Saturday, August 4, 2012


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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