MerBear Rye IPA (Bear Republic Brewing Co. Edition)

Coronado Brewing Company and Bear Republic Brewing Co: MerBear Rye IPA collaboration

Brewed by: Bear Republic Brewing Co. and Coronado Brewing Company

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: IPA
  • Variation: Rye, American
  • Limited: Yes
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • IBU: 65

Notes: Collaboration between Bear Republic and Coronado Brewing

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

A Rye IPA collaboration with San Diego’s pioneering Coronado Brewing Company. The pungent and layered blend of Ella, El Dorado, Equinox, and Azacca dry hops coupled with a whirlpool addition of Buddha’s Hand creates an aromatic explosion, ending with a spicy malt caramel backbone.

Hops: Super Galena, Ella, El Dorado, Equinox, and Azacca

Malts: Rye

Additional: Buddha’s Hand

More Bear Republic MerBear Rye IPA Images

First Impressions

Artwork: An octopus holding two racing flags with each breweries’ mascots on them.

Why an octopus? When Richard Norgrove of Bear Republic and Rick Chapman of Coronado met to discuss doing a collaboration a couple years back, they met at Fathom Bistro, Bait & Tackle in San Diego, whose logo is an octopus.

Color: Deep red to maple brown, semi-hazy.

Aroma: Mild grain with citrusy hops, and a sweetness like cherry.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 22oz. Bottle

Served in: Short Tulip

Last week we reviewed MerBear Rye IPA, which was a collaboration between Coronado Brewing Company, and Northern California’s Bear Republic Brewing Co. Right before finishing the review, we learned there were actually two versions of the beer — one brewed and bottled by each brewery.

We thought it would be a cool experience to try both MerBears, but doubted Bear Republic’s iteration would ever make it down to San Diego. Lucky for us, Bear Republic reached out the next day, and offered to send us theirs. As one of the breweries that got us hooked into craft beer, we were honored to say the least.

So here’s a review of Bear Republic’s MerBear Rye IPA, followed by a brief comparison of both versions of this tasty collaboration…

In the glass, MerBear Rye IPA was a deep red to maple syrup brownish tone, with a thick covering of off-white head. Its bubbly crown lasted for a few minutes, then slowly wilted away. Although it was a little difficult to peer through its semi-hazy body, you could see where streams of carbonation preserved its thin coating of froth for the entire session.

MerBear Rye IPA started off with a hint of caramel maltiness up front, followed by a citrusy hop tanginess. Not only were several strains of fruit forward hops used to brew this version of the ale, but the addition of Buddha’s Hand in the whirlpool contributed to its fruitiness.

Right as the ale sharpened up, all of its rye character emerged, which brought out the real edge to this beer. It was not an extra sharp punch, but a lasting, sustained level of peppery rye spice. In the finish, MerBear cleanly evaporated off our palates, yet still managed to leave some residual spiciness behind.

For Comparison’s Sake

Both interpretations of this collaborative recipe were delicious. By the numbers, they each clocked in at a healthy 7.5% ABV, with this MerBear registering an extra 20 IBUs. Coronado’s version offered unique nuances such as a more complex aroma, and flavor profile closer to a hoppy red ale. Bear Republic’s MerBear lived up to our expectations of being an intense rye experience, along with a more noticeable firm bitterness.

Final Score: 4/5

4 Stars

Bear Republic MerBear Rye IPA offered some citrus hop character, with a spicy rye chaser. It really shouldn’t have been a surprise that the brewery behind Hop Rod Rye was capable of brewing another tasty rye-based ale.

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