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Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale

Red ales are generally moderate, middle-of-the-road beers, but not this one. Bear Republic describes Red Rocket Ale as "a bastardized Scottish style red ale." Make that a pumped-up red ale, with a very reddish amber color and levels of maltiness and alcohol (6.8%) more typical of a bock. (Together with the fact that the beer is bottle-conditioned, the maltiness makes for a big creamy head too.) On top of all that, it has IPA levels of hops -- the label admits to something over 65 IBU (international bittering units) -- and a sweet caramel aftertaste.

In short, this is not a beer for absent-minded drinking; it aggressively demands your attention. Food-wise, it might go with pot roast or a Flemish beef carbonnade. Basically, though, it's a beer for when you want to know you're really drinking a beer.

-- Charles Perry

Style: A powerhouse ale, highly malty and hoppy with a caramel note in the finish.

Where to find it: Available at Beverages & More stores, www.bevmo.com; Beverage Warehouse in L.A., (310) 306-2822, www.beverage; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463 or (800) 331-3005, www.hitimewine.net; and Red Carpet Wine in Glendale (800) 339-0609, www.redcarpetwine.com.

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