Blue Ridge HopFest
Wild Goose Brewery, LLC

Blue Ridge HopFestBlue Ridge HopFest
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Brown Ale - English
3.79 | pDev: 11.08%
Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Maryland, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Blue Ridge HopFestBlue Ridge HopFest
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UncleJimbo from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, capped.

This ale poured a slightly hazy, reddish-brown color with sudsy, brown foam that settled. The smell was malty with notes of cocoa, caramel, and coffee, and with some hops and yeast in the aroma as well. The taste was malty -- dark chocolate and dark caramel -- with a bit of yeast flavor. The hops came through in the finish. The mouthfeel was dry and crisp with medium body and good carbonation. The finish and aftertaste were malty with chocolate notes. This was a good beer, though the hops were somewhat subdued by the malt, especially for a beer called "HopFest".

Jan 16, 2007
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Georgiabeer from Georgia

3.02/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium brown with some copper highlights and a pale brown head that hangs around for a little while, then breaks up into large bubbles.

Some nice hops on the nose as well as some sweet caramel.

Some spicy hops up front and a nice bitterness right at first- unfortunately this transitions into very sweet, thin flavors from the malt. It's too hppy for a brown and way too sweet for an IPA, and in either case it doesn't mesh all that well.

The mouthfeel is creamy and sticky. The hops help with a little astringency, but not enough.

Fairly low drinakbility due to the odd combination of sweet and hoppy. One was okay, but I wouldn't want more.

Jul 16, 2006
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chOAKbarrell from Maryland

3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The idea of this beer is that the brewery wanted to start their own tradition for fall beer, brewing this "hopfest" instead of an oktoberfest.

Pours clear brown with a quarter-inch head. Smells more of malt than hops, to me. This is probably the hoppiest brown ale that I have had. Which is not to say that it is on the hop-level of an IPA, but the hops are definitely up-front in this beer.

The mouthfeel seems a little off. Would astringent be the correct term?

Definitely drinkable, no doubt. Cases are on sale in my town for $13.50. I drank several bottles yesterday, and I have about half a case to go.

Jan 15, 2006
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sacfly from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. $1.24/bottle (same as average local beers)

Pours a dark brown with red highlights when held to the light. Half inch head of medium tan bubbles. Strong citrus aroma. Lemons and grapefruit.

Taste mimics the aroma with the dark roasted grain in the background. Hop bitterness, dark grain and then gone. It does not linger more than a minute or so.

A very interesting beer. The brown ale for hop heads. Was told by the brewer that this is an all palisade hop brew for 2005. Great beer to find around town.

Oct 04, 2005
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EPseja from New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received this 12 oz. bottle from Higravity as part of a trade for some Wild Goose Pumpkin Patches -- thank you!

Served in a pint glass at just above fridge temperature.

A - Pours a nice, deep hazed mahogany color with a resilient head that looks like the top of an uncooked pancake on the griddle. The head immediately reaches out and takes hold of the glass edges for the ride down.

S - Interesting hit of piny hops straight away. Not sure if this is characteristic for this style, because it makes me think that I'm about to drink an APA. Some toasty malted notes are also evident, blending quite beautifully with the hops. Faint hint of baked goods. Slight wisp of fermenting grass... not sure where that came from, but it sure is interesting.

T - Begins boldly like a dark porter or perhaps a stout. Roasted malts dancing with rugged piny hops. Gossamer notes of salty gourmet cheeses (which I surmise would go well with this beer). Bitter and dry in the finish, with a lingering smokiness in the aftertaste. Quite big for a brown ale. Almost off style, but tasty.

M - Watery in, then expanding just a bit too much. Swallow is puffed up and frothy. A bit overcarbonated, methinks.

D - If you were reaching for an English brown ale and were handed this beer, you might be taken aback. In my opinion, this is much more like a dark APA since the hops are so prevalent. With that in mind, the drinkability isn't that great for this style, but it would sure do the trick for any hop lover.

Sep 30, 2005
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Higravity from Michigan

4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow this beer is a dramatic improvement over the last couple of years offerings. The change of hops and a fiddle with the malts has really made this a good beer. Before this was a ho-hum bitter brown, but now this is a full malty hop laden wonder.

A nice deep brown color with a tremendous white-tan fluff of a head that coats the glass with lace. My nose was jarred by the amount of hop perfume this beer was throwing out. A single hop beer yet still multiple smells of soft citrus and hints of pine resin with a floral pollen-y smell. The taste is a big one, large waves of hops crash on my tongue and as the flavor washes back the malt revels itself as a slightly roasted caramel topped affair with the hops coming back with a deep biting bitterness that opens into a nice enamel eating aftertaste of hops. Overall this beer is much improved and something I will have many times this fall.

Aug 29, 2005
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VoodooBrew from South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is deep chesnut in color with a touch of amber. I got minimal head that dissipated shortly.
Aroma is sweet and malty, with hints of floral hoppiness peeking through.
While I would tend to agree with other reviewers who suggest this would make a more impressive brown ale than hop showcase, this is not to say the brew is devoid of any hop flavors. In fact, what I detect first is a hop bitterness soon followed by sweet and toasty malt elements, then chased by a pronounced hop finish. I submit that this beer presents more maltiness in the aroma, whereas the flavor itself is dominated by hops. What results is a strong hop flavor buoyed by a solid malt base.
Mouthfeel is decently chewy, not too carbonated, and leaves a satisfying hop tingle on the back of the toungue.
In my opinion, this is a fine entry sure to make any Marylander, past or present, proud.

Jan 01, 2005
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Southernbrew from Georgia

3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark-brown with a 1/2" bubbly head.

Bitter roasted aroma with a moderate grasasiness and some bread as well.

Medium bodied, some roasted flavors and moderate bitterness up front, turns to a weak nuttiness then leaves with a dry, bittersweet finish.

An OK brown ale, I was hoping for more hops, the bitterness seemed to be done through the malt rather than hops.

Nov 30, 2004
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allboutbierge from Austria

3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly darker than other Brown Ales Ive had. No real head though. What head is poured disapates quickly leaving no lace. Flavor is really interesting. Not really a hoppy beer, so as for the title 'hopfest' I have doubts on how founded it is. Flavor is good though. Some hops and lots of rich malts. Theres something else in the aftertaste I cant quite put my finger on. Licorice-like maybe? The body is slightly chewy and carbonation is light. A very interesting beer that one does not tire of very quickly. This is a good thing cause I bought a whole case on sell.

Mar 26, 2003
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DarthMalt from Virginia

3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am puzzled as to why a fairly competitive brown ale was transmogrified into a less-than-stellar hop contender.

When I read "Brown Ale" in teeny-weeny letters under the over-stylized "HopFest" artwork, I thought to myself, "Why, yes! This is very much a brown ale." But as a hop contender--no.

By the second bottle, all thoughts pertaining to the "wacky amounts of HOPS!" quickly fades as the mind wanders to find the true meaning behind this beer.

I suppose in the wake of the original Pete's (back in the day), this beer was meant to woo some Pete's fans over to the regional option. But in today's world of Arrogant Bastards and Brutal Bitters, HopFest is solely a novelty.

As a beer, it is a fairly good brown ale, minus the hop agenda. It is as perfectly brown as they get. The floating protiens in the unfiltered body give it a hearty appeal and an oily, lip-smacking mouthfeel. There's a far, far, faaaaar-off hint of orange peel in the aroma and ester.

As a hop contender, this beer does not. Yeah, it's bitter and hoppy and tangy, but when you're going for sheer hop bang, putting extra roasted malt in the grain bill for added bitterness seems like a no-no to me. The hops should carry the day--not the tannins.

All told, at 4.8% a.b.v., HopFest makes a great session beer for a serious hop head. But for me, I would have liked to see the beautiful brown ale it could have been.

Nov 01, 2002
Blue Ridge HopFest from Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 10 ratings