At a beer dinner the other night at Hopmonk Tavern I had a chance to try Russian River’s newest beer, Happy Hops, whose name has an interesting story.
In talking about it with Vinnie, he declared that it was his new favorite beer, which is essentially a well-hopped blonde ale. Russian River’s website refers to the new beer as a:
It’s light and nicely refreshing with a nose reminiscent of hops’ cousin, Mary Jane. Although it’s over 5% and thus not truly so, it does feel like a hoppy session beer. Maybe that’s a relative thing, but a hoppy beer that’s also clean, light and refreshing I think is a great addition to Russian River’s lineup.
Its name comes from a historical Santa Rosa brewery, Grace Brothers, which operated on 2nd Street under that name from 1897-1969. The hops business runs in cycles and so, just like today, there was a hop shortage in the late 1940s and hops were rationed for a time. To get around the allotments imposed, Grace Brothers Brewing created another beer company, North Bay Brewing Co., which operated from 1946-52, so they could get two allotments of hops. That brewery’s lineup included a beer called Happy Hops, which, according to the information on the can, was a lager.
I love that era’s graphic design. They’d put a face on anything and personify it. The hop man serving up himself for your enjoyment just cracks me up. In case you can’t read the red banner at the bottom of the can, it reads “We grow our own hops, we make our own malt.”