Happy Hops | Russian River Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
65 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ArrogantB on 08-21-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
65
Ratings:
311
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
20.77%
 
 
Wants:
27
Gots:
35
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 311
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and floral hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a citrus zest flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid hoppy aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Russian River brewpub. A light orange and yellow mixture, evidently is not one of their heartiest brews, this one has a more innocent appearance. But then again, both Pliny's are plenty yellow and have good clarity just like this one. Nice white head on it. Hops are nice, but not as massively pungent as most Russian River hoppy ales. Maybe the happy hops reference is just about them being light and not jam packed into each other.

As usual, a super light bready malt bill that is as minimal as possible to continue making a great hoppy beer. An unexpected resin and herbal compound in the mouthfeel unlike anything I've ever tasted with Russian River, kind of different, don't know what its all about.

This beer is now part of the hoppy pale ale series, and it is somewhat similar to Row 2 Hill 56, but simply less gusto, less bursting right out the bottle, invigorating your nasal cavities and palate, this one is more like the Russian River vibe filtered through some really mellow Jimmy Buffett like tunes and relaxed essence. If you're looking for hop and ibu punch, this one probably won't fit the bill. Its very good, but its also on the low end for Russian River's stuff.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

big thanks goes out to GrumpyOldTroll, jbuddle, Sean9689, SpeedwayJim, AgentZero, dtmets84 for sharing in the greatest day of beer that i have ever been a part of. huge thanks to mike for sharing this.

notes from 1/12/2013

consumed from a russian river glass.

has an almost classic ipa look...semi-transparent orange with a foamy head. smells really fresh, but subtle hops. very sessionable feels like a pale ale aught to. a bit watery and light but could drink it all day. reminds me of row 2/hill 56 but maybe more watery and hoppy.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had this beer on tap at Russian River as well as from a growler a day after my visit. The beer has a nice bright golden color. The smell pulls you in with lot of sweet citrus notes and only slight hints of pine. The beer has a thin white head but sufficient carbonation. The flavor is as good as any pale ale I've had. This was the best beer I tasted from Russian River on my trip out there. The initial taste is light and citrusy. The flavor is sweeter than most pale ales with only enough bitterness to keep the beer in balance. This beer was a hit with veteran beer drinkers as well as novices on NYE. In terms of comparison, the beer was less aggressive than Pliny and a bit sweeter. I would ship this beer in by the case if it were bottled. The incredible balance within the use of hops sets this beer apart. The sweetness is certainly not a cloying sweetness; it was just the one aspect that set it apart from the other pale ales at Russian River in my opinion.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64 ounce growler into an Allagash cervoise glass. Filled four days ago at the brewery.

A: Two fingers of fluffy, off-white lace.

S: So fruity! Also resiny with a hint of onion. Citrus zest. Phenomenal hops. The nose is perhaps the best part of this beer.

T/M: Not quite as good as it is quite fresh, but still darn good for a pale ale. Surprisingly bitter, in an engaging and interesting way (full of hops) with a presence on the tongue, though this growler version is sadly lacking in carbonation. Crisp and drying.

O: Maybe my favourite Russian River beer. Seriously. The greatest pale ale I've ever tasted, though recommended as fresh as possible. Will have again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to baybassboy for giving this to me in a trade. This is my first growler review of all time; who'd have known I'd have 2000 beers prior to reviewing one from a growler? Baybassboy picked this one up at Russian River last weekend and was kind enough to share the wealth. Growler served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Expectations are quite high given the brewery.

Served cold. Poured from straight above (it's hard to manipulate a growler) with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a frothy two finger beige colour head of good cream, great thickness, and fantastic retention - especially considering it's a growler pour. Body colour is a pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks quite good for the style. I'd estimate retention is a good four minutes. Lacks notable lacing.

Sm: Nectary floral hops, pale malts, a soapy note, detergent, and citrus. Pleasant all around, though it may have spent too long in primary. A fresh mild strength aroma.

T: Nectary floral character. Well layered pale malts. A bit of soapy/detergent character, but it's forgivable. Still, the balance does suffer. Refreshing and tasty. Hop bitterness never comes through. Hop nectar is the dominant note throughout, and lends the flavour its cohesive unity. Still, I'd like to see a bit more of a malty foundation. Fresh and pleasant. No alcohol or yeast comes through.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and refreshing. Carbonation is actually quite adequate; I'm surprised given that it's a growler pour. Suits the flavours nicely. Good presence on the palate. Quite soft.

Dr: Extremely drinkable. Very flavorful for the style. I'm liking it more and more as it warms and as I attenuate to it. Another solid beer from Russian River. The ABV is nowhere to be seen. I'd have this again, preferably with spicy food. I'll have no problem finishing this entire growler within the next forty minutes.

High B

****
Brief impression of the batch I got on-draught @ Russian River on July 28th, 2016:

Vanilla sherbet.

Boozier than I remember, with a slight soapiness. Maybe I just got a subpar batch with seasonally available hops?

C+ / ABOVE AVERAGE

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Photo of abaer123
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at RRBC on September 26 on a pilgrimage to refill my Pliny growler. I had the growler refilled with Pliny. And bought a second growler to take this back with me. Now I have two growlers from RRBC. I don't think this is a bad thing....

Appearance - golden orange

smell - hoppy hoppy happy! i love the smell of hops and this beer delivers.

taste - this is what did it for me. the citrus flavors and nice bitter finish is what i enjoy so much about this beer. i would love to go back and get some more. maybe today? :)

mouthfeel - full. i almost started swishing it around because i enjoyed it so.

overall - i really enjoyed this beer and hope it becomes a permanent resident on their offerings. maybe even available at the store - that would be great!

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled growler into a glass.

A: Pours a completely clear golden-orange body with a couple of fingers of off-white head. Retention is solid, but the beer doesn't have much lace.

S: Citrus flesh (lemon, grapefruit, orange) and a crackery pale malt note. There is a small element of grass on the back end.

T: This is sure to appeal to citrus lovers. It has a bright, fleshy flavor of lemon, grapefruit, orange, and tangerine. There is some mild bitterness that becomes more apparent in the grassy aftertaste. Malt is restrained, consisting only of a light cereal-grain flavor.

M: Fairly clean; it has some lingering, sticky bitterness. Light-bodied with appropriate carbonation. No astringency despite the hoppiness.

O: I had this a long time ago and found it serviceable. But I later heard that they tweaked the recipe, and it shows. This isn't quite as tasty as Row 2, but I can see myself choosing this over the other a few times out of 10, especially when looking for something that delivers a little less kick.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-07-19 in Santa Rosa, CA at the brew pub (from tasting notes)

A - Clear straw-orange with a 1/2-finger white head and mild lacing.

S - Light nose of tropical fruit and grain. Pleasant and inviting.

T - Italian bread-like pale malt, touch of blueberry without the sweetness, mild caramel, mild hop bud flavor and a reasonable grapefruit bitter finish. Subtle, well-balanced flavors may for a very enjoyable flavor.

M - Light body and medium carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O - The light touch of blueberry coupled with some bitterness give this beer a unique character yet doesn't stray far from the APA mold.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ah, a crisp APA to further diversify their dominance. It didn't blow my mind, but it was a solid, fully flavored brew that could be sesioned. It was notably juicy, with a malty push in the middle, but hops, hops, hops through and through. Could be likened to a Sierra Nevada. Good work again.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hops make me very happy indeed.

Had this at the source.

This pours a golden color with billowy foam. The aroma is crisp, with orangy citrus notes. Clear and bright with a nice finish that has hints of biscuit and bready notes. A real easy drinker—almost too easy.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap a Russian River. Served in a pint glass.

A - White foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind splotchy lace. Transparent golden body.

S - Spicy and dank hops, with notes of orange, grapefruit, and perhaps a hint of onion as well. Negligible malt character.

T - A tad more sugary malt here supporting the candied citrus, pine, juicy fruit, and zesty peel flavors. A bit of yeast and breadiness in there as well.

M - Medium-light body, juicy texture, dry finish, and pleasant moderate carbonation. No alcohol presence. Very refreshing.

D - It's a crushable hoppy pale ale. This may have been a traditional blonde ale back in 2008, but this is more in the mold of Walden these days.

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Photo of PerHops
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a growler, poured one day after fill, almost exactly 24 hours.

A- Golden orange, with a nice head and near perfect lacing.

S- Lots of juicy aromatic hops not quite the smell of an ipa, but rivals row 2 as one of the best pales I've ever had.

T- Wow. This is better than most ipas I've tasted. Tons of tropical fruit, but a citrusy, lemony semi dry finish that makes this too easy to drink.

M- Perfect carbonation especially considering it was served from a growler a day old.

O- Im so glad I had the last impulse to get a growler of this instead of a second hopfather. Better than I remember it being, this is one of the best beers of this style I have had the pleasure of trying. Once again Russian River proves themselves to be the best of the best.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery's outlet in Santa Rosa.

Pours a clear pale golden colour, with a very light body to it. Head is a fine ring of persistant white bubbles. No visible carbonation or lacing. Decent enough, if not exciting.

Nose is bright and clear, with appleskin coming through on first whiff, but revealing other characters of herbs and pepper on the revisit. There's also an underlying note of savoury grain giving some depth and complexity to the aroma. It's light overall, but quite nice stuff.

Taste continues some of these themes: apple comes through with a crisp cleanness on the front, followed by some grain that mingles nicely with some slightly earthy, slightly nutty hop characters. Mild, moderated bitterness comes through on the back, with a touch of fragrant herbs. It's very clean, and really very pleasant. Feel is light but consistent with the structure of the beer.

Super-drinkable brew. It reminds me of the balance and coherence of Blind Pig—again, not a huge beer, but a very enjoyable one.

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Photo of argock
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a nonic pint at Toronado (San Diego, CA). Reviewed from notes.

A: Hazy golden amber with short cap of off-white head that leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S: Very aromatic for what I imagine is an APA with floral, orange citrus, pineapple, and pine aromas with a light-medium crystal caramel malt sweetness.

T: The flavor was IPA-like with a big dose of tropical fruit and lemon citrus mized with pine and floral orange blossom notes. The malt component is a little more forceful in the flavor with some light crystal and cereal grain character coming through. Really a refreshing sort of pale ale.

M: Light in body and dry with fine carbonation.

O: I enjoyed this beer a lot although it is one of many very flavorful APAs out there. Anything from RR though you've got to give it a run.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Toronado
San Diego, CA

Clear dark orange and amber with an inch of off-white, big bubbled foam that leaves regular lines of lace down the glass. Very pretty.

Certainly a hop-forward aroma, with nice, bright citrus elements throughout, balanced incredibly well by cereal/pale malts. Nearly perfect for a pale ale, though not quite as powerful as Hoppy Birthday, Zombie Dust, etc.

The flavor is also a complete hop-lover's dream, with bright citrus, moderate bitterness, and some earthy, bready elements balancing everything out nicely. Incredibly drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation.

I could drink this one over, and over, and over, and over again.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery. Pours a dark, clear orange. Tastes citrusy with strong grapefruit notes. Surprised by the amount of flavor for a pale ale. This would be very session able and I wish I had regular access to this. Very nice beer overall.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/15/2012

Growler into a snifter. Thanks!

A: Yellow gold with white sea foam that recedes in a cavernous fashion. Great retention and wicked lacing. Nice color.

S: Vibrant orange and tangerine with some spicy grapefruit. Faintly floral with restrained cracker notes. Really aromatic and excellent.

T: Super bright and fresh hop profile. Bold orange and grapefruit flesh with a smooth upper low bitterness. Crackery malt profile and a light herbal note midpalate. Very dry and hop focused. The finish is crisp, clean, and hoppy, with a light resin note.

M: Upper light to lower medium body. Dry and crisp mouthfeel.

Overall: A very enjoyable hoppy Pale. Bright and incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh growler from the brewery. This beer is no longer a blond ale, it's part of the hop growers series of pale ales. I initially reviewed this back in 2008, and I'm fairly certain it had a completely different recipe back then, more of a semi-hoppy blond ale.

Appearance: Stunningly clear pale amber body capped by two inches of sticky, frothy head. Very inviting.

Smell: Sweet citrus, primarily tangerine and orange, supported by a dry cereal grain malt backbone. The previous batch of this beer had an unusual blueberry character, but I don't get that in this one. Smells very clean and attenuated, which is exactly what I would expect from a hoppy RRBC beer. The aroma doesn't explode from the glass like Row 2, but it's still excellent.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet orange and tangerine citrus notes up front, with an herbal spiciness beneath. Becomes a little more earthy and resinous toward the finish. This has a solid malt backbone, but it's light and dry, supremely quaffable. Lower-medium level of bitterness in the finish, very clean and bright.

Overall: Great. I'd drink this often were it more available. This is a notch below the incredible Row 2, but decidedly better than Segal Select. An excellent addition to RRBC's growing selection of low alcohol, hop-forward ales.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River. Served in a nonic pint. Currently listed at 5.5% ABV.

Color is a clear pale gold with a finger plus of off-white rocky foam. A lot of delicate lacing left behind.

Aroma of pine, grapefruit, and grass along with a touch of floralness. Typical Russian River malt profile sits significantly in background.

Flavor follows the nose, but cranks things up. Juicy hop flavor. The grassy notes are a little more pronounced and dankness emerges as well. A very earthy middle gives way to a bitter dry finish. Again, very much a Russian River hop/malt balance. So much flavor for a "small" beer.

Body is light with medium carbonation. Crisp.

Russian River makes so many great pales and India pales that this beer can be eclipsed by them, but if you want a lighter beer with a ton of hop flavor, Happy Hops is your brew.

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Photo of Giovacchini
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- clear amber with a thin white head.

S- tropical fruits, floral hops, and honey.

T- Orange, mango, apricot, floral hops, subtle breadiness, and sweet maltiness.

M- mild carbonation with nice bitterness for the style.

O- I was impressed by this beer. I am a sucker for beers with tropical fruit hop aromas and this beer does the trick. Another great beer from RR. Love me my hoppy beers.

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Photo of nataku00
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

On tap into a pint glass. Beer was clear bright orange with half a finger of off white foamy head. Sticky lacing as the head dissipates to a collar of small bubbles and an off white film on the surface. Well carbonated.

Nose is very mild, some light herbal and grassy notes, some light orange peel and tropical fruit. Not very aromatic.

Taste is better, herbal grassy marijuana like flavor, followed by citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Bitterness is well balanced by a nice biscuit malt. Finish is clean and dry.

Light body and fizzy on the tongue. Very easy to drink and almost sessionable, though more aroma would have been nice.

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Photo of litheum94
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RR. 6.05 ABV

Clear golden body. Bone white head that leaves a small covering.

Subtle citrus hops and a clean and crisp cereal grain aroma. Actually reminds me slightly of a pils.

Tangerines and floral hops, with light spicing. Very clean malt bill, crisp and dry. Some barley flavors. More juicy citrus on the finish, with some leafy hops.

Another tasty brew by Vinnie.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at the brewpub.

Golden orange, nice clarity, large white head with excellent retention and lacing. Intense fresh hop aroma of citrus and pine. Flavor has light bready malt background providing a chewy body underneath the sweet and juicy orange and grapefruit hops and floral bitterness. Nice body, medium thick with light carbonation and a clean finish. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, bright golden orange color with a medium white head that hangs around for a little. Scent is hoppy as hell! Definitely does not smell like a blonde ale...in fact, the server told me they labeled it as an American Pale Ale. Either way, it smells delicious! Dank hops with a bit of citrus and a lot of pine. Taste is exactly as it smells. Tons of fresh hop flavor and bitter pine taste. Lovely citrus and floral notes with roasted malt. A very well-balanced beer. Mouthfeel is dry and crisp...very refreshing. Drinkability is very high. Overall, I've ranted and praised Three Floyds and Half Acre for their amazing way of crafting American Pale Ales (Alpha King, Zombie Dust, Daisy Cutter)... and Russian River now steps in to that playing field. Apparently they weren't content with just being king of IPAs/DIPAs/Wild Ales...They now compete with the best in the APA category. Awesome beer!

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Happy Hops from Russian River Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.
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