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Blue Heron Pale Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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294 Reviews
Blue Heron Pale AleBlue Heron Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

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: 294 | Ratings: 501
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy pale orange color with a 1 inch white head that fades to a small cap. There is good ring lacing present.

S - Smells of sweet malts and an underlying pineapple/fruity smell.

T - Slight bitter hop taste up front, sweet malt, and a pineapple/fruity taste on the finish.

M - Great carbonation makes for a very crisp and clean drinking experience.

D - Very good beer that was very refreshing. A very tasty pale ale. I will get this one again.

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

not a bad pale ale. freshness may be a slight issue with my bottle. the appearance is odd for the style, with copious yeast sediment in this thing taking the form of tiny specks suspended in a bronze hazy brew with one hell of a lacy leave behind as it drinks. without the particulate it would look nearly flawless. an aroma of slightly stale malt, rich though, and the hops come though, a nice illustration of the american pale, although the yeast character in here is more than is usually called for, almost spicy on the back end. the flavor is hoppy all the way, resinous as they go, big for just a pale, pushing the india realm. it tastes dry, or like it should be dry, but it isnt, its moist and long, which kind of works with the flavor profile, which is sweet pine and honey malt. good beer, id love to try it on tap at the source, i imagine it being a real beauty when its fresh.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a clear looking golden color. The head looked pretty good just about the entire time I was drinking it. The lacing was very slim though. The taste of the beer has some hops upfront that give it a pretty good kickstart. The aftertaste has a decent malt base. The mouthfeel is on the light to medium side and had a good amount of carbonation. Overall it's not the best APA but it might be worth looking into.

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Photo of metter98
3.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy pale yellow in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high bright white head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: Light aromas of citrusy hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has a light amount of bitterness from the start through the finish; there are some notes of toasted malts in the background.
M: It feels medium-bodied and clean on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer has average drinkability; it goes down smoothly but isn't very interesting from a taste perspective.

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

I may be a little generous with my review of this beer. I also beleived that I had a bad bottle, until I read the reviews. A recent tasting revealed a sub-par brew. Not spicy or hop flavored. An odd sweetness and viscocity and a hard bitterness toward the finish. The beer just seems old.

A good example of my favorite style of beer. It has everything that great Pale Ales have: malty, toasty, spicy, hoppy, fruity, floral, crisp and clean. Everyone is making very good Pale Ales. Mendecino's is no different. Because they are all so good, there are few standouts--making this beer a little forgetable. It has good malt and hop presence. A bit harsh with the carbonation and alcohols. Bittering and flavor hops work well, but add a bit of metalic character. Still, a good beer. It just gets lost in the shuffle.

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Photo of brentk56
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden body without much head and just a touch of lacing

Smell: Surprisingly low key in the hops aroma as one would expect the Cascades to be a bit more pronounced; a bit spicy and malty but a rather weak aroma overall

Taste: Starts out a bit bready but quickly, the hops kick in and, frankly, overwhelm the finish; the beer suffers from a very astringent, medicinal aftertaste that lingers like an unwelcome houseguest

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a slickness and decent carbonation

Drinkability: A bit difficult to drink due to the astringent finish

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Photo of zeff80
3.52/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a cloudy, yellow with a small head and was highly carbonated. No lacing.

S - It smelled of malt, grasses and pine.

T - It had a strong taste of bitter hops. Also, a good bit of malt flavor to back it up.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied brew.

D - This is a pretty good beer. Its appearance wsn't so good but the taste was.

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

Pours a hazy yellow/orange with a light head that seems to stay around and leaves some decent lacing,aroma is hoppy and lightly minerally.Taste has a definent hop profile to it very resiny and I got some slight caramel notes.I would like some more balance to my pale but a decent crafted beer.

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Photo of chinchill
3.23/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

undated but very recently purchased 12 oz bottle served in pint glass

A - Pours a golden-yellow color with a minimal white head.

S - Aroma is a rather subtle and balanced mix of hops and lightly toasted malt. Aroma had a faint skunkiness to it that largely disappeared after a few minutes.

T - For an APA, this beer is more like a strong Pilsner than expected. Starts off malty with a definite hop component, as expected, a little bread flavor. Nice finish is a mix of the bread (malt), moderately bitter hops, and a touch of yeast. Flavor and aroma seemed to change more than usual with time/warming.

M - Medium bodied with moderate-light carbonation. A mild hop 'bite'.

O - Aroma had a faint skunkiness to it that largely disappeared after a few minutes, but it remained in the flavor. Will try to revisit with another sample.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very slightly hazy, golden/light amber in color with a dense white head that holds well and leaves some very nice lace. The body is medium with a standard carbonation that's lightly zesty on the tongue and and somewhat creamy as it warms in the mouth. The aroma is gently fruity with bright, grassy, floral & lightly citrusy hops over a bready malt. The flavor is well balanced between a sweetly bready malt, floral hop flavors, and solid bitterness. It finishes dry and gently bitter with a lingering malt and grassy hop flavor. An interesting beer that's worth trying.

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

Appearance: Pours a clear, burnished golden body with a small, though frothy, white head.

Smell: Sweetish honey and toffee candy notes with an indistinct background lemony character.

Taste: Crisp pale maltiness with sweet touches of honey, toffee, and light caramel. Slight graininess. Then, it's a burst of hop bitterness that comes across a tad harsh as the malt character is fairly light. Only meager hop tastes of grass and lemon pith. These tastes linger into the dry, bitterish finish.

Mouthfeel: Just barely squeaks into medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly middle-of-the-road at best. I appreciate the initial malt tastes, but they're a bit light and far too fleeting, which allows a dull bitterness to trounce the tastebuds, but you're left wanting a bit more actual hop flavor.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured pale yellow with no head at all. Some small lace, but nothing noteworthy. Smell is slightly hopped with a malt hint in there, matybe even some caramel. Taste is big malt up front with a dry hopped back. Not bad at al lfor a pale ale and a little suprising based on initial presentation. Goes down very smoothly and really has a good aftertaste, would definatly drink this again.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.43/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: The beer pours a fairly clear, pale yellow color with a finger or so of white head.

S: Just an awful aroma to this beer. Like a urinal or a gas station bathroom. Some definite rotten vegetable notes in there, too. Some bread and malt notes, but not much in the way of hops.

T: For as horrendous as the aroma was, the flavor is surprisingly unoffensive. Pale malt with a light floral hop note, some lemon zest, and a light to moderate bitterness. It has a hint of corn to it, though.

M: Light to medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: The flavor was not great and the nose was atrocious. No thanks.

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Photo of Jason
4.02/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yeast hazed dull golden colour with a flexed rocky white head that drops down to a thin sticky lace.

Orangey hop aroma with hints of ale-like fruity esters and a dollop of yeast to boot.

Stable medium body with a well textured carbonation and mouth feel. Citric hop tone has a bitter bite, pale graininess underneath. The fruity esters have a light alcohol kick and show some warmth in the mouth. Soft flare of yeast. Thin layer of malt sweetness rolls through and the hops stick to the taste buds with a lingering bitterness.

A tasty pale with a kick, I see this one as a good change up pale ale.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed gold with a small white head that falls to nothing by the time I sit down basically. Nose is thickly sweet and it reminds me of cooking sugar slowly. Flavor is bitter. Kind of a roasted edge to it as well. Pretty well bodied and not too bad at all. Smooth feel. Very easy to drink. Not a mind blower, but it's fairly nice.

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Photo of jwc215
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazed deep golden with a foamy white head that stays around, leaving some broken rings of lacing.

The smell is biscuity, grainy with soft citrus and pine.

The taste is of citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit) - nice hop profile - with a balancing sweet, grainy malt. Both the hop and malt characteristics stand out but remain balanced. It has a long, bittersweet finish.

It is medium-to-full-bodied - almost chewy. Very smooth.

A hoppy, yet balanced, flavorful, smooth and refreshing pale ale. Nice example of a hoppy APA!

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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 feloniousmonk
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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...

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Photo of vfgccp
2.91/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy copper yellow, ~70% opaque. Low head, but what's there is a clean white and hangs around for a while.

S - Simple but pleasing. Mostly malt, white bread. Touch of orange zest.

T - Malty. Slightly sour. Some waxy bitterness through the middle and end of the profile. Carries a pine hop character.

M - Medium body, light carbonation, dry finish. Bitter resin hangs onto the back of your palate.

D - Not all the flavors were pleasing to me, and I wasn't particularly a fan of how the flavors I did enjoy came together.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

02/10/06- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info noted. Poured into my Eye of the Hawk pint glass.

Appearance- Darker golden pour, 3/4 inch gleaming white head. Very light lace with streaming carbonation bubbles.

Smell- Huge bready malt scent with a backdrop of citrus and light pine hops. A bit too bready to me IMO.

Taste- Biscut malt flavor with a nice orange and lemon hops flavor and bitterness. A bit buttery as well.

Mouthfeel- Not as carbonated as I was thinking after seeing the appearance. Mid range or so. Rather lasting bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Not bad, but I can think of many others before trying this one. Worth a try though.

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Photo of WesWes
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thin white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is dry and clean. It smells of pale malts, some hops, and fruity yeast. The taste is average at best. It is crisp and clean, but it has a nasty grapefruit hop flavor that ruins it for me. There is no malt character either. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. The drinkability is suspect. The taste sucks and the aroma sucks. It is one and done for me. It has a cool label though.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden/yellow color, some carbonation, nice little head which sticks around for a little while, some lacing afterwards. Scents of slight hops, and citrusy. Nice taste for a pale ale, kinda hoppy, and sweet the aftertaste is dry, clean and fresh. Medium body. Very drinkable. Another excellent brew from Mendocino, would recommend.

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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 Stinkypuss
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blue Heron pale ale pours bright copper in color, small head forms and some lacing. Aroma is floral and citrusy. Flavors are mild, with a nice even bitterness, orange from the hops. Light feel and flavor is mild. Easily drinkable, a nice session pale from Mendocino. Could drink a bunch of these.

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Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 501 ratings.
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