California Blonde Ale - Eel River Brewing Co.

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California Blonde Ale
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BA SCORE
77
okay

105 Ratings
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Ratings: 105
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.35
pDev: 15.52%
Wants: 1
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Blonde Ale |  5.62% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-12-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 105 | Reviews: 55
Photo of berkeleymaw
4.37/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Packs a deceptive punch at ~6% ABV. Clean and crisp tasting without being bitter, very smooth and inoffensive. Decent hoppiness, but nothing approaching the psychotic amount of hops you find in your typical microbrew ale these days.

Photo of RedHeadAle
5/5  rDev +49.3%

By far my favorite!!

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bulldog Brewery in Murrieta, CA.

Pours a clear light yellow with a foamy bone head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and grassy aromas. Taste is much the same with grain and grassy flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a subdued smell and better taste.

Photo of williamjbauer
3.43/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on tap in a nonical glass

A - Light copper amber with 1 finger amber head with good retention and good lacing, bubbly head.

S - Faint wheat aroma.

T - Fairly bland wheat backbone with a touch of yeast and breadiness.

M - Light body, moderate-high carbonation, watery.

O - A slightly above average blonde. Once is enough for me.

Photo of BlakeDaSnake
5/5  rDev +49.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: This Blonde is pretty pure in the glass. Solid Golden color

S: It's smell is almost exactly like the taste. Nothing harsh or aromatic though about it.

T: I'm in love....Light Blonde beer at it's finest....Surprised at the average score. Definitely should be higher.

M: Light and Refreshing...Not Malty or Hoppy. Leaves the glass in gulps

O: I really believe 100% in try it if there is one good review and this is might be that one good review. Seriously I think this beer is amazing and refreshing and it's priced pretty good. I bought a pint of it for only $5....C'mon that's unheard of!!!

Photo of mrfrancis
2.95/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy gold with a thin white mousse.

S: Very neutral on the nose, with aromas of grass, lemon, biscuits, and caramel taking some time to reveal themselves.

T: Notes of caramel, grass, straw, chalk, minerals, lemon, and biscuits wash across the palate. The finish is fleeting with notes of lemon, grass, and biscuits.

M: On the lighter side of medium in body, chalky, and very dry. Carbonation is extremely active. A bit busy and distracting and a real chore to drink.

O: This is a very mediocre ale. There just isn't enough flavor for this to be all that interesting. Skip this one.

Photo of mactrail
2.98/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

An attractive amber in the glass, on the darker side, with plenty of carbonation. A little bit of a grainy nose. Slightly sweet with a cereal flavor like peaches 'n' cream instant oatmeal. Some hop flavors enliven it a little. Caramel flavors go along with the more substantial than average body and mouthfeel.

There still seems to be a weedy, seeds and stems flavor to this allegedly organic stuff. Slightly harsh vegetable aftertaste, like artichoke. Otherwise, totally forgettable.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Trying the Eel River Blinde and it is OK. The beer pours a cloudly orange with decent 1/2 in white head that is lacing nicely. The smell is a very heartly orange citrus. The taste is a spunky citrus powered more by malt than hop. The mouthfeel is a body is medium body with good carbonation. Overall it is not reallly a great Blonde but worth a sampling.

Photo of brown2cu
2.94/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy blonde with a fleeting head. There is a faint ring on the outside of the glass; no lacing.

S: A sweet grainy sweetness topped by a delicate hop aroma. Nothing flashy

T: Tastes like carbonated water that has had grain steeped in it for a couple of minutes. Not a lot of character. There is a soapy bitterness towards the end. Overall it seems to taste like a batch of beginner home brew, not something I would expect from a large brewery.

M: Heavily carbonated, not sure how appropriate it is for the style, but makes for easy drinking.

O: comparable but better than most macro lagers, However, not something I would buy again. I want to give another example of this style a try before I write it off.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.47/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very faint haze to this copper and hay hued brew. Quick head and only a little residual ring of foam after a sip or two. Good bubbling.

Clear and crisp, light toasted malt and oatmela before you add milk or water. Then a little light earthy hops and just a hint of general cream.

I get cream of wheat, of more like creamof oatmeal from start to finish. Lightly toasted grain and malted grain. Maybe some faint, earthy hops.

Good bubbling on the tongue, and a fresh, flavorfl, and clean palate. Great for session drinking.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Loose, frothy two-finger white head after a vigorous pour. Cloudy gold body with a touch of bronze. Head has good stick and decent retention.

Smell - Sweet candied sugar. Pixie Stix and apple juice.

Taste - Dusty dry front. Some mild hop and alcohol. Mild maltiness in the otherwise clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium bodied. Somewhat solvent and acidic. Head offers some creamy frothiness. Sort of refreshing.

Overall Drinkability - Inoffensive. Light. Unchallenging. But I suppose you don't usually get much better than this if you're going all out organic.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.08/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good presentation, a darker gold color, not that super faint straw yellow you come across in some blondes. Pretty mild aroma, some sweetness to it, that's about it.

High carbonation and light body should lead to some kolsch comparisons and discussion. Easy drinking, nothing bad or adventurous to it.

A little more expensive than it should be given the relative lack of ingredients, I don't understand why this and their porter, ipa etc. . .are the same price.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.7/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint. Clear hay amber color. Thin white head. A bit of lacing.

Aroma is kinda like smelling a bag of 2row if you know what I'm talking about. Not much else.

Taste is solid. Easy drinkin blond. Not too sweet or malty.

Mouthfeel is clean and refreshing.

I'm actually impressed by this companies organic ales. I was under the impression that they usually suck. Not bad the last 2 that I've had.

Photo of Onenote81
3.1/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Single 12oz bottle picked up in a mixed-sixer from Total Wine. Haven't had anything from these guys. I was in the mood for something light and easy-drinking, so I grabbed this.

Pours a lightly hazy dark gold with a thick 2-finger bone-white head on top. No lace left behind. The nose is really sweet with honeysuckle, apples, and sugar. The mouth is overly-carbonated IMO. Way too spritzy of a beer to be downed easily, which is within the bounds of this style. Simple sweet flavors carry over as well. Pale fruits, honey, lemon noted. Little-to-no bitterness present. Lighten up those bubbles and this is a decent summer beer. Glad I tried it. Not bad for an organic concoction.

Photo of robbrandes
2.68/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

poured from a 12oz bottle, left behind by a friend...

pours a slightly-hazy light orange. tight, dense head with reasonable lacing.

the smell took me a while to finally put a finger on - burnt sugar. not necessarily 'bad', but it smells exactly like a wort boil-over when homebrewing.

taste is utterly unremarkable, even for a blonde ale. honestly, plug your nose and you're in borderline BMC territory. the nice-looking carbonation is too harsh, and annoying when actually consumed.

another underwhelming performance from the undoubtedly nice folks at eel river...glad this was a left-behind from a friend, as eel river is now 0 for 2 in my book.

Photo of kwjd
4.17/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap in California, I think it was Toronado in San Francisco, though I'm not 100% sure of that. Reviewing from my notes. I had written Eel River Blonde, so I'm assuming this is the correct beer.

Pours a cloudy orange colour with a finger of white head. Smells of burnt sugar, almost of marshmallows from a campfire. Maybe I'm crazy though. Very nice sweet flavour. Smooth mouthfeel. I'd have this again.

Photo of AwYeh
1.81/5  rDev -46%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Golden-amber, two fingers of head thanks to an extremely aggressive pour. So cloudy that I can barely see my fingers through the opposite side of the glass; mere shadows are cast in their place. Great lacing though, bumps this up to a 2.5.

S: This smells like Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese, and I've washed my hands since last touching cheese. Maybe a bit of sweet, maybe caramel malts, but there's really not much going on for me here. In the end, I'll have to declare this as buttery smelling.

T: Quite bland; there's a generic "beer" taste (think pale macros) that's built upon just a bit by offering a fuller malt profile even if their particular flavors are indistinguishable. No hops to be spoken of, not even a hint of bitterness on the finish.

M: Medium bodied, with moderate+ carbonation, which lends this beer a creamy character that bolsters its enjoyability.

D: I'm fine with one glass of this, and won't be inclined to pick another up. Not sure I could identify it as an American Blonde... though the 5.6% (high for the style, from my experience) is unnoticeable. Bland taste and almost popcorn-style smell probably should knock this one down a level... but it goes down easy, so I'll leave it for now.

Despite my bad review, props to Eel River for providing a widely available, reasonably priced organic blonde ale.

Photo of ozmodium
2.54/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased a 6 pack from the BC liquor store. On sale $4 off. But it was right by the cash register! How could I resist an organic American micro 6 pack for $8?

Pours a bit hazy light orange. I have a jar of natural honey in my cupboard that I sweat looks IDENTICAL to this. Minuscule head. No lacing...

Smell is pleasant enough, interesting. Sweet honey and light malt. Some fusel alcohol funk? Mildly hopped but there're still right there, fresh.

Sweet honey, bitter grapefruit rind hops and again the fusel funk on the tongue. Some fusels are good in some styles. Not this one... It reminds me of the time made a hefeweizen at home a few years ago. I fermented it at a few degrees too hot for the final few days. The yeast went nuts and got fusel on me. It didn't make it undrinkable but the he subtle burnt plastic flavour is undesirable in this style.

The bottle has no info regarding abv, but my guess is around 6%? The low carbonation makes it feel more boozy than I think it really is. Not a chugging beer. Not terribly enjoyable.

It seems to me that the brewer has placed this in a bit of an awkward niche. I think that either making it lighter or stronger would have made for a much more interesting offering. Too boozy to be a summer quencher, too watery for the complexities of a strong belgian. It is however the best 8 dollar 6 pack I've ever bought in BC, where decent beer costs upward of 13 bucks for the goos stuff

Photo of kellyst
2.61/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear pale yellow with minimal head and no lacing. Aroma has some slight estery something going on but doesn't have the aromatic expressiveness of a good blonde ale. The flavor is ok, but uninspired. Soft grainny malts with a hint of sweetness. This beer really needs some balancing hops to round out the flavor.

Photo of philbertk
2.69/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Eel River Brewing Company--Fortuna, CA--California Blonde Ale. 5.80% ABV. 20 IBU's? Foamy lacy white head. Clear pretty dark rich bright gold color. Very light hop front. Thin mild sweet dry fully fermented light malt body. Spice hint dry citrus hop end. Bland Blonde! (2.0 / 5.0) 5 oz. Taster @ Fremont Oktoberfest on 9/24/2010.

Photo of DaveHS
3.4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at The Grove in San Francisco. Served in a 14oz. pilsner glass.

A-Light amber with a thin white head. No lacing.

S-Pale, sweet maltiness. Not much else. But it's a pilsner, so I'm not too worried.

T-A generic tasting American kolsch. Has the malt/grain character of a macro lager, with slightly better ingredients. Very simple.

M-Light and soft, moderate carbonation.

D-High, despite my not being too thrilled with it. This beer was made to be chugged on a hot day.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly more tangerine than amber with lemon peel accents at the edges. Several fingers of pale khaki colored froth looks decent and shows a bit of character during descent. Lace is on the scarce side, but isn't bad.

The nose features pale grains and is very slightly wheaty. There's also a fair amount of musky-earthy hoppiness from Saaz and Tettnang. Maybe just a hint of citrus from the Cascade, though it's in the background. So far, not bad at all.

Kudos to Eel River for brewing a better than decent American blonde ale that actually has a good bit of hop flavor and bitterness. I haven't had very good luck with these guys in the past (with a few notable exceptions), so California Blonde Ale is a pleasant surprise.

The malts don't provide much flavor (natch), though they contribute the proper amount of balancing sweetness. Bitterness leads the way from beer entry to beer exit. The Euro hops have it all over the American, which is fine. It almost makes CCBA taste like a pilsner brewed with a slightly estery ale yeast.

The mouthfeel is of sufficient size, but the bubbles are too fizzy early and are fading too quickly now that I'm into the bottom half of the bottle. Room for improvement here.

Eel River Certified California Blonde is a pretty good representation of a style that is hard to love. Raven's Eye Imperial Stout is still their best, but this little ale shows the skill that is lacking in most of the rest of their lineup.

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.33/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Single bottle from WFM for a mixed tasting session. Poured into a standard frozen pint glass.

A: Hazy, dark gold with an orange tint. Little lacy head with small bubbles, remained with the beer.

S: Tea leaves, honey, wheat bread with hints of sugar cookies.

T: A very mild ale, the name fits it perfectly. Makes me think of a California blond. I really like this one. Semi-sweet with honey, tea leaves again and a finish that reminds me of Tres Leches cake or sugar cookie. Goes down very smooth.

Drinkability: Buy a six pack. I'm regretting I didn't. You could enjoy these for an evening.

Value: At around $2.00 for a single, I'd say just cough up enough for a six pack. It's worth it. A great organic ale!

Photo of birdypowder
2.94/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This Blonde showed up in my fridge and I seriously don't know how she got there. She was cold so I offered her my coat, though I think the Bud Light Lime next to her was colder. Glad I didn't buy a sixer of this (same for the BL lime) but glad I tried this Eel River offering.

Aroma:
Sweet and malty! Juicy, smells like unfermented wort. A slight floral hop aroma? Hard to tell.

Appearance:
Small to medium sized white head which forms and then leaves quickly. Slight lacing, lacing light? Very hazy. New filter operator? Golden with very slight orange notes and some greenish yellow too.

Taste:
Sweet with vigorous carbonation. Gentle backend bitterness and medium bodied. Enjoy the first several sips because the taste goes somewhere after that.

Finish:
semi-sweet and semi-dry finish

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.33/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a large bottle into a small beer glass.

Appearance: Deep golden and clear with good foamy head and nice standard lacing.

Smell: A mix of hops and grains/malt with a slight perfumed floral scent.

Taste: Slightly sweet and malty with some nice malt flavors. Very subtle flavors and very easy to drink with a meal.

Mouth Feel: Light to medium body with good carbonation. Very smooth with little bitterness.

Drinkablity: A good mild beer with some nice flavors. I would drink this one again.

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California Blonde Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
77 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.