Racer X is a rarity that has wholly earned the love it gets on those rare occasions when it adorns beer shops and tap handles. The big brother to Bear’s equally loveable Racer 5, Racer X pumps up everything that that year-round brew has to offer and pours on the hops — Cascade, Columbus, Centennial — pushing the beer up and over 100 IBUs but flooding the palate with flavor.
Things start with loads of sweet fruit — citrus, but also apples and pears and some green banana. Caramel notes take hold for a bit before intense and resinous, piney notes build, with touches of licorice, coffee bean, and dark chocolate floating in and out and reminding you that this is not your father’s (or your hipster son’s) IPA. The finish is highly bitter, but manageable, echoing some of the sweeter notes that come across earlier in the experience.
I love the way Racer X bounces back and forth between sweetness and intense bitterness, offering a respite from each sensation before either has a chance to wear out your palate.
I could go on, but as this is a seasonal release that is criminally underpriced, you’re better off heading to your local beermonger for all you can carry.
A / $8 per 22 oz. bottle / bearrepublic.com