Beer Review: RUSSIAN RIVER HAPPY HOPS IPA

Beer Review: RUSSIAN RIVER HAPPY HOPS IPA

Pouring out a crystal-clear, pale golden hue, the Russian River Happy Hops IPA showcases a visually pleasing brew. The 510mL bottle packaging, dated 3/18/19, delivers a substantial meringue-like foam that lingers momentarily before dissipating.

Aroma

The beer’s olfactory experience is a tantalizing blend of fresh citrus, ranging from robust white grapefruit to sweet mandarin orange. Layers of an almost pungent overripe tropical melon aroma, characteristic of modern hop varietals, add depth. With time, the scent evolves, incorporating sweeter notes akin to birthday cake with vanilla frosting.

Taste

Happy Hops asserts itself with a robust white grapefruit bitterness, peaking at a commendable 7/10. Surprisingly, sweetness lingers at a modest 3/10, rendering the beer a tad drier than anticipated. While the semi-dry body accentuates the overall bitterness, it may be too intense for those favoring a sweeter profile. The crisp finish leaves a biting, sharp impression, defining this IPA as a clean, no-frills experience.

Mouthfeel

Possessing a straightforward and uncomplicated demeanor, Happy Hops exhibits a simplicity that characterizes it as a no-nonsense IPA. The bitterness, while pronounced, seems slightly dialed down compared to its renowned counterparts like Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder. The beer’s lighter body, in contrast to Blind Pig, further emphasizes its straightforward nature.

Overall

In conclusion, Russian River’s Happy Hops IPA is a testament to simplicity and clarity. Positioned between the hop-forward Blind Pig and the iconic Pliny the Elder, it presents a commendable option for hardcore IPA enthusiasts. While it competes favorably with other modern, clear IPAs, such as Pizza Port Swami’s and Beachwood Amalgamator, its scarcity, elevated price point, and outdated format make it more of a novelty tick than an everyday fridge staple.

The brewery’s recent expansion in Windsor offers hope for wider availability and, ideally, more affordable pricing. As the market evolves, one can only anticipate the potential release of Happy Hops in more contemporary formats, like 6-packs of 12oz cans. Until then, this IPA remains a cherished but somewhat elusive choice for the discerning beer enthusiast.