Bear Republic is slowly spreading its delicious wares across the country, and that’s a very good thing for fans of good beer. In California, we’ve been lucky to enjoy Racer 5 for quite some time now, and other brews like Hot Rod Rye and Red Rocket help round out an impressive selection of tasty beverages.
I’ve personally been on a bit of an IPA hop kick for the last few months, so I was happy to take a bit of a break, and Bear Republic has another brew at the ready for those looking for something a bit lighter. It’s called XP Pale Ale, and, per Bear Republic, the XP stands for Exception Pale Ale.
Unfortunately, XP isn’t quite exceptional, and didn’t meet my expectations.
This Pale Ale is listed as having a pale straw color, but it appeared a bit more golden once I poured it into my glass. Upon my first sip, I noticed a delightful grassy bite that didn’t overpower but served as an enticing gateway to further flavors. The cleanliness of the grass gives way quickly however, and I’m left with a secondary bitterness and a flavor that is reminiscent of the shelled peanuts served at baseball parks around the country.
That’s not a bad thing though, as it’s a good memory to evoke. It was the following taste sensation that leaves me a bit cold. The MLB-imagary and grassiness yield to a rather unpleasant flavor that reminds me of unwashed vegetables.
It’s a shame, because this brew started off strong, but then fell apart right before the finish line. Also, everything else I’ve had from Bear Republic is delicious, and always welcome on my shelf. I’m willing to give XP Pale Ale another try, as I only had one bottle on hand, but if I get the same final flavors as this particular bottle, then my sink will be the one “enjoying” the rest of the bottle.
Beer: XP Pale Ale
Brewery: Bear Republic – Healdsburg/Cloverdale, California
Available Sizes: 22-oz or keg