I’m a big fan of, “go-to beers” – ones that I know taste great, are available year-round, and I can simply grab off the shelf from the beer store without having to pore through everything to find something I haven’t yet tried. Which, as a beer blogger, is more of a challenge for me than you might think.
For me, my go-to beers are usually IPAs, and include such deliciousness as Union Duckpin, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Elysian Space Dust and Bells Two Hearted among others.
But I’ve just added another to the list: Racer 5 from Bear Republic.
Like the others, it’s an India Pale Ale, so it’s a cloudy, dark gold color and has good carbonation. It’s a big 7.5% ABV, so the alcohol content is high enough to sneak up on you.
It’s made with a combination of hops including Chinook (pine), Cascade (citrus), Columbus and Centennial (both earthy & citrus). Normally, I’m not a fan of the pine flavors, but the combo here is done really well.
Poured into a pint glass, you do get a bit of pine flavor, but you also taste a lot of citrus including grapefruit, orange and maybe a little lemon. The nice thing is that these ordinarily harsh flavors get balanced out by some great sweetness in the malt, so it all works.
Overall, this one is very drinkable and tasty, but hop-haters will want to shy away. Just be careful with the higher alcohol content.