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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.

467 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 467
Reviews: 289
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 14.41%
Wants: 8
Gots: 14 | 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: 467 | Reviews: 289 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerandBlues2
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%

Bottled. Pours hazy pale orange with a foamy white head. Sour malt aroma greets you and then a citrus hop aroma lingers around pushing away the maltiness. Bitter hoppiness is huge near the front end and the malt is faintly evident as the taste fades. A fair amount of thin lacing clings to the glass. A tad fizzy and carbonated with a medium to light body and dry fininsh.

BeerandBlues2, Apr 25, 2005
Photo of pjwilson
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%

Mendicino really shines at packing alot of alcohol in thier beers. Take Blue Heron Pale Ale. It tastes so light i'd think it's about 4.2 percent not 6.1
same with eye of the hawk (8 percent and don't call me the morning) and the ipa (7 percent...can't taste it either) so if you're in a hurry and wanna grab something for a party...and have it be a good decent ale... mendicino is a good bet... For siting at home enjoying a beer or two their are many better choices...that said: a staple.

People seem to be confused about this beer and give it low reviews because of it. BA says it's an IPA...way, way off the mark. No way on any planet is this an ipa...niether does the company anywhere claim this be an ipa. 2, It's hard to say this is even a pale ale.... it's on a completely different plane as say sierra nevada or deschutes. If i had to judge i would call this an American Blond Ale. If considered a Blond, then it is a hoppy blond. If this a pale ale then it is the palest (most pale) i've ever seen.
appearance: yellow...slightly darker haze. there are many lagers darker than this. it's darn light for an ale and the head is minimal.
smell: pleasant. the smell is very sweet malty. But it is quite pleasant to smell...keep coming back to smell again.
taste: light malty, with an after taste of bitterness. It's almost like a Kolsch but way too bitter for a Koslch. Sort of no man's land between smooth and bitter. No hop taste besides the bitterness.
m and d: goes down really easy. It's really brainless to put this stuff back.

Notes: I'm not a huge APA fan...i don't like SNPA or Deschutes PA that much. I'd rather have one of these. That said i probably wouldn't get this unless it's really cheap by comparison. i got this for 3.99 a 6er on sale...yes 3.99. at that price it's a good buy. I'd rather have a pilsner, kolsch ... or actually go the other way get a nice ipa. I don't really like the middle area. But easy to drink...

pjwilson, Apr 23, 2005
Photo of acrawf6
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%

Out of all the mendocino beers i have tried so far, i think i like this the best. Pours out a good copper and orange hue. head is white but was not really present.

taste was nice and hoppy. a good bitter taste and a has a little bit of a fruity flavor to it. i think i good balanced american ale.

mouthfeel was good, about average i think for an american ale.

i think this is a great beer to try, and if you get a hold of a six pack, i say buy it.

acrawf6, Apr 21, 2005
Photo of mschofield
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%

Pours a crystal clear, well carbonated golden amber, topped with a big three finger puffy off-white head, leaves rings of lacing.
Nice aroma, flowers, citrus and bread.
Biscuit, citrus zest, hoppy floral taste, nice bitter aftertaste.
Medium bodied, very easy drinking, nice basic pale ale... as an IPA well not so good.

mschofield, Mar 29, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%

Smoky amber-gold with more fine particles than one normally sees in a pale ale. The cap is lemon-infused cream in color and displays better than average firmness. It looks a little like vigorously whipped egg whites and is no slouch in the lace department. This one has a good look about it.

The nose is disappointing, both in terms of power and character. It's weak, even for a pale ale. IPA? That's a joke, right? Cluster and Cascade make up the hop bill, but they don't distinguish themselves at all. The nose is as floral as it is citrusy and is average at best.

Nope, there's nothing good happening on the palate. For an APA, Blue Heron has a disturbing lack of hops. The bitter quotient (moderate) is higher than the hop flavor quotient (low) by a long shot. The spindly malt structure isn't anywhere near big enough to balance what hops are present and the beer tastes like reconstituted powdered citrus zest with a light dusting of crushed aspirin as a result. My love of hops is the only thing that keeps the taste score as high as it is.

The flavor is relatively weak overall and can't manage to hang on until the finish; a finish that is clean by default since there aren't enough ingredients to make it dirty. A light mouthfeel is coupled with a middle-of-the-road amount of carbonation.

It shouldn't be that difficult to brew a good APA. Blue Heron is a beer that I'll have no trouble finishing, but that I have no desire to drink again. Mendocino still has some work to do to impress me.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of rastaman
2.15/5  rDev -36.8%

Bottle. Bland peach citrus type flavour, really short finish, tinny, stale, tiring. Almost a lagery style pale ale, very thin. As i mentioned before has a slightly rusty, edgy tinny quality to it. Once again i was really left feeling dissapointed with this brewery.

rastaman, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%

Pours a light golden orange with a nice sized soft, bubbly head.

Aroma definitely shows off the hops, a mix of bitterness, spicy and citrus. Some weak malts, mostly caramel-like.

Medium body, fairly smooth with weak carbonation. Big hop flavor, lots of bitterness up front followed by a bit of spiciness. A malt flavor I would describe as a mix of caramel and bread shows faintly in the background. Aftertaste is potent bitterness.

Nice pale ale, definitely straddles the Pale/IPA line.

Southernbrew, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of clvand0
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%

This one pours a light amber color with a small head that doesn't stick around long and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma has some citrus hops and a slight malt character, but it's very subdued. The flavor has a different, dirty hop in it that I don't care for. Might be the cascades. Decent caramel malt backing. The mouthfeel is ok and the drinkability is ok as well.

clvand0, Feb 07, 2005
Photo of studentofbeer
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%

pours a relatively clear orange blossom honey, on the light side, reminiscent of a pint of best bitter, with a cap of soft ivory foam.

smell is tangerine, orange, lemon peel and baked bread. pretty inviting and different from some pale ales. according to their website it is bittered with cluster and finished with cascade, but the cascade seems different than what you find in SNPA.

good medium mouthfeel, slightly creamy, with a balance of hop bitterness and bready malt. Lemony acidic flavor sharpens the hop bite. not a huge aftertaste at first, but it leaves a lasting bitterness on the back of the tongue that starts out ok but grows in intensity and perhaps lingers too long given the lack of other flavors playing around in there. There is also a noticeable alcohol bite in the middle that integrates in the hop flavor at first but still happens stands out quite a bit on the tail end. The aftertaste and mouthfeel at the end and into the finish remind me a bit of taking a shot of vodka.

Drinkability and mouthfeel drop a bit because of the alcohol notes, and the overall strong 6.1% abv for a pale ale. It's had to say whether taste or mouthfeel should be the one to suffer-- the overall taste is pleasant but the aftertaste has a coarse, hard liquor-like flavor to it. Im curious as to whether that is the cluster hops at work, or their yeast strain. I decided to take points off for taste because I like the creamy texture of the beer, it's just the burning in the back of the throat that seems a bit off. i guess you just have to keep putting it in your mouth and not spend too much time with no beer going down the hatch!

studentofbeer, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%

Pours out a cloudy pale amber, with thin head of foam.

Aroma is very fruity (grapes? apple?), with a nice mix of citrusy hops and subtle malt.

Prominant hop bitterness plays out front of the flavor, mixed with grainy, sweet malt (very light caramel touch). Hop flavor is slightly citrusy but not too strong. Esters are much stronger in the aroma than in the taste.

Medium body, creamy texture.

A pretty ordinary American PA. Not flavors stand out especially well.

allengarvin, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of KoG
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%

The hazy yellow appearance threw me off a bit, I swear it used to be darker. Had a decent head that faded quickly and left a large amount of thin lacing around the glass.

Smell is a bit musty with citric hop notes, a bit strange...

Taste was suprisingly good. Very nice hop bitterness that doesn't pound you on the head like many others, and a nice light malt character to back it up. A predominate hop aftertaste is where this gets it going. No alcohol presence at all can be detected even with the light flavors.

Goes down smooth leaving behind a hop bitterness that cleans the palate.

Good to have a few, but I would get tired of the after taste.

KoG, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of mgdeth
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%

Appearance - This beer is golden, with a nice thick white head. The beer is slighltly hazy, apparently from the yeast that was in the bottle.

Smell - There is a grassy and sort of tangy hop aroma present, and maybe just a hint of malt. This has "American west coast ale" written all over it.

Taste - If this really is an American IPA (the label says that it is a "golden ale"), it is sort of subtle. The flavor is hoppy, but not too hoppy, and also fairly smooth. Hops and malt are well balanced. In the aftertaste, floral/grassy hops dominate. There is also a slight alcoholic warmth to the beer.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is somewhat chewy and gritty, so you know this is not a wimpy beer, but it is also not overwhelming. For this ale, the mouthfeel seems appropriate.

Drinkability - 6.1% alcohol? This beer goes down easily, and is quite tasty. I would like another.

Comments - Combine the taste of this beer with its overall smoothness, and you have a winner! Recommended.

mgdeth, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of Crotor
3.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Pours a slightly cloudy, pale straw yellow. Respectable amount of white head with steadfast lacing.

Smells of slightly spicy orange citrus hop, and a bit of grassy grain.

Hop profile is certainly agressive, but a bit low, IMO, to call this an American IPA. The level's more on that of a British IPA, but the American citrus hops create the conundrum. The orange rind citrus hops are pleasant, if a little odd at first. The backing malt is pleasantly crisp, if a little grassy.

Overall, crisp and light in the mouth, and quite drinkable. Still, the hopping and the grassy/grainy malt are a bit odd, but this'd make a decent session beer.

Crotor, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of Luigi
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%

Pours a golden yellow color with a big white head. Smells rich with spicy west coast hops. The beer has a medium body. The taste is dominated by the hops but not over done. Malts come out just enough to balance the hops. Over all this is a very impressive American Pale Ale. Even though it is brewed in New York, this ale is very much West Coast. The %6.10 acl. content keeps you plenty warm. This beer could be a regular in my fridge for now on.

Luigi, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%

Thie beer poured a pale golden/golden yellow color with about a finger of head. The nose is a nice dance between sweet malt and nice earth hops. This carried over into the flavor as well. The sweet came forward first, followed quicky by the earthy hops that lingered very nicely on my tongue. The mouthfeel was moderate, not quite thick. It was a little thin for my liking. This beer was nicely balanced, but may have been lacking a bit of hop needed to carry itself as an IPA. I enjoyed trying this beer and would probably get it again if I saw it.

kmpitz2, Sep 26, 2004
Photo of BrewMaster
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle labeled "Special Edition." The bottle was capped, not corked. I believe this was bottled in 2000. My friend had been saving it since then.

It poured a cloudy orange color with a thin head and very little carbonation. It looked nice in the glass. The aroma consisted primarily of hops and citrus. Mostly lemon in the citrus. Up until here it was looking pretty good.

But the taste was oh so disappointing. The flavor was a kind of smoky flavored pale malt with a touch of bitter hop flavor. But mostly it was uncomfortable in the mouth. Sour as well as astringent. I think the aging did this beer in instead of helping it. It was watery and really missing a distinct, good flavor base.

BrewMaster, Sep 13, 2004
Photo of Dmann
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%

A good all around effort at a pale ale, but definantly not an American IPA. The beer looked great with its sunset orange color and good white head that stayed till the end of my glass. The smell was very fresh and a faint citrus characteristic and a slightly grassy scent as well. The taste was all about balance. Not a hopped out APA like Sierra Nevada or Stone but a more malty Pale Ale that was a nice change of pace from many of the hop monster Pale Ales out there and still retained a nice mild hoppy finnish. The mouthfeel was nice and creamy and although it is quite alchoholic, you cannot taste a drop of it. If you are looking for a decent ammount of flavor with out going overboard, this could be the session beer for you.

Dmann, Sep 07, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.4/5  rDev 0%

Clear, banana peel yellow color, nice chunk of snow-white froth on tap.
Aroma, vaguely hoppy, soft, mild, showing some tropical fruits, pine, but very lightly.
Minor hop play on the palate, a burst of bitterness, slides faintlyoff in the finish. Light bodied, but easy drinking, but not for the odd astringency coming through in the flavor, some annoying little bitter kick in the throat that I rarely find in the IPAs I enjoy. There's nothing wrong with it, really, but it just goes in a direction I don't enjoy. I think I need to follow this up with a bottle of Two Hearted and see what the difference is...does get cleaner further into the glass, with the bitter hop character clinging harder to the palate. Gets better, though I'm still not quite convinced. It's almost as if I should like it, but darn it, I've had too many better pale ales and IPAs to give it greater consideration.
later, halfway into a TwoHearted...not fair to compare them, really, but it works as a way to point at what makes a superior IPA. The hop profile is seamless in it's character, singular and solid...Blue Heron just doesn't hang together all that well, and while bitter and hoppy, yes, lacks the smooth integration of Bell's perfect product. An interesting comparison, and I know what I'll be returning to, and what I won't...

feloniousmonk, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%

Written From Notes Compiled 6/04-8/04:
Slightly hazy deep gold color. Very small head with good retention. This beer is a kind of PA. Tastes like an IPA combined with a euro lager, as there are plenty of grassy malt flavors, with a moderate hops presence. Good, full mouthfeel.

TastyTaste, Aug 26, 2004
Photo of tavernjef
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%

Light pale gold yellow color with a thin yet solidly puffed white crown atop, some good stringy lacing and a collar stays through most of the glass. Aroma is mostly malty with a honey bread sweetness thats clean and crisp, bits of citrusy fruit and grassy hops. Taste is more of the same, small and weakened front of low and sweet malts, glides into the hoppy finish quite nicely where a favorable grab of grassy hop bitterness takes control with a mingling effect of some citrus pith and pine underscores. A dry astringency keeps a presense among some of the late finish. A nice finisher, but the front could use a bit more. Feel is quick and crisp, small biting hop finish of grass is nice, but this seems to be missing alot for an IPA, if that is indeed what this is suppose to be, even as a pale, there is something of the balance and flavor thats kinda empty and short lived. Liked the grassy hop edge this has but perhaps it needs something to keep it exciting and intriguing for me to like it any more then just above average. But what, I couldn't say for certain, beefed up bready malt maybe? Nothing to special, but worth a try.

tavernjef, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of FormatKid
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%

I grabbed a 12oz single of this from Bacchus in Chattanooga although I’ve seen it in several places around.

I poured this into a standard pint glass in which it appeared a slightly hazed hue of straw yellow. A nice fluffy head rolls up a few fingers high and sticks around somewhat. The body of the brew is lively with visible carbonation which rises in medium sized bubbles.

In the nose I can smell sweet, powdery pale malts and a citrusy hop zing about the edge. Maybe a faint nuttiness as well.

The taste is a pretty simple (yet solid) experience. Light and astringent across the front of my palate, the middle taken over by sweety, sappy malts and again I taste a possible hint of nuttiness. The end plays out nicely bitter with a combination of flat bitterness, and a solid statement of citrus rind. Mouthfeel is medium-light and made to feel even lighter due to the playful carbonation.

A solid pale ale, my only complaint would be there is not as big of an aromatic hop presence as I would like. This would make a nice change of pace for a session beer.

FormatKid, Jul 31, 2004
Photo of ADR
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%

Saratoga Springs bottling...clearish medium orange color, nice 1/2 inch frothy head. Laces in dripping rings on the glass. Bitter citrus aroma, peppery with a lot of yeastiness, all-in-all a little overpowering. Mouthfeel is slightly light with pinprick carbonation. Malt has a hard time getting traction, aroma hops and a resiny hop backbone continue to combine and dominate the beer's flavor impression. Finishes with an astringent tang that's a little unsettling. Pale Ale or IPA (lots of similarities to White Hawk IPA), this certainly leans in the hop direction -- could use a better balance and texture.

ADR, May 31, 2004
Photo of usualpulp
3.43/5  rDev +0.9%

Pours a orangish yellow color with a thin white head.

The smell is pretty good, floral and fruit fragrances, and the hops really come out, nothing overwhelms anything else, fairly balanced smells.

The taste of this beer is good, very crisp. The hops are very present, as well as some small fruit flavor, though there seemed to be a somewhat corn like taste to this. The hops do a nice job of finishing off each sip.

Overall I would say this is a pretty good ale, not great but good, its also somewhat different from most of the california pales ive had, but overall it is something I would likely drink again.

usualpulp, May 29, 2004
Photo of Shiloh
4.3/5  rDev +26.5%

An exceptional pale ale.
The appearance is a dull and murky golden with a limited crown.
Slight island lace and ring are the only remnants of the original pour.
Aroma has a grapefruit quality to it in a limited way.
Carbonation is diffacult to detect visually due to the cloudiness of the product.
The taste also is of the grapefruit... a hop lover's delight. Over powering and heavenly.
The body is full.
This is a session beer...could there be a higher compliment?

Shiloh, May 16, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%

Pours a clear, pale orange color, with a two finger head that leaves minimal, patch lace.
Aroma is a surprise, with Germanic, spicy, hops. Not what I was expecting, but not bad.
Mouthfeel is average, with adequate carbonation and a mild hop bite.
Taste has a lot of pale malt character. Some pear fruitiness balances well against the spicy hops.
Very average for an American pale ale.

merlin48, Apr 01, 2004
Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 467 ratings.