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Blue Heron Pale Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

293 Reviews
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Blue Heron Pale AleBlue Heron Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2000

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Reviews: 293 | Ratings: 497
Photo of tdm168
3.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - yellowish copper with a thin lacing of white head

S - sweet, grains, citrusy

T - sweet, faint bread, faint citrus, bitter finish

M - medium bodied, crisp

This is a pretty disappointing Pale Ale. It's sweet and not very full flavored. The bitterness is a bit intense in comparison to the rest of the beer. I'll probably pass on this beer in the future.

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz into nonic

a: light golden, poured fairly thick, fluffy white head, active carbonation

S: this really hit me as soon as the bottle was opened, hempy, cut grass, caramel sweetness, almost skunky funk but not in a bad way

T: biscuit, caramel, minty bitterness

M: Smooth and thick, no carbonation bite and a juicy finish

O: The smell is the most notable thing about this bottle. The flavor was fine but never really peaked into something unique. I wish there was a bit more of a crispness to the carbonation. Solid but not mindblowing.

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Photo of spicelab
2.36/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle from Beermasons.

Hazed cumquat with a sizable, white head of decent heft. Strong retention, eventually leaves an extensive lace lattice.

Sweet citrus, light caramel and doughy yeast. Subdued hop aromas of candied lemon, grapefruit and orange. Not complex but quite acceptable.

Descends almost immediately into a gritty, metallic bitterness that sweeps aside the malt backbone and most of the fruity hop character. Not impressed.

Oppressive carbonation all but conceals any sense of body. Metallic bitterness lingers on the mid palate.

Unimpressed when I first had it nearly 3 months ago. This bottle was from the same batch, and the kindest thing I can say is that it has held up okay. Pedestrian in comparison even with some of the more rudimentary craft offerings today.

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Photo of dhannes
3.35/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank chilled from bottle.



T=Stronger malt presence; musty and metallic. Did not pair well with pizza.

M=Hearty body with modest carbonation. Rather decent drinkability.

O=The body and flavor did not pair well with pizza, so I didn't enjoy this particular sampling. I might try again, but wasn't impressed enough to buy it.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.57/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is straw/lemonade yellow with a little chill haze. Two fingers of thick, eggshell-colored head dissipated slowly to leave a thin skim and minor ring around the edge.

Smell: Lots of British-esque caramel up front, which is a surprise to me. Grassy hops and light lemon citrus accentuate the malts. There is also a hint of honey, too. It smells a lot like it was brewed by Fullers. It is very well balanced in all regards, though; nothing dominates.

Taste: Not as sweet as the smell; the grassy hops and lemon citrus stand out. The caramel emerges quickly, though, and offers both sweet and toasted versions. A little honey and vanilla sneak in, as well. Much like with the smell, the flavors balance nicely. However, it does offer a zesty astringency to let you know it is from the west coast.

Drinkability: When I bought it I was expecting a west coast pale ale. After taking a couple whiffs, I was expecting it to taste much more like a British pale ale. However, it seems to be a nice hybrid.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.36/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle pours a very hazy gold color with a modest white head. Does leave some nice sheeting all the way around right above the collar.

Nose is very malty for a pale, mostly biscuits and grain. Little bit of floral hops comes out, but this is weak sauce for the most part.

Stil overly malty, but the hops assert themselves a little better on the finish. Its almost like the brewers got stoned and forgot to add the last 2 hop additions...maybe even boiled it a bit long cause there is some definite burnt caramel going on. Id think this was an older bottle...buuut for one thing there is no freshness date, for another its Mendocino. Glad this was just a single, cause this is one of the worst Pale Ales I have had in quite some time. Not a drain pour, but certainly well below average for the style.

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Photo of duderus123
2.64/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - A yelowinsh murky color. Foamy head that laces the glass. This color certainly doesn't look like a pale ale.

Smell - Piney and citrusy scent. Can't really smell much of the yeast or maltiness.

Taste - A citrusy and piney ale. Dry Light Clean hops profile that tastes like the scent. Piney and citrusy. This is def. not a strong enough Ale compared to most other Pale Ales. Where are the yeast and malt at?

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, a little sticky on the pallet. Slightly fizzy.

Overall - Don't get me wrong, this is a good brew, but it lacks body and hops and color that are essential in calling a Pale ale a Pale ale. Its only similarity with a true pale is the dry feeling on the pallet. It's ok. Shame on you Mendo brew.... re-do this one.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.99/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter. Stamped 15/21S/356/11/09:46.

A: Quite pale, a very shades whiter than straw, but cloudy, with a few bubbles inside. Translucent and luminous, with very brief white head that leaves behind nice lacing.

S: Grainy-grassy malt, with a thin sourness that might someday be fruit. Token hops. Not very pleasant.

T: Not nearly as objectionable as I had feared. A touch of honeyed sweetness in the fairly standard Pale Ale. Light and inoffensive, the main body is grainy but a hoppy bitterness is just strong enough to offer a genuine balance. The endtaste is barely biscuity-dry and bitter.

O: Not a bad beer, but a pretty average one. I'd drink another with food or the like, but I would never seek it out or recommend it. Drinkable.

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Photo of dexterk1
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into glass with a nice light amber/ dark golden color. Head is thick and has staying power.
Odor is floral above all. Citrus noticeable too.
Taste is not really very distinctive. It is floral, citrus and slightly grainy.
Mouth feel is light on your tongue. It is relativity smooth and ends with some hops.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A clear golden yellow with a moderate carbonation level. A two inch solid white head remains well after the pour. A considerable lacing of foam sticks to the side of the glass after it recedes


A good dose of bread in the nose with just a hint of spice. Almost no evidence of hops


A solid amount of biscuity/toasty malt upfront. A moderate bitterness level is also evident with the aforementioned spice being the dominant character along with just a hint of citrus


This beer leaves a dry finish in the mouth. Carbonation level is on the mark and not too overpowering at a medium level


Fits the pale ale category. It would have been nice if there was a little more balance as the malts far outweighed the hops. All in all a decent brew that was fun to look at

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Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber color. A small off white sits on top and leaves some lacing. Light carbonation. Aroma was a big dose of diaceyl and then some sweet malts. No hop aroma at all. the taste finds the diaceyl to be less intrusive then in the nose but still a bit to much. Sweet caramel malt backbone and sparing hops. A medium feel and is dry and bitter. Very little to be positive with this beer. simple put it lacks in appearance, aroma, taste.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Color was pale golden, similar to dehydrated urine of apple juice. Maybe ¾ inches of head. Some lacing on the top that retained nicely. Minimal film on the sides.

Definitely could tell it was a pale ale by the first sniff. Also some corn malts in there, as well as honey and caramel. I want to say some cereal malts as well.

Fairly similar to the nose. Starts with the pale malts with some honey and cereal tastes in there. Slightly bitter bite right after.

Light body. Average carbonation. Somewhat smooth.

Not a bad beer overall for the first of my four Mendocino beers of the night (six beers each of four kinds). I’m still a sucker for pale ales, though.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a stein glass.

Look - solid amber color, clear, with good carbonation and about two fingers' worth of frothy off-white foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell - fairly malty, but with hints of the hops used.

Taste - again, mostly malty, but with a strong muskiness to it. Finishes with a slight bite from the hops, which are more felt than tasted.

Mouthfeel - pretty well balanced, but leans a bit on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad tasting brew at all, and a fairly interesting taste as well.

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Photo of tone77
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, somewhat sweet. Taste is a good balance of malts and hops, neither are overpowering, very refreshing. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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

Appearance - Visible sediment in the bottle. Slightly cloudy light sun-gold body. Pours one finger white head with decent stick and decent to low retention.

Smell - Dust. Musky corn. Almost wheaty. Mild hop and malt characters.

Taste - Strong alcohol in the first sip. Dusty, musky, hay-like hop. Some more alcohol in the finish. Dusty hop and lime-peel aftertaste. Somewhat metallic at times.

Mouthfeel - Dry. Solvent. Somewhat astringent.

Overall Drinkability - Decent beer. Off characters aren't overtly offensive. Nothing I'd go out of my way to acquire again.

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Photo of delmarnate
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the classic middle child. I am a middle child and this pale matches me perfectly. Nothing special about it. Nothing offensive, but also nothing distinctive about it in any way. The hop character is average, the maltiness compliments the hops in an average way. The standouts in this style leave little room for acceptance of the average. Pass on this one. The brewery has others worth trying though.

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Photo of JMad
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this from a pint glass...

It pours a hazy light golden color with a thin filmy white head. It smells of citrusy hops with some toast and fruit. The taste is nice and bitter with lemon and pine, some bready malt in the background and a bitter hoppy finish. The beer is light with moderate carbonation and a dry finish. This is a solid APA, I could drink this all the time.

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Photo of codfeast
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to pint.

A: A bit on the hazy side, pale straw, minimal head, good lacing.

S: malt, hops, grains, some floral and citrus hints.

T: starts with a malty, bready taste. quickly over taken by hoppy bitterness, with an astringent aftertaste that lingers quite awhile.

M: Medium carbination and body.

O: Spent a lot of time in the hopland beer garden drinking this beer in the 1990's so it will always be a sentimetal favorite. So, truth be told there is nothing wrong with this beer, also nothing to exiciting either. Tastes best when on tap drinking pitchers with friends in the sun.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single purchased @ Trader Joe's in San Clemente, California and presented in a brown 12 oz. bottle. "The Legend Grows."

Pours a hazed golden amber with a dense white head, fair retention and notable lacing. Aromas of citrus hops, grass, biscuity malt and floral notes.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Well-balanced flavor combines sweet biscuity malt, bright citrus hops and redeeming bitterness. Finishes dry with a lingering malt flavor and residual blast of bitterness. A refreshing West Coast Pale Ale that's definitely worth tasting.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with an off white head and a few larger bubbles. The nose is stale bread and raw dough, pale malts, faint spiced herbal hop. The flavor is again very bready and dough, stale, note of rye, herbal spice and light bitterness. The feel is a bit heavy, semi dry finish, nice carb. Overly stale and bready with not enough hop presence.

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Photo of kwc017
3.32/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Stone Arrogant Bastard pint glass.

Appearance - light yellow, almost straw color. Two fingers of nice foamy head.

Smell - Earthy, malty and a faint hop smell.

Taste - First taste is a bit malty followed by some hoppyness. Hop resin seems to linger after the swallow, which I like. Nothing special but a pretty decent finish of hop.

Overall - Pretty decent pale ale but just seems like something is missing but I can't figure out what. Maybe it's just that nothing stands out over anything else. Seems like a pretty good session beer.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark yellow color with a thick head of foam that coats the glass as it recedes. Aroma is mostly malty with slight earthy hop undertones. Very mild aroma.

First sip is a nice clean malty beer... not so much an APA, but has a nice clean malt flavor to it. There is a bit of lingering bitterness to back things up. I get a definite crystal malt flavor to the beer. Hops are not really present until the bitter finish, which is a touch on the harsh side but not overwhelming.

Overall, a solidly average beer. No real complaints, but nothing particularly exciting either. A nice craft beer to tide you over between hop bombs and oaked stouts.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking beer, tan and clear with a nice white, lasting head, and pretty good lacing.

Smell and taste is very caramel malty, a little bready, with some citrus and a decent hop bitterness.

Feel is slick and oily, medium bodied, with fair carbonation.

Overall it's a bit heavy on the caramel malts for my taste, although not bad. I'd probably not seek it out very often for myself, but wouldn't mind tossing it in a trade as an extra.

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Photo of karait95
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pure yellow color maybe a little too transparent, the body seems too light for an ale, the carbonation is medium and good enough for keeping a layer on top all the time, the main head is like 4 fingers big and dissipates at medium speed leaving some traces on the glass, the color is almost withe.

S: Very little of hops and malts can sensed but they are really present, another important part that can be sensed is the presence of alcohol in higher than normal quantities.

T: Not bad flavor, hops are present almost since the beer touch the thong, some malts are also present but always behind the hops.

M: This one is the best area, as a goo american pale ale the bitterness is always present and the ending is good, you can feel the bitterness in all your mouth and throat.

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Photo of treque
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a pale straw, semi traslucent, slightly hazy, with carb constant and permanent, a white creamy persistent head

S: less hopp than expected, some earthy and bready

T: a medium-light body, a little bit crispy on tongue, good bitterness, dry finish, some fruity esteres

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Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.