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Happy Hops - Russian River Brewing Company

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Happy Hops
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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

60 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 60
Hads: 270
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 4.11%
Wants: 25
Gots: 23 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 270
Photo of Offa
2.44/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is supposedly like a hoppier golden ale and it succeeds in being light in body and flavour and clearly leaning to the bitter and hoppy side. This seems to be because of a lack of malty strength and body, making the hops strong relative to the rest of the beer, rather than making the hops stand out because of absolute hoppiness. This is, as a result, not very good to me.

Pale golden, it has a smallish, off-white ehad, lasting and slowly shrinking to a thin, wispy top and leaving some decent lace.

The aroma is light, flowery grapefruit with maybe a hint of pine and citrus flowers and the weakest hint of toasted cracker - barely noticeable.

The flavour is much the same. It has a little light sweetness mostly with a citrusy character and only a hint of toasted cracker, soon dominated by bitter grapefruit that caries through the finish into the aftertaste. There is little body or malt flavour/character. As said above, the hops may not be strong in absolute terms, but they totally overpower the drink here because of a lack of flavour depth and balancing malt. This is not my glass of beer and I see no point in drinking it, but then I don't like beer that tastes like practically nothing but grapefruit pulp. (1,226 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Russian River.

A - Served a very clear yellow with a thin white head.

S - Very citrusy and floral. Very floral.

T - The floral flavors over powered everything here.

D - Average all-around.

O - Do you like spring flowers? This is the beer for you then. (271 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
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 (2,001 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Falling Rock for the Russian River kickoff in Colorado, this was described as a hoppy blonde ale. It smelled like serious west coast hops. The flavor was also very hoppy but it didn't make me think pale ale or IPA, very strange style-wise. There was also a soapiness to the flavor but it wasn't a detractor as well as an earthy stink. Many folks around me described this as an IPA but I disagree. It almost seemed like a heavily hopped redemption but at the same time it didn't seem like a belgian-style. Weird but good as is the case with RR. (557 characters)

Photo of nataku00
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

On tap into a pint glass. Beer was clear bright orange with half a finger of off white foamy head. Sticky lacing as the head dissipates to a collar of small bubbles and an off white film on the surface. Well carbonated.

Nose is very mild, some light herbal and grassy notes, some light orange peel and tropical fruit. Not very aromatic.

Taste is better, herbal grassy marijuana like flavor, followed by citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Bitterness is well balanced by a nice biscuit malt. Finish is clean and dry.

Light body and fizzy on the tongue. Very easy to drink and almost sessionable, though more aroma would have been nice. (657 characters)

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light glowing transparent body with no head. A good amount of carbonation.

Nice sweet caramel malts. Grass and light resiny pine. Apple and melon.

Medium roasted malts with a good bitter finish. Good balance light but with character.

Nails it with the nice light chewiness. Piney hop finish.

Drinkable, refreshing. A great pale ale. (336 characters)

Photo of litheum94
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RR. 6.05 ABV

Clear golden body. Bone white head that leaves a small covering.

Subtle citrus hops and a clean and crisp cereal grain aroma. Actually reminds me slightly of a pils.

Tangerines and floral hops, with light spicing. Very clean malt bill, crisp and dry. Some barley flavors. More juicy citrus on the finish, with some leafy hops.

Another tasty brew by Vinnie. (386 characters)

Photo of xhcadamx
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - light golden color with a carbonated bubbly head. Lacing is present.

S - Piney hops and not much else

T - smooth and clean blonde ale that has an extremely welcomed hop bite; in bitterness as well as flavor

M - light as hoped for in a blonde ale

D - its a tasty beer but there are better to move onto. (309 characters)

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (292 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
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. (1,199 characters)

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pumpkin looking orange color with a small white foam head that has minimal retention. There is really nice lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: A nice amount of citrus, pine and flowery hop character with a small amount of bready malt.

T: Starts off with a nice amount of piney and citrus hop character up front. There is also some caramel malts. In the middle, the malt character comes through more and more by adding biscuit to the caramel. This brew finishes the same as the middle.

M: A really nice medium bodied beer, nice carbonation. Leaves a slightly bitter taste on the palate.

O: This is a tasty brew from start to finish. Ample hop character but with enough malt character to balance it. (716 characters)

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

5.56 ABV, 41 IBU
Source/Serving: Draft

Smell: Nice herbal, medicinal, and grassyness. Some brown sugar and burnt toast which makes for an interesting profile.

Taste: Nice and bitter (herbal/grassy) with balanced brown sugar, caramel, and bread sweetness. Nice and smooth. The middle is quite sweet with more brown sugar along with bread and yeast added to the mix. The hops add depth, being herbal and medicinal. There is a definite spiciness in the background. The finish is more of the same, moderately bitter but also sweet. (529 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (535 characters)

Photo of alenonbeeradv
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - a bit darker than the blind pig. less carbonation apparent bit bigger head (sticky and frothy)

s - bitter like the pliney but a hint of funk and spices. almost a slight taint of cinnamon in the back but mixed with some sweeter spicy notes.

t - a littlw less exiting than the slap in the face there other ales have but still intetesting. a litle less defined than there other brews but i slightly expected that considering i havent seen it bottled.

m - light like a blonde. refreshing and balanced. low - medium carbonation level.

o - not bad. didnt meet my expectations. definitely experimental. (604 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (1,021 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (632 characters)

Photo of bulletrain76
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught at the brewpub. Clear light gold with a creamy head. Bready, honey-like malt aroma with ample spicy hops as well. Solid bready malt flavor, light bitterness, and an oily, resiny hop flavor. Medium-light body with smooth carbonation. Almost seemed less hoppy than the aud blonde at first because of the added malt balance, but the green, oily hop flavor definitely lets you know that they didn't skimp on them. Quite nice, but not quite as refreshing as aud blonde for the lighter beer option. (500 characters)

Photo of SDDanC
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured into pint glass on tap. Light amber in color with about a fingers worth of head. Fresh pine in the hop nose, like an evergreen forest of the american northwest. Taste is hoppy, but without the spicy bite you'd expect to come with hops. Floral and crisp. Very settling and calm in character. Overall, good blonde to have with dinner, refreshing and versatile. (386 characters)

Photo of Cmack15
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap while visiting the Brew Pub in Santa Rosa. The beer has a nice light color, good carbonation and a strong piney hop aroma. The beer has a dry finish and the piney hops linger. Another nice beer from one of the greatest breweries out there.
cheers (262 characters)

Photo of BrewerB
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wonderful girlfriend grabbed me a growler of this brew while she was picking up some Damnation 23 and Framboise for a Cure. Cheers to her!

This pours a medium-orange, excellent clarity. A 1-2 finger off white foam made its way to the top, retains well, leaves lacing aside the glass.

The nose alludes to perfumey and floral hops. Grapefruit rind.

Fresh, piney hops. Medium-high bitterness. Dry finish with a lingering citrus reminder. Mostly clean malt with a dash of biscuit.

Medium-light in body, moderately carbonated.

Overall this is a nicely made Blonde with a decent hop aroma and flavor. Hoppier than I expect for the style but I have a feeling that's exactly what the brewery was shooting for. Would gladly down another pint..heck, I got a growler to finish. (778 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the RRBC brewpub.

A: Golden orange, great clarity, wonderful head retention and excellent lacework.

S: Hops. Orange blossoms, bright and fresh. Hops are heavy on the aroa front with only a mild bitterness. Not much sweetness either.

T/M: Opens up with a lot of spicy citrus hops. Spicy and earthy with the unique thing to me about this beer being the hop character that showcases the spicy hops. Fairly light and dry with no hops with great carbonation and a nice dry finish

D: Not a style I enjoy, so I might not order it again but it delivers what's promised - a hoppy blonde (591 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (537 characters)

Photo of lisomiso
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the boys who shared this one with me. I love session beers and I could have drunk this all night... It's nothing transcendent, nothing paradigm-shifting, just fragrant, crisp, and easy-drinking. Nice and dry while not overwhelmingly bitter. Sadly, there was only one growler betwixt the four of us, so we moved on. (324 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

528th review on BA
Draft to Pint
@ Toronado San Diego

Consumed 5/29/11

App- A very dark golden orange with some amber and yellow highlights. A one finger head and not a lot of cling.

Smell- Big spicy hops. Not really the aromatics I was thinking. I was thinking it would be soft, floral. Nice supris

Taste- A very different direction for the style. I was quite surprised again. Very nice deep hops with a little bit of sweetness behind it. More of a IBU full single IPA.

Mouth- Medium body and medium carb level. Left a full hop feel on the mouth

Drink- Was tasty and new to try. I like Vinnys base beers a lot. This was tasty and balanced. A bit bigger and full drinking. (678 characters)

Photo of abaer123
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
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! (765 characters)

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Happy Hops from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.