing on the glass surprised me as well. It was thick and chunky, with some good legs mind you. I don’t recall seeing anything quite like it.

The Riverbank Rye-It is a different, but solid pale ale in the North Carolina beer scene. The fact it’s available in cans makes it an easy option at the beach, around the fire pit or in the comfort of your own home. It clocks in at 5.2% ABV and 52 IBUs, so you can shift gears and have enough beer or two after. If you’re up for straying from the norm, pick up a four-pack this holiday weekend, and let me know what you think.

Riverbank Rye-It and other Deep River beers can be found in bars, restaurants and specialty stores around the Triangle and eastern North Carolina.

Brewery: Deep River Brewing Company
City: Clayton, NC
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.2%
Availability: Year-round; draft and 16 oz. cans