Hoppy Holidaze | Marin Brewing Company

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Hoppy HolidazeHoppy Holidaze
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.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 109
Photo of patre_tim
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Copper with a few slow rising bubbles, topped with 5 fingers of off white head.

Smells of yeasts, caramel and hard water.

Tastes of yeasts, caramel and hard water with a little sweetness. Any holiday spice is really subdued.

Light body with little carbonation.

Got this in Sacramento, drinking in Redding, Dec 25th, 2018 after an awesome Christmas. Decent brew, not overly holiday spice like but perhaps my first 'Live or Cask Ale." Enjoying it.

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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 rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
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 rand
3.69/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 650 mL bomber to Mikasa pint glass

A: Spot on apricot in color, clear and quite pretty. Forms a small wispy head that dissipates quickly, leaving scant lacing.

S: The bouquet is the highlight of the brew as it gives off distinct aromas of orange-chocolate candy, nutmeg and clove, with a doughy, pastry-like malt sweetness that works as a backdrop. There isn't much in the way of hop or alcohol presence to speak of, but this smells lovely.

T: At the front of the sip your palate is met by the array of described holiday spices, with a touch of earthy, tea-like hop flavors to break up the festive sweetness. But then, "pfft', gone. It's like the flavors neutralize each other and your palate is left with a subtle citrusy malt flavor that rapidly retracts.

M: And the relatively light body contributes to this flavor-vanishing act. I didn't notice it at first, but the beer lacks weight and viscosity for its attempted style and flavor-profile.

Hmmm, strange beer. When you pop the cap you smell nothing but holiday goodness, but flavors just don't go far enough. This isn't to say it's not drinkable. In fact, far from it - this goes down pretty easy. But it's as if the subtle hop presence nukes the tasty holiday flavors, and the back of the swallow is almost...watery? Well, not watery, but tamed, and the brew would do so much better if it aimed a little "bigger".

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
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 brotherloco
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
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 Beerandraiderfan
3.37/5  rDev -5.6%
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 kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -2%
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 whatthehull
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A - nice semi cloudy orange/amber, one finger off white head and some decent lacing

S - seriously smells exactly like it tastes.

T - winter spices, super sweet, nice wheat note, some bready yeast, slightly nutty, cinnamon, a bit of citrus zest, sugar cookies, pumpkin pie, lots of sweet and toasted malt flavors, a nice crisp hop, some earth and a fresh rainy day smell/taste

M - full bodied, very low acidity, nice balance and complexity and medium plus finish

D - drinks awesome! One of my favorite winter warms, it tastes like Christmas and thanksgiving, reminds me of home and tastes just great. I think anyone can get into this one

Final thought - at $4 a pop, a 7% abv this is a great starter for craft brew and just fun and yummy

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
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 mactrail
2.99/5  rDev -16.2%
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 mikechance
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from a 22 oz. bottle

A --- nice straw color (almost Kellerweis like)

S --- hops, hints of honey, spices and sweetness

T --- nutmeg, orange, honey and sweet

M --- medium body, smooth, oily, and creamy

O --- This is a delightful beer. It's very sweet, but goes down very smooth. A bottle now and then is perfect (22 oz. is about my max on it). A little something to spice it up would be nice. At it's price point it's worth buying --- I will add it to my yearly holiday beer buying list.

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Photo of sweethome
3.32/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is a hazy, limp gold. A little white head.

Nutmeg jumps out on nose. Sweetness of applesauce.

Smooth and creamy entry. Hints of ginger...honey. Sweet maltiness, some hops in the back help cleanse the finish. Long spicy flavors on finish - cinammon comes in on finish.

Lacks complexity of flavor and hops backing that I like from this style.

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Photo of beagle75
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
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 BretSikkink
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light golden orange color with nice hazing. Bland white hand without much character, lacing doesn't do much either. Lots of orange cleaner in the nose, with other light fruity sweetness. Pale malt only.

The spicing is a bit exotic, but not necessarily in a fantastic way. Hops are only mildly present (disappointing given the name) and the malt backbone is quite thin and weak. Sweet trumps here, with the vanilla and nutmeg eking out cinnamon and whatever else on the spice front. To me, this is a strange mix of flavors without a lot of body to drive it home.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
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 snpub540
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark golden hue with more pale yellow coming out at the edges when held up to light. Nice foamy quarter inch head. Left some nice lacing.

Smell was my favorite part here. Sweet and spicy made for a nice complex aroma. Alcohol sweetness upfront, a nice cinnamon note and the slightest hint of vanilla. A little citrus in there as well.

Taste was mostly mulled spices and some bitter orange peel. not hoppy like the name implies but still a nice flavored beer. Nice warming effect in the finish but not much alcohol flavor.

Mouthfeel was a little thin. Nice carbonation though. Drinkability was good. The alcohol doesn't come through harsh or even at all pretty much.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.59/5  rDev +0.6%
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 jeffjeff1
3.92/5  rDev +9.8%
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 Kaiser81
4.35/5  rDev +21.8%
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 flexabull
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear dark gold color with a pretty nice fluffy white head.

Aromas are very spice forward. Mostly nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as some vanilla sweetness.

Taste is like the nose. Very spicy, with mostly nutmeg sticking out to me. There are some sweet vanilla and malt creaminess in there as well. But this beer seems to be mostly about the spices, without much in the way of traditional beer flavors.

Mouthfeel is good. This has a nice smooth and thick feel to it. About right for the style.

Drinkability is ok. Not a bad beer, but it's just comes off as more of a sweet over spiced drink than a spiced beer. A little more balance and less spice might help this one out.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.86/5  rDev +8.1%
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 mjl21
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewpub. Comes in at 7.5%. Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours a clear amber with a 3/4 finger off white frothy head that fades fast to a small ring.

S-It is full of spices, particularly nutmeg. There is no malt or hops to be found. The spices are strong, but veer away from the usual pumpkin pie aroma.

T-Like the nose, the spices, particularly nutmeg, dominate throughout each sip. There is a little cinammon flavor and some sweet malt. As it warms I get some orange peel. There is some noticeable bitterness at the end. It tastes like a Xmas cookie that has been liberally spiced with nutmeg.

M-Medium bodied and smooth. It is lightly carbonated.

D-Too spiced for my tastes, but better than a lot of other spiced beers that I have tried.

People who enjoy spiced beers and/or nutmeg will like this one. I'll pass next time and go for their stout if I want a dessert beer.

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Photo of madtappers
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage, poured from 22 oz bomber into pint glass.

Pours a merky copper haze. Nice 1 inch white head. Gives of a odor of cinnamon and nutmeg, there is no smell of hops to speak of.

I was amazed at how drinkable of a beer this is, smooth malt taste up front with a after taste of warming cinnamon and nutmeg.

Wouldn't be top on by beers to buy again, but wouldn't turn one down!

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.16/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

taste- caramel, spice, malt taste, smooth finish

color- honey

clarity- hazy

smell- malt and spice, delicately balanced nose, kettlecorn

body- medium-light weight

appearance- nice, clean looking, flat head

overall impression- well balanced, clean, needs more weight and complexity

notes- brewed with pale, wheat, caramalt and munich malts, and hopped with sterling and styrian goldings varieties. spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel, and vanilla extract. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

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Hoppy Holidaze from Marin Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 109 ratings