My role a as a contributor to this site is to bring forth the best that San Diego's beer scene has to offer. In terms of choosing a beat to walk, there are few more content-heavy. It's a blessing, to be sure. However, even with that embarrassment of journalistic riches, sometimes I feel compelled to confirm there is a world of beer outside our walls. And strictly speaking, I did find the forthcoming beer in San Diego, so it should count for something, right?
This weekend, I chanced upon the Bear Republic Café Racer 15, a double India Pale Ale from Healdsburg, Calif. It's a spiritual successor to the Racer 5, a standout IPA in its own right and a personal favorite.
The labeling highlights it as a "real ale," which is not just bluster for being an O.G. beer. "Real ale" refers to the standard popularized in the U.K., wherein the natural carbonation from yeast is retained, rather than doping the beer with fizz at a later time. It makes for a less bubbly beer, changing the texture entirely. Bear Republic's site doesn't expound on their methodology for the Café Racer 15, but it seems apparent by the first taste that they adhered to this standard.
That previous paragraph is part of why I felt compelled to break protocol and review a non-San Diego beer. This beer is unique and I strongly recommend seeking it out. The citra hops sing, bringing a markedly citric flavor to the forefront, but without the astringency and oily mouthfeel you might expect. Make no mistake—I certainly enjoy the abrasive notes of a DIPA, but being a real ale renders this formulation beautifully creamy and full-bodied. It really softens it around the edges, making for a very unique quaff.
All decent bottle shops will carry this (a tribute to San Diego's excellent taste), so make sure to seek it out.