Isabella Blonde | Kern River Brewing Company

very good
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Isabella BlondeIsabella Blonde

Brewed by:
Kern River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 03-01-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 121
Photo of Catracho5
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a golden straw color with a one finger head, no head retention, good amount of carbonation streaming up the middle, slightly hazy.

A: Tea, lemongrass aromas, malt, grainy, crackers, nothing impressive.

T: Like the nose, tea, lemongrass, slight bitterness, finish is malty, semi-dry finish.

M: Light bodied with a semi-dry finish.

O: Pretty straightforward, not much on the hops, an easy drinking beer that would be good after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.

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Photo of Zythophile
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Date: about two weeks ago
Palate Contaminants: none

Okay, Kern River Brewing. Had a splash of the Citra IPA at a festival, so I figured it was worth the detour.

Appearance is slightly opaque and straw colored. The head is fine, but goes away quickly.

The smell is sweet and like any number of adjunct lagers. I'll say malty with some rice. The sweetness makes it a bit nicer than the adjuncts.

Taste is definitely rice and wheat, but the character is a bit crisper. There is a slight bit of hops for a slight bit of bitterness. It's okay, but surprisingly indistinct. At least it's not overly watery.

Feel is light-moderate with a bit of prickly carbonation. What's there in the taste all sticks around for the aftertaste.

Overall, it's not particularly complex, but it is refreshing. I'm sure it's pretty good for going with a burger after floating down the Kern River on a summer Saturday, but not one that I'd seek out again.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle received as an extra in a recent trade.

This one pours a slightly hazy, mostly clear straw yellow, with a small quarter inch head, and a small amount of lacing.

This smells like tea, grassy hops, and pale crackery malts.

This is not one of my favorite styles, so I'll try to be unbiased. Even for a blonde ale, there doesn't seem like there's a whole lot here. There's some nice dry tea-like hop flavors, a little bit citrus, crackery malts, and a pretty watery finish. There's a decent yeastiness to this that's not super enjoyable.

This has a light, kind of watery body, with a crisp mouthfeel, a high drinkability, and a moderate level of carbonation.

Doesn't quite work here, unfortunately.

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Photo of BierJager89
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: Pours an opaque golden hue with a short white head that quickly thins to a ring.

S: Some peach, orange and mango in a faint nose. Also a bit of malt, pine and grapefruit rind.

T: Perhaps past it's prime, taste is on the malty side, if a bit stale. Some orange and grapefruit peel comes through, along with a touch of pine. Not so much hoppy as it is bitter on the finish.

M: Medium bodied, not really smooth.

O: I am surprised, given how good some of their beers are, that this is so mediocre. Would not recommend. I need an IPA.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Raul indulged on some of this bro lager because the homie next to him ordered it. Now, obvi Blondes aren't Raul's thang (hoodrats too - Raul just doesn't dig em!) - anyway...

Like Charlize Theron, it's ok for what it is, but Raul wouldn't want to take it home to mama. Decent color, taste is grassy like a Texas knoll... Aite, but never again.

Bye bye!

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is transparent golden yellow with a tight foamy white head. Nose is solid, fresh grain, faint dough, solid hop presence being fairly grassy with a light spice to it with a touch of lemon. Taste is decent, the grain presence is a bit lighter, flavors are slightly muted and less integrated. Hops are herbal and grassy, spice is a touch stronger as is the lemon. Finish is highly carbonated with a light lingering bitterness and light body.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy gold with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and some grassy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with malty and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild 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 pretty good beer that has a nice hoppy presence in the smell and taste.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally seeing some Kern River after an extended abscence. 22 ounce bottle here, and it's on to the beer:

Just as the name suggests, this is a darker blonde colored beer that flirts with goldenrod. The head retention is good, and splashes of lace ring around the glass. Earthy, biscuity, slightly hopped, and dry is the nose, providing good aromic power. Simple and refreshing to taste; a tiny bit of earth, modest biscuit note, a kiss of grassy hops, slightly metallic, balanced between the flavors. With a light and refreshing crisp body, this is one very easy drinking beer.

Isabella Blonde can stick its head over many of the blonde ales being produced by not only being refreshing, but also having some taste as well. Ideal as a starter, fishing at Lake Isabella, or just looking for that moment of refreshment.

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Photo of Treebs
3.24/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle served in a CCB snifter. Thanks to Sean for the share.

A: Pours a hazy golden apricot color with wispy white head forming on the pour. It dissolves quickly to a thin ring.

S: Hoppy upfront with some grainy malts and a little back end sweetness.

T: Cereal grains with a light hop backing. Not as potent as the nose and took on more of the standard blonde ale flavors.

M: Light, medium carbonation. Highly drinkable.

O: Solid blonde. Nothing crazy, but solid. Really drinkable. Could drink a lot on a hot summer day, but wouldn't seek this out.

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Photo of rand
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 22oz bottle to stein glass

A: The brew is straw-yellow in color, cloudy and effervescent, and forms a frothy, pillowy 2-inch head on a gentle poor. A good deal of sticky lacing is left on the glass.

S: The nose yields notes of honey-sweet pastries blended with earthy, floral hops, surrounded by a crisp, cracker-y overtone.

T: The malt-forward flavors follow the nose - a nice balance of slightly-sweet malts and floral hops. The brew has a well-rounded palate that finishes short and sweet.

M: Light and bubbly, with enough of an oily-slick mouthfeel to keep these tossing back.

I've been drinking Kern brew for awhile but never got around to trying this. Blondes are not my go-to style, and Kern's IPA's are so delicious and hard to get that I've never really seen the point in drinking this. But with hop-indulgence I've been doused myself in (thanks to the latest Citra release), this was surprisingly refreshing. A great beer for lunch or tailgating.

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Photo of jvillefan
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: A very light yellow body with a very white head that disappears quickly.

S: It smells like a lager. There is a lot of wet bread aroma coming off this beer.

T: There is very subtle bitterness but most of the flavor is through the light malts. There is a subtle belgian character as well.

M: Heavier then expected given the ABV. It has good bite from the carbonation.

O: It is one of the better blondes I've had, but as I am not a fan of the style, I will probably not be getting this one again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.1/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Samuel Smith's conical pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high given the brewery.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger beige colour head of nice cream and thickness, and great retention. Colour is a pale lemon yellow when held in the light, but a dull copper out of the light. Transparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Floral hops, lemon zest/esters, and pale malts. A simplistic aroma of average strength. It's generally appealing.

T: Lemon esters and zest. Pale malt foundation. Floral hops. It's a bit too lemon-y. Nicely fruity and refreshing. It's simple, but I like it. There's little to say about it in light of its simplicity. No yeast character comes through. No alcohol.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Good carbonation and thickness. Complements the flavour profile well.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable. I do like it, but I doubt I'd get it again. A good blonde from Kern River, but it won't impress.


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Photo of notchucknorris
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours more of a hazed dirty blonde color with a nice one finger white head. Leaves some trace of lacing.

S: Lemon, light grapefruit peel, bready malt and grain. Maybe a hint of lime and a faint hop presence as well.

T: Smooth and malty throughout with a touch of citrus rind and some grassy hops. It's not really my style, but for the style it's going for, it's a solid beer. As others have said, it's a great lawnmower beer.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer from a BIF. I really appreciate the generosity that sent this beer to me.

I poured this into a tulip glass from the bomber. The beer is a perfect blonde color with a very healthy head on top.

On top I pick up very light malt and hops. There is decent balance to the minimalist nose on this beer.

The taste is kind of plain. There is nothing wrong with beer, and nothing exceptional to point out.

This blonde is an easy drinker. I would recommend it as a very good lawnmower beer.

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Photo of dtmets84
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my HF snifter.

Pour a 1inch head with a decent lacing

light hoppy notes with some grass nothing too remarkable

very light in the mouth feel with some carbonation.

Easy drinking for a hot summer day

Decent offering from Kern I personally would not seek it out again

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Isabella Blonde is touted as being 'great for those hot summer days' and, indeed, it looks like one! It has a radiant yellow body, chirpy bubbles and a creamy white lather like the one I need to splatter on my nose, neck and shoulders to keep them from burning after twenty minutes or so outdoors. The thick mist implies a more than ample malting.

The aroma is grainy but also bready-sweet with a trace leafy hoppiness. It confirms a more than ample amount of malt was used - don't let its bright, pale body mislead you, this is much denser than a typical lager of similar colour. It also lacks any of the unpleasant adjunct notes of those beers (although there is a slight corn grits air, on account of its graininess).

Flavours of corn kernel and grain husks instinctively make me feel as though I should chew before swallowing. Indeed, this resembles a hearty barley risotto in both flavour and starchy, dense mouthfeel (except of course for the earthy, herbal pungency experienced on the finish). I say again: this blonde ain't no anorexic twig, but a bootylicious, full-figured gal.

Kidding aside, 'voluptuous' isn't such an inappropriate word to describe this blonde ale. It is full of (and can be characterized by) its plump malty indulgence and, together with a well-rounded leafy hoppiness, it brings enjoyment and pleasure to the senses. If I were ever to describe a beer as 'bosomy' this would be the one. It's bigger than the 4.5% let's on.

My anaconda don't want none unless if you got buns, hun. And Isabella, although she is indeed a relatively lighter beer, sure has a real and busty maltiness that I would take eleven times out of ten to those ultra-thin, grossly artificial, purely aesthetic mainstream lagers. Take my word on it, this Californian blonde is definitely more fun. And it is definitely much better than the score I posted above would indicate. Thanks Martin!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Kern River Brewing Company

A: The beer pours a clear golden straw color with a finger of white head.

S: Corn and pale malts make up the bulk of the aroma. Some light hoppy notes, mostly grass and straw with a little bit of a floral quality. Some light yeastiness, but fairly meh overall.

T: Like with the nose, pale malts, bread, and corn are the big players. A very light hoppiness in terms of the flavor, but a surprisingly strong bitterness. Again, a light yeasty quality to the beer exists.

M: Light to medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: Easily my least favorite Kern River beer. I wouldn't care to have this one again.

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Photo of SupaCelt
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden blond colour with a big fluffy head to start with and massive lacing to hold on to.

The nose is light and mildly spicy with a twinge of breadiness and some pilsner corn tones. A faint grassy hop character mixed in for some nuance.

The taste is light and enjoyable. A perfect beer for a day like the one depicted on the label. Crisp and refreshing pilsner flavor coupled with the subtle and unimposing nature of whatever English hop variety is used within.

The mouthfeel is light and clean. Easy drinking.

This is a very pleasant ale and a great example of the style. This may not be everyone's cup of beer, but it accomplishes its ideal. Pefect for the patio in the summer or a day like the one depicted on the label. What a fox.

Thanks, Martin

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip glass.

A: Pours a bright golden color with a thin white head.

S: Some light malt aromas as well as a bit of spicy hops.

T: A soft malt body well balanced with some spicy English hops. A bit of spicy hops as well as some herbal characteristics. It's clean and very easy to drink.

M: Medium-light body with active carbonation.

D: A nice, easy drinking blonde ale. A good beer to have on a hot day as well as a good introductory ale to BMC drinkers.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the brewery in Kernville into a pint glass. The beer has a mustygolden color, with a slight film of bubbles over the top. The beer has a malty smell to the nose. Basic malt flavors with some bitter and sour notes typical of a Blonde. The beer has an extremely smooth finish, with little to no aftertaste. Extremely easy to drink, and would be a fantastic beer outside on a hot day.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to soloman420 for throwing in this beer as an extra.

Pours a hazy yellow straw color with a light colored thin bubbly head that looks awfully inviting.

Smell is rich with citrus and spicy notes. Light aroma and a light hop aroma as well, smells a little like saaz hops but I am not sure.

My first thought upon tasting the beer is pear. Which seems to be common in blonde ales. Nice citrus and lemons notes as well with light bready malts in the finish.

Light body with a refreshing crisp carbonated finish. Very pleasant in this department, this beer would go great with an outdoor lunch on a sunny day.

Very drinkable, with the ABV this could be quite the session beer.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Slightly murky gold, nice white head that quickly leaves to disk. Some sudsy lace.

S - Biscuit, straw, lightly fruity. 'Fresh' smelling.

T - Even solid malty goodness. Not too sweet and bittered nicely.

M - Medium to light bodied, good carbonation and nice balance.

D - This taste and ABV is a winner for sessionabilty.

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Photo of washburnkid
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

A: Small white head; ale is a clear golden with a thin film of retention. Rings of cascading lace all over the pint.
S: Aromas are of tart apple and mellow fruits immediately out of the pour. There's a mild biscuit from the malts, and more dry fruity esters that I can't quite pinpoint.
T: What I expected from the aromas. Biscuit from the malts, almost all toast and apples. It reminds me of a cider, though it's not as sweet. Dry grassiness from the hops, as well as a fresh graininess. More time means better balance for this beer.
M: Light, crisp, and nice for my beach setting!
D: Good for a refreshing brew. Very interesting and well-rounded flavors.

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Photo of jlindros
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another extra from the elusive trader Solomon420. Been trying a bunch of the beers from Kern River thanks to Damian, and this is next on the list. Been a big fan of them so far.

A: Pours into my NERAX modified pint glass with lip for aroma savoring, with a semi decent 2 finger fluffy head that fades slowly. Very clear with a slight haze in the golden yellow straw colored liquid.

N: Toasty straw malts and some crystal malt. A slight fruity sweetness from the combination of yeast and malty goodness. A slight hop aroma, more towards the English style bitter hops, but pretty light. A slight grassy aroma as well.

T: Starts with an almost juicy malt flavor, but is still semi light. A slight toasty malt flavor, but not too much. An almost tangy sweetness but not very light. A slight bitter spicy grassy hop taste. Almost some banana and wheat flavors. Pretty clean and crisp as well.

M: Mild body with good carbonation.

F: Mildly bitter with a slight grassy lingering taste. Pretty dry but not overpowering. Clean finish, without much lingering flavors, except a little bitterness. A slight fruit flavor, more banana and orange and wheat grass blended seems to flair up just at the end of the taste, but fades quickly, like a lost memory of summer, just like this beer. It's a great summer beer and drinking it makes me miss summer quite.

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Photo of jwc215
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bitterbill for this 22 oz. bottle!

Pours almost all foam at first. It does settle pretty quickly though, revealing a slightly hazed golden yellow body with a spots of lacing.

The smell is grainy, slightly nutty/almondy with a hint of tea-like spicing.

The taste of mildly sweet grainy maltiness, with a hint of nut, blends with a touch of tea-like hops that give it a dry, thirst-quenching finish.

Carbonation is on the aggressive side, producing a rather foamy feel.

Not a bad thirst-quencher. Carbonation a but strong, but a refreshing brew overall with a nice balance to it.

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Isabella Blonde from Kern River Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 121 ratings.
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