With incredible floral aromatics and a hell of a lot of hop bite, Bear Republic’s iconic Racer 5 has long embodied the best qualities of a West Coast IPA. It’s so good, it won a Great American Beer Festival medal four different times. Four!
Nevertheless, everyone adapts to trends, and Bear Republic is no exception. With East Coast IPAs now all the rage, the Sonoma County old-timers have turned their attention to the hot hazy double IPA category. As you might guess, their IPA expertise shines through in the results, with a tropical and spicy modern flair.
Drift Racer pours a hazy medium gold, with some moderate foam on the collar and slow carbonation. The bomber bottle artwork plays off the name, with an anime Porsche cornering in front of a Japanese rising sun flag.
The hazy DIPA’s Galaxy, Huell Melon, and Hallertau Blanc hops are used strategically: The three are known individually for lemon and lime citrus, melon, and grapefruit flavors, and they’re all here, along with some tropical pineapple and white pepper spice. It’s a massive aromatic shot across the bow, giving the drinker big expectations before the first sip.
The DIPA stands in sharp contrast to brother Racer 5, but ultimately wins the drinker over on its own merits.”
A tropical wave of sweet fruit flavors are the first sensation on the palate: There’s pineapple, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and lime, all contrasted with some pepper spice and grainy malts. You can feel the 8% ABV a bit in both the sweetness and the warm finish.
In Bear Republic’s battle between East Coast and West Coast, everyone’s a winner. The DIPA stands in sharp contrast to brother Racer 5, but ultimately wins the drinker over on its own merits. The brewery suggests pairing pub foods with Drift Racer, and we can’t argue—the sweet fruitiness and big personality of Drift Racer would work well with grilled beef or saucy wings. Just keep the weighty ABV in mind, and slowly sip this complex, boozy, and bittersweet bomber.