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 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 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 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 russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes, drank about 2 months ago, cheers to BitterbBill for this one!

Pours an effervescent straw/blonde with a finger of pearl white head. Stays effervescent throughout & keeps ab amoeba like head structure. Average head retention & lacing

S: Grassy, bready & with hints of lemon

T: Dryness, lemony hops up front. Grainy bready as this warms, plus fruittyness & dryness.
Finishes with juicy grain, some grassyness & a touch of coriander???

MF: Medium bodied, smooth carbonation & great balance

Super sessionability that harkens back to many nice golden ales I drank in the 90s (many of these breweries are no more). Well done Kern River!

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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 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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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 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 Wasatch
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice hazy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, with some really nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some slight hop/yeast profile, and some spices. The taste is malty, sweet, yeasty/slight hop, and some spice notes. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty brew, glad to have had a chance to try it, thanks Bill.

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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 BARFLYB
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to oglmcdgl for sharing the bottle brought back from cali.

A- Isabella has a mix of light gold with some orange built in to enhance the appearence. A one inch sturdy white head stood on top of the liquid for quite some time. Good lace patterns seen on the way down.

S- The smell on this is my favorite part of this beer, it's just so inviting. Big blasts of citrus scents with oranges and clemintines at the forefront. A nice hop base giving off floral qualities backed by some sweet malts. Smells delicious.

T- The huge citrus in the scent comes through in taste but it is not as pronounced as I thought it would be. I seem to get alot of oranges from this beer. In the middle some wheat and yeast present themselves with some hops built in. Finishes off rather floral and delicious.

M- A very small step up from light bodied while the carbonation was felt on the tounge. The carb is a touch high but still works well with this. Without it this would have been less interesting. The flavors invade the tastebuds.

D- I would of had no problem finishing off the bomber by myself. I look forward to more from this brewery. Hopefully one day they will find their way to store shelves in PA.

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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 Halcyondays
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a clear dark yellow with a soft white head, good lacing and head retention, a solid looking pint.

S: Intriguing, pineapple juice is most predominant, with orange, apricot, and rose petals rounding it out, very floral.

T: Light grainy malt with some floral/herbal hops, a clean flavour, lighter than I expected.

M: Smooth and creamy, light/medium-bodied.

D: A nice easy drinking ale from Kern River, it looks like I wasn't as taken with it as the rest of the group, but a beer that has its moments; a solid session pint.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber consumed on 9/14/2009 and poured into my Moonlight pint glass. The beer is straw colored with a pretty great looking pillowy white head. It's about one inch with great retention and lacing.

The nose is bready and biscuity. The hops impart some grassiness and just a little citrus. The beer is well balanced but is slightly malt forward. Notes of corn are evident, as well as a hint of alcohol. The nose is subtle but really nice.

The flavor is of biscuity, bready malt and wheat with just a touch of lemon and orange. Bitterness is at a low level. Alcohol is nowhere in the flavor. Corn is noticeable. This is very well balanced. The finish is clean and dry.

The beer is light bodied with moderate carbonation. This is a perfect summer beer, and one that will slake your thirst. Very quenching. Requisite joke: I would session this blond with rock hard resolve.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.57/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased from HiTime Wines in Costa Mesa CA.

This pours a clear straw gold with about an inch of foam. Head retention and lacing both turned out to good.

The smell has a nice malty nose to it. I pick up some caramel for some sweetness and a bit of earthy hops.

The taste is malt dominated as well. Caramel malt, very light grain, some honey, and a bit of earthy hop semi bitterness and light tartness make this American Blonde quite tasty. The low abv is certainly a plus as this is going down very easy so I won't have to "pay" for it later.

The mouthfeel is on the high end of light, the carbonation is pretty light but fits nicely, and it finishes a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet. Right at the end it becomes slightly watery but no big deal.

Drinkability? The 4.5 says it should be very good. The taste says It *is* very good. Nothing boring about this ABA. I'm just checking my reviews of the style and there aren't many but I find Isabella ranks with the best I've tried.

I'm glad I found out about this brewery as I have a couple more styles of theirs to try. If the others are as well crafted as this one, I'm in for a real treat.(s)

Edit: second bottle tried and I'm even more impressed. Score adjusted accordingly.

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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 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 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 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 HalfFull
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass, this brew pours golden in color and with a light haze. A thin cap of foam is short lived, settling to a surface cap/ring in a minute or so. Rather clear in the end.

Some light hops on the nose as well as a good dose of light and nondescript malts. More hops later on. Rather nice for the style yet somewhat of an aberration of sorts. Interesting nonetheless and without the chalky notes often present.

Taste is moderate and smooth, with a relatively full body on the finish, particularly given the light color of the brew. Nice and dry on the finish per se, yet hmmm. Bit spicy on the close.

An easy drinking beer with a bit of citrus spice and a good dose of hops as well.

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Photo of joe1510
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bomber

Here's another Kern River brew from the man himself, BitterBill, thank you Bill! Isabella is a bright golden beauty that shows a touch of haze and some straw golden highlights when backlit. Carbonation rises from random spots on the glass to the voluminous two finger linen white head. The foam settles lazily to a one finger cap with good staying power. This blonde is a knockout.

The nose is simple but clean and inviting. A semi-sweet graininess opens up a dusty grain aroma that fits incredibly well. A mild grassy hoppiness hits first and segues into a floral note that's very attractive. I don't know why but clean malty sweetness is incredibly inviting and almost comforting. It's tough to pull my nose from the glass.

The flavor mimics the nose fairly closely and manages to surpass it in the enjoyment category. The maltiness of this beer is so fresh and vibrant. That semi-sweet character gets things moving and eventually engulfs the tongue. Freshly husked grains and a drizzle of honey are what this beer tastes like in the most soothing of ways. The hops don't play much of a role but do manage to leave a whisper of floral notes behind. A touch of lemon is noticeable on the end too but I find myself reaching for it.

Isabella has one amazing mouthfeel! I couldn't imagine it being any better than what it is right now. She shows off a medium body and the carbonation is there but velvety soft. This brew rolls along my tongue like it was meant to be.

Drinkability is way up there with this fantastic blonde ale. I could honestly and easily drink this beer all day long without a care in the world. A beer this easy to drink is a rare find.

Isabella is the best blonde I'll I have ever encountered hands down. It's a true comfort beer for me and seems to fit perfectly as my idea of session ale. This beer actually blew me away which is something I never thought I would say when referring to a blonde ale. It's so simple, pure and clean it's hard not to love. Thanks for the treat Bill! Kern River seems to have a couple gems in their lineup.

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