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: 513
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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Photo of dexterk1
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into glass with a nice light amber/ dark golden color. Head is thick and has staying power.
Odor is floral above all. Citrus noticeable too.
Taste is not really very distinctive. It is floral, citrus and slightly grainy.
Mouth feel is light on your tongue. It is relativity smooth and ends with some hops.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A clear golden yellow with a moderate carbonation level. A two inch solid white head remains well after the pour. A considerable lacing of foam sticks to the side of the glass after it recedes


A good dose of bread in the nose with just a hint of spice. Almost no evidence of hops


A solid amount of biscuity/toasty malt upfront. A moderate bitterness level is also evident with the aforementioned spice being the dominant character along with just a hint of citrus


This beer leaves a dry finish in the mouth. Carbonation level is on the mark and not too overpowering at a medium level


Fits the pale ale category. It would have been nice if there was a little more balance as the malts far outweighed the hops. All in all a decent brew that was fun to look at

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Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber color. A small off white sits on top and leaves some lacing. Light carbonation. Aroma was a big dose of diaceyl and then some sweet malts. No hop aroma at all. the taste finds the diaceyl to be less intrusive then in the nose but still a bit to much. Sweet caramel malt backbone and sparing hops. A medium feel and is dry and bitter. Very little to be positive with this beer. simple put it lacks in appearance, aroma, taste.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Color was pale golden, similar to dehydrated urine of apple juice. Maybe ¾ inches of head. Some lacing on the top that retained nicely. Minimal film on the sides.

Definitely could tell it was a pale ale by the first sniff. Also some corn malts in there, as well as honey and caramel. I want to say some cereal malts as well.

Fairly similar to the nose. Starts with the pale malts with some honey and cereal tastes in there. Slightly bitter bite right after.

Light body. Average carbonation. Somewhat smooth.

Not a bad beer overall for the first of my four Mendocino beers of the night (six beers each of four kinds). I’m still a sucker for pale ales, though.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a stein glass.

Look - solid amber color, clear, with good carbonation and about two fingers' worth of frothy off-white foam that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell - fairly malty, but with hints of the hops used.

Taste - again, mostly malty, but with a strong muskiness to it. Finishes with a slight bite from the hops, which are more felt than tasted.

Mouthfeel - pretty well balanced, but leans a bit on the watery side.

Overall - not a bad tasting brew at all, and a fairly interesting taste as well.

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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 ZenAgnostic
2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Visible sediment in the bottle. Slightly cloudy light sun-gold body. Pours one finger white head with decent stick and decent to low retention.

Smell - Dust. Musky corn. Almost wheaty. Mild hop and malt characters.

Taste - Strong alcohol in the first sip. Dusty, musky, hay-like hop. Some more alcohol in the finish. Dusty hop and lime-peel aftertaste. Somewhat metallic at times.

Mouthfeel - Dry. Solvent. Somewhat astringent.

Overall Drinkability - Decent beer. Off characters aren't overtly offensive. Nothing I'd go out of my way to acquire again.

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Photo of delmarnate
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is the classic middle child. I am a middle child and this pale matches me perfectly. Nothing special about it. Nothing offensive, but also nothing distinctive about it in any way. The hop character is average, the maltiness compliments the hops in an average way. The standouts in this style leave little room for acceptance of the average. Pass on this one. The brewery has others worth trying though.

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Photo of JMad
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this from a pint glass...

It pours a hazy light golden color with a thin filmy white head. It smells of citrusy hops with some toast and fruit. The taste is nice and bitter with lemon and pine, some bready malt in the background and a bitter hoppy finish. The beer is light with moderate carbonation and a dry finish. This is a solid APA, I could drink this all the time.

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

Bottle to pint.

A: A bit on the hazy side, pale straw, minimal head, good lacing.

S: malt, hops, grains, some floral and citrus hints.

T: starts with a malty, bready taste. quickly over taken by hoppy bitterness, with an astringent aftertaste that lingers quite awhile.

M: Medium carbination and body.

O: Spent a lot of time in the hopland beer garden drinking this beer in the 1990's so it will always be a sentimetal favorite. So, truth be told there is nothing wrong with this beer, also nothing to exiciting either. Tastes best when on tap drinking pitchers with friends in the sun.

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Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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