I had seen press releases for Hoppy Brewing Company out of Sacramento, CA before but never really knew a thing about them until recently when they started distributing to my local market in Minnesota. Hoppy Brewing was founded by a gentleman named Troy who previously worked with satellites and software development industry and after learning to homebrewÂ in 1991 decided it would be more logical to enter the growing Craft Brewing industry. So with the help of many others Hoppy Brewing released their flagship product Hoppy Face Amber Ale in 1994 by utilizing some excess capacity of another brewery. Now they have their own brewery as well as a brewpub and a variety of bottled brews. While I intended to sample their flagship product first it appears it has been flying off the shelves of The Four Firkins quite quickly and there was none on the shelves at the moment so I opted for their more malt forward Stony Face Red Ale while I was there last week for the New Belgium tasting (mmm….La Folie). When poured this ale appears quite dark brown, but as you expose it to light reddish mahogany hues come forth. Head was a simple finger and change, quite creamy and off white. Upon my first sniff I noticed quite a bit of ethanol but after typing up the previous paragraph I don’t notice it intensely at all, perhaps it was a trick of the mind. Aromas are of semi sweet rich malts, toffee, gentle citrus and floral notes from the Cascade and soft herbal notes from Nugget hops. Flavor is solid. Malt profile is an interesting mix of sweeter malts that one might see in an Amber Ale such as Dark Caramel malt (if you ignore the dark part) and heavier, more bitter, perhaps even roasted malts that one might expect in a darker ale such as a Stout which according to their website is Chocolate Malt. Creating a very interesting and unique flavor profile. Incredibly gentle roasted notes similar to coffee and toffee sweetness are contrasted with an assertive does of Cascades grapefruit like citrus and decent hoppy bitterness. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is slightly silky but not overly creamy. With a 5.6% ABV this is an easy drinker with some seriously unique flavor contrast. Not overly sweet, not overly dark, not overly hoppy but all three working happily, or hoppily together. If you enjoy Amber Ales with a solid hop presence but don’t want to sacrifice any malt richness this ale is probably for you. Now I definitely need to try their flagship ale. Give it a shot and ride your bike.