Harbor Lights Ale | Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

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19 Ratings

Brewed by:
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-21-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by BrewMonkey:
Photo of BrewMonkey
1.57/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Wow, republicans must have brewed this beer because it's terrible. What a waste of a tribute. Tastes green apply like something out of a Mr. Beer kit. Almost no carbonation, tastes and smells like it was not even properly fermented.

Here's a hint to the brewers, if you are going to produce a one off like this, try not making it so bad anyone who tries it would never purchase anything else you make.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of OStrungT
3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow color, with a thick, fluffy, white head. the head fades very slowly, leaving a massive lacing. Impressive, like how I hope Obama's presidency will be.

This beer has a very mild aroma. It is rather dificult to pick out any specific aromas. It has a slight grainy aroma. Some slight citrusy lemon aroma is also present. Not much going for it.

This beer tastes like it smells. Very mild, and hard to pick out flavors. Some lemon citrus flavor is present, along with a slight grainy taste.

This beer is light, and crisp. It leaves a very light grainy aftertaste. Carbonation is well for the style.

This beer would probably make a decent session beer. It is light enough, and the flavor is certainly mild enough.

Overall: I wanted this beer to be great, but it just wasnt. I used some to make pancakes this morning, and those were great, so that gave me hopes. This beer was just too boring. I hope Obama's term as our 44th president will be better. Nice try Half Moon Bay.

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Photo of glid02
3.13/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up from BevMo in Long Beach, CA.

I had a pretty good guess this wasn't going to be anything special judging by the description on the bottle but I had to buy it anyway.

Pours an almost opaque lemon-yellow color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of mildy tart citrus - lemons and lime - with good amounts of sweet malt that has a metallic quality to it.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Muddled malt flavors are intertwined with what amount to off-flavors I would expect to find in a rauchbier - salty and mildly smoky. Very strange. The ending is mildly bitter and contains hints of citrus.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is not so great. I finished my glass but would not go for another.

Overall this was just about as good as I expected it to be - drinkable but barely.

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Photo of acurtis
1.75/5  rDev -38.8%

Photo of nickd717
3.6/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

Pours a bright clear golden-yellow color with a white head that has average retention.

Aroma is nice sweet pale malt, not too much grain, straw, and some grassy hops.

Flavor is not too far off a clean pilsner. Grassy and floral hops assert themselves fairly well, and there is mild pale malt sweetness. Balance is good.

Clean and crisp on the palate with medium-light body.

Not half bad for what is usually a very uninteresting style.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.67/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was pretty good. I enjoyed it. I t was bottled as Obama'08 Presidential Ale Limited Edition bottle.

Appearance- amber color, clear

Smell- malt, fruity

Taste- crisp, malt, little bitter on the finish

Mouthfeel- dry finish, light body

Drinkability- It was pretty good. I would drink it again.

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Photo of scottoale
4.23/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled Obama '08 Presidential Ale, this is a limited edition bottling of Harbor Light Ale. From the 22oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip, a hazy straw yellow-gold with a cotton white three finger billowy head. The carbonation is big in this one, keeping the head aloft. When the head finally does settle a bit, clumps of sticky white lace cling to the glass. A very good looking brew indeed.

Sweet light malty nose with a fruity aroma and some honeysuckle and dustiness. Well balanced in the taste, it starts off sweet and fruity and follows up with a nice bittery hopness. Quite refreshing, this brew really reminds me of a watered down clone of Lucifer, a Blonde Belgian strong ale. As tasty as it looks.

A very drinkable refreshing ale with a mild 4.8% ABV and a nice clean dry finish. This beer kind of took me by surprise as I've been holding off on drinking it, thinking it would just be a novelty type brew...not so. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some more as it's a great hot weather drinker.

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Photo of BigBry
2.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

"Obama Ale" - I received this one from some friends who were buying wine and saw a display for this. Purely a marketing novelty, so wasn't expecting too much to start with.
22 oz bomber with large picture of Obama on the label.
This beer pours slightly cloudy, yellow gold color. Short white head fades very quickly, no lacing. Mild aroma, nothing really stands out other than some grain and lemon smells.
Not much in the flavor department either, mild grassy grains, a bit flowery, no discrenable hops. OK carbonation, light body, not much else to speak of.

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Photo of BabaBeer
3/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of RunDWP
3.26/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled as Obama '08 Presidential Ale

What can we do to support our President to heal our battered nation? We can go into the forests and rescue endangered species. We can volunteer to distribute medical supplies and care for those who have no health insurance. We can mentor orphan children. I have taken it upon myself to support the President in his quest, by doing something I do well. I will drink his beer.

It's a fine brew, but a nagging question tugs at me as I drink it. Does this brew resemble our President? Well, our President looks good. This brew looks good in my tulip. A golden yellow with a thick, foamy white head and plenty of sheeting action on the glass. Odd that our first African-American President be honored with such a pale looking beer.

I have never smelled the President. I suspect he does not smell of faint malt and a little grassy hops.

The flavor was light malt with slightly fruity and grassy hops, well balanced, for sure, but the flavor was rather light. There was a little sweetness as the brew warmed. Does Obama gets sweeter as he warms up? Only the First Lady knows for sure. Obama is a pretty smooth talker, and this is a pretty smooth tasting brew.

But for all the sweeping change Obama is calling for, and must make, this was one of the most straightforward, safe, and unoffensive brews I've ever had. Wouldn't a beer befitting of our President take some risks? Shake things up a bit? Challenge us in some way? This beer falls way short in that department.

I'll be happy to toast our President, but I plan to do it with a beer more representative of his character, which this brew is not.

 1,638 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.73/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

01/21/05- On tap at the HMB Brewery.

Presentation- 4oz sampler (part of a two day 4 sampler binge)

Appearance- Straw yellow color, decent fluffy white head and excellent lacing.

Smell- Light malt, a tad fruity and minimal hops.

Taste- Moderate malt flavors, a bit roasty, very crisp and clean. A bit bitter on the swallow.

Mouthfeel- Leaves a dry mouth, minimal carbonation.

Drinkability- A bit of an odd taste, but overall a decent to good offering.

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Photo of codynevels
2.5/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of beerpadawan
2.48/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It poured with a fizzy little head which quickly receded to a sparse lace in the shape of a giant, running man with parachute pants. Just the tiniest bit tawny fading to light gold. It smells of simple sweet malt and a hint of hops. The body is light to medium, not very dry or very sweet. A bit sweet from the malt and a not unpleasant bit of low-acid hops in the middle. It finishes a little funky and vegetative. Not a particularly good one. It's the first HMBB beer I've seen in SoCal.

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Photo of aforbes10
2.97/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from a big display in the front of one of the Sacramento BevMos. Pours lightly carbonated and light brown to yellow with a thin white head. Smells of malt, orange zest, a hint of alcohol...not an aggressive aroma. Lightly malty and slightly lemony flavor with the maltiness becoming more biscuity and pronounced on the finish. Fairly clean flavor, with a touch of alcohol. Thin to medium bodied. Meh, nothing memorable here, but it drinks ok. If I were to brew an Obama beer it would be something much more complex and interesting.

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Photo of PintPal
2.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of djrn2
1.75/5  rDev -38.8%

Photo of t0rin0
2.5/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of iowaherkeye
3.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, no date. From the label I can tell it's a novelty beer and more than likely will make me sad. The official name looks like Mavericks Obama '08 Presidential Ale. My label states 4.8% ABV. Clear golden with a one finger off-white head, down to a thin film and tattered lace rather quickly. Aroma of some light pine and grapefruit rinds, and some biscuity malts. The flavor adds some grainy malts and just a hint of corn, but thankfully the hops are still present, and just as piny and rindy as before. Semi-dry finish with bitterness peaking around a 3 or so. Light body with low prickly carbonation. Not a show-stopper, but for what it is, it's not too bad, but definitely not an amber ale--maybe more like a golden/blonde or Kölsch. Update: it looks like this isn't a new entry, but a limited edition bottling of the Harbor Light Ale. 3-(6-7)-3-7-(13-14)

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Photo of 1759Girl
2.54/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Imagine my disappointment when City Beer Store didn't have the beer I wanted to review for my one hundredth BA review!!! Imagine my next disappointment when the beer I settled on instead was from a skunked bottle! And then imagine my further woe when the replacement non-skunked bottle was really boring. Disgraceful to such a progressive name. I expected something bold, exciting, inspiring.... <sigh> This was just not in the cards for my 100th...
A>Cloudy haze, golden yellow color, lackluster, no head, no lacing.
S> Not much smell... slight notes of grain, honey, burned sugar... but its nose was so light, it's entirely possible that I was getting wafts of better beers within CBStore.
T> Medium complexity... that's about the best compliment I can give.
M> Okay. Nothing terribly offensive. I honestly thought Obama mouthfeel would be much more heaven sent ;-P
D> Well, I'm going to have to go with NO on this one because I left half of the bottle on the table.. and REALLY NO, because no one would take the free beer from me.

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Harbor Lights Ale from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Beer rating: 2.86 out of 5 with 19 ratings