I.P.A. What does it mean to you? Big bitterness? Heavy hop aromatics? Golden color? Refreshment.
Arguably the most popular style in the craft beer world, I.P.A.’s have become the flagship beer for many breweries across the country, and none so much as Bear Republic Brewing’s Racer 5 I.P.A. While I have other favorites that I might choose for personal preference, I can say without a doubt that this offering from the Healdsburg, CA brewer is the template for all other West Coast India Pale Ales.
Bear Republic is not much to look at inside. A simple brew pub with racing paraphernalia hanging on the wall, homage to a sport that the ownership holds near and dear. The vittles aren’t more than pedestrian pub grub, and neither is the service. But all of this serves as facade, behind which some of the most talented brewers on the West Coast reside.
Churning out 12 different varietals at any one time for the pub takes up most of the day, but their ridiculously perfect (Multiple Gold Medals at Great American Beer Festival, ahem) Racer 5 I.P.A. gets shipped to our humble beer drinking city in large quantities.
As with most West Coasters, floral and flaovrful hops are the name of the game here. More focused on pine than tropical fruit, The Racer 5 has a touch more refreshment than sweetness. The quiet malt backbone is a nice touch as well, making it sing a sweet and complex harmony with the hop flowers. A really superb beer.
Bear Republic Racer 5 I.P.A. can be found on draft around town, and in 12 oz bottles in most distributors.