Hoppy Birthday - Alpine Beer Company

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Hoppy Birthday
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BA SCORE
98
world-class

1,320 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,320
Reviews: 193
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 7.88%
Wants: 746
Gots: 132 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.25% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 05-24-2010

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 1,320 | Reviews: 193
Photo of jaasen64
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

64oz growler poured into Surly stein (0.5L pour). Thanks Tom (airfoil) for this one!

A- Pours a slightly brownish translucent golden with about two fingers of white foamy head that has good retention and slowly recedes to a thin layer leaving foamy lacing along the sides. Nice consistent rising carbonation.

S- Floral hops, pine, a bit of grapefruit, grains, bready malts. Definitely fairly hoppy but a nice balance with the malts.

T- Floral hops with a little bit of bitterness, mango, a bit of pine, some grains, finishes with some bready malts, and a light lemony bitterness.

M- Medium bodied, very high drinkability, nice carbonation.

O- This was a damn good APA, one of the best I've had but definitely not the best and slightly overrated in my opinion. Nice balance, decent amount of flavor, and very high drinkability, but I still prefer some of Alpine's other offerings (Duet is still my favorite). I would drink this again, but I wouldn't go out of my way obtaining it.

Photo of kojevergas
3.97/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz growler acquired at Alpine two days ago. Served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given the brewery and high ratings. Price was somewhere around $20.00 for the growler.

Served after a warming period after its removal from the refrigerator; I like my hoppy beers cold but this one was a bit too cold. Poured into the glass from straight above because the weight of the growler prevented me from safely side-pouring. Retention will probably be a bit more pronounced than usual.

Let me note that I'm reviewing this as a pale ale, because that's what it is according to Alpine's blog. From the blog post dated 12/04/12:

"Today is the release of the world’s most celebrated beer “Hoppy Birthday.” Available for growler fills and on draught in the pub. This is technically a Pale Ale, but we make it like an IPA, with lots of hoppy goodness from hops like Citra and Nelson. 5.25% abv"

Not an IPA, but brewed like one. Don't shoot the messenger.

Paired with hard pretzels from Costco (all my money goes to beer, okay?).

A: Pours a four finger fluffy frothy beige colour head of great cream, good thickness, soft texture, and great retention (~6 minutes). Body colour is a pale transparent yellow-gold. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. The appearance is a bit lighter than I'd like for the style, but the head makes up for it. I'm excited to try this.

Sm: Nectary hops: citrus, grapefruit, some oily hop lacing, and above all floral character. Quite fresh, refreshing, and inviting. Very pleasant and clean. An above average strength aroma; mild in strength. Some lemongrass. Pale malts.

T: Nectary floral quality. Some unexpected bitterness just on the climax, but it's very quickly disguised by a marvelous floral hop character with tinges of light fruit esters - certainly a hint of lemon. Lemongrass constitutes a large part of the finish, though it's very clean and filtered; a witbier this is not. Some oily hop notes weave throughout the structure, emerging most notably just before the climax before dipping back down again. Very fresh and clean, aiding its refreshing character. No yeasty notes here, nor any alcohol. Pale malts lend body without intruding on the hop build, yet still the malts balance the hops without ever letting the flavour get too sweet. Grapefruit right on the climax, then it bleeds through the finish and remains through the aftertaste. I do get some subtle blood orange as a buried note, but now that I notice it it's there on the climax as well; very subtly executed. That's impressive. The balance is impeccable. Pine in the second act is also subtly done; I'm noticing more and more complexity as I search the flavour profile for new notes to latch onto - and there are plenty. Grassy sure, but the grains are all clean here, giving it a crisp body. What began as a seemingly simple brew is quickly revealing to me my own inability to intially detect its subtle qualities. God, that's refreshing. Some tangerine buried in the second act. Masterfully put together.

It's worth noting that the bitterness isn't fully concealed, which is a minor gripe but an important one.

Mf: Slightly undercarbonated, which I partly attribute to the growler. It does lend the beer a refreshing feel absent of the sharp bite of many complex IPAs (not that I'm alleging that this is an IPA). Smooth and wet, as it should be. Nectary. Not creamy, but then that wouldn't suit it. Thickness is perfect. Complements the flavour profile quite well. Perhaps it could be a bit more crisp and luscious. Good - if understated - presence on the palate. Delightfully buttery - an attribute that really does well alongside the nectary feel. Rather soft, aiding its drinkable refreshing quality. Remarkable.

Dr: The ABV is nowhere to be found, but then I didn't expect it to be. A delightfully drinkable pale ale that is amongst the best I've had. Would pair well with damn near any food. I'll have no issues finishing this growler, but I will regret it there's no more. I never heard any hype around this one, but I think it's a delightful pale ale. Certainly incredibly refreshing. They pack a remarkable amount of flavour into it while maintaining balance and keeping ABV low; that's incredibly difficult to accomplish. Another home run from Alpine. I'd recommend this to friends. A fantastic session beer (if you're not a 4% or less panzy, that is).

High B+

Photo of popery
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice medium orange. Fairly cloudy. Nice big white head. Lots of fine foam, which leaves a whole bunch of lacing behind. Aroma is orange, tangerine and pineapple. Lots of nice hop flavor bouncing around. I'm not getting any malt character, really. Smells like a nice clean yeast. A touch of mineral water flavor. Lots of hop flavor in the taste. Very dry. Just a hint of biscuity malt. Medium bitter. The dryness amps up that bitterness some in the finish and I'm getting some solid grapefruit pith and pine resin. Tasty stuff. Very refreshing. Not quite as bright as some hoppy pales/session IPAs. Mouthfeel is light. Prickly carbonation. Good hop bite.

Photo of iadler
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to hamilton23 for sending this growler. Much appreciated, Steve! From notes on Sept. 10.

A- Pours a translucent gold with a two finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing behind.

S- Tons of citrus and tropical fruit with grapefruit rind, blood orange, lemon, , mango and peach as well as pine needles and a bit of biscuit malt at the finish.

T- Follows the aroma with grapefruit, blood orange, mango and pine needles with just the smallest amount of biscuit malt at the finish.

M- Medium carbonation and a light mouthfeel that finished a bit dry.

O- Just an amazing amount of flavor for being a 5.25% beer. Extremely drinkable and one I would happy sipping on all day.

Photo of Florida9
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: clear, deep golden yellow in color. Forms a small to moderate sized white head that reduces down to a fairly thick and bubbly surface coating. Leaves some moderate lacing on the way down.

S: Aroma is predominantly of Citra and citrus hops mixed with toasty grains and a weedy dankness.

T: lighter bodied, but still full flavored. Toasty grains and citrus, slightly earthy, and a mild herbal quality. Not dry, but not sweet either. Medium finish.

M: On the the lighter side. Medium carbonation. Mild bitterness

O: This is a very fine beer. Very well balanced, great flavors, hoppy, yet not at all overdone. Quite drinkable. Glad to hav tried it.

Photo of tewaris
4.23/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So, this happened. Thanks Miller! Growler shared with a few people the day it landed from San Diego.

Good clarity, light amber color, good head and retention. Aroma is weed and pine mostly, right on. Tastes clean and bitter... and clear. Nothing is overpowering about this beer and it drinks very very easy. Finishes dry and feels crisp with ample carbonation in spite of the serving type.

4.25/5

Photo of stakem
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Super big thanks to BdubleEdubleRUN for hooking me up with this surprise growler as an extra in our most recent box exchange. Really Brett, you are the man. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears a perfectly clear color of golden. A rich finger of white creamy head sits atop and slowly fades leaving an entire white wall of lace sticking to the glass. Rising bubbles of carbonation maintain a thin film across the top. A light swirl revives a finger of yellow stained head back to the surface.

The aroma of this brew is ridiculous. It is an assault of hoppiness inside the nostrils. Big dank hop aspect has an herbaceous feel that leans towards pulp, pine, lemony citrus, more fruit and floral quality. There is a bit of catty elements at times and a bit of cheese when the glass is swirled. Not saying the cheese is a bad thing, it is just a unique phenomenon that ive run across before with brews that have a big dank aroma. Despite all the herbal components going on in this aroma, some smells still bring out that fruity and floral aspect that makes you think for a second that this might be a sweet brew.

The taste is just as herbal as you might think based off of the aroma. It is weedy with some catty notes and a bit of pine. There are rindy and pulp elements of fruit that are more citrus and almost lemony. A fine toasty grain character is hiding under the hops but it provides no sweetness, instead its a toasty backing that the hops take hold of and bring out lots of herbal flavoring. The aftertaste is a bit grassy and hints towards a slight tingle and warmth of alcohol that mix with lemon and pine to create a soothing almost menthol-like finish.

This is a medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a grossly exaggerated example of an over-hopped pale ale (in a good way!) The modest level of carbonation gives way to a light body that at times is watery in a way that does not distract from the experience but increases it's overall drink-ability. I am pretty sure if this was made available to me on a regular basis I would pound it. The depth of flavor encapsulated here is impressive, I thoroughly enjoyed how much hop flavor it had without being excessively bitter for an APA. Very well done yet again Alpine and thank you a ton for sharing this Brett!

Photo of tarheels86
3.98/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Growler at Woodshop 7. Not exactly mega fresh since this hasn’t been brewed in awhile, but CP filled and immediately fridged by a Woodshop attendee (amtran maybe). Clear to chill haze golden pour. Spotty white foam. Nose is big mango and tangelo. Taste is tangy, nutty, rich, fresh and chewy butterscotch. Heavy, rich, quenching, elusive butterscotch quality only found in select West Coast IPAs like Port Wipeout, Alesmith IPA, Alpine Duet. Very yummy. Amazing palate. Very bitter through the long finish. Still holding up- will be a knockout fresh on tap. 7/23/2012 7/4/8/5/15=3.9

Photo of oline73
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Super psyched to try this beer. I was able to get this to celebrate my wife's 30th birthday while the beer is rated #30 on the top hundred. Poured from the growler into a goblet on the day it showed up.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear golden amber color with a half finger of fluffy off white head. The head sticks around pretty well and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: This could be the best smelling pale ale I've ever run across. Tons of pine and citrus in the hop profile. The hops don't leave room for much else, but they're spectacular. There also seems to be a slight peppery note.

Taste: Almost lives up to the smell. There is more balance here, which isn't a bad thing. Still getting a ton of citrus peel and pine needle bitterness. There is a nice, light bready malt that backs up the hops. The peppery note is here too, but not as much as it was in the smell.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the light side of medium with light, fluffy carbonation and an extremely dry finish.

Overall: This is a fantastic pale ale. If I was able, I would have given this a 4.75 overall. About the best smelling beer I've ever run into. Did not disappoint at all.

Photo of srandycarter
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

C'mon, I can't believe I never reviewed this!

A - Light clear honey, huge white head, lots of lace.

S - Skanky, dirty, musky, bad ass hops.

T - Malts take a back seat to this wonderful musky skunky hop offering.

M - Medium to light, good balance and carb.

D - And only 5.25? Oh, session time!

Photo of illidurit
4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared at Woodshop 7. Not super fresh but way better than plenty of fresher hoppy beers out there. Sweet citric aroma with oranges, tangerines, lemons and mild stone fruit. Flavor is nice and tropical, grapefruit and orange and mango, a hint of sweeter malts in the back, dry finish and lightly bitter.

Photo of biggied
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes at O'Briens

A- Sticky lacing. Bright lighter brown color with good retention.

S- Tons of aroma hops, huge nose on this beer. The effervescence on this beer is tremendous. Citrus and piney hops are all over this beer.

T- very bitter up front with piney hops, some citrus flavors come through on the back. Residual bitterness is def there.

M- med to light body, drys very quickly, leaving some residual bitterness.

O- Double IPA with an ABV of a American Pale Ale. Awesome session beer for the IPA drinker.

Photo of nataku00
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler poured into a taster snifter. Very happy someone brought this to a tasting as I've wanted to try it for the longest time. Beer pours a light golden yellow, mostly clear, with half a finger of loose bubbly white head. Head dissipated quickly, leaving a little light lacing. A few bubbles here and there, but not overly carbonated.

Nose is amazing on this APA, huge tropical fruit aromas, pineapple, mango, passion fruit. Sweet orange and floral aromas as well. Just a touch of pine and herbal/grassy. This is all about the hop aromas.

Taste follows the nose, tropical fruit up front, leading to some grassy/herbal marijuana like hop flavors. Middle of the tongue, a bit of lightly toasted grain sweetness to balance things out. Linger tropical hop flavors with a mostly dry finish.

Light body with spritzy carbonation, very refreshing and easy to drink. An excellent beer.

Photo of kdmcguire10
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler.

Amazing bright tangerine color. sticky white two finger head. Tight-white bubbles.

Nose is a boatload of citrus hops and resin. Tangerine and pineapple explosion.

Taste is just what you'd expect. Hop dominant and a resiny, juicy, mango explosion

Mouthfeel is very crisp. Dry finish.

Wow. I never thought I'd meet a rival to Zombie Dust....today I have.

Photo of OTB
4.92/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got around to bringing a growler home after missing out on the last few releases. First time with this brew.
Poured into my tulip the brew is a beautiful pale orange with a thick one inch bright white head that leaves curtains of webbing as I drink down. The nose is amazing, pure Citra hop aromas with white flowers and peaches, simply one of the best noses on any beer I've had. The flavor profile follows the nose with concentrated citrus, stone fruits some bitter hop bites and a beautiful glance of light biscuit. The mouth is crisp, dry, and cleanses the palate with perfect carbonation. By far the best pale ale I have ever had, another world class effort from my favorite brewery on the planet.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer!
Pale clear golden. Fizzy short white head. Low retention and lace. 

Huge bright fresh nose. Bright citrus. A touch floral. Very nice. 

Flavor is very nice for a pale ale. Big crisp flavor. Nice floral and citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is very nice and light bodied with pretty high crisp carbonation.

Overall this is an amazing bright, clean, well balanced fresh pale ale. I love Zombie Dust, but this is even better!

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

Pours a lighter shade of amber/gold with good clarity, forms a small white half finger head with minimal retention. As you drink the lacing forms impressive rings that drop down into beautiful sheets of lace, stunning.

Pine forward, delicate and floral with some tropical notes of melons and dried mangoes. Pale malt well hidden under the hop presence.

Pale malts are a touch bready and there's some coarse grains here that come out in the drink. Hops are both floral and resinous with tropical notes of pineapple and mangoes while there's a bitter follow through that never seems to release.

Well carbonated with an average body. Very crisp and dries pretty well.

The best APA I've ever had thus far, it'll give IPAs a run for their hops to be sure. Just another wonderful example of what Alpine can do with hops, they've crammed so much craftsmanship into a beer under 5.5% alcohol.

Photo of islandboi8204
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03-14-12 growler
Slightly hazy golden orange color. A nice fluffy white head and solid lacing.

Smell is what you expect from an Alpine beer - tons of hops. Lots of grapefruit, tropical fruit notes, plenty of pine. Incredible.

Just like the nose, the taste is dominated by hops. A delicious resinous bitterness with tons of grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, and lots of pine.

Light body that works just fine for a pale ale. A good amount of carbonation, and a real dry crisp finish.

This is one of my Alpine favorites. So incredibly hoppy, but also really easy to drink and tasty.

12-02-2011 growler
Pours golden straw color, lots of head and carbonation. Plentiful lacing down the glass.

Smells like lemon zest with tropical fruit, grapefruit, orange, mango. Fresh cut grass.

Super floral hoppy taste, lots of grapefruit, orange, mango. Delicious.

Mouthfeel hass nice carbonation, creamy, oily but finishes crisp and with a bitter bite. Not much to balance the bitter hops, but definitely sessionable.

Overall, this is great, right up there with Zombie Dust as far as pale ales go. This would be really nice during the summer.

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From 500mL swingtop growler to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/20/12
*From notes

-- A big, epic thanks goes out to billab914 for hand filling a small growler for me to enjoy, as I couldn't make our tasting. A very generous gesture from a good friend and a classy Beer Advocate. Cheers, Bill! --

A: Clean 24k gold. A soft pour yields a minimal head and lacing, which I wholly credit to this being hand filled the night before.

S: Really wonderful stuff. A big wave of juicy West Coast hops put a vice grip my nostrils. It really comes off like one of the big boys, ala a true Left Coast American IPA.

T: Bready malt plays a firm role in the development of the overall profile here. This beer is so well balanced, as the luscious hop character really finds a foot hold and never lets go. A long, tropical finish with bite.

M: Again, I must reference the fact that this wasn't served under the most strict of circumstances. It's a tad bit flat and flabby. There's still a mild amount of carbonation, but it's not prevalent. On the plus side, the texture is nice.

O: What a killer APA. They don't make many like this: a low ABV hop fest. Though I still find 3F's Zombie Dust a better entry (and one of my all-time fav's), this is certainly no slouch. One of the most flavorful beers under 5.5%. Worth seeking out, and heartily recommended.

Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a tasting glass. It poured a very bright, golden amber color with a thin but sticky white lacing covering the top of the beer. Great lacing as I drank it as well.

The aroma has some great topical, fruit punch like flavors to it. I get pineapple, each and mango all coming out. There is a little bit of a creamy orange presence to it as well. It's very hoppy and vibrant. Great aroma overall.

The taste also shows a lot of tropical fruit notes to it. Peach, pineapple and mango are again all there. In the finish I get a little more of a resiny, grapefruit bitterness coming out. It's very bright, juicy and easy drinking.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side with carbonation being moderate. Overall I thought it was an awesome beer. It was very hoppy and bright but at the same time light, refreshing and drinkable. What is really outstanding about this beer though is all that flavor is in a beer with abv in the low 5% range. Great beer overall.

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Chris for sharing the birthday beer...

Mini pint poured to the brim, 6-8 oz. Bright gold with a touch of orange, rapid carb trails visible. Copious lace all around the edges, constant layer of foam present for the whole glass.

Pine and fruity citrus, though somehow slightly mellow, possibly from being a week old growler, who knows... Orange and floral notes are there and compliment the flavor nicely.

Tastes like a west coast iteration of an APA certainly, citrus and bitter resiny hops dominate a meek pale malt backbone that lends a wee bit of sweetness, though the finish is dry, resiny bitterness all the way. Light feel with maximum hop delivery. Would easily drink a couple pints of this schtuff, though it's not as unique as some of Alpine's other beers.

Photo of camil1mj
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by my buddy Romulux for our birthdays.

A: Wonderful golden hue with a nice white 1 finger head.

S: Lots of nice hop notes.

T: Great balanced hop flavor. This one is very good. Not overly hoppy, but hoppy enough to satisfy your hop craving.

M: Medium body, well carbonated and refreshing.

O: A great APA. Glad to tick this one. Thank you Romulux.

Photo of brystmar
4.27/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to afksports for sharing the growler!

Enjoyed this at least an hour after its initial opening, still had enough carbonation & plenty of head. Strong piney aroma, very full & complex. Taste is hoppy and fresh, nice clean finish.

Hoppy Bday lands safely in second place amongst APAs, thanks to the sublime Zombie Dust. Wish I could get this regularly.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, golden pale with a dense white head. Thick rings of clumpy lacing.

S - Starts of quite grainy followed by a fresh citrus balance of oranges and some tropical fruit notes.

T - An explosion of hops with sweet citrus and tropical fruits. Very hop-forward APA, but exceptionally well balanced with its malt backbone.

M - Medium bodied, bitter, but nice clean finish.

O - Definitely the best APA I've had to date. Can't wait to try Zombie Dust and compare the two. I'm not a huge fan of APA's but I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of afksports
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

super clean, filtered and lovely white lace. great example of a pale ale appearance. the smell is hoppy but muted, even with the head strong as it is. taste is hoppy with water pine and citrus and toast. the taste finishes clean and drying, and is seriously well balanced. sierra Nevada still wins in my book, but if i could ha e this all the time It would be serious competition. happy super bowl, hoppy. birthday. thanks Martin for the hookup. seriously enjoyable. great beer cheers and go pats!

Hoppy Birthday from Alpine Beer Company
98 out of 100 based on 1,320 ratings.