Wednesday, 8 January 2014

#205: At the Races

Following on from the prophetic appearance of Founders Brewing wares in Ireland last year, more U.S-themed beer excitement was stirred up by Bear Republic and Stone Brewing, the latter of which will be described in Friday's post.

For now, we will have to content ourselves with this sole representative of Bear Republic's range, Racer 5.

It pours amber and shows some yeast in suspension, but there's nothing yeasty on the nose; big pine, grapefruit and tropical fruit characteristics hit first. The sweet malty base is hard to catch in detail but you know it's there, doing its best to support the mounds of juicy hops on top. They are resiny and carry perfect examples of the citrus, grapefruit, mango and pineapple notes a good IPA is wont to have. The palate delivers the same experience, translated into mouth-sapping hop glory. This time though, there's a more recognisable malt profile in form of a caramel biscuit base, but the star of the show remains the potent juicy hops and lingering bitterness thereafter. 

This is good stuff. Really good stuff. More hops does not mean better beer, nor does it mean more bitterness (which also doesn't mean better beer), but this has them both. It's plenty hoppy and relatively fresh with its September bottling date, and the aroma is so strong at times it stings like copper. The bitterness isn't mouth-destroying but it lasts for ages, and in doing so enhances the flavours of the hops. If you can get your hands on this, get a couple. You'll be glad of it.

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