Saturday, August 4, 2012

BEAR REPUBLIC's "XP PALE ALE", CONSUMED AT THE SOURCE

Certainly my family were well aware that, given the fact that we'd spent the day canoeing on the Russian River near Healdsburg, CA this past Thursday, a visit to BEAR REPUBLIC BREWING was going to be high on my personal agenda. No question I'd earned it. I was chief "oarsman" - the "commander", the guy who rented us the canoe called my position at the rear at the boat - and after four hours of work, I had surreal visions of Bear Republic ales pouring down my throat in rapid succession, one Abbey dubbel following one triple IPA after another and so on. Their brewery & pub has been high on my list of places to recline and quench my thirst for many a year now, and despite only being about 90 minutes away from my home, this was my first sit-down there.

I guess I was a little taken aback at the lack of Bear Republic specialty pub-only ales on draft. While there were five of them, nothing struck me as being worth of my great and unfulfilled thirst: an ESB, a lager, something else, something else and another thing. So I ordered something I've seen in bottles the world over, and something you've probably seen too: XP PALE ALE. Guess I never thought to actually buy this one before. What about you? 

This might just be their most under-the-radar "core brew". As it turned out, it was very much what I needed. It's a juicy, quite hoppy pale ale that has such a clean and clear taste, it's made for multiple quaffs and long sessions. I had my kid with me (he sucked down a house-made root beer) so I had to make do with the one XP Pale, but I had enough wherewithal to notice its lemon-tinged backbone and very distinct hopping, unlike that of many IPAs and similar pales. I then proceeded to drown myself in 18 glasses of water and rate this beer a 7.5/10.

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