Beer Review – Conductor Imperial Rye by Actual Brewing

Last month I was downtown and my friend Phil suggested we stop by a small place called House Beer (843 N. High Street).  This place was completely off my radar but it is a cool joint with an impressive beer selection.  If you are in the Short North it’s worth a stop. After trying a Pomegranate Lambic by Rivertown, I was looking to drink a Columbus beer and the bartender recommended Conductor Imperial Rye by Actual Brewing.  I’ve previously reviewed a couple of Actual Beers, Orthodox Winter IPA and Curiousis Berliner Weiss.  Both are solid beers that I enjoyed, but truth be told in both cases the beer itself was somewhat overshadowed by the artistic, colorful labels featuring faceless women.  After the first few drinks of Conductor I quickly realized I had found a special beer.  So the next week I picked up a bottle at Weiland’s Market and took it with me on vacation for a proper review.

Conductor Imperial Rye


  • Brewery: Actual Brewing (Columbus, OH)
  • Style: Imperial Rye PA
  • ABV: 8.1%
  • IBU: 47

The brewer has this to say about the beer, which was brewed as a celebration of their first anniversary:

“This harmonious Imperial IPA is composed with precision and rye.  Malts make early overtures experimental hops arrive on time, conveying an elegant bitterness that promptly departs again.”

My Review

The beer fills the glass with a hazy, copper colored liquid topped by a good 2-3 fingers of creamy off-white head that settles out oh so slowly.  I’m impressed by the head retention.  The nose is dominated by nice fruity hops, an inviting aroma but only a hint of things to come.  As I take my first drink I initially get a hit of grapefruit from the hops that is nicely balanced by the malts.  For an instant I’m thinking that I’m about to experience a tasty pale ale akin to Alpha King by Three Floyds.  Before that thought can settle into my brain, a wave of rye spiciness rises up and washes over my tongue, culminating in a fresh spicy finish. Wow!


This is a bold offering by Actual.  The rye is as aggressive enough as any Rye PA I’ve encountered.  I followed it with a Hop Ryot by Jackie O’s (a very solid Rye PA) that seemed very pedestrian by comparison.  This could be the best Columbus brewed beer I’ve tasted since I first tried Bodhi so many years ago!  Fred Lee if you read this post please keep making this beer.

Rating = 9.0

Rating scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.

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