Total Score: 7.75/10
Sorry Bear Republic I’ve got to get this out, this is some weird catharsis for me: “And the red rocket ale, the beers bursting in kegs, gave proof through the night that our stein was still there; O say does that half barrel still provide more ale, O the land of the cream [ale] and the home of the IPAaaaa!” Play ball. So yeah, now that that is out of the way, lately I’ve been reviewing Red Ale/IPAs (they’re pretty indivisible styles so I lump them into 1) and I noticed that one of the biggest of US Red Ales recently popped into my local, so here we are: Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale. It’s about time I got my grubby [actually I just cleaned them] hands on this essential Red Ale… bottoms up?!
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Deep brown/amber body (think Mahogany – like my leather bound books) with a disappointing thin tan sea foam head. The body is a suitably impressive colour, but that weak sea foam head is doing it no favours. 7/10.
S: Brown sugar, dark fruits, molasses forward on the nose – yes this has travelled far to reach me, not expecting a Pulitzer prize list of hops here but something would be good. Hints of caramel as well… Something floral/lightly citrus in there as well, Mr. Hops I presume? 7/10.
T: Malty: burnt caramel/molasses/brown sugar… you get the picture. Behind all that malt there is a light floral/earthy/citric hop character that helps even everything out. Aftertaste has a bit of astringency and a medium bitterness. If you think of it as a straight Scottish Red Ale with an American spin (i.e. the hops) as stated on the label then it definitely fits the brief – though the hops are lacking from some of the Australian Red Ales I’ve tried recently. Still pretty damn tasty though. 8/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied with a thin but burpy, err, dense carbonation. 8/10.
D: Overall nice but not as exciting as at least 3 Aussie Red Ales I can think of off the top of my head. That said this was one of the first American Red Ales out there and a trailblazer in that class, so credit where credit is due… in this case: here and now. Will I ever drink it again having access to some great Red Ales here in Oz? Well, no, probably not, unless I was staying in California and could get this fresh on tap. I guess that’s the problem with trailblazer beers like this – they blaze the trail but then they’re stuck and can’t change (lest they piss off a great many of their fans – like the singer who has to keep singing the same song over and over). 8/10.
Food match: Beefy and stewy and BBQy is the meal ticket here.