It is so nice to have an award-winning microbrewery such as Healdsburg's own right in our own backyard.
While this downtown pub and restaurant sports more than 40 specialty beers on draft, Bear Republic's bottled beers are a select few. Now, for the first time in 10 years, there is a new addition to that list: Racer X (8.3% ABV), the official “big brother” to one of their most popular brews, .
Last week, I had a chance to sit down with The Bear's marketing director, and try a pint of Racer X, their newest addition to the line-up for 2012.
The beer is very smooth for a Double India Pale Ale. There is virtually no bite to it; very easy to drink. The beautiful color of golden copper mixed with the pure white topping from the perfect head make it easy on the eyes too.
The blend of hops and malt in Racer X is a match made in Beer Heaven.
“It gets a little bit better with each brew, that's what makes it so exciting!” Grosskopf said.“I feel it's a great balance of malt and hops; it's definitely a go-to choice of mine.”
The Bear's master brewer, Peter Kruger, said this particular batch has a different make-up from the rest.
“We increased the hops by 50 percent," Kruger said. "It's the hoppiest Racer X we've ever made, but we back that up and balance it out with malt.”
Kruger joins Bear Republic's brewmaster and chief operations officer, Richard “Ricardo” Norgrove, in traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest, where they smell and taste fresh hops that grow up to 30 feet tall. If they like what they test, they would buy a whole lot and start cultivating, making some of California's top-rated independent brews.
According to Norgrove, the whole Bear Republic “brew crew” is pleased to have this week's bottled release (available only in the SF Bay Area) happen so early in the year -- as they usually have to wait until October for the nationwide release.
“We know people have been waiting a long time for the bottles, and we're very happy the day has come again,” he said. “Red Rocket is my personal favorite, but [Racer] is my baby -- being so easy to drink, this beer will creep up on you, so be responsible with it.”
This batch of Racer X is 90 barrels strong; one barrel is roughly 31 gallons. Judging by what I saw on the first day of the release, it will run out fast, so go grab a bottle or pint before it's too late!
Keep your beer goggles on and get ready for Bear Republic and Stone Brewing Co. to each have six of your favorite beers on tap next Friday, Feb. 17, at The Public House in San Francisco.
Their next big release is for the award-winning “Black Racer” in April 2012. Following that, you can grab more of Bear's brews this summer at Stumptown Brewery's Beer Revival in Guerneville, or the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Col.