Name: Racer 5
Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Healdsburg, California
Style: American IPA
Alcohol Content (ABV): 7.0%
First Brewed: 1996
Orange at the pour and plenty or orange (citrus) in the nose, cleverly blended with floral and piney aromas. Flavors of cotton candy and continued citrus notes on the plate balanced by hints of biscuit and persistent bitterness. A beer that leaves you burping hops.
I have had this beer before, and I LOVE the flavor profile. When standing at Total Wine & More, I tell customers asking for a “good IPA” that Racer 5 is a “good daily drinking IPA”. It is also cheap. It has a big ABV for the price, and is one of the flavors you just can’t get enough of. Sheryl doesn’t like hoppy beers, but I LOVE them. The tasting notes said, “leaves you burping hops.” I hope so! Nothing beats a good, hoppy beer. Funny story, our beer calendar (that features a different beer every day) is showing the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA. That beer is in the fridge, too. I wasn’t prepared to drink two bottles today, but since that is the beer on the calendar, I will consider that a sign! So look for another IPA coming up next. Please note that I have had the Firestone Walker IPA, and while it is a good offering, the Racer 5 is better. But I will let you decide as you read these reviews!
(Also, it bothers me I don’t know where the name Racer 5 came from. I am sure with a little Google search, I could figure it out. But I like not knowing. Keeps things mysterious and interesting!)
In the Glass: I could smell this as I was pouring it. Good thing I am in the mood for some hops! In the glass, if you didn’t know better, you would think it was a wheat beer. It looks like a Blue Moon sitting there.Very little lace to speak of, but a nice frothy white head. Excited to stick my nose in there.
Nose: Hops. That is all. Hops. Imagine an orange and a hop were hugging… they made babies and that is what this beer smells like. Not sure that makes sense, but the hop aroma is very citrus forward. It has a nice, fruity aroma that begs to be consumed. Fine. I will drink it!
Flavor: Those same hops that you were smelling, well now you are drinking them. It is not as much floral as you might expect from the aroma, but it provides a very nice filling flavor. The entire tongue is covered with flavor and the hops hit the front then rush to the back of the tongue for a nice drying flavor. The swallow is smooth, and the back of the throat is then covered in that same drying sensation that you got on the palate. You would never know this was 7% ABV. If I had a 6-pack, I would sit here and drink them all! This is a great IPA, and a good IPA for someone to try that isn’t a fan of big hoppy beers. If someone likes pale ales, but wants to try an IPA, suggest this. It’s a good introduction to the style.
Mouthfeel: It’s smooth, low carbonation, and a nice drying finish. (The burp is nice, too. It brings those dry notes back to the center of the palate and leave you craving another drink.) I tried to swish this around in my mouth to get some more bubbles going, but it just opened up the flavor of the hops. I might even use the word creamy to explain what this feels like on my tongue.
Aftertaste: You might expect a lot of hops, but there isn’t much going on here. What hops are there are weak, and the dryness that was created toward the end of the swallow is sticking around, but is fading fast. It’s not a beer that I would drink for the aftertaste, but I bet would pair well with a nice salad or grilled chicken dish. Guess I will have to pair this with dinner now!
I am a big fan of this beer, and every time I drink it, it becomes more and more enjoyable. Funny, I hadn’t checked into this beer on Untappd. Weird. I know I have had this beer since creating an Untappd account. Oh well, it has been tracked now! If you like a nice citrus forward IPA, this beer is for you!
Racer 5 – The bottle says: “Racer 5 is an aggressive styled India Pale Ale. Handmade from a brewery whose motto is “Bigger is Better”. This golden, well-hopped ale demands your attention. Try the next generation of I.P.A. Racer 5… Go… Go…”
“BREW MASTER NOTES: Keep cold, respect loofah, don’t D + D, real ale is alive, yeast is good, serve at 45 degrees – 50 degrees F.”
So today we are doing an IPA. Two IPAs, apparently. I like IPAs ok, but I’m not a terribly huge fan of them. Today, though – I might be in the mood for one. We’ll see how it goes.
The beer looks kind of a honey orange color in the glass. It is pretty transparent – not too dark and not too thick. There also wasn’t too much head on it either when Ricky poured it out. It looks pretty thin. Ricky said he could smell the hops on this when he poured it out, but I really am not picking up on that too much. There’s a little bit of hops smell, not too much. Instead I smell more citrus and spiciness to it. Maybe even a little bit of sour, but I might just be imagining that. There shouldn’t be any sour in an IPA, right?
Well, with the first drink the beer actually tastes thicker than it looks in the glass, at least to me. There are definitely hops there – it is an IPA after all. But they aren’t overwhelming, and I like that. You can actually taste other flavors in the beer too. For me, with most IPAs, I tend to just taste the hops, and that is why I’m not a huge fan of them. They all taste like the same thing – hops. But this one tastes a bit mellower to me. It’s got some citrus and spice notes, like I picked up on in the nose. I taste a lot of orange in it. It kind of reminds me of a wheat beer and IPA combined. I like it. It’s still not one of my favorite styles, so it’s hard to give it a good rating, but it’s not bad. Sometimes I wish we used half stars in our ratings, and if that was the case I’d give it a 3.5. But since we don’t, I can’t quite go that high. I would, however, consider buying this beer again if I was in the mood for an IPA.