Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Happy Camper IPA - Santa Fe Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Happy Camper IPAHappy Camper IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

152 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 152
Hads: 577
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 24.27%
Wants: 29
Gots: 117 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States | website

Style | ABV
American IPA | 6.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: indiapaleale on 08-18-2010

A classic beer for those beer lovers who love their hops, Happy Camper IPA will take the Pepsi Challenge (or IPA challenge, as we say in New Mexico) against any other pretenders to the throne. Was it divine providence that made this beer the king of the IPA world? Was it a tireless pursuit of glory? No, this IPA has a top-secret recipe to thank for its success, and this meticulously formulated combination of several different hops combined with a very specific brewing process give Happy Camper IPA a spicy, citric, and floral infusion of hop character, which is masterfully counterbalanced with the full-bodied maltiness characteristic of the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s distinctive beers.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 152 | Hads: 577
Photo of womencantsail
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby.

A: The beer pours a light cloudy golden-amber color with a big white head.

S: Really a nice grapefruit aroma to this. It's very dank. Tons of floral and spicy hops, too. There's just a mild pine and even less malt aroma. Who knew such a pungent IPA aroma could come from New Mexico?

T: Sort of a lackluster flavor, unfortunately. There's still a bit of grapefruit and orange peel, but the flavor isn't so intense. There's some stale bread and a light malt sweetness, as well. A few hints of floral hops and a light bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

O: I thought the nose was awesome, but the flavor just really fell off.

 684 characters

Photo of chocosushi
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can->Hoegaarden Glass
A ~ GREAT looking can. Pours well with a Golden-Amber-Brown color with an off-white head that dissipates in craters. Lacing becomes sticky very fast.

S ~ Little bits of everything in small doses: pine, mango, pale fruit & flowers. Not the most intense nose, but pleasant.

T ~ Grapefruit Peel & Flower Petals on a sweet backdrop of bready malt. This is followed by a bit of pepper, touch of sap. Dried peaches upon warming buried within the malt.

M ~ Feel is very balanced with hops that are both spicy & floral. Very flavorful beverage. Fresh & clean taste throughout, even after warming.

D ~ Mmmmm...at 8 dollars a six pack (OF CANS!) this beer is a steal. The can wears its company logo well...very well.
Seek out for a quality IPA with a decent price tag.

 795 characters

Photo of 2xHops
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The can was poured into a non-standard pint glass, but I gotta work with what I have. The appearance looked very good with a healthy foam rising and dissipating fairly quickly. It had copper color that looked lively.

The taste was the part that surprised me. While the beer has 6.6% ABV, it does not taste as hoppy as I thought it would with alcohol coming through strongly as you will see in other IPAs. I could taste the hops coming alive, but it isn't as coarse.

The mouthfeel is soft and long, and I feel like it's contradiction for an IPA. I had envisioned it to be more strong, but it still has the signature bitter aftertaste that lingers and lingers.

Overall, I'd buy this again. I think it's a good example of an IPA, especially when it comes in cans. It'll be a great addition to anybody's boating trips or even my tubing excursion I'm taking soon.

 864 characters

Photo of endincolorado
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, deep-amber with a decent off-white head that settles quickly. Adequate lacing.

Fragrant, floral hops up front with some fruit and a nice, caramelly malt to balance.

Flavors are a refreshing blend of sweet, caramel malt and some bitter, piney hops.

This one has a surprisingly full body with a nice amount of carbonation.

A well-balanced, sessionable IPA overall- and one delivered in a pretty awesome looking can.

 424 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

IPA in a can. CAN it be great? Let's hope so. Dark orange/copper color with minimal haze. The head is a bit thin leaving a ring and spotty lace. The nose has hoppy bite but also a strong balance of doughy, caramel malt. It smells like there is some alcohol strength too, perhaps I could be fooled into thinking this was a barleywine by the aroma alone.

The flavor is just going in too many directions. The hop bitterness is intense but I don't get enough of the grassy or piney flavors from them. The malt balance is hefty, bordering on too sweet for my liking. The finish has some astringence and it makes the beer seem too alcoholic though that's not really the case. The body is light but not too thin, and the carbonation is appropriate.

With the abundant competition out there for the style I would think a brewer would put some more effort into crafting a solid IPA. This one is very average and the finish was a little too harsh. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad beer, it's again just that I have too many better IPA's to compare it to. Moving on...

 1,061 characters

Photo of kmatlack
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 6 pack of cans at Mr. G's in Plano. Poured into my Stone "Hoppy Fathers Day" pint glass.

A- Pours an attractively clear orange yellow with a half finger of off-white head that dissipates into a very thin head that sits nicely on top of the beer.

S- A super bold hoppy aroma on the nose. Pine, citrus, grassy, earthy, more pine, sweet malts, candy, caramel. It just smells fresh. Awesome.

T- Nice and sweet malts up front, soon followed by an onslaught of piney, resiny hops, very well balanced. Makes me want to be outside. Even my burps taste good. Only downside is a lingering bitterness, not ideal.

M- Smooth, oily, almost slick mouthfeel. Not over carbonated, easy drinking.

O- This is a great IPA. Love that it comes in cans, more breweries should use them. No date on the can but it was super fresh. Bravo Santa Fe, Bravo. IDK why people are giving this a B, solid A in my book. Im glad ive got 5 more.

 924 characters

Photo of LeafCutter
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an off-white creamy head, about two finger widths, and leaves nice off white lacing.

Smell - a sweet caramel nose joined with a great mild/slightly citrus hop aroma.

Taste - Bitterness is right on. For the hoppy earthy tones, citrus aftertaste the mild caramel sweetness, it's a very well balanced taste. Carbonation doesn't appear to be there, but the mouthfeel of carbonation is very nice and bubbly for an IPA, and leaves a very fresh feeling in your mouth.

Overall- I would buy this beer again. My only wish is that it was a little cheaper. It has great, fresh hop flavor without the harsh bitterness. To me, this is an IPA that you would use on non-IPA lovers, and turn them into one.. Extremely well balanced, slightly sweet, good malty backbone, and wonderful hop flavor/aroma, finishing you with a citrus freshness in your mouth, begging for another sip.

 873 characters

Photo of Fenris244
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into my stone imperial pint glass

pours a dark amber, thin off white head has some incredible retention, good clarity, some strings of bubbles are apparent

sweet and citrusy in the nose.

very balanced good orangey sweetness upfront balanced by a kick of lemon peel like hop bitterness, nothing much lingers.

Very light in body, crisp and refreshing

overall, great summertime ipa just enough bitterness to be a satisfying ipa while keeping it tame enough to be had in the texas heat

 493 characters

Photo of allengarvin
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprisingly nice pour... The beer is a nice mahogany amber, and the head really develops nicely, becomes a solid-inch thick crown of froth that is slow to dissipate. The nose is not as exciting. It provides some moderate woody, rosin-like hop notes, but not much else. Flavor is a better mix, with sweet malt vying with piney hops. Bitterness is actually not too high for an IPA, allowing the toasty, lightly caramel malt to make a nice showing. The body is a tad thin, but otherwise a pretty good beer.

 504 characters

Photo of coldriver
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into a Sam Adams glass. Pours a deep amber with persistent head and lacing. Very strong floral and pine hop boquet. Taste is tending more towards pine than citrus. Adequate carbonation with bitter oily hop finish, which is a bit harsh on the tongue (in a good way...). Overall a solid IPA which I would have again.

 331 characters

Photo of LXIXME
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Medium head falls pretty quick leaving a nice lacing with a small biscuity head in the middle of the glass, above a clear golden bronze colored IPA

Heavy hops smell accented with pine and citrus, with a light sweetness coming through.

Citrus and pine hops heavy taste, this is why I drink IPAs, heavy rich hops taste, with just a slight bit of a sweet malt following the initial hoppiness.

A medium bodied beer with a dry slightly bitter hop aftertaste.

A damn good IPA, I think I'll have a couple more of these, later.

 523 characters

Photo of amcmaho1
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one many times before, just never got around to reviewing it. Poured from a can, devoid of a "best by" date, into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Was it an IPA or an amber ale? Definitely seems dark for the style, lending itself towards a more orange to oragnish red colored body. Thick, frothy off white head with nice retention, as well as plenty of sticky lacing.

Smell: Immediately, I detect lots of pine resin from the hops with soft floral and spice notes. LOTS of malt on the nose, some definite sweetness and bread notes on the nose along with some astringent alcohol. I'm wondering how fresh the can is, because the hops certainly seem subdued somewhat, though the integration with the malt profile is nice. It almost seems to me to be the IPA for the non or only occasional IPA drinker.

Taste: Lots of malt at the beginning of the taste, followed by alcohol and then a resinous bitterness. The pine notes from the hops are there, and rather clean. Really pronounced bitterness here actually, darkened by the malt, and bordering on spicy or earthy. The alcohol is noticeable, and almost seems bigger than it actually is. The bitterness certainly lingers too, with some bready notes as well.

Mouthfeel: Really comfortable carbonation keeps the beer from feeling overly thick. It's pretty dry and drying, as i notice with more time in between sips.

Overall: This IPA is really differentiated from other NM ipa's, and it really has qualities which separate it from the pack, so to speak. Where as Marble's IPA is more dominant in the citrus and floral arena, this beer's hop profile is more earthy and spicy, and works well with a bigger malt presence. It's nice for some variety here in the land of enchantment, and the fact that the beer is canned attests to it's transport-ability. Worth going out of your way to get it fresh though...

 1,863 characters

Photo of JMad
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a pint glass...

The beer is a light murky copper/ brown color with at thin soapy off white head. It smells heavily of pine, grapefruit and sweet malt. The taste is very bitter up front with pine, citrus peel, with a hint of ginger and sweet malt. It is light/ medium with a silky carbonation and a super dry finish. This is an excellent IPA that hang with the best.

 384 characters

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a shockingly dark golden apple juice hue looking more like an amber. crystal clear with a weak half-finger crisp white head that fades quickly, leaving only a dab of lacing.

aroma is decently hoppy, sweet, with a good kick of malt on the tail end. not bad, but uninspired.

taste is decent with a full malt backbone. tastes dark and rich. herbal green hops with a good bit of bitterness. even and fairly balanced.

mouth is a touch on the thick side, a little slick, with some fine but hot carbonation that gets a bit prickly.

all in all, an interesting IPA. it looks dark, tastes like a rich, heavy, IPA. surprisingly, but definitely delicious. I'd love to drink a few more. not the best, and not the best IPA by traditional style guidelines, but I like it!

 769 characters

Photo of GregSVT
3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz can into a pint glass

A: Pours orange or dark gold with a white head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose has aromas of pine and grapefruit with notes of caramel malt and a bit of toffee.

T: The taste is piney hops at first but the big malt bill on this one also shows it's face in the form of bready malt and an odd sweet aftertaste I can't quite place.

M: The feel is actually thicker than I think it should be. IPAs should be crisp and refreshing and this is medium bodied and creamy.

O: Not a bad IPA but not something I will be drinking again. It's worth a try if you like malt heavy versions of the style.

 659 characters

Photo of UTCengOwl
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got a sixer of this while looking for some Austin Beerworks cans. Wish I would have had the Fire Eagle. Scrrrreee! Ok, but not great. Served this last one in a Bud signature glass.

The beer pours with a small but dense dirty white head. Leaves good lacing, too. However, I find the body to be a lot darker than I want. The mix of these properties still leaves it above average.

The nose is piney... but not exactly pine. Slightly biting and slightly off relative to pure pine IPA. Also has some breadiness. Meh.

The tastes along the same lines. Not distinctly bitter, but e pine turns me off a bit. Almost caustic. However, the flavors are somewhat muted and that helps it. Decently drinkable and I wasn't dreading the next can... but gimme ABW any day over this.

 766 characters

Photo of firkinhophead
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

attractive looking can from State Line Liquors in El Paso.

poured into an opaque plastic cup, so can;t comment much on appearance. Nice, creamy head with pretty good lacing.

aroma is piney and floral, with some citrus notes. Some yeasty biscuit in the background.

Full hop flavor on the front, with only a hint of sweetness. Grapefruit dominates, with some pine and dried fruit. Apricot notes, from the malt maybe? Finishes dry and minty.

Medium-bodied and creamy, with a sharp bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Bitterness lingers and borders on astringent, but stays in a good place.

Puckering and refreshing. A nice treat and a no-brainer for camping.

 664 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big snort of Cascade hops in the mix. Rich and creamy mouthfeel. Rich with malt, but the big story is hops and more hops. Rather light bodied. Flowery, just a touch of resin, and fragrant. Not really that bitter, but more hops than I know what to do with. Nice appearance with a good topper on the amber brew. Clean and spicy.

If you're looking for a great hop blast without the tonsil curling bitter end, this is a very forgiving IPA.

 436 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a six pack of cans at Mile High Wine & Spirits on a recent trip. I have an unabashed love for canned IPA's, so this was an exciting find. Split the first can with the wife, stuffed four in the golf bag and drank with SteepH20 on a recent visit, so all that remains in this lone yellow soldier. Here goes...

Poured into my Duvel tulip, Happy Camper is copper colored with an inch thick white crown that subsides to some spotted surface matter. Plenty of tiny bubbles evident when back lit by the still prevalent summer sun and some spotted cling.

Smells earthy and herbal with a healthy blast of spearmint. Touch of citrus becomes blanketed by the biscuit and sweet caramel.

Up front is tangy bitterness and baby aspirin. Alcohol bite comes quickly and early and is a bit much for a beer this small, relatively speaking. Middle is doughy, malty, and creamy. Again there is a slight underpinning of citrus here, but it's summarily gobbled. Earthy, herbal, piney finish with the lingering alcohol bite round things out.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a prickle of carbonation on the tongue and a bitterness that dances a brief ditty on the tongue and fades slowly but lingers.

Overall, it's a good but not great IPA. I wouldn't go crazy trying to obtain it again, but if available I'd purchase it and bring it golfing, camping, or to introduce to friends and family.

 1,384 characters

Photo of rsdaugherty
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can into pint glass
A – 1+ finger slightly yellow head, full glass of foam doesn’t immediately recede and leaves very nice lacing, my definition of the color amber, crystal clear… A fine looking beer 4.5
S – Pine & citrus hop nose leads, slight florals, notes of the sweet bready malt background, weak caramel 3.5
T – Pine & citrus hops lead, malts are weak but balance this brew enough, good drinkability 4
M – Low carbonation, perhaps some hop oils, medium body 3.5
O – A good & crowd pleasing IPA, nothing outstanding but I’d also take a sixer of this to a party 4

 583 characters

Photo of superspak
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can. Pours slightly cloudy orange amber color with a nice dense 2.5 finger off white head with great retention that reduces to a thick lacing cap that lasts. Some very nice lacing coats the glass as you drink as well. Aromas of orange, grapefruit, pine, caramel, and spice. Nice aromas with good strength, standard IPA stuff here. Taste of orange, grapefruit, pine and caramel. Big sweetness on the front with a decently strong bitterness on the finish that lasts with pine, caramel, and citrus flavor. Medium carbonation and body, very creamy and smooth as well, very drinkable. No alcohol in the taste or finish. Overall an excellent well rounded IPA. I would pick this up if it was readily available, perhaps for some camping?

 738 characters

Photo of crusian
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can from local bottle shop. Rating by style of an American ipa... not a double or imperial.
Pours a nice light amber with about a finger of head... nice lacing ring...
Nose has some bubble gum, citrus, grass, hay and pine... in that order...it actually has all the features of american hops. Can't say i have actually had an aipa that has all of them on the nose so distinctly. That being said, it is not the best smelling aipa I have had, just has all those distinct odors. It is very nice though.
Taste has a nice malt body and a lot of pine. The pine is the most prevalent, and has a hint of citrus underneath it. Slick oily mouthfeel.
Rating this as a regular ipa, it is really great. not huge like a double or imperial, but this is one of the best aipas I have had. Amazing they can cram this much into 6.6%

 813 characters

Photo of Sweasty
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another canned craft offering. I always welcome new canned options. Happy Camper pours a nice crystal clear bronze. Things are topped off by a healthy two fingers of bone white head. Head settles to a ring. Plenty of lace is left in its wake.

The aroma immediately strikes as hoppy. A nice herbal hop nose shines. Resiny pine notes hit first. Behind the pine some herbal mint shows up. Some light grapefruity citrus rounds out the hops. Beneath the hops some light malt notes pop. Light caramel hits first. That's followed by some bready notes. All in all an enticing IPA nose.

Much like the nose, the taste is very herbal. Strong resiny pine strike first. The mint in the nose is more pronounced on the palate. The grapefruit is also stronger. The hops have a nice drying quality, encouraging you to take another sip. Beneath the hops a light malt shows up. A light caramel sweetness and some breadiness try to balance things out. The hops win out. The finish is further drying with a long lingering herbal bitterness.

Happy camper is a nice medium bodied brew, packed with a nice crisp carbonation.

Happy camper is a nice easy drinking hop fix. The herbal hops offer a nice switch up from the citrus bombs I usually prefer. This IPA may not be earth shattering. Nonetheless I would gladly pack this along on the next camping trip.

 1,336 characters

Photo of lonestar4lunch
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bit darker than your basic pale ale. Very little head out of the can but still looks strong. The aroma is noticeable right away of citrus and a light white bread.

The flavor is a bit stronger than what I was expecting. I am really enjoying the balance of hops and malt in this IPA. The piney citrus does not overwhelm but the sweet malts follow in form very nicely. I have found that I really enjoy IPA's that allow the malts to make a presence, not just straight hop bite.

The carbonation is just right and this was a very easy drinking IPA. Simple but yet very good.

 580 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to buffs9 for a rather elusive state tick. Can split with another like minded ticker.

A: Amber gold orange hue. Decent finger of cream colored head. Moderate retention. Soapy lace lace left behind.

S: Solid hop profile on this one. I could take in the citrus notes from my glass and it wasn't even near my nose. Grapefruit and fresh cut pineapple. Smells solid.

T: The flavors were a bit underwhelming. Some of the citrus is there but it's mostly acrid pine and a good dose of malt. Fairly clean but it a has a slight wet grass bitterness that seems out of place.

M: Medium body with an average amount of carbonation.

O: Overall bark was better than the bite. I could see lugging a load of these to the campsite though. As the name would suggest.

 765 characters

Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.