Thursday, October 04, 2007


I’ve got this post I want to write called “In Praise of Racer 5”, and I’ll get to it one of these days. I get to drink BEAR REPUBLIC BREWING’s RACER 5 IPA on a pretty frequent basis, as it’s the best beer on tap at a San Francisco rock club I tend to go to monthly called the Hemlock Tavern; it also seems to be showing up with more frequency in refrigerators around these parts as well. Bear Republic have mastered the IPA, but how do they stack up on the “Strong Ale” front, hunh? Well, what is an American strong ale anyway? Here’s what Beer Advocate has to say about it:

Catch all style category for beers from 7.0 percent alcohol by volume and above, Some may even be as high as 25% abv. Characteristics will greatly vary, some have similarities to Barley-wines and Old Ales. Barrel aging is certainly not out of the question.

Interestingly, they put Bear Republic’s SAMMY’S STRONG ALE in this non-category, then go on to say it’s 6.7% alcohol. So let’s call it a “buff ale” instead. Whatever ya call it, it’s pretty good. I had one on tap this past Tuesday night. It poured a light amber, and is almost entirely defined by its rich, deep malts and zesty but restrained hops. I actually pegged it as a souped-up ESB as I was drinking it. It certainly is bitter, but also smooth and grainy. It’s a lot of things, to be frank, and one of ‘em is good. 7/10.

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