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Blue Heron Pale Ale - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Blue Heron Pale AleBlue Heron Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

478 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 478
Reviews: 290
rAvg: 3.39
pDev: 14.16%
Wants: 8
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 478 | Reviews: 290 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kaiser81
3.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass

A - hazy organish color with a finger width of head It dissipates quickly to leave a nice ring, and nice lacing on my glass.

S - Citrus smells especially lemon. Touch of bready malt goodness for balance.

T - Lemony zest dominates with a bit of pine in the background. There's a decent amount of alcohol taste as the beer opens up.

M - Medium body with very little carbonation...on the tongue. I feel the carbonation as I swallow the beer.

D - It's ok. I could drink it, but I'd prefer other pale ales.

Photo of Zekezilla
4.35/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on a recent visit to Portland. Was lucky enough to try a sampler paddle at the Bridge Port pub. I think there were 8 or so different beers on the paddle and surprisingly, this was one of my favorites. I say surprising b/c I don't normally like pale ales but this one was superb. Crisp, citrusy refreshing, excellent mouthfeel.

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass. Pours slightly hazy, light golden in color. Good head and retention, really nice lacing. Smell was a bit bland. Definite straw and grassy hops, some dry malt as well. Taste was nice balance between the dry malt and bitter hops but it didnt really stand out. I guess for a pale it was ok, but honestly not too memorable. Mouthfeel was fine, somewhat crisp and light, could see this being a good summer beer. Overall nothing really wrong with this beer, just didnt stand out.

Photo of tigg924
2.42/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, gold in color, clear, high carbonation

Smell: bready caramel malt with a touch of hops

Taste: honey, caramel malt, strong citrus hops, and some chemical taste

Mouthfeel: sweet start, super bitter middle and a sweeter end, light bodied, and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A below average pale ale that is not as balanced as I would have liked. The super bitter and chemical tasting middle kills the beer for me. One is enough.

Photo of ClammyClaude
2.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

For some reason I was intrigued by this beer. Every time I went to the store I saw it, and contemplated getting it, but didn't. So, I finally did, and was excited to try it, BUT I am quite disappointed with this brew.

For starters, it was 11-something dollars a 6-pack, which I think is absolutely ridiculous (after having tasted it of course). The one thing I keep saying to myself is, "There is absolutely nothing unique or special about this beer." It is SO bland. Okay, the hops are there, the barley is there, its sort-of malty, but it is SO lackluster. The color is a sort-of light golden yellow. It has NO head to speak of. There is considerable carbonation and the mouth feel isn't really all that bad, but after gulping down your just left unimpressed. To me, it's just a really bland classic pale ale. There is nothing else to it. It doesn't have a big hop bite and there are no distinctive flavor notes to speak of whatsoever. If it has one thing going for it, I would have to say that it is its drinkability. Simply put, it goes down easy, and refreshes.

That's all I've got for this one folks. I certainly wouldn't recommend it. It's average at best, and certainly not worth the price.


Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good dark yellow color, good amount of haze, some of the most amazing Brussels lace and tiny bubbles you'll ever see.

Aroma, traditional British hops, minor pine effect. Taste, an excellent session pale. Not the type of Mt. Dew tour "to the extreme" Poochie rap song kind of beer. Refreshing. Traditional ales done very well by this brewery.

Gets maltier down towards mid bottle, very drinkable.

Photo of rarbring
2.53/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is golden, slightly hazy, a white head that leaves good lacing.

The smell is rather weak, malts mainly, gruel with brown sugar.

Some acidity in the taste, a bit metallic and chemical, finishing in an alchemical bitterness.

Medium carbonation, a mixture of early watery feeling but finishing of rather dry.

The beer has taste, but the character is not right for me. The chemical aspects were not right.

Photo of BeerVikingSailor
4.05/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have been meaning to review this one for a while; a nice "everyday" pale ale, easy drinking. Poured from bottle into tulip...

A: decent looking brew, light golden....carbonation is crisp with average head and some lacing on the glass

S: This APA also smells nice, some typical citrus grassy hops up front, not much malt presence at all...little bit of vanilla and pine comes in as well

T: I like this beer, it tastes good and goes down easily, nice hop bitterness but not overwhelming or crazy....crisp and clean and nice to session to drink with food like pasta. The 6% abv is well hidden, either that or I have gotten used to more potent DIPA's!

MF: not bad, average tasting APA; I keep this one on hand for when I want something light and easy drinking without being too heavy and the price is right as well....

D: Smooth, nice hop flavors, just enough to not numb my palate at all, and easy to drink more than one....enjoyable.

Since I live on a lake with many great blue herons, I enjoy also the nice label on this beer, as this is my "totem" bird I see a lot of while out sailing or kayaking...nicely done. Overall a decent, affordable APA that I have enjoyed for years.

Photo of jsprain1
3.65/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy golden, with very nice head, and a bit of lacing.
S- Sweet malt, fruity hops and a good bit of yeast in the smell. Not as obscenely hoppy as many pale ales these days.
T- Grain, followed by a floral hoppiness. a bit of hoppy oilyness finishes the taste.
M- A nice bodied pale. finishes dry enough.
D- A nice drinkable pale. a good sessionable pale.

Photo of TexIndy
1.78/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A lasered code on the bottle but can't find a date in there so no idea if fresh or not. Was a hazy golden yellow color with slight carb streams. It had a thin, fizzy head that quickly evaporated into a thin collar. Quick sliding non sticking lace.

The aroma was weak with bitter hops, toffee malt and a metallic aroma which was very off putting. The taste followed suit with bitter hops at the start and then the metallic flavor hit and really ruined it. Horrible after-taste. Mouthfeel was thin and under carbonated.

Overall, a mess and a drain pour. Not sure if it's just the way the beer is or if out of date. Since they don't date the bottle I have to assume it's the beer. One of the worst beers in the past couple months. Like sucking on metal shavings. Rotation - one and done. If I can find one in a friends fridge I might try it to see if this sample was bad but no way am I buying another to find out.

Photo of danetrain0101
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy dark gold with a nice creamy white head.

I nice malt smell with a hoppy presence.

Nice full bodied pale ale. Very smooth. A nice heavy hops presence. I nice spicy citrus taste.

Very smooth and drinkable. When it was gone I was wanting more.

Great beer from the west coast. I would like to try a fresher one.

Photo of climax
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a good looking brew. It sat in the glass a bit paler than expected, a very bright gold with a thunderstorm of cloudiness swirling around when I held it to the light. Head was white, very lively and bubbly.

Nose is on the mild side. Buttery, with fruity hops and a smidgen of alcohol sneaking through is about it.

Flavor is a little more involving than the nose, but still lacking a worthy army of hops. Diacetyl, citrus, and grassy tones are all present, but in extreme moderation.

Body is light, and a bit lacking. Feel is somewhat dry with crisp carbonation. Easy to drink, but lacking flavor. There really wasn't much of a hop profile, thus the wasn't much vigor on the malt side to come balance, either.

Photo of bob3701
3.43/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass. White head disapates to thin film. Cloudy yellow with no real lacing. Hops bitterness masks other flavors. Leaves my mouth feeling dry. I have heard of this brew in a very positive light but I just don't see what the fanfare is about.

Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Hop City in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy light copper color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of weak pale malts and much stronger herbal and light citrus hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light pale malt flavors up front are joined quickly by thin citrus hop flavors and hints of vanilla. As it warms the hop flavors fade a bit. Ending is solidly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I didn't have a problem finishing the bottle however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this is a decent APA but nothing to write home about and nothing to seek out. Very solid for the price though, as are most Mendocino brews.

Photo of yelterdow
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A sample from S.K.I. Beer Corp. in Brooklyn, I'll serve this cold with a slice of pizza. Glassware of choice is the SABL tasting vessel.

Appearance- Hazy like unfiltered lemon iced tea, this beer pours rather average with a finger-thick crown. After a few minutes, the head is translucent with various sized bubbles sporadically placed.

Smell- A bright, pungent hop nose is balanced nicely with a malt counterpoint... simple, yet authentic and pleasant.

Taste- Exactly what a solid pale ale should be... rich and fulfilling, but delicate and totally enjoyable on its own or with food. The finish is everlasting, drying the palate nicely for the next sip. The ultimate pizza beer, it would pair perfectly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- It's smooth and slick in the mouth right at the outset, prickly enough to work through whatever food you're pairing it with. The effervescence combined with the extremely hoppy bitterness works well, a sessionable and well done example of this style.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear golden yellow color. Poured a 2 finger fluffy white head that settled to a thin cap. Lots of sticky lacing.

S: Sweet bready malt, hay and grasss and muted floral hops. Bitter hops.

T: Sweet bready malt and spicy hops. Sharply bitter in the finish.

M: Light body. Medium carbonation. Grainy to bitter clean finish.

D: Very smooth. Fairly clean finish. Easy to drink.

Photo of melagnus
2.73/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Deep Gold (SRM 6) hue with two-finger thick white frothy head that seems to fizzle out somewhat quickly. With that said, the medium carbonation seems to help maintain more than a mere film on top of the clear liquid. Swirling quickly rouses the beer and provides ample aroma in the air nearby, though no real lacing forms on the side of the snifter.

S - Biscuity malts comes through the palate with a sweet caramel to lighten the earthiness. Floral hops add a citrusy note, but despite most west coast breweries choosing to utilize west coast hop strains in their recipes, the spicy phenols strike me more as of that from the Noble hop variety than that from the UK or US. The beer also gives off a slight "skunkiness" (Methyl or Isopentyl Mercaptan) aroma, which is undesirable and makes me think that this beer might have been exposed to too much blue light.

T/M/D/C - Bittering hops comes across the palate mildly and are balanced by a slight level of malts. The beer tastes slightly of grapefruit, almost stinging the palate. Malts comes across as that of bread, but don't seem to balance well with the beer. Despite this fact, this is to-style, just that the quality of the quaff doesn't excite me. The beer tastes kind of drab to be honest and doesn't really tempt me to have more. If the caramel is in this brew, it's very restrained and possibly overwhelmed by the hops. Medium-light body finishes crisp and dry.

Lastly, the website states that this brew was meant to emphasize more balance than the extreme, but I don't believe they accomplished their goal. This brew is below-average and wouldn't recommend it when there's so many other wonderful beers out there.


P.S.: Todd mentions an aftertaste that might not be welcomed by all and I can attest to being one of those that can't appreciate it at this point.

Photo of wnh
3.88/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a bright amber with a small, fleeting white foamy head.

Aromas of caramel, light tropical fruit, and earthy hops. Earthy, resinous, bitter hops in the entry, leading to a decent caramel malt backbone and a lingering earthy bitter finish. Indeed, the earthy bitter character lasts for the entirety of each sip, from the moment the beer hits my tongue all the way through the long finish, balanced just enough by the sweet caramel.

Medium bodied and sticky, and a pretty decent pale ale, though I've had better.

Photo of Natural510
3.38/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale gold without much head minimal amount of lacing on the glass.
Not much discernible smell at all; clean, slightly vegetal.
Flavor is made up mostly by a breaded malt and grassy hop, with a lemon note and mild hop finish.
Drinks more like a lager; not much hop presence nor body to the brew. Not bad, but painfully average.

Photo of mnrider
3.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle no freshness date. Nice Label of Blue Heron

A: Pours a pale golden yellow with a full fluffy head which turns thin but with excellent sticky lacing.

S: Sweet malts. Hops with a floral aroma. Basic Pale Ale look.

T/M: Strong spicy hops. Malts, yeast and barley are present. Alcohol is higher and very pleasant. Smooth mouthfeel and lightly bitter. Funky aftertaste is only real drawback.

D: Very Good. Taste and looks are good. Nice full body. I like the higher ABV!


Photo of scruffwhor
2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear pale, light amber, brght gold hue. Hardly any head, just a little island of foam in the middle. Malty aroma lends a little fruity whiffs and just a little earthy hops. The taste has some old fruit flavors,grass and light citric hoops, and a dry finish. Ok session ale, but the malts could use a little more solid flavor. These malts were too paper thin.

Photo of donmonkey1
2.88/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark yellow with a head that lasts about 10 seconds and dissapears altogether. There's virtually no carbonation.

Smell: Like Cheerios in milk covered in sugar.

Taste: There's a very noticeable floral hop taste along with a sweet maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Watery with a mild astringency

This beer's not bad but it's not good either.

Photo of NODAK
2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Aroma is citrusy...some malt...a bit hoppy. It's actually extremely inviting. I like it alot.

Hoppy upfront with some biting floral and citrusy hops. It isn't overally crisp, but bitterness hits you early and often here. Not much malt is apparent....the cutting, astringent bitterness takes over and spreads with a pretty high intensity all over the tongue. This is a pale ale that definitely isn't shy about the hops...reminiscent of SN, really. Although I just don't find it as enjoyable as other APA's. The bitterness, which isn't all that pleasant and reminds me a bit of the taste of sucking on an aspirin, lasts a while after the swallow.

Nothing special to see here. A bit low in character...would have liked to at least seen some malt here for balance.

Photo of cdkrenz
2.3/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - A dingy orange color with a thick haze. The head is stark white and starts out at an inch but quickly fades to a thin transparent layer.

S - Malt and hops with little structure.

T - Extremely mild hops to start. It gets a little more interesting as the brew gets toward the finish. Still, for a pale ale I'm not at all intrigued by it.

M - This is one of the finer qualities this brew has to offer. It has a nice and consistent fine-grained texture throughout.

~ I think it obvious I'm not impressed by this pale ale. I will say though, I'd pay another $0.49 to have one, but not a penny more.

Photo of Clydesdale
2.03/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours a hazy, orange-yellow color with some visible carbonation. The off-white head is fairly tall, dense, and frothy. Retention is solid, with some nice lacing.

S: Very light malt aroma accompanied mainly by citric hops. Also a considerable metallic and floral character.

T: Malt? Nope, nothing to see here. A bland citric hop flavor of orange oil, along with a blunt, aspirin-esque bitterness with only the vaguest of floral hints. Hints of yeast and metal into the finish.

M: Disappointingly light-bodied. APAs don't need to be chewy or viscous, but this feels like slightly flat seltzer on the tongue. Carbonation is fairly crisp, leading to a dry finish.

D: Ugh. Just like their IPA, a bland, flavorless aspirin bitterness dominates here. Thin-bodied, poorly malted, and thoroughly forgettable. It seems that as my palate matures, Mendocino's beers drift further and further from respectability.

Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.