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Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

By Andy Murphy
Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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racer5Bear Republic sure can brew a tasty beer.

The brewery is a family business, run by father (Richard R Norgrove), son (Richard G Norgrove) and their wives (Sandy and Tami, respectively). Richard G Norgrove is the brewmaster. He’s a full-time hop head and part-time race car driver.

You guessed it, his car is #5.

I first discovered Bear Republic when I drank their Red Rocket Ale. So when I found a bottle of Racer 5 at the liquor store, I knew I would be in for a treat. The label reads:

Racer 5 is an aggressive style India Pale Ale. Handmade from a brewery whose motto is “Bigger is Better”. This golden, well hopped, bottle-conditioned ale demands your attention.

Racer 5 has a nice, toasted caramel color. My tulip glass held the IPA with about a finger of foam and wafting, pleasant citrus hop aromas. But there’s some malt in the aroma, too, which becomes a bridge to the taste. I was expecting the hops — sticky pine and citrus — but the sweet, caramel malt was the pleasant surprise of the night.

From the Bear Republic website:

This is a hoppy IPA. Did I say hops? Your brewer is a hop head! This is a full bodied beer using American grains. The goal was to create a base for showing off the unique floral qualities of two Pacific Northwest hops, Columbus and Cascade. Columbus is a new hybrid High Alpha Acid hop used mostly for bittering, but used heavily as an aromatic in this bold brew. Cascade is the balance that ties the malt and bittering hops together. It is a true specialty ale and is our brewer’s statement on this style.

ipa-mondayVery, very drinkable. This beer has great, fresh hop taste without an overwhelming bitterness. Officially it is rated 69 IBU, but the candy sweetness of the malt protects your taste buds and makes it seem more like a 40 IBU for bitterness. The ABV rating is a respectable 7% — elevated but not too high to enjoy a couple responsibly. Say, while watching NASCAR.

And if the Norgrove car goes as fast as this beer did, be sure to put your money on number five.

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Rate this article: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Categories : Beer a Day, IPA Monday



I must recommend the Long Hammer IPA by Red Hook. It’s very tasty, not too hoppy, and very easy to drink. I spent some time at the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, NH over the weekend, and they had some of the Long Hammer on cask-condition… what an experience! Most likely from the reduced carbonation, the beer was very smooth, silky and almost a little creamy.

Most people don’t look forward to Mondays, but I am going out on a limb and guessing that you don’t mind them too much.


Adam B, your recommendations have been great so I’ll put Long Hammer on my list. You’re making me think I should create a Forum section just for beer suggestions — so I can keep the list in one easy to find location.

Oh, and indeed - Monday’s have gotten a whole lot brighter since I’ve instituted IPA Monday. I strongly recommend you give it a try, too! There’s no better reward for surviving the first day of the workweek than kicking back with a good IPA.


I love this beer, definitely a top 3 IPA. Bear Republic could use some writers in their marketing department (“This is a hoppy IPA. Did I say hops? Your brewer is a hop head!”) but it sure helps when you brew a great beer. Well done.


HA! I’m glad you said that, Chris. I was way too tired that night to poke fun at their writing without looking hypocritical. :-)


Racer 5 turns up on tap quite often around here. It can hold steady against any Oregon IPA, perhaps even a little better if you get a fresh keg. I’ve never had a bad Racer 5.

I have to second that recommendation for Long Hammer as well. I’m actually drinking one right now. (It was the weekly special 12-pack at Fred Meyer)
I also have to suggest you go buy a Long Hammer T-shirt, just for job security.

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