What beer is the best beer for a hophead to drink on the occasion of her thirtieth birthday, thus occasioning a not-so-fun-but-not-the-worst-ever hangover that had to be cured by means of a giant bacon, egg and cheese* sandwich the next morning? That would be this glorious creation, Bear Republic’s** Racer 5 IPA.
Name: Racer 5 IPA
Origin: Bear Republic Brewery, Healdsburg (Brewpub)/Cloverdale (brewery/office), CA
Style: India Pale Ale (could also be considered an American Strong Ale, as it seems to be winning competitions in that category)
I drank this: on tap at Barley’s, Shawnee, KS
This beer looks beautiful: it has a nice, creamy head floating on a bright, clear amber ale.
This beer smells amazing: the hops are balanced to smell like sunshine on a bowl of citrus fruits on a bright summer’s day.
This beer feels nice: it’s thick and smooth and soft on the tongue.
This beer tastes phenomenal: there’s an orange/grapefruit hop profile with a touch of something that strikes me more of cypress than of pine; it’s bittersweet on the tongue from the hops, the malts, and the alcohol; the malts give it a softly sweet backdrop for all that hoppy goodness.
This beer will still love you even after you’ve moved on: the aftertaste is sweet red grapefruit, but not so strong that you can’t still taste what you’re eating.
Just how good is this beer? Here’s the bragging list from the brewery’s own webpage about it:
2009 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – GOLD
2009 Colorado State Fair – Best of Show
2006 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
2005 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Strong Pale Ale – SILVER
1999 Great American Beer Festival® India Pale Ale – GOLD
It deserves all of these. Plus a millionbillion more. Do yourself a favor and try one. (Unless you hate hops. Then try Bear Republic’s Big Bear Stout.)
* I read somewhere that the best cure for a hangover is a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, since the eggs and cheese have the nutrients you need to get over the hangover and the bacon provides enough lubricating grease that your stomach will be more happily able to deal with what you’re trying to cram into it. I have no idea if this assertion is true, but I do know that a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich helps on rough mornings. So do bananas.
** If you’re a fellow hophead and have never had anything from Bear Republic, go fix this RIGHT NOW. The Bear Republic people know hops like no one else: their hoppy creations sing happy songs of joyous glee. Share and enjoy, y’all.