The Full Review
The craft beer world gets a lot of heat for being a land overpopulated with heavy-hopped IPAs. It’s fair criticism, but you have to consider how beer got here. We got here because when done right, hop bombs can be absolutely delicious. Take Bear Republic’s Café Racer 15. It’s an explosively hoppy, 9.75 percent alcohol by volume double IPA, and it’s the perfect example of what can go right in the domain of hop head beers. Originally made to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Bear Republic in 2010, Café Racer 15 has become an annual seasonal staple for beer lovers, made all the easier with the addition of six packs this year. In the glass, Café Racer 15 is a hazy, dark mustard yellow color. Floral notes are overwhelming, and all the different hops the beer contains -- Citra, Amarillo, Cascade, and Chinook -- are right there on the tongue. The bitterness is balanced by a slight honey sweetness in the back end. There’s a noticeable body and weight to it that’s slightly offset by a light carbonation. But there's one sensation that overwhelms all the others: juicy, piney, grapefruit hops. Bear Republic is located in Sonoma County, California, in the heart of wine country. Maybe it should be considered beer country, though, cause Café Racer 15 can turn hop haters into hop heads.