Charbay R5 Whiskey and Bear Republic Racer IPA

Charbay and Bear Republic

Bourbon is primarily made from wheat, rye, malted grain and corn. When a mad scientist/winemaker/distiller, Marko J. Karakasevic gets his hand on an award-winning IPA beer, Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA his first inclination is to distill it. We had the honor of visiting the distillery and while we weren’t able to taste the whiskey (Against California state law to serve high ABV spirits), we grabbed a bottle for the trip back to New York. As big fans of Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA we knew what flavors to expect, but were weren’t sure we would like it. The Racer 5 IPA reminds us of a great guitar (Taylor perhaps) with volume, brightness and clarity. When you drink a Racer 5 IPA you’re not looking to recognize the flavors, you’re just hoping you can handle it.

The Racer 5 IPA is not just a typical IPA, but one of the best out there. The flavors are intense and they meld well together. The bitterness of this beer comes from the magical hop formula of chinook, cascade, columbus and centennial hops. Many IPAs out there tend to dry hop or use an aggressive amount of hops towards the end of the boil and override the flavor of the grains. One our favorite beer styles is a pale ale as it’s an art to mix and mold grains and hops together, although an IPA can be a measurement of “Who’s got more hops”.

Charbay and Bear Republic2

The R5 Whiskey isn’t called a bourbon due to the unique grain bill. What’s fascinating is that when tasting the Racer 5 IPA and R5 side by side, the aromas are similar, but the intensity and mouthfeel are worlds apart. The R5 has 49.5% ABV, the Racer 5 IPA has 7% ABV and took Marko 6,000 gallons of beer to make 590 gallons of R5 Whiskey.

Long answer, we’re blown away by the R5 Whiskey and will continue to love the Racer 5 IPA. There are not many bottles of the R5, so we suggest grabbing some now. As a precaution, beer flavored whiskeys are coming by the dozens, so get ready and enjoy!

Source: Charbay Distillery and Winery, Bear Republic Brewery Co.

Image credits: Bruce Leong/Dapper Guide