Pace Car Racer: A Session IPA from Bear Republic Brewing that floods your tastebuds, not your BAC


What if I just want to drink a few full-flavored beers and not commit to getting overly buzzed or burdened with thousands of empty calories?

It may be rare, but if you’ve ever stared down a beer aisle and contemplated this question, there’s good news: other people have too. In fact, there just so happens to be a killer beer style for this very conundrum, the Session IPA.

If there’s one thing we can take away from America’s craft beer revolution, it’s that commercial beers have generally became more intense, both flavor-wise and in terms of ABV. Many dejected lager drinkers welcomed this evolution, yet it’s undeniable that consuming much of today’s craft beer requires added restraint.

Don’t get me wrong, I love strong suds, but there’s something amazing about enjoying pint after pint of delicious brew and not getting sloppy — it’s like having superpowers.

The Details

This brings the spotlight to Pace Car Racer, a tasty Session IPA from Bear Republic Brewing. These guys are straight out of the highly competitive Northern California beer scene and have been engineering award-winning brews for over 20 years, most notably with their flagship Racer 5 IPA.


Pace Car is an addition to the broader Racer family, yet on a milder note. As owner and Brewmaster Richard Norgrove puts it, “You could drink this beer and not know that it’s 4% alcohol. That was the goal. This beer helps you feel like you’re drinking what you’re used to and be more socially responsible at the same time.”

Pace Car just bagged a silver medal at Denver’s annual Great American Beer Festival (basically the brewing industry’s Olympics) and also nailed down a 95 rating from The Beer Connoisseur.

Although lower in ABV than Bud Light, Pace Car packs a mouthwatering 55 IBUs into its hop build. A straw-colored appearance reflects a surprisingly diverse slew of ingredients. To address flavor balance and avoid making a face-contorting hop bomb, a quality blend of pale ale, crystal and wheat malts were used. They even threw in a bit of flaked rye to round out the grain bill to a smooth margin.

To achieve it’s West Coast-worthy hop character, Bear Republic utilized some of the most tried and true varieties in the book: Centennial, Cascade and Citra. If you don’t have a beard and aren’t wearing a flannel, those names might be unfamiliar, but let me tell you right now that employing this combination is a dynamite way to lock in brilliant notes of citrus, pine and grapefruit. Shit, now I’m getting thirsty.

If you’re wondering what foods will honor a Pace Car Racer tasting, feel confident in soft cheeses, roasted artichokes, burgers, spicy foods, beef or hot wings.

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy the taste of good beer, plain and simple. That’s why beers like Pace Car are awesome. You can scratch your flavor itch and not commit to any sort of excessive drunk or tiresome hangover. A win-win for beer fans.

For a list of where you can find Pace Car Racer, check out