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River Horse Hop Hazard Pale Ale - River Horse Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
River Horse Hop Hazard Pale AleRiver Horse Hop Hazard Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

513 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 513
Reviews: 268
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 13.92%
Wants: 5
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co. visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002)
View: Beers (32) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 513 | Reviews: 268 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jcdiflorio
2.08/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz browm long necked bottle with a crimped on cap.

Hazy,cloudy reddish/orange color.1/2" white head from a hard center pour dissapated quickly to a slight coating of foam. looked flat.

Strong sweet carmelly aromas with some grassiness,not much of a hop aroma.

Bittersweet carmelly,nutty notes of sourness. Grassy,not a bad balance, just not impressed with the taste, doesn't have any hop bite to it ,a flat taste. Has a bit of tangyness also.

A medium body,syrupy with some cloyingness. The sweetness made this beer hard to drink. Would not want to drink another. The beer reminded me of tasting your homebrew berfore it is ready. A really flat taste all around.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.95/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a reddish copper-hued, clear body with a loosely organized, thin ring of white bubbles set around the far edge of the beer. Positively headless!

Smell: Little else besides a light, bready malt aroma with just a bit of grassiness.

Taste: Middling, sweet malt dough flavor. Some citrusy hops, however faint, finally present themselves in the abrupt, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Somewhat watery.

Drinkability: Though one might think a "Hop Hazard" would imply some sort of hop-based danger or calamity, it's nothing of the sort - I hereby propose a change of title to "Hop Kitten".

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.83/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Hazy copper brew with three fingers of head and substantial clumps of lacing cling all over the glass. The head has decent retention at that.

S - Very mild. The most pungent aspect is some sort of hop over caramel malt. Smell a tad like a dusty pine smell. A tiny bit of vomit and maple syrup too, odd . . . I don't care for the smell.

T - A bit of a sweet coffee flavor with a strange pine and grassy bitterness in the finish. Pretty bland, a bit of style for an APA,but nothing offensive.

M - Thin, rather harsh and a little drying - superficially refreshing.

D - Not awful. I'll pass in the future, but, in typical APA fashion, it is easy to drink. It is sessionable and consumable with foods. But it lacks a whole lot of flair - and the smell kind of sucks.

Photo of pbr85
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bright gold with a very small head. Small particles of yeast floating in the beer.
S: Subtle hop odors, sour malts, caramel.
T: Very malty with little hop presence, considering the name. The hops that are there are metallic, not the most pleasant taste to find in a beer IMO. As the beer warms there are hints of orange but they are still overwhelmed by the metal.
M: Pretty decent. Nothing extravagent, but the carbonation level is good.
D: A local brewery to where I used to live and on that I would be happy to find at my uncle's, who lives 10 minutes away. Not something I would pick up on a regular basis.

Photo of warchez
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ar: mild caramel sweet malt smell, this is dominant aroma as hops are only mildy-faintly apparent.
App: Deep copper, darker than I would expect but within range for beer style Some particulates in the glass though. I didn't notice if htere was yeast in the bottle or what. Head is good and has some retention.
Fl: sweet up front. Nice malt nut in the middle with a hop/fuity finish. No noticable bitterness "where is the Hazard?"
Mo: clean finish, dry hop finish on palate. slight lingering bitterness.
OV; this beer seems to showcase the malt more than the hops. I would love this beer just the way it is with more hop flavor and aroma and no change in the mild bitterness.

Photo of Naes
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pale ale pours out a dark copper color with orange hues. It has a small off white head that vanishes quickly.
The aroma is fruity and sweet with trace amount of hops.
The flavor has a solid malt base with a citrus hop presence. The finish has a bit of caramel malt.
The mouth feel is medium in body and moderately carbonated.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good American style pale. Tasty dry hop, some juice, an understated IPA. Good head, lots of lace in glass. Citrus fog aroma. Good mouthfeel, sligtly sweetish well-malted. Give me much more of this. Slight ageing, thanks to sample delivered directly by Captain Couger.

Photo of Winter
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gorgeous copper. Aroma of caramel, malt and hops. Nose is a touch buttery also. Thinnish mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to make things interesting. Hopped malty backbone. Flavors of sweet caramel and toasted biscuit are detected initially. Nice hop abrassiveness hits midway. Hop bitterness lingers into a long grainy finish. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Although not as hoppy as I was expecting considering this is "dry hopped", it was still a very nice pale ale.

Photo of dickroop
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

River Horse gets initial bonus points for its cool name, eye-catching packaging, and the neat labels on the bottle. After all, presentation counts for a lot, and the design of the six-pack wraps and bottle labels really stands out.

The beer is an amber/bronze, not quite clear, and poured with minimal head. The taste / flavor is 'understated' (that's the kindest way to put it). There is a nice combination of hops and malt, but ... it is .... just... so... small. I can't dissect any particular hop flavor notes - maybe slight citrus. There is a pleasant bitterness to the finish. Further through the drink, after it warmed a bit, the flavor seemed to come on a bit stronger.

Mouthfeel is OK, body is medium-to-light (almost watery, actually), carbonation is not aggressive. Drinkability is actually a little higher than you might think. My impression of the beer improved as it got warmer and I got past my initial expectations.

I think the real problem with this ale is the expectations and the impression of false advertising. Here your have this "hung like a horse" image, compounded with the greatly overblown "Hop Hazard" name. "River Horse" brings on the anticipation of power and mighty flowing water, and "Hop Hazard" leads you to expect at least a hop blast if not a hop bomb. This beer could serve as an introduction to pale ales for somebody who had never tasted beyond MGD or Killians... but the Hop Hazard name so inflates the expectation as to lead to... disappointment.

Rather than trash this beer as a teeny weeny ale with oh-so-modest endowments, I prefer to judge it for what it is instead of what it pretends to be. It reminds me of the story of the rabbi who circumcised babies for 20 years. He collected all the foreskins, then took them to a leather craftsman to have them sewn together into a change purse. He gave the change purse to the King, who looked at it and said "It is so tiny it can only hold a few small coins. What good is it?" Said the rabbi, "Just rub it a little".

So it is with Hop Hazard, just rub it a little, let it warm up some, and the taste expands a bit.

Photo of johnniemarg
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours amber with a 2-finger head. Sheets of lace.

Very citrusy. Smells of orange and caramel malt.

Taste is sweet and citrusy up front with a roasted malt roundness throughout and a bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel is a little on the light side and slick. Low carbonation.

A very smooth and drinkable pale ale.

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

12oz bottle: this one pours a clear coppery color. There was a fair amount of an off-white head, but it subsided rather quickly and left no lacing. Milder aroma, with notes of pine and floral. Some maltiness also. The taste is a fairly typical malt body with a smattering of bitterness, leading to a slightly dry finish. It is certainly not the "Hop Hazard" that the label warns, but a decent beer nonetheless.

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

Into a pint glass, pours copper with a pretty nice white head, really good lacing down the glass. Aroma is pretty decent, floral and piney hops, not all that strong though, actually pretty weak. Taste I can appreciate, but ultimately I don't like it. A good mix of hops, yielding a funky grassy citric mild bittering, a leveling sweet caramel malt through the middle. Ends with the sweetness, but picks up bittering again, just slightly. Nice progression. The mouth had a fair carbonation to it, then nicely smooth but rather thin. Kind of eh in my book.

Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a 12oz bottle. Didn't find any "best by" date anywhere... Pours a clear, medium copper color (for now, as I see the bottle is a bit sedimented....later for that). Minimal head and lacing, barely a smidge around the rim of some fine, white bubble action. Some carbo within proceeding headward. Slightly toasty malt action melds with some lightly fruity hoppage in the aroma; mild, though. Body is a decent medium, with more than passable smoothness on the palate.

A few sips reveal some easy-going caramel malt sweetness to start off, with toastiness again. Pleasant floral hopping comes into play, with mild fruity qualities and a lingering, flavorful aftertaste. Unspectacular yet solid; sessionable, for sure.


overall: 3.8
appearance: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


Photo of plaid75
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger creamy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell had a very malty base with a spattering of oily hop aroma. A sweet toasted grain aroma was detected as well.

The flavor had a solid malt backbone with a citric hop finish. There was an enjoyable toasted biscuity aftertaste. Much more body than the typical APA.

The mouthfeel had a medium fullness and a very dry finish.

Overall a very enjoyable APA. Due to its solid malt backbone, this beer could easily pass for a good replication of an English Pale Ale. As far as the claimed five hop blend, I am not all that convinced.

Photo of horndecker
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bit cloudy copper with an off-white decent froth, which is gone pretty quick. Lots of sprightly floral hop aroma, citrus and hay. Taste is more reserved than one would expect from something called "hop-hazard". Nice balance of malt and hop, but nothing to write home about.

Photo of arizcards
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the MicroBrewClub May shipment.

Brew poured a copper color with a minimal head. Nose is very malty. Taste is actually pretty well balanced given the APA style. Beer starts off very malty and finishes with a slight dry hop. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, suitable for the style. Overall drinkability is pretty good. This is OK to try but one I would not be inclined to hunt down.

Photo of benmiliron
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Paid 1.79 for a bottle. Slightly cloudy, brownish orange, not unlike Sam Adams. Smell is strong hops but not too floral. Very acidic. Taste is similar - again strong hops but too heavy and unbalanced with the malt. Highly astringent. Mouthfeel is very light, low gravity, maybe a bit sticky with good alcohol bite.

Photo of bditty187
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown-bronze in hue with a tickle of copper as well, it is much darker than a typical APA. I like that. Beige foam, at the apex the bubbles were two fingers tall. Head retention was excellent, but once the head started to fall it collapsed to a thin collar. However, there was tons of subsequent lacing. I dig the darker color; this is not a shabby looking beer.

At first the nose was pleasantly hoppy, it is clearly dry hopped. But the harder I sniff the more the malt shines. Talkative caramel notes with a chocolate-earthy underlying note. By the end the hops reemerge with a smack of citrusy-piney and kiss of flowers. Quite nice, really. Taken on the whole, the nose has great balance. Moderately high potency, chatty… oh yeah, it is inviting. The bouquet shows more depth than an average APA.

The palate is balanced but no aspect of the flavor profile is noteworthy. Okay, I take that back, I do like the earthy-caramel chocolate maltiness. This is a lovely aspect. It is a shame the hops are not louder. Not all that bitter but the hops impart flowers, citrus, pine, and hay notes. The finish is very tasty. This is not a great beer. It is a different take on an APA and, if for no other reason, this is a good beer. Solid. I like it.

About medium in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel fits the beer well even if it is nothing special.

It is sure is tasty plus it is easy to drink and enjoyable as well. I could kickback and kill a six-pack at a BBQ it no time flat. I realize this beer is nothing special and it is not a great beer but it is well-made and, dammit, I like it. Well-made and solid is not a knock. Thank you Daniel for the bottle. Worth a try.

Photo of hanco005
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of my beer of the month shipment. 12oz bottle, no freshness date indicated, poured into a nonic pint glass

A—slightly hazy amber with a ¾ inch fizzy head that is gone almost instantly, very little lacing is produced

S—hops and malts are balanced very well, a touch of caramel, a touch of citrus, nice

T—more malty than I was hoping for, the citrus and caramel come out together, but I was hoping for a little more hop bitterness

M—maybe a bit thin, light bodied, just a bit flat as well

D—it’s ok. I will drink the other two I have, but probably won’t seek it out again.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Pours a hazy orange amber with a white head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is hoppt and citrusy, and the hops let a bit of caramel malt to sneak through.

A weak caramel maltiness upfront followed by a tame bitterness and light citrusy hop flavor.

Thin body, carbonation is fine.

An underwheming IPA. It needs to grow some balls.

Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this bad boy in my basement fridge for some time and thought it was a good candidate for a midweek drink. This beer poured a cloudy amber color with a massive off white head with very fast bubbles running up from the bottom of the bottle. I got a faint aroma of hops in the background and a bit of sweetness to boot. The taste is a nice mix of hop bitterness and caramel sweetness, both complimenting the other well. The body of this beer has some nice carbonation but is pretty drinkable and worth trying.

Photo of jdhilt
2.68/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a two finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Floral/hoppy nose. Starts hoppy, midway some mellow sweetness, finish is hoppy/bitter. $1.75 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Photo of Phatz
4.4/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a pleasant surprise! I got this beer out of a mixed variety case. I was not familiar with River Horse beers and this one I saved for last knowing I don't prefer the APA style beers. This beer is brilliant. It seemed to me more like an English IPA than an APA to me and I REALLY enjoyed it! I poured it into my pint glass at about 55 degrees like I would an English IPA and it only improved as it warmed to room temp. Though you might normally drink an APA cold, I suggest you let this one warm, IMO!

Appearance: Beautiful amber brown with ruby highlights. Tight sudsy off white head. Medium lacing.

Smell: The smell is sweet and malty. It has a bit of toastedness to it. Then comes a very subtle gentle floral hop character. There is a bit of sugary sticky bun sweetness as well.

Taste: The taste is remarkably laid back (quaffable) easy to accept. It is gentle and yet complex as well. It does not require any thinking but it does stand up to further scrutiny. It is tasted malty and extremely smooth to start. Immediately following is a gentle ambush of floral hops, which is just as quickly met by a pleasant dryness and again a sweet, almost citrus, fruity attribute. The aftertaste is both sweet sugars which fade and then bitter hops that leave a lingering flavor (a bit woody) that kept me salivating for the next sip. WOW!

Mouthfeel: A masterpiece. The body was light medium but full of dry hops and carbonation that kept the mouth feeling both creamy and smooth. Nice!

Drinkability: This is a great everyday beer. This is so easy and yet full of pleasant flavors. This beer sits easy in your stomach, it is approachable and sessionable. It has instantly become a part of my regular rotation. I highly recommend giving this a try.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of quasimoto
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - It pours a nice copper color that is rather cloudy. There is no head and has a steady stream of carbination.

S - IT has a smell that reminds me of caramel, and a slight apple aroma. Or maybe the carmel reminds me of a caramel apple. Not too sure. There are strong aromas of piney hops that encompass all of the caramel aroma. Very pleasant.

T - There is a rich strong hoppy flavor. It is mixed with a bunch of caramel malts that balance it out. There is no aftertaste of bitterness from the hops.

M - With the abscence of the bitterness of the hops, it is very easy to drink. There is some strong carbination on the tongue, but other than that it is very easy to drink.

D - This is a beer that has potential to be a great session beer. Great flavor and aromas give this a nice spot among pale ales in my book.

Photo of daliandragon
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a River Horse mixed twelve this afternoon at St James Beverage. I don't know much about Jersey beer so I'm looking forward to there. This is the Hop Hazard, which features a nice toothpaste white head and bright orange color. Little carbonation visible. Nose has mucho hops but also decent hop flavor as well as yeast and chocolate tones. Pretty impressive so far.
Hops are bursting with juicy bitter flavor Wow, almost too much hop action, and normally I enjoy extra hoppy beers. Also, here there isn't much malt or other flavors to mellow the bitterness. Taste is refreshing and mouthfeel is round and wide.
I like this beer as it's well made and crafted but probably a little too much naked hop for my favorite pales and such.

River Horse Hop Hazard Pale Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.