Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA review

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPAThe following is the 2nd in a 2-part series of beer reviews from Bear Republic Brewing Company. Today's review covers one of their most popular ales: Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale (IPA). I had the opportunity to sample this beer previously at last year's Great American Beer Festival but only up until recently, their beers weren't available in Colorado. So now I get to do a full review with the benefit of sampling an entire bottle.

Bear Republic has already gained quite a following from their Racer 5 IPA and I was eager to try this again. There was quite a loud hiss when I popped the cap from this 22oz bomber bottle. Racer 5 pours a deep golden color with hints of red along the edges. The brew gave me a nice thick foamy off-white head that built up to 3 fingers tall and stayed there for quite a while. This is a bottle conditioned ale so I expected to see some sediment in this beer. However, the first pour was quite clear in my pint glass.

Just as soon as I opened up the bottle, the aroma seemed to leap out of the bottle. It had a wonderful hop bouquet. It was piney, floral and citrusy. The smell alone told me that this beer was going to be a good one. I simply couldn't get enough of that aroma.

As expected, the first sip or two was bitter with a drying effect on the end. However, the mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with a full bodied texture. The blend of malts, hops and yeast gave this beer a nice crisp taste. Bear Republic put in a generous amount of Columbus and Cascade hops into this beer but held back from going too far with the IBUs.

The taste was quite refreshing on a warm summer evening but again, this beer begged to be paired with some cheese and crackers which I had ready and waiting for me this time. Alternating taking a sip of Racer 5 and a small bite of cheddar and cracker was a delight. It didn't take long to fully enjoy this tasting session. I loved it from the start.

I could pick up an underlying sweetness of the malts when not inhaling as I sipped. But just as soon as I breathe in, the hop sensation nearly masks the sweetness of the grains. Bear Republic must have spent a good amount of time getting the balance right on this IPA and it shows. This is the kind of IPA that I could make my everyday kind of beer.

Racer 5 IPAIt's rare for me to give an IPA a big compliment. Generally, IPA's are way too dominant on the hops, but this one struck a chord with me. I'd rank this one up with the likes of a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA or a Stone IPA. It's not a lightweight beer by any means, it measures 7.0% ABV and will give you the full experience. The 22oz bomber bottle was all that I wanted and was just right.

The last pour out of the bottle yielded a fair amount of sediment but it drank down just fine with no noticeable off flavors. So go right ahead and give this beer an aggressive pour all the way to the bottom. The rich aroma, awesome head and great taste will not disappoint.

I'm giving this beer a big Two Thumbs Up and a definite HELL YES on my repeat buy list. If you get a chance to try this brew you really should go for it. Now that I've tried their Red Rocket Ale and their IPA I know that I'd love to try their stout. I'm hoping my local stores will stock that one as well.

Related articles:
- Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale review.
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA review.
- Russian River Blind Pig IPA review.
- Victory HopDevil IPA review.

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