For those who can’t make the trek to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival next month, Bear Republic Brewing Co. offered up a preview Sunday of some of brews it hopes to be pouring at the country’s largest beer festival.
The Cloverdale-based company held its 6th Annual Cellar Party in a space right next to its Healdsburg brewpub. It gave local fans of the brewer, most known for its popular Racer 5 India Pale Ale (IPA), a chance to sample some beers it will offer up at the festival, ranging from session and barrel-aged beers to more malty and hoppy ones.
Bear Republic will submit 10 beers this year for judging at the prestigious event, where it has won 19 medals, including the 2006 Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year.
One new entry this year is Hop Shovel, a pale and hoppy IPA with a high concentration of wheat and rye for a smoother flavor than a traditional associated with the style. “It’s a very hop-forward IPA,” said Clay Grosskopf, Bear Republic spokesman.
Besides the two aforementioned beers, Bear Republic also will submit its Grand-Am, Apex IPA, Peter Brown Tribute Ale, Valley of the Moon, Cafe Racer 15, Big Bear Black Stout, Tartare Peach and Double Aught. In addition, it will submit to the pro-am competition its Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish 80. The beer, a Scottish-style ale with soft malt flavors, light hops and a traditional Edinburgh yeast, was made in a partnership with homebrewer Michael Kelly.
Bear Republic held voting for the favorite brew among the crowd, with the winner being one beer not submitted to the festival: Rum Pirate Stout, a dark ale brewed in molasses and aged in rum casks from Charbay Distillery for more than a year. The process provides vanilla and caramel flavors to the sweet ale.
Hop Shovel finished second and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish 80 finished third.
– Bill Swindell