Four new brews (or newly available for home drinkers, anyway) from our friends at Bear Republic, just up the road here in Northern California.
Bear Republic Baba Yaga – An Imperial stout brewed with cacao, caramel malts, roasted barley, black molasses, and licorice root. The chocolate is bold, pairing nicely with the toasty, almost woodsy palate. There’s some fruit here, but it’s kept in check by a zippier body that features more carbonation than I’d expected. As the beer warms up the fruit gets a bit unctuous, but the surfeit of chocolate keeps everything leaning largely on the dessert tip. 12% abv. B+ / $14 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Bear Republic Hop Shovel Double IPA Citra! Citra! – I love this beer, which is made with just one type of hops that I’m imagining you can guess the identity of. It’s enveloping and juicy, not just with citrus but also some surprisingly deep notes of pineapple and mango, turning a bit lemony on the finish — though note that this is technically not a hazy IPA. The hops provide plenty of bitterness, but there’s so much fruit in the mix that they never overwhelm, despite a whopping IBU rating of 85. It’s hard to put down and, well, turns out I didn’t and now it’s gone. Cue sad trombone music. 9% abv. A / $14 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Bear Republic Challenge Series 22 – This latest entry in Bear’s Challenge Series is billed as a hazy IPA, brewed with Centennial, Chinook, Citra, and Azacca hops, “and our juiciest yeast strain.” Strange then that it doesn’t really come across as juicy at all, but rather thin in body — albeit ample with notes of lemon and grapefruit. It’s mushroomy, earthy, and funky instead of tropical on the finish, though some citrus lingers as it fades out. 6.8% abv. B- / $14 per 4-pack of 16 oz cans
Bear Republic Brewmaster Series Porter – Brewmaster Series is a quarterly release focusing on a rotating collection of styles; this one should be obvious, a porter that’s flavored with chocolate malt, two kinds of crystal malt, and Centennial and Cascade hops. It’s not a beer that reinvents the wheel, offering a classically fizzy, winey attack that fades slowly toward notes of oak staves and licorice. It’s lightly chocolatey — but grows heavy with bitterness — as it warms up. 6.3% abv. B+ / $10 per six-pack