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Grand Am | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

very good
38 Reviews
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Grand AmGrand Am

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Inspired by our team’s passion for racing, Grand-Am™ is an American Pale Ale worthy of the “Racer” family. True to our roots, this sessionable yet assertive ale balances both classic and new American hop varieties with a distinct malt backbone. Start your engines…

Added by argock on 06-10-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 263
Photo of DEdesings57
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip. Best by 9/16/16

Look: Amazing. A hazy bright orange. Its unfiltered and bottle conditioned. I can barley see through it. Looks awesome looking hoppy APA.

Smell: Oranges, tangerines, citrus, some pine, some spicy notes, not much malt. Smells fruity and hoppy.

Taste: Well thats a west coast pale ale. Follows the nose perfectly. More oranges in the taste and some yeasty/bread flavors.

Feel: This part is interesting. The beer it self is actually quilt light bodies BUT the fact that its unfiltered and bottle-conditioned helps the beer have a more "thicker" mouth feel and gives it an around soft texture. With theses elements in the palace the beer is med body.

Overall: Underrated! A great unfiltered bottle conditioned american pale ale. Im am very happy to have had this beer!

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy light orange color with off-white head. Aroma has mostly citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit. Taste is also citrus forward, a bit of sweet malt at first but gets quite bitter on the finish and aftertaste. Lingers with grapefruit pith and pine resin. Medium bodied with crisp carbonation. Quite good overall, a classic example of an APA.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: slight haze; burnished orange in color; 2 finger ivory head that receded slowly to a thin cap; OK lacing;

S: citrus, grainy, a little floral;

T: bready for a moment, then citrus; distinctively orange toward the end; mild to moderate bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: very nice; easy to drink; refreshing;

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Photo of Wasatch
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle

Pours a very nice slightly cloudy dark golden orange color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice one-finger creamy off-white head, which leaves some small islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, with some citrus notes. The taste is hoppy, slight malt note, with some citrus notes. Medium body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, a tasty PA.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: A fat, eggshell-colored head of fluff tops a slightly cloudy body of medium gold.

Smell: An unfortunate metallic scent hijacks the aroma, but herbs and orange juice help make things more appealing.

Taste: A nice, even, gentle hoppy blend of mint, citrus, and warm California earth mixes well with delicately toasted malt. Tasty, balanced, but nothing truly exceptional.

Mouthfeel: Excellent mouthfeel for the style: Medium-light, with medium high carbonation creates refreshing crispness and a finish that falls smack dab between dry and smooth.

Overall: A very good pale ale, minus the metallic smell. There are other examples out there, however, that are just as good, if not better. You can easily pick up a Sierra Nevada, for instance, and be more satisfied.

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Photo of seedyone
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC.As soon as my nose was to the glass, I knew I had a problem. I have a pretty low tolerence for hops, but was suckered in by the brewers description & the small taste which end up as unhelpful. I guess it's because there is a malt front that masks the hoppiness. Now that's out of the way I should say this strikes me much as my first taste of Sierra Nevada, those oh so many years ago (but way more assertive).

This is a doubling down. Think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Imperial.

In the end it's simply too 'big' for my tastes.

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Photo of brewmastercat
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Lots of bottling yeast in the bottle, very piney and resinous. I could see this being great at any outdoor car racing event when you're in the sun...screaming, "please no more budweiser...need...more...flavor..."as you give your last breath.

Glad I've slept on this one for so long, another mediocre pale ale.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on June 5, 2015.

Slightly hazy yellow-orange with a long lasting fluffy white head.

Aroma of toasted malts, peat moss, vague spice, and grassy hops. Not a bad nose.

The body is light to medium.

The taste begins with a toasted sweet character and then erupts into a textbook bitterness that is neither floral or resiny but more grassy.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No Freshness date on the bottle

Appearance - Pours hazy and golden orange in color with an off-white half finger head. Sub-par retention, resulting in a thin layer of suds across the top. Spotty lacing left around the glass.

Smell - Citrusy with hints of orange and lemon with a cereal grain malt undertone.

Taste - Follows the nose. Lemony with a mild orange sweetness and a big malty cereal backbone. Finishes with a mild bitterness that exhibits both citrus pith and grassy character.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth, drinkable brew that goes down easy.

Overall - Did Toucan Sam lend a hand to this beer, because it evokes thoughts of yellow and orange Fruit Loops. Not the most complex APA, but it has a decent kick. Good, but plenty of APA's out there I prefer more.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On draft, served in shaker pint glass. Very pale, a light straw color. Nice hoppy aroma. Taste is hop dominated, very little malt flavor. Thinner body

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Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded silver pry-off pressure cap.

Acquired: At an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2014.
ABV: 6.50% ABV.
Style: American Pale Ale (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: High (given the brewery, which I adore).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~3 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Nice thickness, creaminess, and fullness. Soft-looking. Frothy, with a great shiny complexion and a good even consistency.

Retention: Fantastic (~8-9+ minutes).

Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Vibrant orange. Boasts a dazzling cascade of bubbles towards the head. Translucent but nontransparent.

A great looking pale ale. Looks fresh and inviting. This appearance promises a good pale.

AROMA: Fresh citrus (including orange, faint mango, and tangerine without coming off too tropical), fresh floral tones, mellow pale malts, clean barley, softening flaked malts, and cream. Citrus zest lends still more complexity.

The pale malt sweetness balances any hop bitterness wonderfully. This is a great overall aroma for a pale ale, and suggests a balanced brew with plenty of pleasant hop flavours without too much bitterness or bite.

Aromatic intensity: mild.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The first thing I notice is the delightfully zesty, airy, and soft mouthfeel, which boasts a rare delicate presence on the palate. This texture would be perfect if it weren't also slightly dry, coarse, and rough - attributes which make the beer unrefreshing in spite of its fresh pleasant flavours. It might even be a biteen astringent. At least the carbonation is perfect. It couldn't be more light-bodied.

Unfortunately, there's plenty of hop bitterness evident in the third act. Prior to that, the beer is quite balanced; pale malt sweetness plays a nice counter to the orange zest, citrusy hop bitterness, floral hops, and tangerine. It's not a resinous, oily, or piney hop profile, but it brings plenty of hop flavour to the table. Flaked malts leaven the body and clean barley helps fill it out, but as a result it lacks depth of flavour; it's a bit too light, cushioning the impact and delivery of the flavours a bit too much.

Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Above average.
Flavour amplitude: Decent.

It has the complexity a great pale needs, but the balance just isn't there because of the bitterness and hop bite in the third act, and it never feels particularly cohesive or gestalt. There are some fantastic elements in play here, but it never quite comes together.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, harsh, or scratchy. There're no off-notes or untoward yeasty tones.

OVERALL: As drinkable as it is imbalanced, Grand-Am is an interesting pale ale that - with work - could be world-class. Bear Republic has done so much right in this beer, but its flaws hold it back from greatness. I highly recommend trying it if only for its impossibly soft and light texture coupled with its effective citrusy hop notes, but while it will pique the interest of the discerning drinker, it will fail to dazzle. It's not up to par with the Racer series, but it's well worth sampling.

High C+ (3.25)

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Photo of mactrail
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Handsome orange-tinted amber with a long-lasting head in the Crooked Line tulip. Inviting whiff of flowery and citrusy hops. Pleasant mouthfilling texture.

Warm with malt but tangy and herbal. Fairly bitter but modestly fruity. Honeydew melon and a touch of grapefruit peel. The mineral taste reminds me of the English style of Pale Ale. You wouldn't mistake it, though, as the bitter aftertaste lingers in the American obsession.

I'd be interested to have it on tap. From the 12 oz bottle in my mixed six-pack from a Ralph's supermarket.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Figueroa Mountain pint glass
From: Alpine Liquor in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $8.99 for a 6-pack
Purchased: March 19, 2015
Consumed: March 19, 2015
Misc.: Best by Sept. 5, 2015

Poured an orangeish, caramel, slightly hazy color with two fingers of off-white, rocky head. Lots of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. A few spots of lacing on the sides of the glass. Bad retention. (Sight - 3.25)

Pretty potent whiff of Citra hops and caramel malts. Also Cascade, melon, orange zest, nectarine, slight mango, lime, pine, light pineapple and more tropical notes. (Sight - 3.75)

Tasted not as nice as the nose. A bit unbalanced, seemingly alcohol coming first before any flavor. Then got nectarine rind, orange zest, caramel, Cascade, mango, honey wheat, grass, lime and some pine. (Taste - 3.50)

Light body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, somewhat refreshing finish. (Feel - 3.50)

Nothing to grand about this beer (get it?) Just an average APA. (Overall - 3.50)

3.55 | 81 | B

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Photo of breadwinner
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I find this a perfectly satisfying pale ale, with a complex hop profile that touches the piney, citrusy, tropical, dank realms but none overwhelmingly so. Basic, sweetish malt base. It's got a certain zing in the hop finish, minted bitterness or something like that. It's a really nice drink, the kind that I'd be happy to have available regularly at my local watering hole.

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Photo of CHickman
3.62/5  rDev -4%

Pours very cloudy dark gold color with a lot of sediment floating around and a thick foamy 2 finger off white head that was full of bubbles of all sizes which faded slowly leaving OK spotty lacing and a layer on top.

Smells of orange peel, caramel, grapefruit, lemon zest, citrus hops, mango, wheat bread, grass, herbs or mild spices and dry cracker. The fruity aroma jumps out hard and fast but settles down and lets the malt come through for a nice balance that includes some piney and sweet fruit notes as it fades.

Taste is more malty and bready that the nose indicates, with graham cracker, buttered roll, caramel, citrus hops, lemon zest, orange juice, pine cone/piney hops, pear, mild spices like pepper and cinnamon, funk yeast and a toffee like brown sugar sweetness at the end which has a very light bitterness. This flavor completely hides the ABV.

Mouthfeel is slick and almost watery with mild carbonation, a medium body that’s on the thicker side, and a slightly bitter finish that has grainy notes combined with citrus hop/fruity sweetness. A pretty good APA that see-sawed back and forth between fruity sweet and malty. I’d have it again since it was easy to drink and flavorful enough to warrant another try.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

On tap. Poured a clear, orange color with a slight head. Mild lacing. Aroma is modest but mostly driven by citrusy hops. Soft, pale malt sweetness. Flavor is direct. Citrus hops with some grassy hop notes, too. I swear, I get a hint of watermelon in there somewhere. Finishes dry and easy with a dry, pale malt finish. Well carbonated with a light body. It was a fairly tasty Pale Ale. Probably one of their weaker offerings in my opinion.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. No freshness dating that I could find.

Faintly hazy strong yellow body. 1" foamy head. light carbonation and lacing.

Not much on the nose. Clean slightly sweet moutgh, with a decent bitter wash. Edge goes to the malt on this one, but it is finely balanced and extremely drinkable. 6.5abv may prohibit sessionability, (like that word?) but those of us with a higher tolerance would enjoy several of these at a sitting.

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Photo of metter98
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is hazy light pale yellow in color and has a mixture of fine and small visible particulates floating in suspension. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin but large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides.
S: Light to moderate aromas of citrusy hops and toasted malts are present in the nose.
T: As in the smell, the taste has some flavors of citrus hops—orange and tangerine seem to stand out in particular—along with notes of biscuit and caramel malts. Only slight amounts of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This APA has a fairly good balance between the malts and hops but I didn't find anything to really stand out in the smell or taste.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of smcolw
3.96/5  rDev +5%

Pleasant aroma of floral hop. Solid malt base. The hop leans more to the regularly bitter black pepper.

Cloudy light amber color. Small head with minimal spotty lace

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Photo of scotorum
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Best by 10/1/14, so probably bottled around April Fool's Day? Who knows.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn English tulip.

a: Nearly clear dark gold with a finger and a half white head which receded to even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Mild citrus.

t: Moderate citrus to pine resin up front over a medium bready malt base. Bitterness lingers somewhat on the tongue.

m: Light to medium with good body. Considerable carbonatiuon tingle.

o; A good West Coast pale, hoppier than some other American pales, taste actually seems to improve as it goes.

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Photo of dar482
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a beautiful hazy dark reddish orange, almost like a pink grapefruit.

In the aroma, there’s lemon and grapefruit peel, floral, hint of white bread, bright spearmint.

On the flavor, grapefruit peel and citrus in the front. A pop of floral in the middle with some pink grapefruit. On the back, the beer is medium plus bitter of pine and grapefruit pith.

This tastes like an updated Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with more citrus upfront. A well made brew and great for the summer.

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Photo of kflorence
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a translucent golden orange in color with copper and amber tints. A typical pour will yield about a fourth inch of creamy, white head that slowly dissipates to a thin layer of film atop. Carbonation seems spot on. On the lighter side of the pale ale spectrum, this one looks to be lighter bodied with a slight bit of chewiness.

S: A mostly hop-forward aroma with notes of orange peel, lemon, flowers and spice. There is a sweet, honey, candy maltiness lingering in the background with maybe a hint of bread. Certainly a fresh, un-offending and pleasant aroma, but nothing really standoutish.

T: Similar to the nose; an amalgamation of hops and malts up front, mostly bitter citrus rinds and honey with a small dose of toasted pale malts. The flavor peaks in the middle with a hop tang and then quickly subsides, finishing crisply with a pale malt and bitter grapefruit rind aftertaste. A great blend of classic pale malt balance with the trendy West coast hop characteristics, this one manages to come off fairly balanced even though there is nothing predominantly notable in the malt profile. Hop dominant for sure, but not in an overwhelming sense.

M: Lighter bodied with average carbonation, this brew goes down smooth and easy with a slight bit of chewiness. Very drinkable and easy on the stomach.

O: To my own surprise, this is only the second brew I've had from Bear Republic and I've yet to be disappointed. This one came across quite as advertised and I couldn't be happier, really. For the style, this is about as flavorful and drinkable as you can get. I'd certainly come back for more. Cheers!

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Photo of 57md
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light cloudy copper with over a finger of head that dissipated steadily until it was reduced to a thin film. The nose has both fruity and hoppy notes. The taste pretty much follows the nose.

This is an excellent example of a style that is too often overlooked. Given a choice between this APA and a thin “session” IPA, I would take this every day of the week.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub – Healdsburg, CA
06/12/14 - Served in a full Pint glass

A: Sunburst look of goldenrod and peach with some slight hop haze through the body. Half finger of stubborn ivory cream rests over top. Nice broken tracks of sticky lace running all the way down the glass.

S: Lots of toasted bready pale malt character on the nose followed by some very floral hops. Vibrantly perfumed with some citrus fruit undertones.

T: The toasty pale malt stands firm in the flavor as well delivering lots of freshly baked bread notes while remaining only slightly sweet. Integrated are some delicate hop flavors that emerge very floral like. Has me thinking Columbus hops here. I get some lesser notes of pine and tangerine as well. Not super bitter at all with a really nice balance across the board. Finishes dry and crisp with only a slight hoppy linger. Very easy on the lips.

M: Moderately lighter body with a nice even consistent carbonation pop. Dry and crisp in the finish with a light resinous linger.

D: A great easy sessions APA and quite possibly an instant classic for me…fits so well into the current BR lineup. Will be grabbing more of this one once it finally hits distro to SoCal.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass at Estelle's in Boston.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pale orange color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, pale, and toasted malts.

Taste: Same as above. Faint hops with mild bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, light bodied, medium carbonation, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice and enjoyable pale ale. I could revisit this again.

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Grand Am from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.