Hoppy Holidaze | Marin Brewing Company

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Hoppy HolidazeHoppy Holidaze
108 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 108 |  Reviews: 80
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly murky light orange with a 1 inch foamy bone colored head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruits, and a blend of spices. Taste is of slightly sour citrus fruit, bubblegum, and the spice flavors (although nothing stands out on its own). There is a very mild sourness that lingers on the tongue after each sip. This beer has a crisp mouthfeel and is a bit drying on the palate. Overall, this is a pretty good Winter beer from Marin that is easy to drink.

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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 kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a Spaten halbelitre glass in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed from notes. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't pair it with food.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and good retention. Colour is a hazy orange-gold.

Sm: Orange peel and barley. A mild strength aroma.

T: Orange peel, clean barley, and light malt. Simple but pleasant. Balanced well and decently built.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours. Not too thick or too thin.

Dr: Very drinkable and pleasant. Lovely on draught, but it might be too sharp out of the bottle. I'd have it again.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy apricot color with a foamy head that retains well; not much in the lacing department

Smell: Peach, toffee and vanilla; some of the spices are also in there, such as cinnamon, nutmetg and orange peel

Taste: Opens with a bizarre fruity flavor that contains peach and holiday spicing, where the bitter orange peel dominates but the nutmeg and cinnamon are apparent; after the swallow, the bitter orange peel dominates the hop flavor which has an English earthiness at the very end

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I would characterize this as an interesting but failed experiment; very different but it just doesn't come together

Thanks, tangfoot, for the opportunity

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Photo of largadeer
2.79/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Amber-colored with a slight haze. Very foamy with good head retention.

Smell: Slightly funky - the nose is a mishmash of various spices, the dominant aroma being orange peel. Not entirely enjoyable.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very dry. The spices are dominant, primarily orange and vanilla, with malt taking a backseat to those flavors. Hops come out more in the finish, leaving a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Sits well on the tongue with moderate carbonation and a medium body. Not bad, but the spices seem to overwhelm the malt. A less dry foundation would support the spices better.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky golden honey in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some faint apricot + orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a mottled thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel, pale, and wheat malts with light to moderate aromas of slightly sour citrus/orange and light aromas of spices (nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon).

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel, pale, and wheat malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by slightly sour citrus/orange and spices (nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon). Finally there is a hint of earthy hops in the finish which contributes a minimal amount of bitterness which fades away quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: Interesting though not one of my favorites in the style - there is something almost off putting from the slightly sour citrus/orange flavor and the spices. Easy to drink with the lighter body and hides the alcohol well but not sure I would grab this one again... I like my winter warmers a little more full bodied and with a little richer malt flavor.

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Photo of mactrail
2.99/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sweet and reeking of cinnamon. Not to mention cloves and nutmeg and Karo syrup. Gummi worms and Red Hots. Looks nice with the brownish golden color and lots of foam and lacing. Plenty of carbonation and a little slick in the mouth. Light body. A dirty hop taste on the back of my tongue. Very long nose of the spice mix followed by the bitterness.

I can't think why this is a Winter Warmer-- should just call it what it is-- seriously spiced beer.

Who started this spiced ale-pumpkin pie thing in the US? I blame Anchor. At least they have had some subtlety most years.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluorescent tangerine peel with bright banana borders and an appealing light haziness. The creamy crown is the color of white chocolate fudge and looks good in contrast with the beer. Thick sheets of fine dotted lace are being deposited as the foam slowly melts.

For an ale with so many extra ingredients, this winter warmer doesn't smell overly bold or distinctive. Nor does it smell very hoppy, and this is an '08. Each sniff delivers sweetened citrus (mostly orange) and an indeterminate spiciness. Warming opens things up a little.

Hoppy Holidaze is a solid spiced ale that fails to stand out from the spiced ale crowd. There aren't any faults, per se, but it doesn't have much pizzazz either. Adding at least 50% more Sterling and/or Styrian Goldings hops would have given it a needed zing and would have lent some measure of truth to the name. As is, Moderately Happy Holidaze is a more appropriate moniker.

The lightly toasted malt backbone is nice and sturdy, with sweet staying ahead of bitter at all point along the flavor arc. The extra ingredients (nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel) are relatively well-balanced, although nutmeg is beginning to assert itself as the beer gains a few degrees.

If you like well-spiced, pale malted winter warmers, the drinkability score is a 4.0. If you're ambivalent, subtract a half point. If you aren't a fan, subtract a full point. The mouthfeel is a highlight. It's a fraction more full than medium and has an impressive smoothness born of perfect carbonation.

Even though Hoppy Holidaze isn't the best thing since sliced bread, it's a well-brewed winter warmer that does what it's supposed to do. Note to Marin: delivering on the Hoppy will make future Holidaze much brighter.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour into a pint glass is fantastic on this one. A clear amber color with a fluffy white head which leaves some great lacing.

S: The nose is rather disappointing, especially considering the name of the beer. A bit of muddled spice (perhaps some nutmeg and cinnamon), and a slight pepper aroma.

T: The flavors are more impressive, with the typical winter ale players. Nutmeg and cinnamon are again the main spices with a slight sweetness and maybe even some vanilla. The finish has an ever so slight bitterness to it.

M: The sip really fills your mouth and the carbonation gives the beer an almost creamy feel, very nice and pleasantly surprising.

D: Just about no alcohol presence and some nice flavors from a holiday ale. I was expecting a hoppier brew, given the name, but was not let down either way.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12/25/04- Purchased at Bevmo in Oakland, CA

Presentation- 22 oz bomber with no expiration date poured into my Shipyard pint glass.

Appearance- At first I thought...Cool!! A double IPA!! But, alas, I was mistaken. A rust colored orange pour with very very minimal head and very light lacing. Lots of floaters.

Smell- Strong vanilla scent overtakes all others that I couldn't detect.

Taste- At least I know my taste buds are working. The first three things I thought of were vanilla, nutmeg and cinnimon. Then I looked at the back of the bottle and saw those exact items. For a beer called "Hoppy" Holidaze, I found it hard to taste the hops. I guess they were hidden beneath all the vanilla extract. There is a citrus tinge towards the end of each sip also.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated, and fuller mouthfeel because of the sweet vanilla.

Drinkability- Well, I'll give Marin some credit for making one of the more interesting beers that I have ever had. They fooled my with their label. I thought I was getting an IPA at least and then they throw this whatever type of beer at me. Anyway, it was an experience, but truthfully, I'm not too crazy about vanilla in my brew. In my ports or sweet wines, yes, but in my beer, no. I probably won't have this one again, but I am glad I tried it. Remember, one persons trash is anothers treasure. There are plenty of people that would like this I'm sure.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Lots of dark caramel and light brown color with an unsettled chunky haze floating through it like unfiltered homebrew. Smell was noticeably sweet.

Taste was more caramel sweetness, that kind of winter warmer. Sticky. Solid and sturdy malt base. A little bit of cinnamon and lesser spice rack. Mildly done.

Bomber format, no return purchase.

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Photo of Zorro
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 version.

Pours a cloudy copper colored brew.

Smell is a sweet and sour combination like the scent of a sour mash whiskey. Fair amount of sugar in the smell along with malt and pickling spice scent.

Taste is sweet and malty with a sourness to it like cranberries or lemon. Fair amount of hop in this but it is hard to identify the exact spices in this. Mostly this is a sweet brew balanced by a good amount of hops to make it semi dry in flavor.

Mouthfeel is OK.

It is a drinkable brew but I expected more, their Starbrew is excellent this is just OK.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2006 release, Sampled December 2007
Very well carbonated as a careful pour produces a four-finger thick, light tan colored head that sits a top a brilliantly clear amber hued beer that is just filled with excessive carbonation bubbles. Aromas of spices dominate the nose; nutmeg is the most persistent, but a backdrop of cinnamon is also noticed. Not much else is noticeable in the aroma, though there is perhaps a touch of herbal hop character here.

Lightly sweet, yet with a sharpness that is a combination of spice notes as well as a slight sourness. Dusty nutmeg flavors and flavors of muted cinnamon turn a bit astringent and almost woody as one gets towards the finish. Fairly light, especially for a 7% alcohol beer, this would definitely be an easily quaffed beer if not for the excessive spice notes. Some fruit flavors are noticeable under the spices, with touches of apples and perhaps a hint of pear flavors. Hop flavors add some bitterness as well as some herbal notes that become muddled together with the more powerful spice notes.

This is not a bad beer, it is just not my cup of tea. Too spice dominated, even after a year of age.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours an amber orange with a medium white head. Good retention, with spots of lace.

S: Cinnamon and orange, with some pale malt, like a light spiced cookie.

T: Good winter spicing, orange, cinnamon and mace with some bready malt character. Wishing the malt could be a little darker, this is really more like a spiced ESB, but it still works.

M: Medium-bodied, soft yet crisp carbonation. Frothy at times.

O: A solid winter beer and one I haven't had in a long time. The flavours are good, they don't mesh as well as I would have hoped, but it's still well made.

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Photo of DucksFan16
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice looking golden-orange with a sticky, foamy white head. The smell is an intriguing mix of floral, cinnamon, nutmeg and hops. It tastes like a weaker version of Anchors Christmas Ale. The smell is really good. The taste is decent but not something I would drink again. I would go for Anchor if I wanted a similar warmer with a zing.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky looking orange. Thin off white head. Lace comes in moderate amounts. On the nose: Dough, bread, lemon zest cinamon and citric orange. Solid. First impression on tasting is fleshy orange, apricots and melons. Then I get some of that wheat and bready munich malt stuff. Forms a solid enough base. A little sourdough, though I'm not quite sure where the sour is coming from in looking at this recipe. Some spice with cinamon. Body is full. Carbonaton seems to be appropriate...middle of the road. Decent enough stuff here, but nothing I'll be clamoring for again.

Thanks Darren.

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Photo of Viggo
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Christmas tasting with biegaman and grub. biegaman brought this one back from Cali!

Pours a hazy orange/brown, thin off white head forms, leaves some lace spots, nice ring, looks okay. Smell is caramel, some spices, oranges, ginger, bready malt, citrus, interesting, very spicy. Taste is similar, heavy on the ginger and oranges, some vanilla, cinnamon, caramel, bread, touch of alcohol, very spicy, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Not too bad, little bit unfocused though. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.37/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Comes out looking like liquid caramel, but there is a ton of haze in the beer. Small white head. Aroma was very sweet, that was the most obvious thing. For having hoppy in the name, it was one of the least hoppy beers aroma wise.

Taste, still not much in the way of hops, but who jacks up a bunch of hops in their winter warmer anyway? More big time caramel sweetness. Pretty sticky stuff. Legitimate amount of malt heft to this one. Not overly spicy, just a bit of cinnamon and mint in very low leves. Might as well round that out with a pinch of nutmeg and a somewhat peppery aftertaste given how sweet the initial sips were.

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Photo of popery
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*2003 Edition*

Presentation: A 22 fluid ounce brown glass Bomber with a yellow ink screen-printed label, which still has the generic Marin Brewing Co. style. Labeled as “Hoppy Holidaze Flavored Ale – 2003”, and listed as Alcohol 7.0% by Volume.

Appearance: Beautiful deep amber-golden body with a peach hue when back-lit. Perfectly clear, it only has the odd streamer to break the monotony. Big head forms during the pour at first, a very smooth looking dirty white color, it slowly settles to a thin ¼” covering, whilst all the time leaving some nice sheet like lacing.

Nose: Deeply fruity. Malts at the start with glazed oranges, satsuma’s, tangerines and a sweet mango like odor in the back third. Not much in the middle. Light hints of Vanilla Beans.

Taste: Malty start with some nice sweet orange fruits and cinnamon to pep the tongue in the middle. Deeply fruity finish that remains sweet with a hint of vanilla alcohol for backbone. Did I miss the hops?? Strange, I kept getting a weird light ginger taste in the back-end of the beer, would that be the mace or maybe the vanilla I wonder?

Mouthfeel: Pretty solid beer, the smooth carbonation lends a velvety feel at times. Decent texture in the mouth but once swallowed it leaves a sticky orange residue that can be a bit sickly after a while.

Drinkability: A nice beer to accompany a Sunday afternoon Movie, but not one to drink throughout the afternoon, its too sticky for that.

Overall: Labeled as “This is made with Pale, Wheat, Caramalt and Munich Malts, and hopped with Magnum and Styrian Golding varieties. Delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel and pure vanilla extract”.

Quite a mix – very spicy, lots of orange and some malt – but I think I missed the hops??? Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. It’s good but a little sticky and sickly sweet at times for me - a bit more hops would have been welcome to balance out the spices and make this great rather than just good. Still nice though.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

The winter warmer is yet another style to be revived by American brewers. Every year a new artist is showcased on the label; this year is L. Gruger from Seattle, WA. [lgruger.com]

The dark crystal malt used gives the beer a deep mahogany color, that has excellent clarity when put up to the light. Multi-sized, tan-bubbled lacing is promising even after a few sips, with patch rings left over on the glass. Soft aromas of dried plums, raisins, brown sugar and a spicy mix of hops and faintly warming estery alcohols suggest a holiday spice cake to the nose. Tiny bubbles roll around the palate with a creamy smoothness that opens up the malt character. Huge caramel note with an orbiting toasted grain that circles closer and closer. Hops offer a solid balanced bitterness with a minty, floral citric flavor. A tad fruity middle to end with a slow and modest warming alcohol. Finishes on the sweet side with a long path of toasted grain and hop flavor.

A bit too drinkable for its size and alcohol, flavors are perfectly balanced and small spikes of complexity everywhere. We can imagine a plate of warm, spiced molasses cookies to pair with this beer.

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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
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 108 ratings
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