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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Reviews: 60
Hads: 270
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 8.45%
Wants: 26
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 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 Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to schmoopsbeer for getting this growler out my way. Served in a Russian River TION goblet. I need a Russian River "hops" tulip. This is currently the #10 American Blonde Ale.

Pours a clear light peach color with a two-finger white head and plenty of spotty lacing on the way down. Half a cap and a nice collar throughout. The nose bursts forth with some really nice tropical aromas and a good dosing of citrus as well. Mango and a some orange predominate. Slightly floral as well. The taste combines the hop elements quite well, especially in the feel. Not too much malt taste, just a bit of breadiness that lends a very slight chewiness to the body. Good bitterness and carbonation. Really solid brew. Wouldn't expect anything less from Vinnie and crew. (768 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (1,286 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 MasterSki
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (691 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review this is the #8 American Blonde Ale. Growler shared by Thorpe served in a Bruery tulip.

Beer is amber / yellow and clear with a big white head of small bubbles, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is hop forward, very hoppy. Nice pine and citrus aromas, very nice smelling beer.

Beer is medium to light in body, nicely hopped on the palate but the finish is moderately bitter, when asked to guess the IBUs I guessed 35 - 40 but this is closer to 30 as it turns out. A great beer, the star of the night in fact. I'd have it again, highly drinkable, good mouthfeel. (616 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the brewpub.

Golden orange, nice clarity, large white head with excellent retention and lacing. Intense fresh hop aroma of citrus and pine. Flavor has light bready malt background providing a chewy body underneath the sweet and juicy orange and grapefruit hops and floral bitterness. Nice body, medium thick with light carbonation and a clean finish. Very enjoyable. (380 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at RR back in August. Listed at 5.57% with 33 IBUs and an OG of 1.053 at the pub. I really like this interpretation of an American Blonde. It's not usually a favorite of mine, but I like the combination of softness and clean, citrusy hops in this one. Pours a honey/peach color with a fairly high head that fades but leaves some very nice lacing. Smells clean and with relatively gentle citrusy hops, lightly sweet malt, and fresh grain. There is a bit of stone fruit as well. The taste has a bit of apricot up front followed by some beautifully zingy, citrusy hops, and a light, fruity malt sweetness. Delicious. The mouthfeel is crisp, spicy, and clean. Very easy to drink. I think this one best had fresh, preferably at the pub. (740 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 HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (692 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewpub the other day. Probably would not have tried, but for the fact they were out of Pliny.

The beer pours a bright golden color with good head retention and exceptional lacing. Don't get a lot on the nose, except for some light honey and citrus from hops. The flavors replicate the nose, except there is a lovely light honey flavor, with a huge wash of hops. While the beer finishes on a dry hoppy note, it's not heavy or the least bit over the top. Everything in this beer is very lightly done, and drinkability is incredible. How I wish this beer was around when I was drinking pitchers in college. The beer is incredibly light on its feet, tasting exactly like what it is: a very light blond ale, but with a huge hop presence.

For what it is, this is a very impressive beer from RR. Well done! (817 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 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 dgilks
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear pale straw colour with a small, white head. Good head retention.

Moderately intense fresh and fruity, citrussy hops. Some sweet malt. Well balanced.

Clean, fresh and fruity flavour. To me this is a good APA flavour with pink grapefruit, pine and lots of taste. Bitterness not too high. Nice.

Medium-light body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

A solid, hoppy APA. I really like the fruit flavour here. Solid. (431 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 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 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 AgentMunky
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (685 characters)

Photo of popery
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is similar to RR's IPA but with some different fruit notes than any of the other beers of theirs that I've tried. It pours a bright beautiful golden. The head on my beer could have stuck around a bit more. The smell was a bit weak, but there were some good honey and fruity notes to be found. The taste delivered on these fruit notes. There are some interesting apricot or plum flavors to the beer that aren't present in other RR beers. There was still the usual floral, pine, and citrus hop flavors from RR, but there was a bit more complexity on the sweet end of the spectrum. It could use a bit more balancing bitterness. I kept going back for more despite some initial hesitation. (694 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 scottfrie
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

“Not really a Blonde Ale, not a Pale Ale, not an IPA. Happy Hops is light colored refreshing ale with a pronounced hop character.” –RR website

A: Pours a clear caramel amber with a huge off-white head that slowly faded into a thin, oily film that left rings of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Extreme notes of fresh grapefruit, lemon zest, and pine. This, as is most of RRiver’s none Belgian-style brews, is crazy uber-hoppy and fresh smelling. The grapefruit is so fresh and sweet smelling I could have sworn this was a glass of grapefruit juice.
T: The flavor is not nearly as sweet or hoppy as the nose suggested which makes sense since this isn’t an ipa. It’s still fruity and hoppy, but there is a good dose of biscuity malt and earthen tones as well. The thing about this beer is there is no, and I mean no, hop bitterness at all in the finish.
M: Surprisingly light and crisp mouthfeel with a light body and low carbonation. Goes down light and easy.
O: Hoppy for a blonde, but pretty mellow for an ipa. Forget style it’s simply a good drinking beer. With no bitterness and a light body this beer is like drinking water. (1,145 characters)

Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (810 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (683 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 ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a clear copper-orange color with a half-finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down fairly quickly and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S - The aroma is a mix of citrus hops with some other fruity elements (mango) and a bit of spiciness as well. There is also some sweet caramel malts as well.

T - Starts off with a good kick of citrus hops with again some mango mixed in with some light bitterness and some sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, the mango and bitterness grow with the malt flavors getting a bit richer. The finish is a mix of sweet malts, hops, bitterness, and a bit of yeast that lingers.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels smooth with a nice dry sharpness to it.

D - Very drinkable. Really interesting and unique hop profile that is really nice from start to end. The mango flavor is defiantly different. Overall, I really like this beer. (903 characters)

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