Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Company
Beer: Racer X (Vintage 2013)
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Character: An uncommon Double India Pale Ale which puts a California twist on English brewing traditions by adding an assertive hop aroma and bitterness that compliments the firm malt backbone.
Metal Connection: RACER X – Street Lethal
For several years I have had the privilege of drinking fine brews made by Bear Republic Brewing Company from California. I have had their Peter Brown Tribute Ale, Hop Rod Rye, Big Bear Black Stout and the Racer 5 IPA. it is now time for me drink and review Racer 5’s big brother, Racer X Double IPA. This beer has a score of 100 on Ratebeer, and 94 on BeerAdvocate, two very excellent ratings. I really wanted to see what all the hype was about with this beer.
Using a Naughty Brewing snifter glass, a glass style recommended for a Double IPA. Racer X poured a clear copper color crowned with a thin white foamy head. Good head retention, as the thin layer worked it’s way down the glass leaving nice spotty lacing.
The aroma was hop driven with strong floral, pine, citrus, and tropical fruit characters. Traces of oranges, mango, grapefruit are present . There is a good balance of malt profile as well in the nose with hints of caramel, and maybe some honey. There is a sweet bread aroma as well. All of this swapped up in one hides the aroma of a strong alcohol presence. Very well balanced.
The taste is amazing! A truly well balanced DIPA. Hops, malts, yeast, it’s all there. Right up front, my taste buds got knocked out with a heavy hop profile. A nice bouquet of floral, pine, and an abundance of citrus, tropical fruit. Flavor characters of oranges, grapefruit, mango, even a hint of pineapple are presented. There is a good strong malt backbone to this beer with caramel, sweet brown sugar, a little toffee. Good bitter bite at the end mixed with a good biscuit like taste. There is a slight boozy burn at the finish, but not much. Again, the high ABV is masked very well with this one.
The body is a good medium thickness. Racer X has a smooth, crisp mouthfeel, good carbonation, nice bitter bite, and a slight burn at the finish.
Overall, I have to say that this is a damn fine example of a true American Double/Imperial IPA. This beer has all the qualities you would want, and it’s an easy drinker that is not too heavy, or feels too strong. This was my first time having this amazing beer, so I don’t know how previous years compared, but I see nothing to indicate that the recipe changed at all, so I’m assuming they have all been excellent, and will continue to be so. I am really looking forward to this years batch. Speed Racer and family will be proud! Aahhh, ha ha ha hah…. Awwwww!!!! Some of you will get that last line reference.
Metal Connection: This one was pretty fuckin easy! Here is the band by the same name as the beer, Racer X. This band features famed guitarist, Paul Gilbert who would later join forces with Bass player extraordinaire, Billy Sheehan with the Hard Rock group, Mr. Big. This song is called “Street Lethal,” which is from the band’s 1986 debut album by the same name. Along with Queensryche and Dream Theater, Racer X was one of the early Progressive/Shred Metal bands in the US. The band would feature fast, shredding guitar riffs and leads, fast double bass drum patters, and catchy, fast Heavy Metal vocals. Completely different from Gilbert’s work with Mr. Big (remember the song “To be with You“?). I am happy that Racer X exists, and were able to produce five full length albums so far in their career. I know the band is still active, but have not released an album since 2002’s Getting Heavier. Please enjoy this trip down Metal memory lane. I’m wondering how many of you reading this were even old enough to know what this was back in 1986? Cheers!