Mar 2, 2016

Coronado Brewing MerBear Rye IPA

When word got out that Coronado and Bear Republic were joining forces to craft MerBear Rye IPA, the drool response from myself (and possibly others) was darn near untamable — seriously, I had to change shirts. With Coronado, you have a company that has consistently produced some of the best IPAs available in the market. Bear Republic has, hands down, my favorite rye-based IPA in their Hop Rod Rye. How could I lose with the odds stacked in my favor?

And yet, I was still worried. How would this collaborative brew compare to my favorite example of the style? Was MerBear just going to turn out to be a Hop Rod Rye clone with different blend of hops? Would I have to change shirts again after reviewing the press release?

Well, I can safely say this 7.5% ABV (45 IBU) IPA is anything but a clone of that classic brew. MerBear is a drastically different beast all together — the overall character of this mythical creature is fairly unrefined and earthy. The rye stands out from start to finish with a natural and raw trait that combines quite well with the lower-than-expected hop bite.

As one would expect in trying to splice the genetic sequences of a mermaid with that of a bear, there isn’t going to be a wholly smooth transition, but that’s what I like about this beer. It’s sort of rustic in a way with a slightly audacious flavor. I love that the rye stands out amongst the blend of Amarillo, Hallertau Blanc, Centennial and Equinox hop varieties. They certainly offer their own charms, but do not overwhelm the spicy rye. I can dig it.

This is a review of a promotional sample.