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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Bear Republic "Racer 5" India Pale Ale

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 31, 2007 6:00PM

2007_10_botw44.jpgThis week's selection was a suggestion from an old friend we ran into at a party a couple weeks back. The time was closing in on midnight and most everyone else had left for the evening. We would interrupt the conversation to say our goodbyes, then return to the important discussion of beer. Our friend looked at us and said, "If you like IPAs like you say, you've got to try 'Racer 5' and let me know what you think."

The next day we headed out to Archer Liquors and bought a bomber bottle of Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale. Damned if he wasn't right. This is one of the hoppiest ales from California not brewed by Stone. According to the Bear Republic website the goal for this ale was to highlight the floral qualities of the two hops used in the beer. Columbus hops — also known as "tomahawk" hops — are a hybrid high alpha acid hop varietal. They're mainly used here for bittering, but they also provide some sour aromatic qualities to the brew. Cascade hops bridge the gap between the Columbus hops and caramel malt with their trademark warm citrus. However, the overall flavor is subtle, which wasn't what we were expecting when we decanted Racer 5, where we detected strong aromas of grass, grapefruit and pine. Racer 5 has one of the more aggressive noses we've ever found on a beer. Go ahead and pair it with our new "one great sandwich" selection, or share it with a friend.

Bear Republic "Racer 5" IPA is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."

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