Hoppy Holidaze | Marin Brewing Company

80 Reviews
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Hoppy HolidazeHoppy Holidaze

Brewed by:
Marin Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our traditional Christmas Ale, brewed with Pale, Wheat, Caramalt and Munich malts, and hopped with Sterling and Styrian Goldings varieties. Delicately spiced with canela, nutmeg, mace, orange peel and pure vanilla extract.

Added by Mark on 12-02-2002

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Reviews: 80 | Ratings: 108
Photo of Dmann
4.57/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great seasonal from Marin and a unique one as well. The beer poured a hazy peach color with a very nice white head that rested atop the beer the whole time. The smell was wonderfull with a huge wiff of vanilla and nutmeg. The flavor was very interesting but quite well done. There was not much in the way of hops, but the great blend of spices and Belgian yeast notes more than made up for it. The beer had a nice delecate sweetness to it but not overpowering. This is one of the best holliday brews I've had yet.

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Photo of rossthefireman
4.55/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice hazy orange brown color
S- Malty smell with some vanilla notes
T- Great malty taste, some vanilla, hint of cinamon
M- Great mouthfeel, great carbonation and balance
D- Easily drinkable

I really enjoyed this beer. The one thing that threw me of was that it didnt taste like a holiday ale. With holiday ales I expect a big beer with juniper berry and hop flavors but this didnt have it, it actually confused me at first. So even though it threw me off, I still really liked it and gave it favorable reviews.
After drinking it I dont consider this a holiday ale/ winter warmer, but this would make a great every day ale produced by Marin brewing due to its easy drinkablility and great flavor.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.35/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Buddy brought down a bomber from the brewing company. Thanks Mike!

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a hazy amber color with a finger width of cream colored head. Bubbles are visible coming up through the beer. The head dies after a few minutes and leaves no ring. There is some lacing on the glass.

S - I am fighting a slight cold, so I will give it my all on the smell.
Smell is of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger with just a faint hint of vanilla - pretty much everything you want in a Christmas ale.

T - Taste is along the lines of the nose; nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. There is just a touch of hops and malt (or is that the vanilla?)for balance, but this is absolutely delicious.

M - Very creamy with just a bit of prickly carbonation notes

D - Wow. What a gem. I could a few bombers of this, and then sleep very well for the night. What a perfect way to spend on day 1 of the "biblical stormweek" that is supposed to hit the So Cal region.

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Photo of IceAce
4.24/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a one liter mug with a tan collar of foam and a hazy orange body. The foam quickly collapsed to form a razor-thin ΒΌ moon floating at the top of the mug.

Aroma is light-n-bright with Holiday spices...much like an apple pie fresh from Grandma's oven. Roasted apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla abound. The nutmeg takes the forefront on the initial taste, then yields to a cinnamon spiced malt midtaste. The finish closes with a spike of carbonation and the slow fade of Magnum and Golding hops.

Mouthfeel is superb with the vanilla extract providing just a hint of slickness. Despite the vast array of spices, drinkability is well above average. I'd love to pair this with a nice pastrami sandwhich loaded with a spicy brown mustard.


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Photo of mickeymac
4.12/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's, it pours a nice looking golden-orange with a sticky, foamy white head that just leaves a mess all over the glass. The smell is an intriguing mix of tropical flowers, cinnamon, fruity hard-candy, and hops. The smell is really astounding. The taste is very nice also, but becomes a bit too sweet after it sits a while. The mouthfeel and nice drinkability add to an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of RootedFool
4.1/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle (2004 release) purchased at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Huge, cloud-white and whipped-creamy head on the pour into my Duvel tulip glass. The body is light, slightly translucent amber.


Bright waft of candied orange rinds, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a fairly generous floral wad of hops. Toward the finish a touch of pleasant yeast mustiness comes through to help balance out the sweetness.


Opens with a deep thrust of orange rind bitterness which elevates into a positively cracklin' hop kick right down the center of my palate. The middle has hints of vanilla bean, fresh cherries, glazed donuts, nutmeg; there's a lot going on. Maybe too much. But, damn, it is festive! The finish is a tart twist of citrus rind and brief alcohol warmth in my throat. A little dry on the finish, but just slightly.


Plenty carbonated. Maybe a little thin in the body, but really nothing to complain about.

Like I said, there's a lot going on here, but it's not in disarray -- it's nicely balanced for what it is.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Edition
Pours much like a nice IPA...golden yellow crystal clear liquid topped with a half finger of off-white foam that melts to a covering of sticky lacing.
Aroma is soft citrus hops, primarily, with just a hint of spice.
Flavor is an amazing surprise. Definitely not the run-of-the-mill winter warmer. Light amber malt blended very well with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace....then a softening of vanilla, then orange and finally light citrus peel hops.
Mouthfeel is warm and smooth.
Aftertaste of spices and orange peel cleans out quickly leaving a bit of alcohol warmth behind.
Good stuff.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.07/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle (2005 edition) purchased at the BevMo in Brea, CA. and poured into my Duvel glass.
Appearance: semi-clear rust color, a well-formed white head that took on a whipped egg white look, and a bit of webby lace.
Smell: lots of different spices in here; nutmeg at the top of the heap with cinnamon and vanilla bean also vying for attention. Citrusy with orange peel notes and a decent level of fresh floral hops tossed in.
Taste: candy sugar sweetness leads things off but is quickly overtaken by the flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon. Vanilla taste doesn't hold up against the other two and is suppressed. Orange peels and floral hops lend a nice balance to all that spice flavor.
Feel: medium-bodied heading toward the light side, well carbonated. Seems a tad thin.
Drinkability: pretty tasty and quickly quaffed. The nutmeg and cinnamon are a bit heavy-handed but overall Hoppy Holidaze is a well-crafted brew. Recommended.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.06/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium gold/copper color. Small head. Aroma is fruity, mango and apricot, A medium bodied Christmas ale. Brewed with Pale, wheat, caramel, and Munich malts. Hopped with Magnum and Styrian golding varieties. Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel and vanilla extract. That said this ale has a slightly sweet maltyness. Hops are evident but not overpowering. There is a definite fruitiness and spiciness to this beer. Orange, grapefruit and nutmeg and cinnamon. The vanilla is not very evident. Smooth taste. Kind of warming. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth/ Aftertaste is slightly bitter, Not much of an alcohol bite at 7.5%. Etched/Painted beer bottle.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.04/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm going to have to disagree with the majority of the reviews here. I've had this from the bottle a couple times and more recently from the brewery. I really enjoyed it each time.

The beer pours a light orange color that is pretty hazy. There is a decent amount of head but not much in the way of retention. Plenty of bubbles coming up the whole way through the glass. Not really an impressive beer to look.

The smell is complex to say the least. It's classified as a winter warmer here but I'd say its got a lot of white ale elements to it. Definitely some orange and/or lemon peel. Not sure on the other spices but I wouldn't doubt that theres a bunch of different spices in there.

The taste is very smooth, almost wheat like. Don't have a bottle laying around anymore to verify that. Very smooth and despite the name there isn't much hop bitterness. There is however some hop flavor mixed with the spices. Can't taste much malt other than some sweetness. From the tap I didn't get any alcohol flavor. I rather enjoyed the flavor of this beer and if its like their other beers it should age just fine so maybe next year I'll buy some extra to last through the summer.

The body is moderately heavy and pretty carbonated. Very drinkable in my opinion.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I liked this beer alot, and was disappointed to only have one try. Light color, goldish with a creamy, sticky top. Breezy hops in the nose and some allspice.

Taste in the mouth is a moderate allspice, wheat kick and an excellent after chock full of bitter grains and hops. Wide-mouth crispness. Smooth, clean feel.

This came off for me like a spiced wheat brew, heavily on the side of allspice/pumpkin pie spices.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.02/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage- Pours a orangey amber color with a small light tan head that recedes quickly and leaves only a hint of lacing. Right of the bat lots of caramel smell, bananas, oranges, some wheat and nice strong, while not being too sugary,malts a very nice full bouquet of smells. Mmmm tasty, very nice hops (just not enough of them), smooth caramel malts, a bit of citrus and banana flavors topped off by a great finish of a blend of spices. The carbonation is pretty spot on as it runs wild over the tongue, just right on the feel as well. Overall I quite enjoyed this beer and I'll have to pick it up at least once more. While it's not perfect in any one respect it is pretty spot on in all aspects except the one thing that bothers me a bit is I was expecting a bit more hops in this one as the name implies.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 2005 Bottle. Cloudy, hazy orange with frothy, thick, white head.

Smell: Earthy, resiny, oily hop aroma. Some toasty maltiness too.

Taste: Spicy malt flavors, graham cracker, and fresh shelled nuts. The malt flavors fold into richer, less spicy flavors as the beer opens up. Bark, lemongrass, juicy citrus, biscuity malts with saltine crackers and popcorn. Some sandy mineral qualities end it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, velvety, light to medium bodied.

Drinkability: Well hopped and balanced. Very pleasant to drink with plenty of flavor. I will look for it again.

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Photo of kmcnair
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy unfiltered light copper in color with a thin white head. Aromatics of biscuits, bread yeast, nutmeg, coriander, lemon, vanilla. Very similar flavors to that of the nose, very well spiced, vanilla is strong in the foreground, familiar chinook bittering character, light pine essence, lemon, banana. Medium palate, crisply carbonated, finishes light and moist. I had no idea what to expect from this brew and it is really interesting... worth trying.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.99/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, states 7.0% ABV, and notes various awards including 2006 World Beer Championships, suggesting it's a 2006 winter brew.

Poured in a wide-mouthed wine glass, pours a bright orange with little white head, dissipates rapidly, leaves no lacing.

Aroma is sweet malt and spice.

Taste is all about the spice: hard to pin down, but cinnamon and nutmeg seem most likely. Perhaps allspice? Some hints at white pepper, and ripe peaches. I'm reasonably pleased with my guesses and that this beer shows the spices well, as the Marin website indicates the spicing as follows: "Spices include Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, Vanilla and Orange Peel." Ms. Warmstorage thought it was a homebrewed tripel we made; her next guess was a quadrupel. Interesting. I'm not sure what to make of that, though I did know what it was I was tasting, and I always have her taste it 'blind' to avoid skewing the results.

Mouth is slightly tingly and somewhat thin, doesn't linger too long.

A very tasty spiced ale, and something I'll buy again. I'm rarely to never disappointed with Marin, and this is no exception.

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Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.98/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Notes: 11/18/08
Marin Brewing Co. Hoppy Holidaze 2008 22 oz. Bomber, 7% abv.

Appearance=vigorous pour yields a 1 finger head that quickly dissipated, plenty of lacing and carbonation on sides of glass.

Smell=Hops, smells like Christmas. Can i say that? Can't pick up much else.

Taste= great overall taste, a Hoppy holiday beer for sure. Everything is dialed in, nothing out of balance. If anything is lacking, it's the fact that the taste does not linger in your mouth.

Mouth Feel= Almost perfect, not too think, not too thin. If it was slightly more resinous (thicker) i would prefer it.

Drinkability= highly drinkable. Great "holiday" beer.

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Photo of lou91
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004. The golden yellow color was nice to look at but the nose is what draws you in - definite nutmeg and vanilla with hints of clove and honey. The taste does not disappoint as the spices in the nose are present in a dry, mildly hoppy (despite its name) light ale. This beer is always consistent - almost to a fault. This is one beer that needs some expert advice to take it from a good beer to an excellent world class beer given its high quality ingredients.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was another christmas present.

Appearance- light amber color, thin head

Smell- spices mostly nutmeg

Taste- nutmeg and cinnamon, very nice

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- Really good, I like it, really good spice flavors, I would love to drink it again.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

-2004 release

Appearance: Hmmm... it's, uh, copper peach, maybe? Apricot egg white, perhaps? Odd color. Good clarity and a small pure white head with little retention. Good lace and a collar throughout.

Smell: Whoa. "Delicately spiced," you say? I'd hate to see what aggressively spiced might be. You name it, it's in here. Vanilla comes on strong. Belgian yeast. Mixed bag of baking spices and a big orange presence. "Hoppy?" Not exactly. There are probably some hops and malt swimming around, but they're just buried under everything else here.

Taste/Mouthfeel: First, the mouthfeel is disappointing. Thin, but more damning, just dead. Carbonation is seriously underpowered here. The flavor, though, that's another story. Lots of orange peel up front, spicy, with a big blast of honey and vanilla. Finishes juicy and citrusy.

Drinkability: Pretty good, light, interesting flavor, nicely spiced. It took me a minute to figure this one out. Basically, I think what we're looking at here is a saison cross-bred with a cream soda, with some cake spice thrown in for good measure. It's odd, sure, but it's actually pretty good. Try it if you can find it.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a nice rose colored amber. Nice, big bubbled, off-white head. Great rate of head retention and a nice amount of lacing to accompany it.

S: nice big earthy hop aroma, some flowery notes, with a hint of evergreens. Slight funky aroma, like a wild ale. Light sweetness from the malts in the nose.

T: very unusual ale. Good amount of flavors from the hops, mostly floral. I do pull a holiday flavor out of this, which is nice. I pull some strawberries, light notes of vanilla. Light flavors of orange peel as well.

M: wonderful holiday brew, light, crisp and refreshing. Higher carbonation level than expected. Medium bodied.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. 2011 vintage. Served in a tapered 22oz glass.

Pours a cloudy gold with a finger of white foam. Head settles, but doesn't disappear. Moderate amounts of lacing in the glass.

Aroma is mostly of bold christmas spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg come on strong with a touch of orange peel. Grainy malt in background. Hops seem fairly neutral, or are just buried by the spices.

Taste is very sweet, spicy, and a little fruity. There's an initial tartness that is quickly overwhelmed by sweet malts. Spices emerge in the middle along with some citrusy fruits. Finish stays sweet and spicy and lingers for quite awhile. No sign of the moderately high ABV in the flavor. Really nice flavor and better than the nose.

Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation. A touch thick but seems good for a winter warmer.

I really like this beer. Obviously the name is more of a pun than an indication that this is an amped-up hoppy beer, but I'm not going to hold it against them.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 release. Pours a bright golden orange with a thin, creamy white head that dissapeared quickly. Not much lace. Spicy malty aroma with citrus and a bit of vanilla.
Tasted malty and bready with a corn syrup/caramel sweetness. Big flavors of orange/tangerine, some vanilla and nicely subdued
x-mas spices. Not much hop presence for something called Hoppy Holidaze. Almost a little cloying.
Medium body and rich mouthfeel. Good carbonation. A bit too sweet to be something I'd drink a lot of.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy deep golden/apricot. A thin head of white foam settles into a light cap rather quickly. We seem to be stretching the boundaries of a 'winter warmer' once again. Gases off fully by the lower third of the glass.

Mace and light cinnamon take the nose by storm, sweeter nutmeg and white pepper in the background. Light hops and a citric backdrop as well as some sweet clove. Interesting spice nose yet I'm not picking up much in the malt department aside of some orangey malts.

Sweetness comes forward in the flavor however with some orange caramel and spice. Spice notes diminish with exposure as the beer outgasses and reveals a slightly sweet side. Overall rather light in body and an interesting take on a Winter Warmer. I'd surely consider this more of an Herbed/Spiced Beer regardless of the typical winter spices employed, particularly given the light color and malt presence. Interesting nonetheless and worth a try, hiding its 7.0% well without undue sweetness.

Rated as Herbed/Spiced vs. W.W.

Value: C

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Photo of beagle75
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with less than one finger of diminishing eggshell foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Syrupy fruitcake, caramel, cloves, orange peel, and vanilla.

T: Begins surprisingly dry, mild-flavored with peppery spice and slight toffee. Flavors become more acidic in the middle, revealing cloves and vanilla as malt turns strongly toasty. The finish is brief and very mild, with low bitterness and baking spices.

M: Medium viscosity, stays fairly labile on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: As a winter ale this one delivers all that it promises. Sensory qualities stay enticing without fatiguing the palate. This is a holiday seasonal to look forward to; like other noteworthy representatives of this style, it changes in small ways every year.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temp.
The brew pours a clear copper hue with a fizzy off white head of 2 cm foaming up and receding quickly to a thin edge layer. No streams of carbonation rise to refresh the head.
Aroma is fruity and spicy with some caramel and cinnamon mixing with cloves and nutmeg and perhaps vanilla. Overall a sweet nose but not over done or imposing.

First sip reveals a lite body with very fine tingly yet spacious carbonation. Almost under carbonated and the texture is a little thin but so far so good.

Flavor is sweet through and through. Caramel and cinnamon intertwine and dominate but hints of nutmeg and cloves and some vanilla poke through. The beer is easy to drink and festive for sure. Not a bad beer, but it would be more fun with a little more body to it.

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Hoppy Holidaze from Marin Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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