California Blonde Ale
Eel River Brewing Co.

California Blonde AleCalifornia Blonde Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Blonde Ale - American
Ranked #642
ABV:
5.62%
Score:
78
Ranked #46,496
Avg:
3.4 | pDev: 14.41%
Reviews:
61
Ratings:
134
From:
Eel River Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  2
Gots
  12
SCORE
78
Okay
California Blonde AleCalifornia Blonde Ale
Notes: Our lightest beer . A great organic beer. With an exceptionally crisp palate, this ale balances the light malt palate with a subtle bitterness. This ale is an ideal beer for those unaccustomed to micro-brewed beers. Made with pale, wheat, carastan and carapils malts. Hopped with Cascade, Saaz and Tettnang hops. Made with pride and great taste from the worlds first certified organic brewery.
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 134 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I believe this bottle is from 2015 (blame the store and the distributor). Well, it has a medium, bone-colored head, an opaque, orange-gold appearance, lots of big, tan chunks, racing bubbles, and little lacing. The aroma is turned fruit and pale malt. It has a similar flavor with a heavy orange pekoe tea taste and no hop bitterness. There is a low to medium body, and Eel River Organic California Blonde Ale has a sweet finish.

RJT

Jun 02, 2020
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

3.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Clear 16-oz. Bruges beer glass
From: Gregg
Price: n/a
Purchased: n/a; Received Nov. 12, 2019
Consumed: Nov. 26, 2019
Reviewed as: American Blonde Ale
Misc.: No bottled on date

Thanks, Gregg!

Got this and a bunch of other beers from Gregg. Most of them weren’t that fresh, especially the IPAs. Thought I had this one before, but had not checked in on Untappd or reviewed on Beer Advocate. Had a few over the previous few days, giving it a 3.5 on Untappd and writing, “Good for the style.” Beer Advocate description was, “Our lightest beer. A great organic beer. With an exceptionally crisp palate, this ale balances the light malt palate with a subtle bitterness. This ale is an ideal beer for those unaccustomed to micro-brewed beers. Made with pale, wheat, carastan and carapils malts. Hopped with Cascade, Saaz and Tettnang hops. Made with pride and great taste from the world’s first certified organic brewery.”

Poured an amber clear color with 2-to-3 fingers of frothy off-white head. Lots of fast moving bubbles coming up along the sides of the glass. Outstanding spotty lacing. Excellent foamy retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled grain, lemon, pear, lemon shortbread cookies, cracker, white bread, floral, grass, apple, hints of pepper (Saaz) and citrus zest. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste was almost as good as the nose. Didn’t seem as fresh as I’d have wanted it. Got grain, lemon shortbread cookies, cracker, white bread, pear, apple, floral, grass, spicy Saaz, black pepper, citrus zest, herbal, soap, caramel malt and hints of honey. (Taste - 3.50)

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish. (Feel - 3.50)

May have underrated this overall, but very good for the style. (Overall - 3.75)

3.66 | 83 | B

Dec 31, 2019
Photo of BillzDubbel818
BillzDubbel818 from California

4.56/5  rDev +34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nicely made very tasty blonde.Light hops not too overpowering with a hint of caramel creaminess on the finish very flavorful I'm liking this.Good job EEL River solid beer would definitely recommend.It's really smooth no bitterness my favorite blonde cheers...

Feb 17, 2019
Photo of superspak
superspak from Michigan

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

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours slightly hazy medium golden yellow color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, orange, peach, pear, melon, red apple, wheat, cracker, white bread dough, lightly toasted biscuit, light pepper, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of citrus/earthy hops, pale/wheat malt, and fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon, orange, peach, pear, melon, red apple, wheat, cracker, white bread dough, lightly toasted biscuit, light pepper, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light herbal, floral, grassy, peppery bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of lemon, orange, peach, pear, melon, red apple, wheat, cracker, white bread dough, lightly toasted biscuit, pepper, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice robustness and balance of citrus/earthy hops, pale/wheat malt, and fruity yeast flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance, and no cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Not as crisp/clean as expected, a bit too malt heavy. Zero warming alcohol for 5.8%. Overall this is a nice American blonde ale. All around nice robustness and balance of citrus/earthy hops, pale/wheat malt, and fruity yeast flavors; smooth and pretty refreshing to drink with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. A bit too fruity/yeasty, but not overwhelming. A nicely enjoyable offering, and good style example otherwise.

Nov 22, 2018
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.25/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. This was poured into a pint glass. The appearance was a hazy golden yellow color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. There was some light lacing here and there. The smell had some sweet grainy to grassy malts. I didn’t get much else. The taste was basically the same as the smell. On the palate, this one sat about a light on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. The carbonation was somewhat smooth. Overall, this was a decent blonde ale I think I could do again.

Jul 07, 2017
Photo of gandres
gandres from Philippines

2.62/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle to wine glass
A: light amber, copper, golden color, minimal tan lacing, that quickly disappears
A: no aroma on the nose, drink:no bold aroma grains
T: not a lot of taste, lightly bitter,
MF: creamy, lively carbonation, abrupt finish
OA: good beer, ok to repeat, not to look for
Drank: April 22, 2016 Happy Earth Day

Apr 23, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Solid substantive yellow pour, darker variety, mild sweet aroma, grains.

Lots of carbonation. Standard stuff, lightly hopped, malted, toasted beer. No off flavors, no crazy adventures here.

Feb 25, 2016
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.56/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Organic, Light, Malty, Approachable

Pale yellow in color with a slight haze and thin white lacing. Aromas of fresh malt, cereal grains and a soft floral quality. Light-bodied but with creamy carbonation. It’s a beer defined by crackery malts, a watery hop character of lemon-lime rinds, and a slight oiliness that pulls through and melds with mild fruity esters that linger into the finish. A good, easydrinking brew.

STYLE: American Blonde Ale | ABV: 5.8% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #99 (APR 2015)

Aug 25, 2015
Photo of berkeleymaw
berkeleymaw from California

4.37/5  rDev +28.5%
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.

May 08, 2015
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

3.43/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Jun 01, 2013
Photo of williamjbauer
williamjbauer from Colorado

3.43/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Jun 14, 2012
Photo of BlakeDaSnake
BlakeDaSnake

5/5  rDev +47.1%
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!!!

May 10, 2012
Photo of mrfrancis
mrfrancis from Kentucky

2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Feb 18, 2012
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Jan 09, 2012
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Dec 30, 2011
Photo of brown2cu
brown2cu from Ohio

2.94/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Dec 27, 2011
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor from Illinois

3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Dec 05, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
ZenAgnostic from Texas

3.58/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Nov 08, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Aug 02, 2011
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
PeprSprYoFace from California

3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Apr 25, 2011
Photo of Onenote81
Onenote81 from North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Apr 15, 2011
Photo of robbrandes
robbrandes from Oregon

2.68/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Apr 07, 2011
Photo of kwjd
kwjd from Canada

4.17/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

Feb 11, 2011
Photo of ozmodium
ozmodium from Canada

2.54/5  rDev -25.3%
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

Jan 25, 2011
Photo of scottakelly
scottakelly from Ohio

2.61/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Jan 20, 2011
California Blonde Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 134 ratings