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Hoppy Holidaze | Marin Brewing Company

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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 rallison
1.95/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Nothing special - light amber color with not much of a head.

S: Smells like peaches mixed with malt.

T: Like many other reviewers have said, it has a distinct peach syrup taste. Unfortunately, this is true. It tastes artificial. It takes everything bad about most fruit ciders and puts it into a beer. Ugh. It's bad. One dimensional peach flavors. And where the hell are the hops?

M: Much of the same - and by same I mean boring one-dimensional mediocrity. Somewhat thin and boring.

D: You could drink a ton of this except for the fact that it tastes horrible.

Marin and Moylan's usually do some good beers. This is not one of those.

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Photo of BeerRun13
3.08/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy orange with some yellow highlights. Super fluffy eggshell head is thick and bubbles rise from below.
Slight wheat. Orange citrus. Banana and clove.
Interesting Orange citrus and fruity flavors. Spices. Almost artificial tasting sugary spiciness.
Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Kinda sticky.
I enjoyed the try, but was generaly not impressed with this one.

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

$4.99 at LaBodega in Riverside, CA. for a 22 oz Bomber. 2006 Version.

OK, I have been trying a lot of West Coast Hop beers lately- the Stones, the Alesmiths, etc. So when I saw "Hoppy Holidaze", I was expecting another west coast hop bomb. What a surprise when I found a beer of generally mellow malts with a sweet multi-flavored mix with no hops to be found. The label proclaims: "delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel, and pure vanilla extract." OK, great- but what I taste is peach syrup. Vanilla. Some other winter spices that I can't identify. OK, I'm not so good at picking up subtle (or not so subtle) flavors.

Where are the hops??? Don't get me wrong, I am not a hop monkey like some I know- I like all different kinds. This one just surprised me from the complete lack thereof.

But the bottom line- do I like it? In a way, yes, I do. But it's one of those "a little goes a long way" kind of beers. Good taste, enjoyable for 8-12 ounces, but a 22 oz. bottle is just too much for me.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Dark honey copper with a slight haze from the chill. Lively activity with loads of bubbles spurring from the bottom. Light beige head doesn't appear to be overly thick but seems to have some great staying power.

S: Overwhelming coriander, cinnamon, cloves, lemon rind, grass clippings and green banana peel. Overall sort of pungent and musty.

T: Begins lightly citrusy with a gentle amount of spices. This moves to bready fruit flavors, I guess I'd describe it as a fruitcake. Malty flavor sort of reminds me of pumpkin or squash, but I'm sure the spices are adding to the effect. This mixed with some caramel creates a secure backbone. Spices from this point start to get carried away and a bit muddied. Aftertaste is a hodge podge of seasonings and spices which sort of bugs me...not really any depth.

M: Medium body with a full mouthfeel. Very nice carbonation.

D: A bit too much seasoning in this one. The flavors didn't meld well and the aftertaste had WAY too much spices on the tongue. With that said, I appreciate the offering from Marin and look forward to seeing what they put forth next year.

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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 ElGordo
2.69/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark golden color topped by a small off-white head that quickly disappears. Carbonation is rather tepid. Aroma of nutmeg, cinammon, and other holiday spices, along with some light sweet malt and a hint of adjunct grain. Palate is overly sweet - very sweet malt with a touch of caramel, along with very assertive cinammon and nutmeg notes. Medium body is a decent vehicle for the abundance of overly sweet malt. Couldn't finish the bottle. Maybe it's just a personal dislike of sweet and spicy brews, but I didn't like this at all. Oh, and where the hell were the hops? If hoppy is in the name, I'd expect to at least be able to discern a whiff, but nope, not in this one.

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

Stylish chock full 'o info label 7.0% ABV Gold & Silver GABF Gold '90 & '91...Pale Wheat, Caramalt and Munich, hopped with Sterling and Styrian Goldings varieties. Delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange peel and vanilla extract.

Golden auburn straw hues topped with a frothy craggy bubbly cap containing a few scant rising bubbles.

Light nose of mixed spices. Cinnamon and a raison aspects front the nose. A hint of honey and a floral bouquet ease out.

First swigs: Vanilla punch pops out instantly. Dry but not bitter oaky Earthy middle. Ginger and vanilla continue to offer flavor. Some orange soda aspects are palpable. A full spectrum of flavors pan out over the long haul. Lingering cherry.

Feel is dry with a cherry honeyish linger. Medium bodied. Short flavor lifeline.

Last swigs: Herbal vanilla cherry ale. End of story. Kudos for an interesting blend of flavors. This is Sam Adams Cherry Wheat with kick. Go back to sleep.

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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 mzwolinski
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2004 Edition
Lighter in color than a lot of xmas beers; very hazy autumnal orange, with a very thin head that’s almost just a halo.

Aroma is a bit sharp – orange comes through strong with some hoppiness, but wihtout enough underneath it to balance.

Really interesting first sip. very sugary tasting, especially so in the aftertaste which is way too dominated by the vanilla. Too much orange in the midpalate. Cinnamon makes itself known after that. Very artificial tasting. All one can taste is the adjuncts – it’s like there’s no malt, no hops, no beer there at all.

Malt comes through a little bit as it warms, but vanilla is still too much.

Better and better as the beer warms or my palate acclimates, but still quite unsatisfying in the end.

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Photo of AlexJ
2.7/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Murky apricot pour with a minimal amount of sizzling white froth that disappears way too quickly for my liking.

Aroma is a meager offering of pale malt, mushy grain, overbearing nutmeg and spice notes with faintly earthy floral hops.

Flavor disappoints further, a mild malt entry of cooked grains and toasted bread leads to spice notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. It finishes with tart, sourdough bread notes and hints of lemon. I don't think this was an old bottle, it said 2005 0n it.

Body is weak, thin and almost watery with large bubbles that lend to a flat, lifeless mouthfeel. This beer is not for me.

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Photo of sloejams
2.83/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Despite the 9th grade humor name it had, I decided to give this 22 oz. bomber a go.

Poured into a pint glass - it had a hazy orange color with a slight head that retained well. It had a strong nutmeg aroma with hints of cinnamon and to a far lesser degree - hops. The smell would indicate more flavor than it actually had - the winter spices were there but light and very subtle. I kept hoping some hops would kick in, but to no avail. It had a smooth feel with slight carbonation and a crisp finish.

With the name, I expected far more hops. The beer style was confusing: part winter warmer / part pale ale - and it didn't really mesh all that well together. It is unique though and worth a try for that.

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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 DogFood11
3/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber pour is easily controlled to a perfect head but quickly falls to a thin skim and no lacing worth a mention.

Smell blew me away, I went into this beer without any research whatsoever so when I couldn't detect any significant level of hops I was a bit taken back. Hoppy Holidaze is an odd name for a beer with little hop presence. Not a big deal I just want to let anyone reading this to know not to expect a Hop Bomb of any kind.

Pretty spiced up taste, citrus, mainly a light lemony balancer. Some floral type hops.

A flowery boquet and a sugar laden finish make up the taste. Citrus is also there and the spices come through. This is an odd one for me to get a grasp on. Mouthfeel tends to me lingering and bready sweet sticky.

Notes: I kinda liked this offering as it was off the wall for my untrained palate and had me wanting to drink more just to figure it out. Interesting.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.93/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The pours a deep, cloudy golden orange with a fluffy pure white head. The crown dies back but leaves a reasonable bit of lacing on the inside of the glass.

The nose is pretty good - plenty of candied orange peel and a bit of a 'mulled cider' note (likely cinnamon and nutmeg) No beer-like smells to be found.

The flavor is much like the nose - primarily the spices without much 'beeriness' coming through. Some light malt notes, primarily wheat, with a strong dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, candied orange and a vanilla finish. The hops are really present at first but as you work your way through the beer there are some Euro-noble hop notes - floral and somewhat spicy. Way, waaay back in the background.

Mouthfeel was disappointing with very little carbonation and a rather oily residue left on the palate. Practically no bittering to dry out each sip leaving an overall cloying effect.

I'm probably being generous rating the drinkability as "average". This is a good beer to bring around to a Christmas party and it's likely non-beer drinkers will enjoy it. My biggest problem is that the name "Hoppy Holidaze" created some expectations that this might be a hoppy drink - far from it! If they'd thrown in a bucketful of Chinhook or Centennial (or even some spruce tips) then this beer would have had some personality instead of just being sweet.

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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 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 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 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 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 ¼ 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Hoppy Holidaze from Marin Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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