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Happy Hops - Russian River Brewing Company

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Happy Hops
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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

268 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 268
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.71%
Wants: 24
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ArrogantB on 08-21-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 268 | Reviews: 60
Photo of Nugganooch
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the source – 06/14/2014
Full Pint - now brewed with Mosaics

A: Light straw pale body with some caramel tones and great visibility to it. Thin layer of ivory white foam settles across the top leaving behind a few minor dots and streaks of lace.

S: Super floral hops on the nose with citrus zest and accents of passion fruit or some type of exotic cactus fruit there. I get some slightly muted herbals as well. Very nice and hoppy with a nice tropical twist to it.

T: Juicy floral hops with tangerine citrus and that distinct passion fruit quality. Somewhat tropical and herbal at the same time. Like dragon fruit or cactus pears. There is a nice bready malt cracker at the base with some light subtle hop bitterness that peppers the palate. Slightly resinous but overall just very clean, balanced, and refreshing to drink.

M: The mouth feel is light and frothy on the tongue with some moderate bitterness and a good drying effort in the finish. Touch of residual goodness hanging around afterwards.

D: Light hoppy and quite refreshing to drink. Happy Hops is extremely crushable. If RR had a “session IPS” this be it. Mosaics make this one really pop. Highly recommended.

Photo of Sunhunters
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

All about the mosaic, with all the beautiful mosaic notes though they manage to pull a little skunkiness out on the tail end of the finish. Not *the* best mosaic beer I've had, but pretty damned tasty. As usually, weird absence of malt flavors and body that are hallmark of rr beers, but prime hop flavors win the day.

Photo of BierJager89
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden straw color, with a white head.

S: Tropical fruit and citrus in the nose.

T: Hoppy, citric, and notes of tropical fruit. Delicious pale ale.

M: Typical pale ale body/carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: Well worth a trip to Russian River from anywhere in the bay area. A great pale ale.

Photo of raynmoon
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Even better on tap at the restaurant. It's dank and sort of dry, astringent, good bitterness. Is a single hop beer and drinks more complex than that. I had this blind next to pliny and likedthis one more. It's only a tad watery being 5.0%.

This growler will be easy to drink.

Photo of drgarage
4.74/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled on July 13. Sampled many times over the days since. Based on the intensity of aroma, this is quite fresh.

A: Clear, classic American pale ale, between golden and amber. Nice head, receding to a small cap with lots of lacing. Pretty much what you'd hope for, though nothing out of the ordinary.

S: SO MUCH mosaic! Very fruity and resinous nose. Definite melon and berry aroma abounds.

T: The nose, but more so. Minimal malts, coated in delicious blueberry/watermelon.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth, so so poundable. It's hard to believe I didn't finish the growler in the first day of opening. Easily the most drinkable Russian River beer. Which is saying something.

O: Totally spectacular for its class, and not generally in the conversation for best American pale. I like this better than anything else I've had, including Zombie Dust, Row 2, and several others with the hype. Make mine Happy Hops!

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and floral hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a citrus zest flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid hoppy aromas and flavors.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Russian River brewpub. A light orange and yellow mixture, evidently is not one of their heartiest brews, this one has a more innocent appearance. But then again, both Pliny's are plenty yellow and have good clarity just like this one. Nice white head on it. Hops are nice, but not as massively pungent as most Russian River hoppy ales. Maybe the happy hops reference is just about them being light and not jam packed into each other.

As usual, a super light bready malt bill that is as minimal as possible to continue making a great hoppy beer. An unexpected resin and herbal compound in the mouthfeel unlike anything I've ever tasted with Russian River, kind of different, don't know what its all about.

This beer is now part of the hoppy pale ale series, and it is somewhat similar to Row 2 Hill 56, but simply less gusto, less bursting right out the bottle, invigorating your nasal cavities and palate, this one is more like the Russian River vibe filtered through some really mellow Jimmy Buffett like tunes and relaxed essence. If you're looking for hop and ibu punch, this one probably won't fit the bill. Its very good, but its also on the low end for Russian River's stuff.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

big thanks goes out to GrumpyOldTroll, jbuddle, Sean9689, SpeedwayJim, AgentZero, dtmets84 for sharing in the greatest day of beer that i have ever been a part of. huge thanks to mike for sharing this.

notes from 1/12/2013

consumed from a russian river glass.

has an almost classic ipa look...semi-transparent orange with a foamy head. smells really fresh, but subtle hops. very sessionable feels like a pale ale aught to. a bit watery and light but could drink it all day. reminds me of row 2/hill 56 but maybe more watery and hoppy.

Photo of PHBoiler
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had this beer on tap at Russian River as well as from a growler a day after my visit. The beer has a nice bright golden color. The smell pulls you in with lot of sweet citrus notes and only slight hints of pine. The beer has a thin white head but sufficient carbonation. The flavor is as good as any pale ale I've had. This was the best beer I tasted from Russian River on my trip out there. The initial taste is light and citrusy. The flavor is sweeter than most pale ales with only enough bitterness to keep the beer in balance. This beer was a hit with veteran beer drinkers as well as novices on NYE. In terms of comparison, the beer was less aggressive than Pliny and a bit sweeter. I would ship this beer in by the case if it were bottled. The incredible balance within the use of hops sets this beer apart. The sweetness is certainly not a cloying sweetness; it was just the one aspect that set it apart from the other pale ales at Russian River in my opinion.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64 ounce growler into an Allagash cervoise glass. Filled four days ago at the brewery.

A: Two fingers of fluffy, off-white lace.

S: So fruity! Also resiny with a hint of onion. Citrus zest. Phenomenal hops. The nose is perhaps the best part of this beer.

T/M: Not quite as good as it is quite fresh, but still darn good for a pale ale. Surprisingly bitter, in an engaging and interesting way (full of hops) with a presence on the tongue, though this growler version is sadly lacking in carbonation. Crisp and drying.

O: Maybe my favourite Russian River beer. Seriously. The greatest pale ale I've ever tasted, though recommended as fresh as possible. Will have again.

Photo of kojevergas
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to baybassboy for giving this to me in a trade. This is my first growler review of all time; who'd have known I'd have 2000 beers prior to reviewing one from a growler? Baybassboy picked this one up at Russian River last weekend and was kind enough to share the wealth. Growler served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are quite high given the brewery.

Served cold. Poured from straight above (it's hard to manipulate a growler) with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a frothy two finger beige colour head of good cream, great thickness, and fantastic retention - especially considering it's a growler pour. Body colour is a pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks quite good for the style. I'd estimate retention is a good four minutes. Lacks notable lacing.

Sm: Nectary floral hops, pale malts, a soapy note, detergent, and citrus. Pleasant all around, though it may have spent too long in primary. A fresh mild strength aroma.

T: Nectary floral character. Well layered pale malts. A bit of soapy/detergent character, but it's forgivable. Still, the balance does suffer. Refreshing and tasty. Hop bitterness never comes through. Hop nectar is the dominant note throughout, and lends the flavour its cohesive unity. Still, I'd like to see a bit more of a malty foundation. Fresh and pleasant. No alcohol or yeast comes through.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and refreshing. Carbonation is actually quite adequate; I'm surprised given that it's a growler pour. Suits the flavours nicely. Good presence on the palate. Quite soft.

Dr: Extremely drinkable. Very flavorful for the style. I'm liking it more and more as it warms and as I attenuate to it. Another solid beer from Russian River. The ABV is nowhere to be seen. I'd have this again, preferably with spicy food. I'll have no problem finishing this entire growler within the next forty minutes.

High B

Photo of abaer123
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at RRBC on September 26 on a pilgrimage to refill my Pliny growler. I had the growler refilled with Pliny. And bought a second growler to take this back with me. Now I have two growlers from RRBC. I don't think this is a bad thing....

Appearance - golden orange

smell - hoppy hoppy happy! i love the smell of hops and this beer delivers.

taste - this is what did it for me. the citrus flavors and nice bitter finish is what i enjoy so much about this beer. i would love to go back and get some more. maybe today? :)

mouthfeel - full. i almost started swishing it around because i enjoyed it so.

overall - i really enjoyed this beer and hope it becomes a permanent resident on their offerings. maybe even available at the store - that would be great!

Photo of Arbitrator
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled growler into a glass.

A: Pours a completely clear golden-orange body with a couple of fingers of off-white head. Retention is solid, but the beer doesn't have much lace.

S: Citrus flesh (lemon, grapefruit, orange) and a crackery pale malt note. There is a small element of grass on the back end.

T: This is sure to appeal to citrus lovers. It has a bright, fleshy flavor of lemon, grapefruit, orange, and tangerine. There is some mild bitterness that becomes more apparent in the grassy aftertaste. Malt is restrained, consisting only of a light cereal-grain flavor.

M: Fairly clean; it has some lingering, sticky bitterness. Light-bodied with appropriate carbonation. No astringency despite the hoppiness.

O: I had this a long time ago and found it serviceable. But I later heard that they tweaked the recipe, and it shows. This isn't quite as tasty as Row 2, but I can see myself choosing this over the other a few times out of 10, especially when looking for something that delivers a little less kick.

Photo of Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-07-19 in Santa Rosa, CA at the brew pub (from tasting notes)

A - Clear straw-orange with a 1/2-finger white head and mild lacing.

S - Light nose of tropical fruit and grain. Pleasant and inviting.

T - Italian bread-like pale malt, touch of blueberry without the sweetness, mild caramel, mild hop bud flavor and a reasonable grapefruit bitter finish. Subtle, well-balanced flavors may for a very enjoyable flavor.

M - Light body and medium carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O - The light touch of blueberry coupled with some bitterness give this beer a unique character yet doesn't stray far from the APA mold.

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ah, a crisp APA to further diversify their dominance. It didn't blow my mind, but it was a solid, fully flavored brew that could be sesioned. It was notably juicy, with a malty push in the middle, but hops, hops, hops through and through. Could be likened to a Sierra Nevada. Good work again.

Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hops make me very happy indeed.

Had this at the source.

This pours a golden color with billowy foam. The aroma is crisp, with orangy citrus notes. Clear and bright with a nice finish that has hints of biscuit and bready notes. A real easy drinker—almost too easy.

Photo of MasterSki
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap a Russian River. Served in a pint glass.

A - White foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind splotchy lace. Transparent golden body.

S - Spicy and dank hops, with notes of orange, grapefruit, and perhaps a hint of onion as well. Negligible malt character.

T - A tad more sugary malt here supporting the candied citrus, pine, juicy fruit, and zesty peel flavors. A bit of yeast and breadiness in there as well.

M - Medium-light body, juicy texture, dry finish, and pleasant moderate carbonation. No alcohol presence. Very refreshing.

D - It's a crushable hoppy pale ale. This may have been a traditional blonde ale back in 2008, but this is more in the mold of Walden these days.

Photo of PerHops
4.87/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a growler, poured one day after fill, almost exactly 24 hours.

A- Golden orange, with a nice head and near perfect lacing.

S- Lots of juicy aromatic hops not quite the smell of an ipa, but rivals row 2 as one of the best pales I've ever had.

T- Wow. This is better than most ipas I've tasted. Tons of tropical fruit, but a citrusy, lemony semi dry finish that makes this too easy to drink.

M- Perfect carbonation especially considering it was served from a growler a day old.

O- Im so glad I had the last impulse to get a growler of this instead of a second hopfather. Better than I remember it being, this is one of the best beers of this style I have had the pleasure of trying. Once again Russian River proves themselves to be the best of the best.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery's outlet in Santa Rosa.

Pours a clear pale golden colour, with a very light body to it. Head is a fine ring of persistant white bubbles. No visible carbonation or lacing. Decent enough, if not exciting.

Nose is bright and clear, with appleskin coming through on first whiff, but revealing other characters of herbs and pepper on the revisit. There's also an underlying note of savoury grain giving some depth and complexity to the aroma. It's light overall, but quite nice stuff.

Taste continues some of these themes: apple comes through with a crisp cleanness on the front, followed by some grain that mingles nicely with some slightly earthy, slightly nutty hop characters. Mild, moderated bitterness comes through on the back, with a touch of fragrant herbs. It's very clean, and really very pleasant. Feel is light but consistent with the structure of the beer.

Super-drinkable brew. It reminds me of the balance and coherence of Blind Pig—again, not a huge beer, but a very enjoyable one.

Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a nonic pint at Toronado (San Diego, CA). Reviewed from notes.

A: Hazy golden amber with short cap of off-white head that leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S: Very aromatic for what I imagine is an APA with floral, orange citrus, pineapple, and pine aromas with a light-medium crystal caramel malt sweetness.

T: The flavor was IPA-like with a big dose of tropical fruit and lemon citrus mized with pine and floral orange blossom notes. The malt component is a little more forceful in the flavor with some light crystal and cereal grain character coming through. Really a refreshing sort of pale ale.

M: Light in body and dry with fine carbonation.

O: I enjoyed this beer a lot although it is one of many very flavorful APAs out there. Anything from RR though you've got to give it a run.

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Toronado
San Diego, CA

Clear dark orange and amber with an inch of off-white, big bubbled foam that leaves regular lines of lace down the glass. Very pretty.

Certainly a hop-forward aroma, with nice, bright citrus elements throughout, balanced incredibly well by cereal/pale malts. Nearly perfect for a pale ale, though not quite as powerful as Hoppy Birthday, Zombie Dust, etc.

The flavor is also a complete hop-lover's dream, with bright citrus, moderate bitterness, and some earthy, bready elements balancing everything out nicely. Incredibly drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation.

I could drink this one over, and over, and over, and over again.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery. Pours a dark, clear orange. Tastes citrusy with strong grapefruit notes. Surprised by the amount of flavor for a pale ale. This would be very session able and I wish I had regular access to this. Very nice beer overall.

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/15/2012

Growler into a snifter. Thanks!

A: Yellow gold with white sea foam that recedes in a cavernous fashion. Great retention and wicked lacing. Nice color.

S: Vibrant orange and tangerine with some spicy grapefruit. Faintly floral with restrained cracker notes. Really aromatic and excellent.

T: Super bright and fresh hop profile. Bold orange and grapefruit flesh with a smooth upper low bitterness. Crackery malt profile and a light herbal note midpalate. Very dry and hop focused. The finish is crisp, clean, and hoppy, with a light resin note.

M: Upper light to lower medium body. Dry and crisp mouthfeel.

Overall: A very enjoyable hoppy Pale. Bright and incredibly drinkable.

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh growler from the brewery. This beer is no longer a blond ale, it's part of the hop growers series of pale ales. I initially reviewed this back in 2008, and I'm fairly certain it had a completely different recipe back then, more of a semi-hoppy blond ale.

Appearance: Stunningly clear pale amber body capped by two inches of sticky, frothy head. Very inviting.

Smell: Sweet citrus, primarily tangerine and orange, supported by a dry cereal grain malt backbone. The previous batch of this beer had an unusual blueberry character, but I don't get that in this one. Smells very clean and attenuated, which is exactly what I would expect from a hoppy RRBC beer. The aroma doesn't explode from the glass like Row 2, but it's still excellent.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet orange and tangerine citrus notes up front, with an herbal spiciness beneath. Becomes a little more earthy and resinous toward the finish. This has a solid malt backbone, but it's light and dry, supremely quaffable. Lower-medium level of bitterness in the finish, very clean and bright.

Overall: Great. I'd drink this often were it more available. This is a notch below the incredible Row 2, but decidedly better than Segal Select. An excellent addition to RRBC's growing selection of low alcohol, hop-forward ales.

Photo of brotherloco
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River. Served in a nonic pint. Currently listed at 5.5% ABV.

Color is a clear pale gold with a finger plus of off-white rocky foam. A lot of delicate lacing left behind.

Aroma of pine, grapefruit, and grass along with a touch of floralness. Typical Russian River malt profile sits significantly in background.

Flavor follows the nose, but cranks things up. Juicy hop flavor. The grassy notes are a little more pronounced and dankness emerges as well. A very earthy middle gives way to a bitter dry finish. Again, very much a Russian River hop/malt balance. So much flavor for a "small" beer.

Body is light with medium carbonation. Crisp.

Russian River makes so many great pales and India pales that this beer can be eclipsed by them, but if you want a lighter beer with a ton of hop flavor, Happy Hops is your brew.

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Happy Hops from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.