Happy Camper IPA | Santa Fe Brewing Company

very good
160 Reviews
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Happy Camper IPAHappy Camper IPA

Brewed by:
Santa Fe Brewing Company
New Mexico, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic beer for those beer lovers who love their hops, Happy Camper IPA will take the Pepsi Challenge (or IPA challenge, as we say in New Mexico) against any other pretenders to the throne. Was it divine providence that made this beer the king of the IPA world? Was it a tireless pursuit of glory? No, this IPA has a top-secret recipe to thank for its success, and this meticulously formulated combination of several different hops combined with a very specific brewing process give Happy Camper IPA a spicy, citric, and floral infusion of hop character, which is masterfully counterbalanced with the full-bodied maltiness characteristic of the Santa Fe Brewing Company’s distinctive beers.

Added by indiapaleale on 08-18-2010

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Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 617
Photo of depechemode1983
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out medium copper in color. The head is off-white with moderate density. Retention is minimal.

S - The nose is mostly sweet with lots of tropical fruits being apparent. You get sweet pineapple and orange, slightly sour apricots coupled with a pleasant hop bitterness all the way through.

T - Bitter, semi sweet tropical fruits. Also....a bit of a toasted coffee quality maybe even a little bread like.

M - Smooth, soft, a little oily/slick. Carbonation in great.

O - Pretty good stuff right here. Only 8.49 a six pack at my local H.E.B. Recommended.

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Photo of OKbrew89
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap. Dark golden color with a multiple finger tan head that leaves lacing halfway down the glass. Smells of hop, citrus, and malt that aren't normally in an IPA. Aroma wise, nice change of pace from the death by hops IPA. Taste of hops through the whole drink with wonderful pine up front, malts in the middle, and citrus at the end. The hops don't overwhelm the other ingredients. Medium-light body with medium carbonation that isn't bitter and is easy to drink. Very crisp for an IPA.
Overall, a great IPA. I probably rated it especially high because it manages to be a hoppy IPA without being bitter or ruining my taste buds with over-aggressive happiness.

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange-brown. One finger of head. Smell is not aggressive, hoppy. Takes hoppy but not overly bitter Taste lingers well. Feel is a little thin, but quite smooth. Quite drinkable if not a star.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a Spiegelau IPA glass. No obvious can dating from what I can see.

Great looking brew, crystal clear body with thin and just plentiful but not too much carbonation. Copper orange clarity and glowing like a dark lantern. Head is creamed yellow and four fingers tall, thick capped retention, and big chunky lacing. In short what a great looking IPA should be.

Aroma hints a bit towards dank a bit, a good amount of weedy smoke to go with it also. Small caramel through the smoke giving some nice sweetness hints at smoke caramel. Really dig it, and it's not overpowering either.

Palate comes through a little less surprising. Malted caramel forward a bit, hints of smoken ash and some slight weed grass like flavors. Slightly tinny a bit strangely, hints a little towards a juiced fruit flavor but with no fruit quality strangely. Good solid malt backbone and sweetness match nicely.

An interesting take on an IPA, I dig it quite a bit.

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Photo of benloho
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Excellent IPA here. Delicious aromatic blend of citrus and tropical fruits with a slight piney/grassy hop note mixed in. Great head that retains and nice full bodied character which goes down smooth maintaining the juicy character of the hops yet crisp and refreshing to match the ABV. Bonus for coming in a can. Great beer for outdoor excursions, summer heat and sessionable as well!

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Photo of Moose90
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't decipher a freshness date on this one.

A – Translucent medium/dark amber. Thin head that leaves adequate sticky lacing throughout.

S – Lemon, citrus, hops. Some pine here as well.

T – Sweet and malty, maybe a bit past its peak. Bready malts up front lead to a nice drying bitterness on this finish. More citrus, grapefruit and pine.

M – Good carb, very smooth, this is a sessionable IPA. Crisp/dry.

O – Very refreshing IPA, could drink it all day long. Wouldn't call it a lightweight IPA, but it is one that you could drink a lot of. Very smooth and highly drinkable, good bitterness, and good malt balance.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up as part of a mixed six pack at Lukas tonight. Poured a medium amber color with a decent off white head. Nice floral/piney hop aroma. On the palate, medium bodied and drinkable, with tons of floral/piney hops, a little lemon and sweet malt. A very nice ipa.

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Photo of 2xHops
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The can was poured into a non-standard pint glass, but I gotta work with what I have. The appearance looked very good with a healthy foam rising and dissipating fairly quickly. It had copper color that looked lively.

The taste was the part that surprised me. While the beer has 6.6% ABV, it does not taste as hoppy as I thought it would with alcohol coming through strongly as you will see in other IPAs. I could taste the hops coming alive, but it isn't as coarse.

The mouthfeel is soft and long, and I feel like it's contradiction for an IPA. I had envisioned it to be more strong, but it still has the signature bitter aftertaste that lingers and lingers.

Overall, I'd buy this again. I think it's a good example of an IPA, especially when it comes in cans. It'll be a great addition to anybody's boating trips or even my tubing excursion I'm taking soon.

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Photo of JamesStreet
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours an orange, honey color with a thick, foamy, finger-width head. Good lacing down side of glass.
S- hop battle between piney and citrus.
T- white grape, grassy, spruce needles, grapefruit. Nice-tasting IPA. Good bitterness balancing the other flavors.
M- medium, sticky feel.
O- pleasant surprise on this one. Very nice IPA.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can, Boulevard tulip, no discernible freshness date.

Super clear amber beer with a very nice example of the standard off-white head. Initially there were three fingers of this. The retention is quite good, as is the lacing. I rarely, if ever, comment on packaging but the fact that this is in a can that is very simple, elegant, and identifiable bumps up the score.

Very minty and perfumed, earthy pine and grapefruit, abrasive, but not without a hearty caramel and biscuit backbone. This must be acceptably fresh because these hops are wonderfully resiny and juicy.

Caramel malt restrained by graininess begins things but is quickly submerged beneath moderate-high bitterness and hop flavors of earthy pine, grapefruit, sugary pears, rosemary, mint, tangerine, and peppery perfume. I'm being restrained not to give this a 4.5, I'm really digging it. A little drier and this would be a monster.

Creamy in the mouth and tending towards thick. The body is big.

I'd love for this to get dried out a bit. I like the malt bill and love the hopping but it's a little sweet for an IPA to do more than one at a time.

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Photo of dcloeren
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very crisp and clear burnt orange with 2 fingers of mountainous off white head. Definitely got some lacing going down my glass.

The aroma is very pine forward and full of hops! Once it warms up a bit some orange zest shines through. It is very enticing!

I love the taste on this beer. It tastes like orange zest infused pine sap.

Medium bodied an appropriate amount of carbonation. Semi drying hop aftertaste... and it goes down oh so smooth!

Overall this is a great everyday IPA. I always keep a sixer of this in the fridge and I take at least one with me wherever it is that I'm going. Worth picking up in my opinion.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Copper and clear with a quarter-inch head rested on top and about half of it vanished immediately. The other half is still hanging around, but slowly thinning. Pretty strong lacing clung to the glass all the way around. I have a feeling that Santa Fe Brewing takes a lot of care with crafting their beers. The lacing is bumping this one from a 4 to a 4.5 in my book. Very well done.

SMELL: The Happy Camper's nose is noticeable immediately upon pouring. Without even putting my nose to the glass I am already getting floral and piney hops with a whiff of orange.

TASTE: The writing on the can says "Wiping your rear with a pine cone is about as rough as camping should get. That's why we invented this portable IPA in a can." Great quote, but also possibly some inspiration for the beer, there is a lot of pine in this one, and the malt builds throughout the glass, but all of that sweetness is balanced very, very nicely with some bitter citrus flavors. It ends up just a little on the sweet side, but this one is a winner. I didn't know what to expect going in, but when I move to Colorado next month this will enter the rotation as a go-to, solid IPA.

MOUTHFEEL: This is a big, full-bodied beer that has just enough carbonation to also make it nice and thirst quenching. It also leaves an exceptionally clean, palate-cleansing aftertaste.

OVERALL: Well, not a bad start for my first foray into New Mexican beer. It was a perfect fit for my chips and spicy queso dip and now my only regret is that I left CO with only one can. Can't wait to return.

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Photo of Joe_Howard
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank from the can so can't really comment to much on the appearance, but it's a pretty cool can though. The smell is full of pine and citrusy hops with very little to no malt aromas detected. the taste reflects this as well. Overall it's an pretty good IPA but not a great one. While all the flavors of a great IPA are there, but was not executed as well as it could have been. With that said it is definitely a worthy beer if the pickings are thin or you want to try something different.

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Photo of JMad
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a pint glass...

The beer is a light murky copper/ brown color with at thin soapy off white head. It smells heavily of pine, grapefruit and sweet malt. The taste is very bitter up front with pine, citrus peel, with a hint of ginger and sweet malt. It is light/ medium with a silky carbonation and a super dry finish. This is an excellent IPA that hang with the best.

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Photo of beergoot
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bold, expressive, pungent pine and grassy nose greets you at the pour. Thick, rocky, sticky head sitting atop a solid copper body. Hop bitterness from the get-go with a solid malt sweetness backbone. Medium bodied, clean, dry finish.

Bitter and sweet APA beer nirvana! This one has things nailed to the core. Flavor and feel are their for the hop heads and the malt lovers. Well-balanced with a bold complexity makes this beer a must-try IPA lovers.

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Photo of quindog
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is being hyped by the liquor store around the corner from me and the guys working there definitely know their IPAs so I gave it a shot. Oddly, they seem to be the only store in the area that is carrying it right now but maybe it will gain wider distribution soon. I will say right off the bat that this cost $6.30 a sixer, so the price is definitely right.

Poured into a 16 oz Avery strong beer festival glass (2009) with the shape of an imperial pint (one of my favorite standard beer glasses). Pours a light amber color.

Aroma was not quite as pungent as I would have hoped. The beer was lacking good aroma hops. But there was no mistaking this for anything but an IPA. Perhaps I'm looking for different hops than they use for the nose.

Taste was as expected - bitter, with only a little malt to support the bitterness. I would have loved a little more flavor hop presence. This beer saves all of it's hops for the bittering. It wasn't overly bitter, but the lack of flavoring hops left me wanting just a little more. Still, it is a solid brew.

Despite what may seem to be a lackluster review thus far, the beer was very drinkable. I found myself at the bottom of my glass pretty quickly and was reaching for another. Overall I think this beer has potential, but it hasn't been reached yet. It is a well crafted beer, it just needs some more floral hops at the end of the boil and/or some dry hopping. For me, I'd probably prefer some simcoe or amarillo in the mix.

But at $6.30 a six pack, I may just have to pick up another.

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Photo of dbossman
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear copper hue with a steady one-inch head; lacing is decent

S: Citrus and pine hop aromas up front with a solid, sweet bready malt base lingering underneath

T: Pine, herbs, grass, and citrus mingle up front with loads of pleasant bitterness that are followed by a slightly burnt yet sweet bready malt undertones

F: Medium body with oily, sticky texture

O: A real solid IPA: bitter up front, quickly followed by a sweet malt base--nice beer

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into a Central Waters tulip.
6.6% ABV, no date.
(Reviewed 06-07-11 - from notes)

Thanks for the brew Todd!

A - Beautifully clear rusty bronze in color with a dense two-finger off-white head. Good retention with patchy fingers of lace cling to the glass.

S - Resiny pine citrus floods the air with potency that can be smelled a foot away. Mildly tart fruity undertones could both be yeast esters or the hops. Nice exotic fruit nose. Good malt backbone and caramel notes.

T - Sweet caramel malt underlines piny resin hops and exotic melon with a dry, lightly bitter finish.

M - Medium-bodied but crisp and smooth with a nice balance and level dry hop bitterness.

O - On a scorcher like today, this beer, dispite it's higher alcohol content, is a refreshing IPA. Good drinkability.

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Photo of SHODriver
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured from a can into an IPA glass to a nice golden orange with a finger of off white head that is slow to fade and leaves excellent lacing
S: smells of citrusy hops, caramel and a hint of pine
T: taste is bright citrusy flavors with a hint of pine and a nice underlying caramel sweetness from the malts. swallow is more pine and citrus with a bit more caramel
M: this beer is on the lighter side of medium on the mouth with soft yet adequate carbonation and a oily refreshing finish from the hops
O: I wouldn't call it earth shattering but my goodness is it very drinkable. it might have just a little too much residual sweetness but it's still fantastic.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stange glass. No freshness date on can.

The pour yields 4 fingers of off-white head covering a ripe-orange colored body. Good lacing and fine retention (though not exceptional).

Smells strongly of pineapple, surprisingly without many of the other hop aromas. This might be the most pineapple-centered aroma of any beer I have smelled! When I swirl it I get more normal IPA hop aromas, with some grassy and evergreen aromas (plus a bit of pale malt).

This is a hop centered flavor (as expected) with bit and pieces of malt showing through, but mostly just hops. The bitterness isn't super-high, which allows more of the actual flavor of the hops to shine. The hops follow the nose to some expect, but the pineapple flavors are not a pronounced or singular. Clean and well done.

The mouthfeel is smooth and surprisingly full bodied, with lower than normal carbonation, which seems to be a trend with cans. I love this as I often prefer less carbonation than most Americans do.

Conclusion: This is a great standard American IPA (the can makes it more classically American). Clean balanced hop bill with enough malt to make it smooth and full without covering over the hop flavors. Nothing spectacular, but a solid and well crafted offering. If I lived in Santa Fe, this would be my go-to local IPA.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can into a DFH signature glass. 6 pack purchased from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, I think it was around $8?

A: Hazy amber in color with an off white head that sticks right at 1/2 an inch and does not want to fade away. Decent amount of bubbles moving up through the glass. Nice gobs of lacing.

S: Nice amount of hops, really get a lot of grapefruit right up front. Has a nice juicy hop flavor. Decent amount of caramel and slight graininess as well. Hops are definitely the focus. Smells quite nice.

T: Lots of hops, grapefruit and a bit of a piney flavor. Fairly resinous, with a decent amount of bitterness on the finish. Nice malty backbone with caramel and a bit of slightly toasted malts as well. Pretty tasty.

M: Medium body, light carbonation, fairly slick in the mouth as well. Slightly dry.

O: A good IPA, nothing really spectacular, but definitely a solid offering. When stacked against the other IPAs in a can in CO, this would definitely get consideration, not quite on par with Modus Hoperandi, but definitely up there with Avery and Upslope. Will definitely purchase more the next time I see some.

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Photo of Domingo
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah, you have to love canned craft beers.
This one comes in a bright yellow can with the Zia symbol (NM flag) on it.
Pours a light copper color with orange/yellow highlights. Perfect head on a normal pour with abundant lancing.
Big hops on the nose. Resin-y pine and cannabis notes are there in full force.
Immediately on my tongue I pick up summit hops, but they're definitely not as pungent and overpowering like they are in the OB Gubna. In fact they seem to fade into normal cascade and wilder simcoe hop notes. Definitely still some cannabis in the mix, too. Malts there, but it really only comes up in the middle of the body and it gives the hops a little bit of a tropical and stonefruit kick.
While the flavor is big, the beer isn't strong and for an IPA I'd say it's pretty easy drinking.
My can's disappearing pretty fast and as a camping beer this would be a real winner.
More good stuff from SF. A good IPA by any standards made better via the canned convenience.

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Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A well rounded IPA. Classic American IPA and they do it nicely and cheaply. Recommend trying this one out. It's a nice beer that I'm happy just having one of.
Not too much malt and a medium hop flavor.
santa fe brewing has impressed the hell out of me with their 6 packs.

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Photo of Lerxst
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to chugalug06 for this nice extra

A-Pours amber, just a bit hazy with a one finger off white head that has good retention and leaves some nice lace.

S-Pine and citrus hops at the forefront here with a subtle, bready malt smell mixed in. But the malt is clearly playing a supporting role here, letting the hops dominate.

T-Similar to the nose, with a pine/resin hop flavor, citrus notes coming into play also with a slightly earthy/grassy presence as well. The bready malt back is there, but acts as a nice complement to the hops, not taking over.

M-Medium body, crisp carbonation, yet still a bit slick and oily.

O-A very enjoyable IPA that I'd certainly have again if only it were distributed in my area. While nothing is "great" or "world class" about this beer, everything about it is good from start to finish.

Thanks again to chugalug06 for this extra

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Photo of UnionMade
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome graphic design for the can. The simplicity makes it stand out.
Pours a slightly hazy, vivid copper orange, topped off with a finger's worth of white foam. Good head retention. Speckled lace clings to the glass.
Smells of toasty, biscuity malt with an overtone of pungent hops. Grapefruit rind and pine needles. Clean, with just a bit of grass and pear.
The flavor opens with biscuity malt sweetness, actually pretty well balanced with the hops for an americanized IPA. Don't get me wrong, this is not a beer for folks who are afraid of hops and bitterness, but the malt is certainly there. Very clean, with a soft bit of estery grass flavor adding to the hop profile that finishes things out. The hops seem pretty standard in that resinous citrus way, with a slightly greasy feel on the tongue. Body is full and rich, with peppy carbonation and a good bit of lingering bitterness. Yum.
I can't think of anything that's wrong with this beer. It's nothing outstanding, but there's no flaws in my opinion. Great, solid IPA in a can. Very satisfying. This is becoming one of my go-to standard beers. I've bought a sixer several times since these guys started distributing to Colorado.

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Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 617 ratings.
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