Glassware: Racer 5 has a beautifully delicate hop aroma that is an absolute must to enjoy and truly appreciate this beer. The Spegielau IPA glass is a definite with any IPA, but due to the fragility of them many bars do not keep them in stock. A great backup is a snifter glass or Willi Becher pint glass, the key is to have a tapered top to trap in the wonderful hop aroma.
Description: Racer 5 pours a clear golden hue with bright white head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is a beautiful bouquet of floral, citrus, pine and the perfect touches of resin and sweet malts. The taste follows the nose with delicate floral hops cascading over the palate followed by fresh citrus and pine with sweet malts rushing in at the end to provide the perfect backbone and balance for this incredible beer. The finish is long and dry and leaves you wanting more. The medium body and moderate carbonation are textbook for this style, making Racer 5 a try benchmark for the American IPA. While there is no shortage of IPAs, there are few as versatile as Racer 5, and despite being on the market for around 20 years, it is still one of the most popular. Racer 5 is one of the IPAs that has set the gold standard for the American IPA category and is a must try for all.
Food Pairing: IPAs are always a great match with spicy foods, but Racer 5 is a textbook example of this pairing. If you are a Mexican food lover, Racer 5 is definitely a beer you will always want to have in your fridge. The wonderful spice bite from many dishes is the perfect pairing with the perfectly hopped beer. The hops and spices combine for a treat that any spice lover will enjoy while the smooth malts quell the heat and maintain balance on the palate. The great thing about Racer 5 is it’s simple enough to pair with a delicious taco and complex enough to have with more involved dishes. Racer 5 is enjoyable with Indian dishes, but is exceptionally fantastic with chicken tikka masala! Thai food is a great pairing with this world class beer. Bottom line, if you love spicy food Racer 5 is a beer that should always be in your fridge!
The Final Word: The term “go-to” beer is thrown around a lot, but many aren’t actually go-to beers but instead “nothing else” beers, meaning there isn’t anything else I want so I might as well get this one. Racer 5 is a true go-to beer and is a must try when visiting any craft beer bar that offers it. The wonderful balance and great hop punch make Racer 5 a great gateway IPA for those looking to get into the style, but has enough punch and flavor for craft beer drinkers who have seemingly tried everything. Racer 5 served as a gateway beer for many getting into craft beer and still remains a favorite among many of those drinkers. In a very saturated craft beer market, Racer 5 truly makes a bold statement about just how great this beer is and remains. Racer 5 is a must try for all craft beer drinkers and is a staple for all craft beer loyalists.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer: Racer 5
Style: American IPA