Bear Republic Brewing Company

The Stories Behind the Names Behind the Beer

At Bear Republic, auto racing is a big part of the brewery’s story — their brewmaster, Richard G. Norgrove, is a longtime fan of the cartoon Speed Racer, and has also been involved in auto racing himeslf. When their flagship Racer 5 IPA was being developed, he wanted to call it Speed Racer, but was unable to. It was released originally as Springtime Strong Ale, and about five versions later, it became Racer 5. A handful of other beers in Bear Republic’s catalog have followed suit with names inspired by auto racing:

  • Racer 5 IPA (American India Pale Ale): Racer 5 IPA is Bear Republic’s flagship beer. This hoppy IPA is a full-bodied beer brewed with malted barley, wheat, and crystal malts. The malt base is designed to highlight the unique floral qualities of Columbus and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest.  
  • Peter Brown Tribute Ale (American Brown Ale): Peter Brown, fondly remembered as their “Million Dollar Salesman,” was Bear Republic’s sales manager for over three years and is missed daily at the Bear since his death in November, 2002.

During his life, Pete was an avid softball player, ranked as one of the top softball players of all time who took his team to a record fifth National Master’s Softball Championship in September 2002, just two months before his passing. In honor of the life of a good friend and an internationally recognized softball pitching ace, Bear Republic released Peter Brown Tribute Ale as a new bottled product in the summer of 2003.

Their rendition of a strong American brown ale, Peter Brown is balanced with a dark grain blend that is pleasing to the eye and smooth on the palate. We would like to think that Peter Brown, a man who always lived life to the fullest, would be sitting at a bar enjoying a pint of his namesake.

  • Pace Car Racer (Session IPA): Hoppy aromas of pine and citrus, with a smooth malt flavor that empties your glass at a speedy pace. Brewed with a high flavor pale ale malt, light Crystal hops, and a touch of rye for a smooth and silky body, this hoppy and quaffable ale is perfect for a hot day at the track or a backyard BBQ. As part of the Racer family, this session IPA is named for both its style and the sport of racing. This beer sets the pace for afternoon drinking, just as the pace car sets the speed on the track.
  • Racer X (Double IPA): Racer X is an uncommon double India pale ale which puts a California twist on English brewing traditions by adding an assertive hop aroma and bitterness that compliments the firm malt backbone. This double IPA is named as a compliment to its little brother, Racer 5.
  • Apex (Strong IPA): An apex is defined as the highest point; the culmination or climax. In racing, the apex of a turn is approached differently as conditions dictate, but always with a forward-looking mindset. This beer is a culmination of years of brewing and drinking hop forward IPAs. Each year, the hop profile changes slightly, resulting in a new Apex.



Rohnert Park
5000 Roberts Lake Rd.

345 Healdsburg Ave.,