Blue Heron Pale Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

295 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: 295 | Ratings: 507
Photo of elNopalero
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours with an amber malty color. There’s an aroma of caramel-orange and orange peel, in combination. Flavor has an orange marmalade character, with a light hop bite and a quick finish.
No idea the age of this bottle. It tasted “old” but I don’t think it was.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.83/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a beer of the month club pack. Pours golden with small white head. Smell is almost wheaty, sweet, slightly stale light an adjunct, with a tiny tinge of hop presence. Prickly carbonation up front. Flavor is a bit weak, but relatively pleasant. Very light sweet candy malt finish after up front hop flavor (though, not much bitterness). Pretty balanced. Not bad.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.44/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. No bottling date apparent

Pours a copper color with a half inch thick white head. Mild malts on the nose, typical of the style. Taste is also quite typical with a mild malt tone followed by a tad of hops on the finish. It's nothing to write home about. Easy drinking, medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall a very average pale ale that is what you expect it to be. It's quite average but also, having said that, isn't bad. If you're in the mood for a typical tasting APA then this will do the trick.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Mendocino Brewing Company - Blue Heron Pale Ale

Snagged one of these and another Mendocino brew from a buddy, not what I would call quality brews, reminds me of some of the low-end breweries we have up in a few of the corners in Vermont. Decent beer, but not good by any stretch of the imagination.

Look - Pours a slightly hazy pale golden with a small soapy head that leaves some nice sticky lacing. Minimal carbonation.

Smell - Faint citrus with sour yeast tang prevalent. Very light, almost non-existent aroma.

Taste - Huh?? Bland carbonated yeast with a hint of citrus hops rolls in but is then overridden by a bitter metallic taste.

Mouthfeel - Rests quite bitter but isn't all that awful. Some stickiness, no booziness, pretty drinkable, light bodied.

Overall - I was not impressed with this brew, very simplistic and plain, I did not get the sense that a brewer's love was put into this beer, it just seemed shallow to me.

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Photo of da_beers
3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Friend brought this over. Decided to give it a shot before we drank something real...

A - Light golden straw, with slight haze. Only one finger of white, bubbly head that dissipated almost instantly.

S - Wow, almost no smell to speak of! Extremely faint citrus and yeast. Let down here.

T - Mendocino... Really? The label says "award winning", maybe for the most non-descript, uninspiring pale ale out there. Faint citrus, no hops, metallic bitterness.

M - Only redeeming quality is its slight stickyness. Low carbonation.

O - Average if that. Just disappointing. Would not recommend.

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Photo of Hendry
3.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Blue Heron pours an apricot hue with a slight soapy 1 finger head upon an aggressive pour. Respectable lacing.

Aroma is sweet malt with a touch of apricots. This smells like apricot infused bread, with a touch of basement mustiness to it.

Flavors are sweet malt and tart apricots, nothing spectacular, but exceedingly average. Aftertaste is slightly bitter and the malty sweetness rests atop the palate like an unwelcome houseguest.

Mouthfeel is medium,aggresive carbonation but not overdone.

Overall, this was just okay, but I was able to sample this with minimal outlay as I was grabbing the six pack as a favor to a buddy that wanted a trip-down-memory-lane ale that he used to enjoy in SoCal. Also served to remind both of us how great Vermont beer can be, and how lucky we are to have regular access .

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Photo of Minkybut
3.17/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I poured this surprising beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was pale as expected and poured a really nice thick creamy head. The beer had a slight hop smell and a slight hop taste. The beer was a little dry on the finish but not too bad. I would certainly buy this again.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.06/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No date

A: Pale yellow. Nice head and good lacing.

S: Herbal, grassy hops and sweet grain.

T: Grassy, herbal hops and a thin graininess. Lingering bitterness helps put with the sweetness. Not a whole lot going on.

M: Thin yet still somewhat creamy.

O: A fairly dull APA.

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Photo of curasowa
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly hazy, golden color with one finger of head that fades fairly quickly to a thin cap.

Aroma: Grainy malt, a bit of lemon cleaner and cardboard.

Taste: Pleasant sweetness and a light, almost wheat-like malt up front, then some carbonation and a decent amount of bitterness leading to a slightly grainy, fairly fast finish.

The Rest: I haven't been drinking too many APA's lately, and this one is pretty good except for the cardboard aroma, which really detracted from an otherwise solid beer.

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Photo of Nixonbrew
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was expecting so much more from this beer. But it just didnt rank with the other california competetors

A - nice golden color with finger thick head

S - not much. Some citrus, some malt

T- light malt, not much depth. Not much hops aroma. Just hops bitterness

Mf - light, crisp, clean

O - slightly malty, bitter finish. Missing complexity. No real aroma

Easy to drink, 6.1% will get ya a buzz

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Photo of RickS95
2.72/5  rDev -20%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks like an American macro with it's extremely clear, very pale pour. While it's technically pale, it's not nearly as dark as other brewers' selections. The head is exceptionally bright and white and fluffy. It's got nice retention and leaves a thick cloud of lace as it eventually implodes.

The smell changes as the beer warms. Initially, there's a quick burst of what smells like pilsner malt, with I don't want any part of. However, as it warms, there's a biscuit-like note, as well as some citrus notes, that take over. The scents are all fairly subdued, but they're present.

That pilsner-like taste comes through from the first sip. There is a spicy hop quality that's present through the whole drink. It seems like there's a citric quality, but it's third fiddle at best. Really doesn't taste like an American pale ale, something more European.

Has a loose, watery feel to it, almost like a lager. The pilsner earthiness is very present and it's lacking body. Very similar to the Staropramen I had last night.

Overall, it's like most Mendocino beers--it comes up short. This is my second beer of the month club and unfortunately, Mendocino has been a part of both and I really hope this is my last try with them. It's just not an APA. It's not easy to drink, it totally lacks APA characteristics. Mediocre.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.19/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

In a pint glass the beer was a gold color with a small white head.

A sweet malt aroma. Some flowery/grassy hops. A tepid aroma.

Rather tepid taste also. A little bread, a little grassy hops.

Good for your thirst. I had this with some fairly spicy chili, and it actually held up well. I think on it's own, it is an average beer at best.

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Photo of AAG
2.6/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured this American Pale Ale from a cold bottle into a room temperature pint glass.

Appearance - Soapy is probably the most appropriate way to describe the white head on this beer; poured about 2-3 fingers of white head which dissipated fairly quickly; light, golden color; looks refreshing.

Smell - Sweet, grainy, wheaty; hard to define. As the beer warms up the smell turns fruity.

Taste - Slightly bitter initially; transitioned to less bitter and dry; still leaves an overall bitter aftertaste, though.

Mouthfeel - I find this beer to be slightly displeasing on the palate; bitter; over-carbonated; not smooth.

Overall - Not my favorite beer; average for a pale ale; I find it bitter and I dislike the aftertaste. Might just be me but I would not buy this beer again. Almost tastes slightly skunked; astringent; the guy who described Blue Heron as a salad with slightly stale croutons and a bitter vinaigrette is right on!

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Photo of horshack7
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear and golden with a white head one finger thick.

Aroma: Grainy, buttery, light citrus, lemon zest.

Taste: Lemon zest, crisp mouthfeel. grainy, a little bit of a dry finish and a buttery texture.

Notes: Quite drinkable can be enjoyed anytime of year but even better for a summer day. Cheers.

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Photo of angusdegraosta
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Has a good golden color with a little lacing. A light earthy hop aroma. I like the taste: spicy, bitter, just sweet enough to round things out. The hops stay with you in a mouth-puckering way, but not enough to make you cringe. This is a good dry beer that won't give you a hop hangover.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
2.75/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A: Pours crystal golden straw into my goblet with almost three fingers of dense, moussey head. It's a bright, sparkly apricot in color, with a steady stream of small bubbles columning up from the glass etching. The cap quickly drops to about a finger of rocky, uneven chunks of foam. Some larger clumps stick under the rim of my glass. The lacing makes ghastly patterns as I drink. 4.75

S: Soapy hops. Is this a lavender beer? Cardboard. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and write that off as a problem with shipping. There's little else here; but as it warms a hint of flowers, spice, and lemon come through. 2.25

T: Blue heron tastes a bit like a salad, and here's why: the malt tastes like a stale crouton, and the hops are slightly citrusy, but very dirty and Earthy tasting, like those salads with dandelions and vinegar. There's the same offputting bite as I perceive with onions and vinaigrette. Somewhat juicy. The last sips told me my beet was definitely slightly skunked. 2.5

M: Some alcoholic sting, and medium hop astringency. Lots of carbonation make this a "burpy" beer. 3.75

D: Medium. It's not a great beer, but it's not awful.

I can't decide if I don't like pale ales, or if this beer is just bad.

Note to self: drink this side-by-side with one or two of the best ranking pales.

I suspect this one just isn't good, but I know I'm not attached to any of the BJCP 10A beers, so I need to "calibrate" for APAs.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.6/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale has a thick, soapy, off-white head, a semi-clear, yellow-golden appearance, with lots of thick lacing left behind, and an enormous amount of gray-brown specks floating about the beer. The aroma is of citrus, cracker, sweet malt, and maybe a slight sting of hops. Taste is of the same, with grass and a pleasant and sharp hop bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, and Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale finishes semi-dry, mellow, and highly drinkable. Overall, this was a wonderful sample, and I recommend this, in the strongest way. Please check it out!


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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 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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Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 507 ratings.
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