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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 295 | Ratings: 511
Photo of ecoboy
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rocky off-white head, and cloudy, unfiltered body. Lighter straw color was unexpected.

Big hop bite and bitterness and somewhat oily mouthfeel mask the 6% abv. The touch of banana in the flavor suits the more oily texture. There are many subtleties that are even apparent in a very cold sample (my first came right out of an ice bath.)

I noticed that this beer was better sub-40 degrees than it was at about 60 degrees. The hops are really omnipresent for a pale; the ol' American big chewy pale.

 502 characters

Photo of Stubbie1
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice dark gold in color. Almost the color of apple juice. It gave way to a thick white head. The head stayed and left behind a decent lace. Aroma is hops, grain and a touch of citrus. The taste was very nice and crisp. A touch of malt then the hit of hops. Nothing to overpowering but a nice mixture. A enjoyable IPA. Very drinkable, IMHO a good one to try if your not comfortable trying this type of brew.

 408 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark golden color with a foamy white head that fades into a bubbly and very sticky lace. Nose is fresh malt and grains with some strong notes of floral hops. Medium in body with a solid mouthfeel. Taste is sweet malt and grains up front quickly followed by a raw hop leaf flavor and some lemony citrus notes. The finish is quite dry with the bitter hop oils lingering on the tongue in the aftertaste. This is a very enjoyable American pale ale and makes for a nice session beer.

 491 characters

Photo of aaronh
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark golden color with a white head that shows decent retention. A slight haze is apparent. The aroma is quite hoppy, with citrus notes dominating. The taste is a bit of malt and a bunch of pink grapefruit from the hops. The mouthfeel is average, perhaps a bit thin, and the drinkability is average as well, due to the overpowering hops. A refreshing beer, but not anything special. FWIW, this one was brewed in New York state.

 427 characters

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.05/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12oz amber bottle. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a slightly hazy golden color. Very sticky, frothy head stands firm and splotches the glass all the way down.

Smell: A different combination of fruits and candy sweetness. Not too pronounced, either.

Taste: Average. I was expecting more, but I felt cheated. There was a good hop:malt ratio (read: hops dominate) but the finish and aftertaste were very grainy-flavored. Not the kind of hoppy bitterness I like in a pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Fairly low level of carbonation with the lack of creamy smoothness from the malt make for a plain mouthfeel.

Drinkability: The closer I got to the end, the more I was thinking "This tastes like Bud." I hate to say that, but it really was just average. Not a beer I would try again and probably wouldn't suggest.

 835 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.89/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this beer before this sampling. This 6-pack I bought for $1.90, thus anticipated an issue with it, and there was. However, I'm going to give it a bit of a break because I know most often the problem isn't an issue.
Aroma has a nice citrus quality (also a nice freshness). Malt can be noted for support and backing. Big full head, too big if not poured well (there is the problem, in that it can be a glass of head). Yellow-gold and slightly cloudy. Evident, yet enjoyable hop bite start through finish. Citrusy and astringent upon finish. Adequate malt backing for style. Appropriate mouthfeel except for the excessive carbonation. Good basic Am. pale ale. Very good in smoothness as warms. There are so many of this style that are above par and this is one of them.

 776 characters

Photo of Maestro
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great pale ale. It is golden in color with a very thin head that leaves quickly. A very sporadic lacing is left behind. The nose is very hoppy, with a hint of citrus. The taste has some sweet hints; probably because of the priming sugar. Mendocino bottle-conditions most of its ales. There is a thick, syrupy consistency to the beer but it is not oily. A nice malt character comes out in the middle, but is balanced with a good bit of hops. This is the kind of beer that I would enjoy on a hot summer day or on a cold winter night. Very excellent ale from an excellent brewery.

 587 characters

Photo of shirfan
3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mmm, a brewery specializing in bottle-conditioned ales.

This would be great in a nonick glass...the slightest movement kicks up an angry swarm of bubbles. Pours a silty, particulate-filled pale gold.

The head never went over 1 finger, but it refused to quit. Smelled musty, perhaps the yeast strain? Luckily flavor made up for that.

Taste is very clean for a pale ale... don't get me wrong, there are definite cascades here, and a nice oily bitterness, but they don't outshine the malt. Again, a hint of that musty yeast, but it goes well with the just-brewed flavor. Almost a cream ale mouthfeel... very bubbly but smooth without seeming like soda pop. Bitter, dry grapefruit aftertaste.

Definitely a temptress to ale drinkers...I could go through a pitcher of this before I knew it.

 798 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pellucid gold color with the head impressive in size and creamy in consistency with the lace a latticework of fine bubbles to smother the glass. Nose has a hint of hops with a bit of butterscotch, sweet like cotton candy and the underlying malt to back it up. Start is malt, the top skimpy in feel, the finish mildly acidic, and a purposeful hop spicy bite, dry and lingering aftertaste, a decent beer, but nothing special, just plain average in my humble opinion, a bit of a disappointment as the Mendocino Brewery is a long time favorite of mine.

 565 characters

Photo of Tubesox
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tastes a lot like Stones IPA. Hence Pale Ale.

A little bitter, but not as bitter as Stone's IPA. I would take Blue Herron over IPA any day. But who am I?

I finally know what is meant by "pale ale". I'm learning.

Over all. Good beer. Maudite is a tough act to follow.

It's (BH PA) getting better by the sip.

 319 characters

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

Medium golden color with a touch of haze. Quite carbonated, a fog of fine bubbles constantly rise to renew the thick off-white head. Sticky lace rings the glass. Strongly pronounced aroma of bitter citrus and floral hops, the latter having a distinctly flowery character. Beneath the hops the malt imparts the pleasing odor of fresh bread. Tasting yields a moment of sweet maltiness, followed by strikingly bitter, oily hops. Finish is dry with a lingering bitterness at the back of the mouth. An excellent pale ale, though one per session would be enough for me, due to the bitterness. Hopheads might well find nirvana in this brew.

 641 characters

Photo of jackndan
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Blue Heron Pale Ale: Golden yellow in appearance, with a thin white head. Slightly hazy. Crisp hoppy aroma, which is mirrored in the taste. Fairly light bodied, but with a surprising alcohol warmth. Clearly a robust beer in terms of hops and in alcohol. Very easy to drink, but too many are dangerous, both in strength and in acidity in the stomach.

 353 characters

Photo of bditty187
4.3/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, gold/copper hue with a long lasting white head, quality lacing. The nose is citrus & floral hops and, just a hint, of malt. A wonderful blend of hops (citrus, floral) and malt undertones balance out the beer. The texture on the tongue is ideal for the style, wonderful carbonation. Blue Heron is a top-notch American Pale Ale, one of the best I have had (rivals Sierra Nevada easily). I would recommend trying one!

 420 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
4.7/5  rDev +38.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this pale ale. Poured a lightly hazy medium yellow. The aroma was of a malty, yeasty with a light hoppy smell. Taste was very clean with a well balance of alcohol and sweetness. For me this is the best beer that this brewery makes.

 236 characters

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.

 570 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.2/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely clear (I left the bottles for over a week and poured mine carefully after reading the other reviews, yeast is detectable in the bottom dregs afterwards) Golden color. Pours well with a solid head, that leaves a distinctive bubble encrusted lace pattern clinging to the sides as you drink down the glass. Clean tasting beer with a very hoppy aroma that almost assaults the nasal cavities as the bitterness explodes on the tastebuds. Strong tasting hoppy bitter beer. I love this beer, but it's too strong to drink in quantity. No sell by date but tasted very fresh. Maybe older bottles don't fare so well ??

 613 characters

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.

 606 characters

Photo of frank4sail
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

huge pour. Obnoxiously carbonated. Pale, hazy, straw yellow look. Huge airy rocky head. Not much nose but a hint of hops. Very light flavor of pale malt on the tongue with a little hop bite on the finish. Finish has hints of bitter/hop/perfume. Light bodied....

 269 characters

Photo of AaronRed
3.97/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very pale, I would say. When I first poured it, I did not think it looked like it had this much flavor. You can smell the hops and grains immediately, and of course taste them. I found this beer very hoppy, bursting from the first sip. A citrus flavor was also present, with a fairly strong aftertaste, which I like. I like beers in which the flavors persist. I also love hops, hence this beer did it for me.

 415 characters

Photo of Brent
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For an American style pale ale, this was less well hopped than most, and the hops profile was not particularly grapefruity or floral. Malt lended some slight caramel, and overall this struck me as more of a British IPA interpretation. Overall, a pleasant pale ale, but the hops seemed a little blunt, their bittering not too well refined.

 340 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.32/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a foamy head....cloudy golden in color...strong spicy hops on the nose and then on the buds...seems to have a decent malt backbone but the hops are this beers signiture..For an APA it is hopped up nicely. Not my favorite hop style...very raw, spicy and oily hops...a slightly above average APA in my opinion...I'm just a tich disappointed..definitely not a bad beer, but I expected to score this near a 4.0 and it is not in that league..

 444 characters

Photo of Bighuge
2.92/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy, murky deep golden appearance. Slight citrus and grapefruit in the aroma. Seems like a decent malt backing in this brew. Hop bite is minimal. Bitterness is minimal. Things that I like in a PA are missing. This isn't bad. Just nothing distinguishable about it.

I should've prefaced by saying this sample may be old. I bought it as a single at a store out of town that I know little about.

 405 characters

Photo of marc77
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blue Heron pours a very dense and thick white head that settles into a very persistent one finger thick layer. Hazy golden in hue, and the sparse bubble production leaves the impression of an undercarbonated brew, but carbonation is more than adequate. The hop nose is floral and clean and lacks the often overbaearing grapefruity and ciitrusy notes some American varieties have. It seems to be a combination of Kent Goldings and perhaps Cascade. The hop bitterness is relatively high, but the body is relatively high for an APA and thus provides ample balance. The finish is typically clean for style and devoid of any flaws whatsoever. Blue Heron is a somewhat rich APA, and the combination of American and British hop flavors provide for a unique drinking experience. It's not outstanding, but is certainly tasty.

 822 characters

Photo of Jordan
3.86/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

An excellent Pale Ale. Bread and whole grains on the nose. A semi-sweet front, turning into a hoppy grapefruit bitter finish. Complaints on the aftertaste? A beer shows some originality and people get turned off and reject? (Pardon, but some people need to formulate their own thoughts.) Hazey, very fine sediment presence. A delight on the lips, tongue, and it's way into your stomach.

 392 characters

Photo of Todd
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. Blue label with a blue heron in flight. No freshness date.

Appearance: Rich, cloudy golden with a sticky, creamy white lace/head. Nice head retention.

Smell: Freshly milled sweet pale malt and raw hop aroma.

Taste: Full bodied, but not heavy. Smooth, rich mouthfeel with an upfrount grain sweetness. Hops hit heavy with a floral, citrus and spicy medly. The combination stays all the way into the aftertaste, especially the spiciness which seems to stick to the palate by way of residual hop oils (hop napalm on the tongue) and becomes pronounced in the middle by a crisp dryness wrapped in grain husk flavours. Finishes with a dextrin, oily, semi-dry coating on the palate.

Notes: Born in 1985 and weighing in at 6.1% alcohol by volume, this is a fantastic example of a West Coast American Pale Ale. I really like this brew. My only gripe is the extreme aftertaste which is sort of difficult to shake. Some may not welcome it. I don't mind it at all. Try eating some bread in between tastings and all will be well.

 1,060 characters

Blue Heron Pale Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.4 out of 5 based on 511 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.