Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Review: Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

5/4/07 UPDATE: I stopped in my local brew store and was greeted with good news--they are now carrying the Bear Republic line! And I was surprised to see that a 22 oz was only $6.00--that's a steal, compared to comparable beers from this area (like Dreadnaught, which is nearly $10.00 for a 22 oz).

Racer 5 is the first beer I sampled from my West Coast exchange with Jay at Hedonist Beer Jive. I was excited to try this brew, since I've seen it compared to Bell's Hop Slam--a personal favorite from this part of the country.

Bear Republic is a family-owned brewpub located in Sonoma County, CA. Racer 5 is the most famous beer, although many of their beers have garnered multiple awards--including Gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Brewery: Bear Republic Brewery
Brewery Location: Healdsburg (northern California)
Racer 5 IPA
BJCP Style: 14B. American IPA

Appearance: Somewhere between a straw-gold and tangerine with crisp, white head and clean, tight carbonation. The photo above doesn't do the beer justice (so much for trying out the camera phone!).

Smell: Huge citrus hops, reminiscent of Bell's Hop Slam. Pineapple and grapefruit, with the slightest earthy hints deep below and whiffs of caramel as it warms.

Taste: Huge hop explosion--pineapple and mango citrus flavors that demolish the taste buds; well-supported by a solid but unobtrusive moderate malt flavor. The sweet citrus upfront transforms into a dry, earthy hop flavor in the finish--reminds me of the taste of raw hop pellets.

Mouthfeel: moderate--carbonation supports hop flavor

Drinkability: Easy to drink, despite high alpha acids; well-balanced and hides the alcohol well. The finish is a tad much for me towards the end of the glass. That being said, I could still drink a couple of these, although it would have to be toward the end of the evening, so that I don't suffer palate fatigue.


AC said...

Looks tasty. Where's my sample?
And who is racer 5? Could the inspiration for this beer be a long lost Grand Prix racer? IMSA? GTP? Antique Roadster? Perhaps it was a noble greyhound who was good as gold in the Daily Double?

Jay said...

Very glad you enjoyed it, Kevin, This one just seems to get better every time I have it, and it seems to be finding its way onto a lot of tap handles in the San Francisco area, as well as into major grocery chains like Safeway.

Dave from Burlingame said...

I'm just finishing one of these right now. It's interesting that your sample included two of my favorite beers, the Racer 5 and the Indica. These are pretty much my staple brews at the moment. I'm about ready to fire up a Clone brew of Racer 5 that BYO published, I hope it is close to the original!

Hank from Texas said...

Dude, 6 clams? Rip off, I'm getting the bombers for 3.99 at my local liqour store. It's great beer, but that's too much.