Hoppy Birthday
Alpine Beer Company

Hoppy BirthdayHoppy Birthday
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American IPA
Ranked #26
ABV:
5.3%
Score:
96
Ranked #713
Avg:
4.31 | pDev: 8.35%
Reviews:
501
Ratings:
2,873
From:
Alpine Beer Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  634
Gots
  526
SCORE
96
World-Class
Hoppy BirthdayHoppy Birthday
Notes: Truth is, everyone has a birthday. And when you want to celebrate, this Session IPA is a gift to the senses. Made with 6 different hops, this bold brew is refreshing enough to enjoy again and again. Now, make a wish and blow out the candles. But don’t tell anyone, or your wish won’t come true.

69 IBUs
Reviews: 501 | Ratings: 2,873 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Riff:
Photo of Riff
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a golden yellow color, clear, with about a finger of fluffy, white head that retains fairly well. Smells of citrus, pine, and a little malt backbone. Softer feel to it, medium body. Citrus is predominant, some floral notes, nice malt backbone, and a little bite to it. Pleasant beer, nothing overpowering about it, just a nicely balanced beer.

As a note, it seems to be labeled as a pale ale now, not as an IPA.

 418 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of MasterSki
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to ArthurPendragon for the hookup. I've been looking to try this one for a while, and Arthur came through. Served in a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of off-white foam that eventually settles to a thin cap, thicker collar, and splotchy lace. Lightly hazed transparent golden body.

S - Lemon zest, dankness, oranges, hint of pine, a little bit of perfume and cat pee, and a sugary malt bill in the periphery.

T - The taste is an initial burst of fresh citrus zest, ripe grapefruits and oranges, and delicious hop goodness. The finish is doughy with a bit of yeast character, and the total package isn't as sweet as the nose implies. Not much bitterness at all, which is a plus for a session ale.

M - Crisp carbonation that is active but not very harsh. Medium-light body, smooth texture, and a lightly dry finish.

D - As Jason would say, this is "absolutely crushable"! Another winner from Alpine!

 924 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz growler acquired at Alpine two days ago. Served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof given the brewery and high ratings. Price was somewhere around $20.00 for the growler.

Served after a warming period after its removal from the refrigerator; I like my hoppy beers cold but this one was a bit too cold. Poured into the glass from straight above because the weight of the growler prevented me from safely side-pouring. Retention will probably be a bit more pronounced than usual.

Let me note that I'm reviewing this as a pale ale, because that's what it is according to Alpine's blog. From the blog post dated 12/04/12:

"Today is the release of the world’s most celebrated beer “Hoppy Birthday.” Available for growler fills and on draught in the pub. This is technically a Pale Ale, but we make it like an IPA, with lots of hoppy goodness from hops like Citra and Nelson. 5.25% abv"

Not an IPA, but brewed like one. Don't shoot the messenger.

Paired with hard pretzels from Costco (all my money goes to beer, okay?).

A: Pours a four finger fluffy frothy beige colour head of great cream, good thickness, soft texture, and great retention (~6 minutes). Body colour is a pale transparent yellow-gold. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. The appearance is a bit lighter than I'd like for the style, but the head makes up for it. I'm excited to try this.

Sm: Nectary hops: citrus, grapefruit, some oily hop lacing, and above all floral character. Quite fresh, refreshing, and inviting. Very pleasant and clean. An above average strength aroma; mild in strength. Some lemongrass. Pale malts.

T: Nectary floral quality. Some unexpected bitterness just on the climax, but it's very quickly disguised by a marvelous floral hop character with tinges of light fruit esters - certainly a hint of lemon. Lemongrass constitutes a large part of the finish, though it's very clean and filtered; a witbier this is not. Some oily hop notes weave throughout the structure, emerging most notably just before the climax before dipping back down again. Very fresh and clean, aiding its refreshing character. No yeasty notes here, nor any alcohol. Pale malts lend body without intruding on the hop build, yet still the malts balance the hops without ever letting the flavour get too sweet. Grapefruit right on the climax, then it bleeds through the finish and remains through the aftertaste. I do get some subtle blood orange as a buried note, but now that I notice it it's there on the climax as well; very subtly executed. That's impressive. The balance is impeccable. Pine in the second act is also subtly done; I'm noticing more and more complexity as I search the flavour profile for new notes to latch onto - and there are plenty. Grassy sure, but the grains are all clean here, giving it a crisp body. What began as a seemingly simple brew is quickly revealing to me my own inability to intially detect its subtle qualities. God, that's refreshing. Some tangerine buried in the second act. Masterfully put together.

It's worth noting that the bitterness isn't fully concealed, which is a minor gripe but an important one.

Mf: Slightly undercarbonated, which I partly attribute to the growler. It does lend the beer a refreshing feel absent of the sharp bite of many complex IPAs (not that I'm alleging that this is an IPA). Smooth and wet, as it should be. Nectary. Not creamy, but then that wouldn't suit it. Thickness is perfect. Complements the flavour profile quite well. Perhaps it could be a bit more crisp and luscious. Good - if understated - presence on the palate. Delightfully buttery - an attribute that really does well alongside the nectary feel. Rather soft, aiding its drinkable refreshing quality. Remarkable.

Dr: The ABV is nowhere to be found, but then I didn't expect it to be. A delightfully drinkable pale ale that is amongst the best I've had. Would pair well with damn near any food. I'll have no issues finishing this growler, but I will regret it there's no more. I never heard any hype around this one, but I think it's a delightful pale ale. Certainly incredibly refreshing. They pack a remarkable amount of flavour into it while maintaining balance and keeping ABV low; that's incredibly difficult to accomplish. Another home run from Alpine. I'd recommend this to friends. A fantastic session beer (if you're not a 4% or less panzy, that is).

High B+

 4,513 characters

Photo of mynie
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Now I got that Altered Images "Happy Birthday" song stuck in my head, which is actually a good thing since that song kicks ass.

Pours dark yellow bordering on a very light amber, with a wispy white head that don't stick around too long. Smells hoppy, obviously. A very nice, fairly unique hop profile that plays pretty well against the grassiness that's all too common in session IPAs.

Tastes aggressively verdant and crisp. Really an amazing hop profile, and I just like it more and more with each sip. Centennial and Nelson are quite pleasant, along with some more tropical varieties. It starts with piney centennial, and then the middle and end are a blend of spicy Nelson and fruity Citra. There's other stuff in there, too, that I'm not erudite enough to recognize, but good god, that is one perfect hop profile.

 826 characters

Photo of GuitarIPA
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Main Pub in Manchester. Very enjoyable pale ale with a hoppy aroma of grapefruit and pine. Flavor follows the nose. Nice body for a pale with a some hop bitterness on the finish. Would take this over pretty much any session IPA.

 242 characters

Photo of ale2thechief
2.82/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe I am spoiled by living in New England. This offer from Alpine would be about #16 at my local 20 tap craft beer bar. The look of this beer reminds me of my youth. Very similar pour to Budweiser or miller. Clear with no head and some effervescent bubbles rising up. The flavor is fair. Little too much bitterness. No sense of hops on the palate. If I wasn't drinking Th Julius, Green etc. along with Trillium and NEBCO on a regular basis, maybe this west coast session would resonate higher, but it doesn't.

 511 characters

Photo of SHDoyle
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Description: Golden color with white head and lacing. This is a really effervescent beer with a balance aroma of pine, fruit and floral. Taste was similar to the smell with an added bit of dankness before a bitter finish that lingered on the tongue a bit; not the clean, dry finish of some IPAs. The feel was quite carbonated although that feel quickly dissipates. As can expected from a session ale, alcohol wasn't really noticeable.

Suggested food pairing: Something with mango...maybe mango salsa on top of enchiladas

If you like this beer then you should also try: Sip of Sunshine

Ideal time to drink this beer: First beer of the night at a Friday happy hour. You're ready to get after it and want to get the party started, but diving in to a significantly higher ABV beer might portend a long, hazy, drunken evening. Such an evening may rob you of your Saturday and leave you questioning your life choices.

Overall: 4.5 (This beer is very good and I would definitely drink it again) Usually when I see the word 'session' on a bottle of beer, I turn my nose up at it in a disparaging manner. However, after drinking this beer I may have to rethink that. My gripe with session ales is that they're kind of 'blah' although this was anything but. Full of flavor and well balanced, this is a beer I could really drink for a 'session', as in all day long... The low ABV could make this an everyday kind of beer for me. Give yourself a present of this beer and you'll have a hoppy birthday for sure! [Too corny of an ending? Probably. Whatever - I'm going with it.]

 1,581 characters

Photo of SFC21
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably the most flavorful "session" IPA that I've had to date. I generally don't care for the style as session IPAs tend to taste more like hop water, but this brew manages to avoid that problem.

Huge fluffy white head that laces the glass all the way down. The nose isn't too powerful but light tropical fruits are there.

Tons of hop flavor assault the palette on first sip. Light tropical fruits, like pineapple and papaya, pop as well as some medicinal notes. This beer maintains incredible balance given that it is only 5.25% ABV.

Overall, if rated against regular IPAs this beer would more than hold its own. In the context of session IPAs, however, this is at the head of the pack.

 696 characters

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

Beautiful clear golden orange color. Piney, resinous, and spicy hops jump out of the glass. Sweet malt backs it up. So much flavor and body for 5.25%. Reminds me of Zombie Dust.

 177 characters

Photo of Squire
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice clear light golden color with moderate white cap and lacing.

Aroma is primarily resinous hops with a darker, stronger hop underlayer that is pungent and sharply herbal. Floral scent is present in a heavier way but not intrusive, something almost spicy but with a quick cutoff.

Flavor is certainly hop forward and lasting throughout with a tapering off in the aftertaste. Malt is present and carries the hops along but contributes more to the body than the flavor. It all works together but this is a hop show and the hops do sing out. Malt appears as the brew warms and hop flavor develops more fully. Not more hop flavor but one of more depth and intensity. For all that the hops don't cross over into bitterness territory but stay within bounds which is a rather neat balancing act.

Texture is light medium but is certainly no lightweight.

Brewer says they use 6 hop varieties for a combined total of 69 IBU. This combination works well to produce a rather pleasant if limited dimensional flavor. I mean, it is labeled Hoppy Birthday so one shouldn't be surprised that it is a brew that features hops. Billed as a session ale at 5.25% it is that and a refreshing one as well. Sometimes I think a "Session IPA" may be an ingenious solution to a non existent problem but as session ales go this one works well.

 1,330 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dull orange with a big white head and tons of lacing. Big hoppy nose. Notes of light pine, dank, light floral hop, grapefruit, and citrus piths. Medium feel, great body for the abv, lingering bitter finish and slightly dry. Really nice pale ale with an amazing level of hoppiness. More pale ale than session ale, in all fairness.

 334 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Advertised as a pale, I get how one can get it confused with an IPA. Intensely hopped it has aromas of chive and cannabis mostly. The resinous herbal character can also be found in the taste with a nice malt backbone. The carbonation is moderate and permits a full drinkability.

This bottle is too small, my glass is already empty!

 333 characters

Photo of RAlmeida77
3.52/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not my type of pale. I'm used to the big citrus bombs here on the east coast and this was very piney to me. Nicely balanced but just not my flavor in terms of hops.

 164 characters

Photo of artoolemomo
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Received with only a small amount of head, basically a sliver. I'm guessing the head was a pure cotton white. Very similar to Nelson as far as appearance goes. The body is a pale amber that looks a dull amber when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind.

Nose- Also very fruity like Nelson. Citrus of orange and lemon. Some peach, almost cherry. Light notes of honey and caramel. Some mustiness that tends toward armpit and dirty socks.

Taste- Much more mellow than Nelson on the fruit notes but seems to have more of a traditional IPA backbone- much more pine and resin. Not quite as complex as Nelson but no one expects an APA to be complex though it drinks more like a lighter IPA. Lots of matchstick, some grapefruit. A bit of orange and lemon on the front. A very good pale ale but I'm not seeing the 4.55 rating at the moment. Some of the mustiness (armpit, sweat) expressed on the nose. Definitely more traditional bitterness than the Nelson which is odd for an APA versus and IPA. This beer makes me wish for the caramel and malt of Nelson and shows why that beer is ranked so high. This is a bit cold so I do need to reserve judgment until it warms up. Some caramel and biscuit starts to show through which gives this beer some much needed complexity. Has improved quite a bite as it's opened up. Much more balance and integration. I don't expect APAs to press the boundaries of great but this one is. Really good to great but closer to really good. Bright citrus starts to shine. Some grapefruit, lemon and orange peel.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. I don't know if I noticed it last time but these Alpine beers seem to have a lot of zip. Usually that would be a big negative but somehow it works.

Drinkability- Very easygoing and surprisingly robust and complex for an APA. Six bucks seems a bit extravagant for a pint of APA but this is probably the best APA I've ever had. Makes me wonder what Zombie Dust is like.

Overall- Didn't impress at first but turns out to be a more than solid beer. Between really good and great. A must try for APA fans.

 2,136 characters

Photo of dynajack1
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been waiting a long time to try my first Alpine beer. On tap at the Ale House Amesbury and this baby didn't disappoint. More than lives up to its lofty rating. Hoping to see more of this around. Thanks Green Flash!

 214 characters

Photo of Zraly
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chinchill
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 32 oz growler ... well, actually, the entire 32 oz growler .., into a lager glass.

Only about 18 hours since this was filled yet pours with a rather minimal head. I saw plenty of fine head as the growler was filled (and beer overflowed into the drain). Moreover, the thin head has very good retention, and the feel is only slightly below , so I'll rate this as if the carbonation level were a touch higher.

A: Amber body with plenty of fine-grained carbonation bubbles.

Magnificent hoppy aroma featuring oranges and other citrus tones.

The flavor follows but is more juicy and less citrus rind than the aroma suggests. Very flavorful; very fruity; mild bitterness goes a bit higher in the aftertaste.

O: as good as, or better than, any APA I've had. This has the intensity of an IPA but with lower (average) bitterness.

 841 characters

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

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

Photo of unclejazz
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge pineapple and grapefruit nose with equally powerful flavor that matches the nose. So much flavor in such a modest ABV. Heavy bitter finish that matches the rest. Medium body and on the same level as ZD, Edward, etc...
Cheers!

 230 characters

Photo of FLima
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Golden orange color with a thick thin head with good retention and leaving good laces.
Fresh piney aroma with hints of oranges, grapefruit, honey, passion fruit, mango, flowers, guava and mild biscuit.
Hoppy flavor with notes of pine, lots of spices, resin, grapefruit, biscuit malt, a good deal of mango, tea bags and flowers. Quite dry and bitter aftertaste with a long finished.
Light to medium body with appropriate velvet carbonation.
Don’t expect something unreal given the hype. It is just hard to think of an APA better executed than this one. Hop and sweetness at the perfect level with crisp piney notes on a tropical background. Huge drinkability, never buy singles!

 679 characters

Photo of Hendry
4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Artfully capped growler kept the carbonation just right until I was able to share with my neighbor.Pale straw color with a one finger bone colored head, great lacing in the pilsner glass.

Aroma is right in the pocket: citrus grove aromas with ruby grapefruit,tangelo,and pineapple with a magnificent piney backdrop,malts present strictly for balance,lying low in the mix.

Taste is quite close to what the aroma promises: prominent citrus flavors, nice pine presence with only a hint of malt. Dry & crisp finish with a pleasant amount of residual bitterness, alcohol masterfully hidden.

Mouthfeel is a light medium,incredibly drinkable: this beats the other Alpines I have tried.
Pleasant carbonation, and great body.

Top of the heap Southern Cali APA. Drinks & tastes more like an IPA, so it defies its description in that respect, but that isn't a fault. Seek this one out: shame it is not in production year round, and would be great in a bomber so more could enjoy this impressive offering from
Alpine.

 1,010 characters

Photo of Bshaw22
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got this on tap at Rays growler gallery in Wauwatosa Wi. Good beer but nothing great. Not sure if it has something to do with Green flash brewing it.

149 characters

Photo of Dmitchsd
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Dr_Fox
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hoppy Birthday from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2873 ratings