Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Showdown: Hops II: Bear Republic vs Dogfish Head

Wait a minute, Racer 5 is an IPA and 90 minute is a Double IPA how can they compete?

Well these two award winning hoppy beers often compete for your cash in the beer aisle.

You might see the four pack of 90 minute and wonder if its worth the price at $12 or the Racer 5 22oz for $5.99. We're trying to help you make that decision. You love hops, so what are you in the mood for?

About the names
Racer 5 is named after the car driven by Bear Republic Brewmaster Richard G. Norgrove, he drives race cars.

90 Minute is named after the unique, Dogfish Head technique of continually adding hops throughout the brewing process. Small amounts of hops are constantly added at specific intervals over 90 minutes.

Hops: Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, Centennial
IBU: 75
ABV: 7%
Awards: 2009 & 1999 Great American Beer Festival GOLD, 2006 & 2005 Great American Beer Festival SILVER
Beer Advocate: 4.21 out of 5
Rate Beer: 3.89 out of 5

Th beer pours a golden color with a thin head that leaves no lacings. The aroma has assertive citrus and piney hops with notes of bready malts. The taste has the pine and citrus hops up front with a sweet, bready malt backbone and bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium with perfect carbonation and a smooth, refreshing feel.

Dogfish Head Brewery
Hops: Amarillo, Simcoe, Warrior
ABV: 9%
IBU: 90
Awards: Best IPA by Esquire Magazine, 2003 RealBeer.com Champion , Gold Medal Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival 2007
Beer Advocate: 4.25 out of 5
Rate Beer: 4.06 out of 5

The beer pours an amber color with a medium size head that stick around and leaves average lacings. The aroma has floral, citrus, and earthy hops with notes of caramel malt. The taste has the malts up front backed by the floral and mild citrus hops, the alcohol is hard to detect for 9%. There is a mild bitter finish. The mouthfeel is sticky or chewy with perfect carbonation.

These are two different ways to showcase hops. I would almost want to call 90 Minute an "East Coast" IPA. 90 Minute has big hop flavor but the hops are more of an equal companion to the malt than the star. The continuous hops addition is meant to tame the hop punch, which makes 90 minute more accessible to beer newbies and non-hop heads.

Racer 5 sticks with the West Coast tradition of big piney and citrus hops that punch you enjoyably from beginning to end. The punch is sweetened by a nice mix of malt. Racer 5 has a refreshing quality as it avoids the stickiness or chewiness of 90 minute and other IPAs and DIPAs. It's a perfect mix.

This is a tough one. We decided we like Racer 5 because of our own taste preferences and it tends to be cheaper to drink - more quality for your buck. 90 minute was great, but when you grab a beer that's a Double IPA you expect a strong hop punch. The 4 pack and $12 price tag are also hard to swallow if you're trying to mind the wallet.

But they are both Must Have beers.


  1. Nice twist on the head to head beer tasting. Racer 5 and 90 Minute are two of my favorite IPAs as well, but I've never had them side by side. Since they are both readily available in SoCal I'll grab a couple and try the comparison. Cheers!

  2. Thanks! It's fun to tste some of your favorites side by side, you get to find out what makes them great.