Humming Ale | Anchor Brewing Company

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Humming AleHumming Ale
661 Ratings
Humming AleHumming Ale

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Offa on 11-04-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 661 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of gmerrick
4.5/5  rDev +21%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.48/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Anchor Humming Ale has become my single favorite beer from Anchor next to Old Foghorn (of course they're two beers that are worlds apart).

I bought a six pack of this during the summer and drank it almost immediately. It's not overly full or malty, and it's got a good deal of complexity going on within the hops; as well as within the interaction between the malt and the hops and the bitterness. It's superbly balanced; and given that I was working in the garden it made a refreshing and bitter quencher that was more satiating than any light beer could ever be. (I also enjoyed it more than my usual Bavarian hefeweizen because they seemed to become a bit too sweet as they warmed).

The Humming Ale maintains the distinct pale malt character of their Steam Beer, and the bright hop nose of the Liberty Ale, but softens it a little bit and adds some fresh tropical fruit with the use of Nelson Sauvin hops. And that fruitiness, in my opinion, helps to cut through and balance it while still maintaining the traditional spicy and earthy notes that Anchor is known for. The earthy pale malt sweetness is a little easier to find, yet it remains a solidly bitter and refreshing beer.

I find it to be very much like some of the summer beers coming out of England in recent years, which are basically traditional pale ales juiced up a bit with some American hops (and occassinally some wheat). And with the exception of the "American" steam beer, Anchor has always made very English style ales, so for them to use some juicy American hops makes total sense. I just wished they'd done it sooner!

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Photo of TexIndy
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottling code of Aug 11th. Was a very slightly hazy yellow color with plenty of carb streams. It had a large foamy white head that slowly settled down to a foam cap. Good slow sliding lace with a bit sticking.

This features the Nelson Sauvin hop and it shows. Great citric hop aroma with biscuity malt in the back. Really becoming a big fan of this hop after first trying it with Alpine Nelson late last year. The taste was excellent as well and a good showing of the Nelson hop. Good hop bite with very low bitterness. Sweet finish to set up for the next drink. A big hophead may find it a bit boring but I enjoy the good hop flavor without shredding my tongue (although there are plenty of days that I do want that). Mouthfeel towards full with lots of carbonation. Nice slightly sweet aftertaste right alongside the citric from the hop.

Overall, a really great beer. Not a hop bomb but delivers really good hop flavor. Highly recommend. Avail here in TX as a Aug-Nov seasonal. Rotation - oh yeah, this has a home in the rotation during the season. [R;Y]

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Photo of BeefyMee
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright golden amber. Good head and lacing.

S: The aromas they got out of the hops are amazing. Orange and grapefruit, spruce and pine, underscored by a subtle butteriness.

T: Big grapefruit hop punch. Slightly acrid. The other hop characteristics from the smell have taken a backseat here. A malt backbone is present but mostly dominated by the ruthless hops. Not necessarily a bad thing when you do it well, and they did.

M: Awesome.

D: Slightly hindered by the extreme hoppiness, but otherwise this is about as drinkable as it gets. Seems very light yet substantial and flavorful at the same time.

What a great beer. The perfect rival for SNPA.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a very nice hazy gold appearance which tells you they put a good amount of hops in this one. The smell reminds me of Boston Lager with a very floral but a little bit more grapefruit green apple of a smell but with more of a sour dough bread smell instead of the malt nose you get from Boston Lager. The taste mimics the smell but hits you with a pretty nice bitter tart finish from the hops. This could pretty much pass for an IPA when its real fresh. Its a grassy grape gree apple like taste from the hops followed by a sour dough bread like malt in the middle and nice bitter finish. Nice and crisp and extremely drinkable. This has more hops than the Boston Lager and is a bit more bitter. Fresh hops hit the back of your tongue. This can easily compare with some popular East Coast IPA's. Remnds me of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale too in some ways. I like this one a bit better I think. You can tell there is a different strain of hops in there it almost taste like Noble hops and American hops mixed together. I know the hop strain is Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand and it really adds a unique twist on the beer that gives the finish a tart like bitterness. This is my favorite beer from Anchor.

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Photo of climax
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

All things point in a good direction after pouring this one. A demonstrative fluffy eggshell head rises and only falls after I agitate it to extract the aroma (which didn't need much coaxing).

This thing fumes that pungent, bitter, earthy, diacetylic aroma just as their steam beer does. That said, there's no shortage of character in the aroma, I can smell it across the room. Leafy hop tones, sourdough bread, and lemon zest all grace the nostrils.

It's certainly a hop forward pale ale, the bitterness is assertive from beginning to end. A snappy herbal tone starts it off, and fades to a slightly sweet citrusy finish. Hints of mint sprig, red apple, and bread begin to intensify as it sits.

The body is on the light side, never watery but extremely quaffable. Feel is very slick with a sharp bite. The finish isn't overly dry, yet leaves the mouth more than ready for another sip.

This is a very well done beer, and different from all the other APAs out there. It's full of flavor and character, my only regret is that I only bought a single....

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Photo of diamondc
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Sept. 1 2011. $1.99 for a 12 oz bottle.

A: Great head on this beer. Fluffy, egg shell-like, lots of lacing. Slight chill haze, but otherwise a bright golden hue.

S: Grassy, earthy, lemon-y hop aromas. Fantastic.

T: Sweet tropical fruits, flower stems, pine/wood sap, mild grapefruit, followed by herbal hop aftertaste. Juicy.

Malt lurks in the background .. some toasted wheat bread and sticky caramel.

M: This beer is all about the hops. Perhaps not enough 'malt backbone', but this is still a great beer for hop lovers.

O: Reminds me of New Belgium's Hoptober, another hop forward pale ale. Enjoying the six pack, might get another before it runs out.

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Photo of IronLover
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dull orange in color with a yelowish hue and a heavy haze. Poured with a dense, rocky foam with good staying power that leaves plenty of sticky lacings on the glass. Citrus grapefruit and light floral aromas well balanced with a sweet yet toasty maltiness. Medium bodied with assertive, but rich carbonation. Well balanced caramel and toasted malt and citrus hop flavors in the beginning. Toasted malt flavor intensifies thru the middle and spicy, floral hop bitterness takes you from the middle thru the finish. Finishes with a light but lingering hop bitterness. Nice variation in aromas and flavors.

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Photo of MNJR
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another excellent offering from Anchor. They know how to do it right, and this proves it once again. This honey-colored brew pours with a fantastic head of thick foam, about a third of which sticks around for the entire glass. But, I drank this pretty quickly, because 1.) I was thirsty and 2.) It was damn good. The mouthfeel is truly superb, and the flavor is perfect for a medium bodied extra premium priced ale. Standouts in the flavor are fresh bread, slight lemon citrus, rich malt, and truly sublime hops. You just can't pin down the flavor easily with this beer. It's complicated because the flavors seem to meld together differently with repeated sips. Sometimes I get the rich malt, and other times I feel the hops kicking in. It's a near perfect balancing act. I paid $12 for the six pack, and in Chicago of course we pay more than most places with savage taxes on top of that. So, a beer has be truly worthy to justify me spending that kind of cash. I will buy this again for certain.

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Photo of drugsbunny
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had their fresh Humming Ale at the Anchor Brewery during a recent tour. It was the hit of the tasting during the tour and is my new favorite offering from Anchor. The brewery smelled of baking bread, so the aroma was intensified when tasting this new ale. Slight hop scent. The malt signature is reminiscent of their Steam Beer. The New Zealand hops add a pleasant zing, not as harsh as the Liberty Ale. A very smooth American Ale, unmistakably Anchor. I highly recommend this drinkable ale.

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Photo of Kevin60
4.39/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a deep golden color. Slow poured with no head. Slight lacing around the sides of the glass. Bubbles constantly racing to the top and forming slight rings of lacing around the edge.

Smell - Fruity and hoppy smell. Almost feels inviting. Hits of citrus and and orange also appear. Smooth smell.

Taste - Bitter tasting at first and then finishes smooth. Very very hoppy tasting at first that turns into a smooth tasting and very pleasing finish. Citrus and orange flavoring aftertaste. A complex tasting brew. Zesty at first that fades to a relaxing and satisfying finish.

Mouthfeel - On the light slide. Surprisingly carbonated.

Overall - Absolutely the love the way this beer pours, perfect color and lacing. It looks inviting. The smell is fruity and hoppy at the same time. It has a good bite to it at first which quickly fades to a smooth finish and a orange flavoring aftertaste. A light beer that will be perfectly refreshing during the summer. One of my absolute favorite tasting beers.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice to see a pale ale hit the shelves at my local bevmo. Great daytime brew that can be sessioned easily. This is full of life. Bright golden body with a blinding white head. Plenty of retention with spotty lace.

Sipping on this while watching the NLCS Game 6 is a pleasure. Its dry enough to keep me coming back for more. Hops crispen this brew but are far from the resinous grapefruity type that dominate the marketplace. No this is a sharp biting dry edge with a slightly citrus twang.

Notes: Bigtime winner. Pretty sure this is a seasonal. Would love to see this fulltime.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fritz Maytag's last beer...not the freshest bottle. I've had this in my fridge for almost a year...maybe 8 or 9 months? But it's been there and not exposed to any light, so should still be good right?

Golden orange hue with some chill haze going on. Huge off white head that leaves scars of lacing all over the sides. Beautiful beer for sure. Definitely well-hopped judging from the lacing.

Smells unique for an American Pale Ale. Herbal hops in the nose, with some citrusy qualities like lemon zest. There is an underlying malt best described as sweet and cookie like. My impression is this is an outstanding change of pace from the cascade-hopped beers of old. The hop they use i believe is Nelson sauvin, which is not very common, though I have seen it more and more lately. Fantastic smell...just perfect!

Taste is equally good. Definitely leans more in the bitter direction, with the kind of bitterness one would expect from eating an orange peel, but less intense. The bitter is followed by a sweetness that works very well with the hops and is reminiscent of many of Anchors least the ones I've had.

The body of the beer is just right for the style, not too heavy, not too light. Carbonation works too, with lively carbonation to carry the beer throughout. Definitely smooths out by the end of the beer.

Overall, the Humming Ale was a successful experiment in a very diverse category. I like the Nelson sauvin hops, and I would recommend if anyone's interested in trying a berry at exemplifies the characteristics of the hop, this is the one to get. I'm looking forward to getting more.

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Photo of mempath
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bright golden color with light lacing.

smells of light, but oily hops. slight floral, menthol nose.

taste is very nice, light but snappy for the style. reminds me of a toned-down Smuttynose IPA....with less camphor. yet more full-bodied mouthfeel.

this is exceptionally refreshing and one i'm glad to have stumbled upon, thanks to my local beer garden, Pinocchio's!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was quite excellent. I hope this is part of their regular lineup now. All in all, this drinks like a hoppy version of their steam beer. Amber hue with a dependably voluminous head - proper lacing. Outdoorsy hoppy and fruity in the nose. The fruitiness ends up being quite apple in the flavor - moderate malt character and awesome smoothness - the hops are light-ish, springtime-fresh-growth shrubby. What a damn delicious brew. Wish I had got a six-pack of it instead of the single. Haven't seen it sixed-up in a few weeks now. Oh well. Anchor rocks!

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Photo of drtth
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear gold-apricot color with a pillowy 2" thick off-white head that is very persistent and leaves foam clinging to the sides of the glass as it recedes. There are patches and pillars of foam. Eventually there is a fluffy island of foam off to one side of the surface and sipping creates sheets and legs and speckles of foam.

Smell: The aromas are surprisingly complex for a single hop beer. There is some bright lemon zest, some grassy herbal touches and some piney character along with a pale malt backbone that has a nice light biscuity character and supports the rest.

Taste: Pretty much as expected from the nose, the complex blending of flavors contain a nice light biscuit like malt character along with a light touch of honey flavor. The restrained bitterness seems to contain lemon and orange zest, some grassy, almost minty character, and some faint hints of pine, all at the same time.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to light bodied with lots of prickly carbonation that makes it clean and crisp. The finish is relatively long and begins with some lemon zest that leads into a dry and bitter fade away.

Drinkability: This one gets top marks from me for drinkability. It is refreshing, flavorful and enjoyable. Before doing this review I've had several from the case I bought and enjoyed each of them. In addition my appreciation for the complexity of this beer has deepened with each bottle. With each beer each sip invited the next quite nicely and on nights when I had only one I found myself wanting to have a second. I'll certainly be looking forward to next year's release of this new Anchor seasonal. This is a beer to drink fresh and often.

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Photo of tronester
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden, with a super dense, rocky, off-white head. Aromas of citrus rind and a little hay. The flavor begins with a nice lemony sweetness, followed by some sweet bready flavors, followed by a piney, grapefruity finish. There is almost a hint of watermelon in here as well. Mouthfeel is rich, pretty active carbonation. Overall a superb beer from Anchor. For some reason I always really love their Pale Ales/IPAs.

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Photo of JoePat
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a bright golden color with a thick white head that seems to linger forever.

The aroma is mostely of flowery freash/green hops. The closest I can get is a grapefruit/flower hypbrid. It has a slight aroma similar to summit but it is very faint.

The flavor has more of that summit flavor. Slight funyun, grapefruit, and flowery flavor. It has a very clean flavor with the malt perfectly balance and a more than drinkable beer.

The mouthfeel is one of the smoothest I have had. It coats the tongue but seems to roll off it as soon as it arrives.

Great drinkable beer I could easily enjoy several of theses in a single sitting.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled July 21, 2010. Quite fresh. Label indicates 5.9% ABV.

Pours very lightly hazy golden amber with a large very very foamy and fluffy white head that slowly recedes leaving nice rings of lacing and holds a good cap.

Aroma is citrus, grapefruit, grass, some weed, spicy, bread, yeast, some pilsner quality going on with the malt. Good strength.

Flavor is juicy citrus hops, spicy, some pine and grass, light sweet malt, nice bitterness on the finish for the style.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, medium to high carbonation, incredibly easy drinking, clean and refreshing.

Wow, quite a surprise, very nice APA, perhaps even better than their excellent Liberty Ale but I'd have to do a side-by-side to say for sure. Regardless, this stands on its own as a perfect summer thirst-quencher.

Very juicy, great bitterness, perfect "weight", invites sip after sip. Nice one, Anchor!

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really wonderful American Pale Ale...

As a hop head, I'm always let down by most pale ales. This one, however, has an extraoidinary amount and could almost be mistaken for an IPA.

Pours a bright golden orange with a nice head on it. Smell is citrusy and hoppy.

Taste is sweet and very well-balanced. Perfect combination of hops and malt for a pale ale. Highly recommended. Reminds me of Yard's Pale Ale. Delish.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A warm amber color with a small but creamy head.

The smell is of tropical fruit -- pineapple, a bit of orange, with a funny spicy tinge.

The first sensation upon drinking it is the slightly oily, very creamy mouthfeel, but with enough carbonation to give it some liveliness, moreover, it just seemed really, really fresh. The taste bears some resemblance to other Anchor brews (maybe it's their yeast), but unlike their more famous beers, there's an immediate explosion of citrusy/fruity American hops, pineapple, grapefruit. They linger in the mouth as a fine and tasty grapefruity bitterness.

Like Liberty Ale, while this isn't precisely an IPA, it's certainly verging on one, only from a somewhat different direction in terms of hops. Where Liberty ale is bold pine and resin, this is in your face grapefruit and other tropical flavors.

All the while, it's extremely drinkable and fresh, with that great mouthfeel; the ABV is very slightly high (6%), but you don't notice it at all.

The long-lingering aftertaste is slightly bitter tropical fruit... delicious! Maybe this beer is Anchor's nod to current craft-beer taste trends (if so, I'm totally OK with that, as I happen to love those taste trends... :)

Anyway, a wonderfully tasty and quaffable beer that just reeks of quality. I hope this becomes one of their regular beers!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle poured into tulip 17/10/11

A very slight haze still allowing me to read these words through the glass, peachy color with a carbonation tornado (not a laser engraved tulip) pretty impressive. big three finger head still has a thumbs width when it hit the bottom of the glass leaving loads of lace along the way, I can't imagine a better looking beer.

S just a little sweet malt but this one has hops clearly in charge, floral, citric both rind and flesh, faint pine and a spicy herbal aspect I don't quite understand

T tastes good but with just a little less complexity and power, still quite good with a little herbal tea with orange and lemon rind

M nice zippy bit to it with lingering flavors and enough carbonation to give it a creamy feel, just a little grit on the gums after the fact

O where's the love for this one? I thought this was a a bad ass APA and I sunk a 6er before I grasped the hop profile

I was feeling this one even though I couldn't quite figure it out. I'd say it would make a good session beer but I caught a buzz quickly sipping trying to wrap my head around it. Well worth trying and a welcome addition to my rotation

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Solid golden yellow with a nice carbonated layer of foam. Lacing is pretty good too.

Smell: Very herbal. There's basil with some medicinal traits that I can't quite pinpoint. A bit like licorice or star anise?

Taste/Mouthfeel: I love the flavor. It's sweet with basil-like herbal notes and something I did not expect...sweet onion! There's seriously some onion flavor in here, and I actually really like it. It provides sweetness and tartness and accentuates the lemon pepper notes as well. Mouthfeel is good, but pretty flat in the finish.

Overall Drinkability: I did not expect a lot of things that I found in this beer. It was excellent.

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Photo of wo87810
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of JasonFromLA
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Humming Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 661 ratings