Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bear Republic Brewing Co. Racer 5 and BrewDog Tokyo*

Good afternoon all. In what could be perceived as a contradictory move, I've decided to lump together the two beers that rounded off the #openit weekend into one post to save a bit of reviewing time. This post has been stopped and started several times since Sunday due to exhaustion-induced writer's block, but today felt like a good opportunity to take a "wild, boyish fling at writing". Therefore, out of a lack of having anything interesting to say, I present Racer 5, an IPA from Bear Republic Brewing Co. and Tokyo*, an imperial stout from BrewDog. First review after the pic....

Racer 5 (7.0% ABV) pours a golden/light amber colour with a white head that dissipates gradually to a thin covering over the surface of the beer. The aroma is mainly piney/resinous hops, with some floral aroma hops providing citrus fruits and a pleasing sweetness in the background. Not a lot of malt character coming through, definitely masked by the hops. The taste brings out more malt though, carrying with it floral citrus hops and resinous hops, a strong medicinal quality (TCP-like, reminiscent of Laphroaig) and a strong hoppy bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated and quite thick, and the bitterness can be  quite cloying at times. Overall, a very solid IPA with something for everyone- a pleasing dichotomy between citrus/floral hops and resinous hops, plenty of malt and a decent amount of bitterness. I'd definitely get this beer again!

The last beer of the #openit event was Tokyo* from BrewDog, and in my opinion it was the only beer that fulfilled the necessary criteria in the first place. I had that bottle kicking about since Summer 2011, so I felt it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. Review after the pic....

Tokyo* (18.2% ABV) pours a very deep red colour, verging on black, with a dark beige head that dissipates shortly after pouring to a thick halo around the inside of the glass. In all fairness, you wouldn't expect much of a head when considering the alcohol content, so even that's fairly impressive. The aroma is very boozy and sweet, with dark fruits, candy sugar, roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. I was expecting more of the bitter aromas to come through but the sweetness is very noticeable and makes this beer a refreshing change. The taste is just as sweet and alcoholic, with a complex array of different flavours including malt, licorice, yeast extract (Marmite), chocolate, dark fruits (blackcurrants, raisins) and some honey/toffee. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and quite thick. Overall, a truly unique experience that juxtaposes a lot of characteristic imperial stout flavours against a very sweet background, making it perfect as an after-dinner sipper or with dessert. Marvelous stuff- I would happily get it again but not for a while, the impression it's left is still very evident!

I'd like to close by saying a few words about #openit12. Frankly, I think it was a great idea that gave me an excuse to sample a few beers that I wouldn't have opened otherwise. Most beer drinkers, myself included, fall into the trap of acquiring a number of interesting and unusual beers and hoarding them, waiting for that special reason to get out the bottle opener. As shown by this experience, sometimes it's best to do away with the rationalising and get back to enjoying this beverage- sometimes controversial, always exciting- that seems to unite us all. 

Until next time....

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