Established during the first craft beer boom, Bear Republic opened up their brewpub in 1995 in Healdsburg, Calif. In 2006, it opened a new factory in Cloverdale, only a few miles north of its original brewpub location. Like many California breweries, it has created an environmentally=friendly brewery, practicing sustainability with everything from solar arrays to reduced water usage during the brewing process.1

Bear Republic Racer X Double IPA bottle

One of the brewery’s more popular and award winning beers is the Racer 5 IPA. Somewhere around 20032 they took that idea and ran with it, creating a Double IPA called Racer X. Since then it’s been a highly sought after and award-winning annual limited release. For the 2014 release, the company mentioned that it was drier than previous versions, so to see how much hops I’m going to get punched in the face with, I go ahead and pop the top off and pour some into my glass.

The Racer X pours a cloudy reddish orange with an inch of head that doesn’t last long, leaving just a bit of a ring around the edge of the glass. Bright, fruity and floral hops have specific citrus and red apple notes along with some sweetness, so far not as hoppy an experience as I was anticipating. The profile isn’t what I would call a dry IPA, not overwhelmingly hoppy or resinous at all, making me curious what previous year’s batches tasted like. On my third glass the beer gets even more cloudy, as the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle finally was disturbed enough to make it into my glass.

Bear Republic Racer X Double IPA

Taking my first sip I’m met with juicy hops, sweet fruits, some orange rind and just a tiny bit of resin. For 100 IBUs it’s not overly bitter at all, sweetened and mellowed out by malts that aren’t very present in the profile, but very minor and in the background. The mouthfeel has a nice carbonation to it that might be too much in other beers but works really well with the medium weight of this one. The finish is long and doesn’t leave my mouth feeling dry like many IPAs, but instead has a slightly sweet juiciness and apple peel that lingers on my tongue.

Bear Republic Racer X Double IPA
BREWERY: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Cloverdale, Calif.
ABV: 8.3 percent
IBU: 100
PRICE: $8.41
RELEASE DATE: October 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
The Racer X was a pleasant surprise in my book. Having started to grow tired of the overly hoppy, ultra-dry bitter IPAs I’ve been drinking lately3 I somewhat dreaded having to do another IPA review. The good news for me is that it wasn’t anywhere near that and had plenty of flavorful hop notes without beating me over the head with them. The juicy, slightly sweet profile leads me to wonder what the previous year’s releases taste like if this was considered more dry than normal. Either way, it was an enjoyable profile with a nice mouthfeel to it and something that I’ll be keeping an eye out for when the 2015 release comes around.
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