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Humulus Lager - The Bruery

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Humulus Lager
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151 Reviews
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Reviews: 151
Hads: 980
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 9.26%
Wants: 183
Gots: 38 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Pilsner |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: vacax on 08-02-2009

India Pale Lager, but closer to Imperial Pilsner than IPA, according to the brewery.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 151 | Hads: 980
Photo of pmarlowe
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Whole Foods Pasadena. Pint glass.

A: Pours a medium golden color with a half inch of very fine, sand colored head. Leads a wall of lacing on the glass. Looks beautiful.

S: Nice hoppy citrus and tropical notes, with caramel and crystal malt backbone. Slight sweetness. Almost a honey like aroma coming from the glass.

T: Lager yeast is offset with a nice hop kick, citrus and some herbal and floral notes, a little caramel and crystal malt underneath gives a hint of sweetness, finishing on the palate with moderate bitterness and not much flavor.

M: Medium-light body and medium-high carbonation with a nice bite.

O: A very good hoppy lager. Glad to see the Bruery with something approaching an IPA, but why don't they just brew this as an ale?

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Photo of GJ40
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Toronado in San Diego.

A - Golden and hazy with and a small white head. Not much lacing.

S - A very unique hop aroma that included a burst of spearmint along with some floral and citrusy scents.

T - Floral and citrusy hop flavors with a crisp, dry finish. There's a little spearmint in the flavor as well but not as much as in the aroma. There's not much bitterness though there's a tinge in the finish.

M - Creamy with a nice low carbonation.

D - I'm really glad I happened across this unique and flavorful beer.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Surprise find at McLadden's in Northampton.

Served in a pint glass, the pour is a darkish copper/brown with an off-white head. It retains pretty well throughout, just about dissipated by the end, with good lacing.

Smell is nice, big potent hops - definitely lots of citrus, grapefruit, earthiness. Some sweet and bready lager scent to it.

The taste is more well-rounded with more of a pilsner presence for sure. Good mix of sweet, almost buttery malts with some crackery malts, grain and bready tones. Hops are nice, not overpowering, and have decent complexity. A bit of a grassy tropical feel with citrus, grapefruit, lemon, earthy and some piny hops.

Mouthfeel feels a bit slick, could use more carbonation. Not much alcohol presence here, good balance of bitter hops and lager-y finish.

A nice beer that is an OG hoppy lager if I remember correctly. Enjoyable to drink, and one of the more balanced+interesting 'IPL's I've had. Hops are very flavorful but not overpowering.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright gold color, thin white foam head. Floral, citrus bouquet with west coast flair. Clean without much coming from the malts. Just a very hop forward smell.

The taste has an intense citrus bite with a grapefruit twang and melon sweetness. Quite bitter in the finish as the citrus kind of hangs for awhile. A nice presentation of hops but something is very one dimensional here. Good carbonation, the mouthfeel has a slight syrupy feel but is otherwise lighter and smooth.

Not sure if its because its not an ale, but this beer lacks complexity and the flavor begins to weigh heavily after while. Still a hoppy monster though and was glad to try it, but its perhaps a bit overrated.

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Photo of bump8628
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another fresh from the tap beer at the Bruery's tasting room, and this is certainly a beer that is sublime fresh.

Pours a hop-hazed gold with a lovely, pure white head of suds that sticks, clings, and clumps.

Mega-hoppy all around, this is essentially a big-ass West Coast IPA brewed with a lager yeast and some rice. I'd argue that the yeast and rice is just a way for The Bruery to claim this isn't an IPA, and I guess it technically isn't, but I compare it to the best that Russian River and the other great West Coasters are throwing out there. And quite frankly they can call it whatever the hell they want when it's this good.

Pine, citrus, the intense perfume of flowers; all the usual American hop suspects are there and I'll spare any further description of their character since we all know what American hops are all about. They're everywhere. Leaping from the glass to my nose, coating my palate, and lingering into a long, smoothly bitter finish. Malt doesn't even dare to rear it's head. It knows its place. Clean, dry, and bitter on the finish. This could just as easily be Chico as a lager strain. I don't give a damn what yeast they use it's still an IPA that's all about the massive hoppiness in my book. Get it anytime you have the opportunity.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

32 oz growler from Whole Foods, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a hazy golden color, topped with an inch of creamy white head, has decent retention and leaves tons of lacing.

S- Wow, lots of fresh tropical fruits, mango, peach, grapefruit, and a floral, grassy hop aroma. This is easily the hoppiest lager I've ever smelled.

T- Similar to the aroma, lots of vibrant tropical fruit, although in the flavor these take slightly more of a backseat to the floral, grassy and dry hop flavors, a bit of earthy hop flavors as well. There's some sweet, cracker-like malt. The finish is dry with just mild bitterness.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, crisp and dry.

O- An excellent beer, has a really wonderful hop character and is highly-drinkable, one of the better hoppy beers, lager or otherwise, I've had in a while.

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Photo of WoostaBia
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a glass of this beer at the Nor'East Beer Garden in Provincetown, best lager I've ever had and top 10 beer. Awesome beer. Well balanced, perfectly hopped, sweet malt and corn backbone, crisp and refreshing. I wish this was available in 4 or 6 packs along the other distributed bruery beers.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bold and crisp golden body with a perfect head. Smell is piney and bright. Really sharp and biting bitterness with a really clean and crisp lager body. Reminds me off a bigger and more bitter Jack's Abby hoppy lager. Booze is hidden well behind grapefruit rind, light pine, and some mango.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2 liter growler from j47paco (thanks so much for the opportunity to try this!). Filled 2/23/14. Served in a Bruery snifter.

Pours a brilliant golden straw yellow with a fluffy two fingers of near white head. A hearty layer of froth persists and leaves large sheets of lace caked on the glass.

Crisp aromas of leafy orange citrus, piney hop resins and faint lemon with a mild cracker and dry yeast character.

Bright piney and cirtrus rind hops are the stars here. Pine, grapefruit rind, orange pulp, cracker, soft lemon, dry biscuit, pepper and mild yeast. Herbal and slightly grainy with no dicernable alcohol. Very easy to drink.

Fairly light body with healthy carbonation. Dry with a bitter finish of grapefruit skins, pine and crackery malt.

Further proof that lagers can be quite flavorful. Bitter and oily like an IPA with the refreshing, dry crispness of a pilsner. A hoppy departure from The Bruery's standard fare and good stuff in a very different way than what I typically drink by them.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to beachstrength49 for the growler.

Appearance: Perfectly clear dark gold. Head is bright-white, pillowy, and massive. Drops to a wispy cap with a thick collar with a tight bubble structure. Moderate carbonation on the pour. Some streaks of lacing.

Smell: Pine, crisp light malt. Some underlying bready and earthy notes. A hint of sweetness. Citrus pushes through adding some grapefruit. Loaded with resinous pine. Oily and bitter. A touch of yeast. Deeply floral with a small hint of spiciness in the back. A bit juicy. Iffy retention.

Taste: Crisp clean pale malt. Nice lager yeast finish on the back. Hoppy and bitter. Oily pine lingers. Bitter pine needle. Big push of floral hops with a backing spicy earthiness. A solid depth to the hops. Malts are lightly sweet with some caramelized malts on the back. Some tropical elements in the back, mostly pineaplle. Slight bready malt through the middle. Mint builds a bit with each sip and as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body. Moderate carbonation. Clean and easy drinking.

Overall: A solid ode to the hop.

A bit of a restrained beer from The Bruery. It's in that hoppy lager vein and they did it well. Relatively easy to knock back a few glasses, but the ABV creeps up quick. Definitely a solid summer beer.

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Photo of richj1970
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured on draft at Public house in Las Vegas.

A: Light honey yellow and crystal clear. Big three finger head leaving heavy lacing that covered the glass.

S: Floral hops with a touch of grain aroma. Lager yeast is barely detectable in the nose.

T: Pine, and light citrus. Lots of hop goodness.

M: Light body. Steady bubbles even 10 minutes after pour.

O: Very nice, and very easy drinking. This drinks almost like an IPA but with a slightly different mouthfeel.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the bruery
Was not impressed and my notes reflected that until I got back and read the description... I am reviewing this with the consideration that it is more an IPL than an imperial pilsner

Pours a pale hazy yellow golden colour. A nice foamy white head. Looks pretty solid.

Smells hoppy and earthy. Some nice light grassiness on the nose. There is a wheaty yeastiness on the nose that I am not a fan of.

Tastes light and hopy. The earthy, grassy undertones are nice but the hops don't meld well with the beer. There is an awkwardness to this beer that I'm not pleased with. Lagery yeast flavours. Orange, lemon, maybe some other citrus on the tongue. The flavour profile is interesting but unbalanced

Solid mouthfeel. Well carbonated.
Overall the beer has a lot of potential it just feels really rough around the edges to me

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Map Room served in a tulip.

A- pours gold with a 2" thick white head. Huge rings of lacing that coat the glass.

S-bread, honey, lemon, citrus rind

T- pale malts, light honey, bitter citrus, some sourdough.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very creamy feel.

O- excellent pilsner and I am not a fan of pils but would drink this.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, bright golden color with a large, white head that hangs around for a bit. Scent is very hoppy for a beer that labels itself as a lager. Tons of citrus and pine. Taste is extremely piney... drinks a lot like an IPA (don't really have the palate to say what is an ale and what is a lager). There is a ton of fresh hop flavor...absolutely delicious. Nice and bitter! Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this is my first encounter with this lager. Maybe after I have it a bunch of times, I will be able to distinguish why this is not a hoppy pale ale or an IPA. All I know is that it was yummy as shit.

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Photo of beagle75
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at Beachwood BBQ.

A: Clear, medium golden color with over one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Powerful juicy grapefruit citrus fills the nose. Additional floral and lesser tropical fruit notes round out the intensely hoppy scent.

T: Begins dry, with juicy grapefruit flesh and moderate citric acidity that matches the smell exactly. The middle sees a gradual tapering-off of the hop aromatics, with whiffs of lemon and melon developing then vanishing. Malt is never able to emerge and distinguish itself amongst the swirl of hop qualities. The finish is moderately bitter but very clean, with fairly intense grapefruit peel still representing the hops component.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and acidic--but not uncomfortably so--on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Unlike most of the amped-up American-brewed pilsners that come and go, The Bruery's Humulus Lager chooses to turn its back on the traditional noble cultivars of hops in favor of our own pungent kinds. The result is nothing short of amazing, with very focused citrusy hops on point from start to finish. It turns out that the pale lager base is a great vehicle for showcasing such qualities, which is what the enthusiasts of traditional, full-flavored pilsners have been telling the rest of the beer world all along.

As an aside, I had the opportunity to try Alpine's new imperial pilsner the last time I traveled to their pub, and while a good beer, it was not able to approach the seamless intensity of this beer. This beer smells and tastes like it was brewed by Alpine, such is the mastery over the hops demonstrated here.

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Photo of Etan
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly on tap at a new local place.

A: Nice mellow orange gold. S: Big citrusy punch, a bit of biscuity malt. T: citrusy with a grassy edge, followed by smooth breadiness. Yum.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark yellow wit a sticky white head

S-wow! hops and grapefruit! so strong and beautiful!

T-comes in with a very bitter taste of lager-like grains. ends with a good taste of grapefruit and grains. great, but more subtle than the smell.

M-creamy low carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-one of the best lagers i have ever had, including all pilsners. this is just great. its something i want again...and again.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

6oz pour into wide mouth short glass at Fireworks Pizza

A-Pours clear golden with a large creamy beige head that dissipates slowly with nice lacing.

S-Aroma is light pine, citrus, Passionfruit, guava, musk melon.

T-Flavor follows, light sweet and medium bitter, fruity, tropical, a bit dank. Pretty nice finish with lingering tropical bitterness.

M-Medium body, oily mouthfeel. Nice carbonation. Very clean

O-Impressive imperial India pale lager. Would really enjoy in the summer!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at the bruery, what a treat this beer is. It really drinks like a fresh hop IPA or pale ale but has a nice dry feel and clean finish that remind me of its fermentation.

Pours a nice gold hue with some orange highlights. Amazing ring of foamy head and lacing, nice look. The smell and taste have an amazing balance of resinous and piney hops along with a dryer fresh bread malt and a hint of subtle kitchen spice. It's well composed and very well balanced in its palate of flavors in both nose and taste. Definitely some citrus rind too.

The feel is dry at the end but very juicy up front. Altogether an extremely good beer.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery, poured into taster. Hazy yellow in appearance with thin white head that settles to a persistent film. Leaves some lacing. Aroma is hop-forward with citrus, floral, and pine. There is a little grain, too. Hops carry the day in taste, too, with a moderate bitterness that is less than expected based on the nose. A thin ribbon of sweet malts is perceptible in the background. Nothing shocking in the palate: medium body, crisp texture, average carbonation, dry bitter finish.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head that has really good retention. The head is a pure cotton white while the body is a hazy yellowish orange (grapefruit) that looks a lighter orange (weak orange juice) when held up to the light. Substantial lacing which is basically sheeting.

Nose- Mostly citrus notes at first- orange and lemon. Not very strong but still quite nice. Some grapefruit and a slight mustiness/armpit. Very nice but subdued. Warm and inviting.

Taste- Very strong (initial) mix of grapefruit, orange, and matchstick. Some hints of tropical fruits. Very hop forward. At this moment, I would regard this as a DIPA if I didn't know otherwise. Pine and woody resin. No real malt bill except the spicy, slight grain of a pilsner malt. Properties which distinguish this from a DIPA: not as hoppy, slight spice that does not seem to come from the hop profile, and a nice dry finish. The finish tends to clean up the hops on the finish even despite the fact there is still some wood and resin on the finish. No indication of heat. Now that I read that the Bruery describes this as an IPL, I understand. Definitely a solid beer.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied with a lot of zip. Usually, I would consider the amount of carbonation to be a negative but it really works with this beer.

Drinkability- Delightful. Very easygoing. No heat. Six buck for a 12 oz. pour of the Bruery is pretty good. Crisp, refreshing with a nice dry finish.

Overall- Very solid beer. It's a very good representation of the style the brewery is trying to make but not the one BA classifies it as. Even though I went to Beermongers with the intention of having this one beer (and only one), I almost had another.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza Port - Bressi Ranch
Aug. 5th, 2013 – standard pint glass

A: Golden light-straw colored body with some minimal haze. Very thin brim of pure white foam bubbly remains for a few moments before subsiding to a crown and marking the glass with lace upon each swig.

S: Smells of grapefruit, orange, and some light evergreens with a mild tropical twist. The aromas take on a very floral nature. Real botanical. Malt is rather subdued and a nonfactor in the nose. Very pure, clean Lager yeast profile. A lovely fresh hop medley. Somewhat tame by IPA standards although forward by Lager comparisons

T: Flavors are grapefruit, citrus, peach, and tropical mango-like hops. I get a very distinct floral quality that is almost perfume like as well. It really seems to dominate. Haven’t quite experienced that with this brew before. Hoppy with no abrasive qualities. Rather a very smooth, well-rounded overall hop bitterness to the beer and the alcohol is incredible well masked. Malt is secondary. Very light dry cracker base and a super clean Lager yeast as well. Tasty and refreshingly hoppy. As to be expected.

M: Very light body with a nice spritzy carbonation and killer drying crisp lager finish. Very clean and slightly resinous with sticky hoppy oils.

D: Light, dry, crisp, and refreshingly hoppy this is a very drinkable lager and one I order whenever available. I will say this has been more on par with Sculpin or Pliny in my previous experiences. Found it to be a little less vibrant and a lot more floral here. I really want to score this higher. Perhaps next time will convince me.

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Photo of Treebs
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to luisc123 for this in a BIF I won. 64 oz. growler of this long time want served in a Brewery Vivant snifter.

A: Pours a solid gold color, slightly hazy, with a big pure white head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly down the glass with excellent retention. Sticky sheets of lace are left down the glass.

S: Light hoppy bitterness with a cracker malt profile. The lager yeast is present as well on the backend to remind you it's still a pilsner at heart.

T: Just like the nose. Generously hopped with a slghtl bitterness and fruitiness mixing with a sweet cracker malts. The lagery yeast is there again bring a light corny and popcorn flavor with a slight dank hop characteristic as well.

M: Light bodied with an insane drinkability. Nicely carbonated with a really smooth and slightly drying finish.

O: I really liked this beer a whole lot. Super drinkable with a great balance between the hops and the malt profile. The yeast profile was assertive enough to let you know it's still a pilsner which was great.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64 oz. growler into a tulip.

Humulus Lager pours a hazy bronze color with lighter golden edges where light shines through. A full and creamy head fills up the top of my glass with a firm pour. Nice head retention, and there is a bit of lace sticking to the sides of my glass.

The aroma is of sweet grains, orange and grapefruit hops, and a bit of lager yeast in the back. It smells more like a traditional IPA than it tastes, for sure.

With my very first taste of this beer I can sense the difference between this and any ale IPA. The lager yeast adds another character to the flavor, accentuating the hops in such a unique way. There is a little bit of genius in doing it this way. There is a little bit of honey and straw sweetness up front, but the flavor resides in the blast of bitterness that comes next. The hops come through with grapefruit and orange citrus, including a fair amount of pith and zest, with a little bit of pine on the back end. The hop combination is not unusual, but the way it is presented is, which makes this beer that much more interesting.

The dryness of the lager yeast is apparent for sure. The carbonation is bubbly and creamy, just barely on the full side. The body is right about where I expect it to be at 7.2% alcohol.

Overall I was impressed with this beer. Usually I feel that Bruery beers are overhyped and underwhelming, but I enjoyed the thought that was put into this beer's design. This is the type of beer where the total is definitely greater than the sum of the parts; the interaction between the lager yeast and the hops alone makes this beer worth trying.

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Photo of avaldivia
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at City Beer in San Francisco. Poured into an Tulip style glass.

A: Nice golden color with a thick head. Left very nice lacing.

S: Floral hop notes. Intensely citrusy and grapefruit like.

T: Wow. This was fantastic. The hops are intense but nicely balanced. Very floral. Just a hint of alcohol on the end, but rather nice. Perfect.

M: Palate was completely coated. Great carbonation.

O: If I am ever lucky to see this again, I will, without hesitation, order it.

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Humulus Lager from The Bruery
95 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.