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California Blonde Ale - Eel River Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
California Blonde AleCalifornia Blonde Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

88 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 50
rAvg: 3.31
pDev: 15.71%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-12-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 50 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of robbrandes
2.65/5  rDev -19.9%
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
4.15/5  rDev +25.4%
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
1.8/5  rDev -45.6%
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
2.53/5  rDev -23.6%
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
2.6/5  rDev -21.5%
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
2.68/5  rDev -19%
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
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
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 WeezyBoPeep
4.38/5  rDev +32.3%
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
2.93/5  rDev -11.5%
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
3.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of TeeCee
3.2/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quick review: I get more enjoyment from a Budweiser. But I think this may be old stock.

This beer happened to be at Dorignac's one visit. It's one of several beers that have come onto our scene recently unannounced.

I poured it into an American style pint glass hard enough to produce ~3" of head, which quickly dissipated leaving little behind. I can swirl it and produce some tight-knit foam which also dissipates on short order. The body is a shade or two towards brown going from Honey.

Malty on the nose with something else like peanuts. A little funky as it warms up.

Drinking it, I can't really taste the maltiness or peanuts I was smelling. The taste is a bit thin. It also almost takes like someone was smoking cigarettes when they brewed this beer. I get all kinds of bittering hops as I drink it, but not so much of anything piney or flowery.

Medium to thin in the mouth. No carbonation to add to it. This beer is rather uneventful in the mouthfeel department.

I could drink several of these if it was what was around, but I'd prefer something with more to it. I'm not saying I'd take a Heineken over this.

Photo of drtth
3.43/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a goblet. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear bright golden yellow color with a ½" smooth white head filled with tiny bubbles. The head persists for a fair while before receding to a ring around the glass and a patch of foam. Sipping early on leaves lots of legs and speckles of lacing and even as the beer reaches its end there are lacing speckles.

Smell: The pleasant aroma contains light caramel or bready pale malt with light citrus or herbal presence.

Taste: The flavor is primarily pale malt (bready) with very light, tangy grapefruit and orange zest notes.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is light bodied with lots of carbonation. The finish is on the short side but ends on a lightly dry note.

Drinkability: This is a reasonably drinkable beer but not really special in any way. (Maybe it's the style which I'm not as familiar with as I should be. But it does seem better to me than the first Blonde Ale I tried) This is a good solid beer to have for refreshment or to go with a meal. I could have a second but probably won't and I probably won't make a point of looking for it in the future.

Photo of yesyouam
3.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Eel River California Blonde Ale is a slightly hazy, light golden ale topped with a thin white head that fades. It has a resiny, fruity aroma. It kind of smells like... a barleywine. It has a light body and a smooth, clean finish. It tastes mellow and well balanced with a wood resin slightly sweet finish. This has a lot of character for a blonde.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange-amber body with a small, off-white head.

Smell: Light pale malts with minimal hints of grain and dry caramel. Spicy hops with a light herbaceous quality to them, imparting a vague tea-like note. Faint, faraway fruitiness.

Taste: As with the nose, it's light pale malts with a touch of graininess and some dry caramel with no more than some faint sweetish qualities to it. Minor hint of fruit. Spicy, slightly herbal hops with a medium-low bitterness. Again, it reminds me of a small sip of white tea. A slight transition back to the pale malts, but then the clean finish hits very quickly.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: An okay, adequate blonde in terms of an easy-drinking, balanced ale, but, to be honest, it's a tad forgettable.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.1/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a cloudy pale orange color. The head is a half inch in height, and recedes slowly into a nice cap of lacing. The aroma bready and toasty malt with no real hop presence. The taste is malty like the aroma, and bland in general. The mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with lively fine carbonation. Overall, this is a decent Blonde ale, but I don't think I'll drink this again.

Photo of webbcreative
2.68/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Feb 10, 2009
Light golden color. nice head. light and crisp taste. Good on a hot day, just not too much going with this one. Not something I will be seeking out again. Its definatly not terrible, its just really boring with nothing outstanding going on here.

Photo of aforbes10
4/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sixer from the Davis Co-Op. I don't drink a lot of easy drinking session ales, and i've decided it might be good to start, so this is one of the first. Pours a nice light amber color, with excellent clarity and a strong pillowy to creamy white head. Good head retention, looks nice. Aroma is subtle, with just a hint of sweetness from the malt and a lemony to grassy hop. Flavor is clean, very well balanced, with grassy hops, lemon spritz on top of a mild sweet to biscuity malt backbone. Some alcohol evident on the finish, as biscuity malt quality grows. Thin bodied, though not in a detrimental way. Drinks easily, an enjoyable session.

Photo of farrago
3.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Average thickness to the off-white head, lacing dissolves swiftly. Zinc orange color that gains from a slight murkiness, the rims drop off to a yellow squash hue. Sour nose of pine, grapefruit rind, tobacco leaf, meadow grasses and green straw, mineral water, even a touch of tar, presents light biscuit or oats in contrast. Light to medium-bodied, the heavy duty carbonation aims at masking the lack of heft. Through all the fizziness comes orange, lemon citrus peel, dried malts, snap peas, sourdough bread notes. The yeast there but not really concentrated. Lacks some sweeter component to provide contrast. Herbaceousness builds past the mid-palate. Hard to capture many positives, easily drinkable but not sure how it aims to hold your attention.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.13/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, peachy-amber hue. Slim ring of foam.

Pithy pine and citrus aroma, clean,and minor-key, but hoppy, still.

Crisp, clean, minor hops up front, then smooth and done. Finishes quickly, leaves little flavor in the mouth, on the palate.

Drinkable, but forgettable. Lacks flavor, and I just can't give points for good intentions.

Photo of Billolick
3.05/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, without any freshness info being offered on the label. Pours clear golden amber, minor head and I'm not seeing much lacing. A couple of sips of this one and I've had enough, somebody else mentioned an of putting plastic sort of note and I believe I'm getting a hint of that as well. Not real impressed with this one. With so much quality beer out there, give this one a pass.

Photo of tempest
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Four Firkins. Appears light appear with a very slight haze. Plain, light caramel aroma. The flavor has an odd/interesting dried bread/crouton malt taste before finishing with a peppery hops note. I'm not sure if I like the malt profile, but at least it's something different. For that I'll at least say that this beer is worth a try.

Photo of philipquarles
3.1/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear dark gold with minimal head and no lacing. Pretty uninteresting.

Smells faintly of sweet, almost honey-like malt, some grassiness, as well as a bit of hop. The taste is similar; quite sweet and grainy/grassy. Not offensive, just not much there.

Overall, a really mediocre blonde.

Photo of CWiggins
3.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Well, this is a style I certainly have avoided like the plague for a long time. My hunch was that it would be a rather bland, unexciting genre hardly befitting my need for a complex, tasty, and taste-fulfilling concoction. But, in the spirit of adventure, I was willing to go the extra mile and sample this version of the Blonde Ale style. Admittedly, it took a free sample bottle from a local representative to get me to that point, but, oh well!

It pours a straw yellow with amber-ish background, with a fizzy, white head that came and went very quickly. The aroma is mainly of grain and light malts, with a citrus overtone. Wow, this one sure is highly carbonation: one swallow and I felt my belly poof up like a balloon! It's lean bodied, and the mild flavor is mostly malt and sweet citrus. A mild hop character comes forward at the finish, but it, too, is lightly noticed. Definitely related to kolsch, but without the complexity.

Easy to drink, that's for sure. This is a style I don't find myself getting interested in, but I'm sure its "drinkability" will garner many fans.

Photo of cjgator3
3.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a golden orange color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is a light fruity sweetness with some grain, citrus and floral hops.

T- The taste features some grain, citrus flavors and some peppery and earthy hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a heavy dose of carbonation.

D- Not a bad blonde, the 5.8% ABV helps keeps this one from being as sessionable but it is a solid beer that I could drink a few bottles in a sitting.

Photo of Sammy
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

From Beers of the World. Serviceable, drinkable pale. Pours foaming white head on yellow golden. Above average carbonation that numbs the tongue somewhat,even much later. Neutral to maltish aroma. Bitter more than malty taste.Average to below average mouthfeel.

California Blonde Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
77 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.