Eye of the Hawk | Mendocino Brewing Company

968 Ratings
Eye of the HawkEye of the Hawk

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2000

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 968 |  Reviews: 491
Photo of Onslow
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

another surprise for me at the local bottleshop, went in and couldn't find anything new except for some asian and s. american lagers, chose this beer simply b'cuz there was nothing else avaliblbe plus this beer has got a bad rep with older bottles sneeking through at my local..review...

pours a light golden sand colour ... the lacing kicks ass, impressive... smell is of some honey, newtons, good sweet stuff
taste is simple yet fruity and down-able with class..


this brew is a hidden gem, and the price makes it a winner!

 535 characters

Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal-clear copper hue with a weak one and half finger off-white head. Lots of crystal malts and toasted aroma, with a healthy backing of cirtusy american hops. The flavor starts with a bland two-row taste and progresses to light caramel and a hint of buscuit. The aftertaste holds some mild citric hop flavor and a moderate bitterness that manages to balance the mellow malt sweetness but you really have to search for the hops and the overall taste is sort of blah; especially for 8% ABV. The alcohol dries the palate and eliminates most residual sweetness without drying the mouthfeel too much but the alcohol character sticks out a bit too much considering the lack of malt and hop presence. Light-ish in body with medium-high carboantion- this beer drinks more like a boozed up amber ale. Good drinkability for the style despite the apparent ABV. A passable Strong ale at a good price, but easily forgotten among more memorable examples of the style.

 965 characters

Photo of Ricochet
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one was beads in the pour. Good sign. No head and very little lace. It looked good as their amber. Almost the same with a little less cloudiness. Smelled like butterscotch and slight malt and an alcohol finish. Appetizing. Thick mouth, with sweet butterscotch aftertaste also a little grapefruit. Very nice. It was as balanced as strong ale could be. High APV but don't tell who's drinking because they wouldn't know. Malt, strong hops but not bitter, almost like maple syrup without the sweet. Slight licorice note tasted, and this was chewy and rounded.

Man, this goes down well, and seems to be the best of the sampler pack and the best I've had so far from Mendocino.

 678 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with very minimal head. Nose is like sugary malts. Thick with a syrup tone as well. Flavor is thick with a syrup quality as well. I guess that appeals to the feel as much as anything else. Pretty nice, though the alcohol is a bit much. And the thick syrup tones aren't really helping either. I wonder if this could smooth out over time.

 356 characters

Photo of slatetupelo
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an amberish copper color with about a finger of white head with some lacing.

S - Sorta of a sweet caramel malt aroma with some hops presence , just not very prominent.

T - Some sweet accents to begin with caramel I guess, followed by some bitter hops. The alcohol is hidden really well.

D -This beer goes down really smooth and the alcohol is very unnoticeable to me, I could down quite a few of these before getting in over my head. My buddy is out cold right now because of underestimating the abv of this beer. Good thing, because we got some funny pictures!!!

 578 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from a bottle to mug. Gave a nicely thick head that lasted a fair amount of time. It had an cloudy, amber appearance. Not overly cloudy, but certainly not clear.

Had a pleasantly sharp smell with some of the sugary elements being apparent. Presence of hops without a doubt.

The taste was pretty bitter, mainly due to the hops. Had a smooth finish with some taste of caramel in there. Not bad.

This wasn't an overly carbonated beer, but it did seem to be just right. It gives a little bite, but doesn't necessarily last.

On the whole, this is a decent beer. I'm not a huge fan of beers with overly hoppy flavors, but I can still appreciate it on some level.

 675 characters

Photo of drperm
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A light, mostly clear, redding presentation in the glass. A really complex nose: tobacco and some vibrant floral/hoppy notes that get my juices flowing. The flavors: also complex, leading to a smarmy, slightly syrupy finish, and yet I cannot say no. Wunderbar!

 260 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange/amber color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, honey, some fruit and spice, along with a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and sweet with flavors of honey, caramel, spice and some dark fruit. There’s a decent presence of hops bitterness and a hearty malt character, but seems to lack as far as balance is concerned. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, there are certainly more flavor stronger beers that I would prefer over this one. I don’t think I would choose this beer again unless my choices were very limited.

 845 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A good, interesting sample from a respectable brewing company... this strong American Ale delivers well, pouring a copper brown color with minimal head... smell is typical of a strong ale, with a caramel, butter nose pulling through with a slightly "oil" presence... taste was complete bread and butter flavors, with some light caramel and a nutty, grainy taste... nice robust flavor that was a pleasure to drink... good mouthfeel and easy drinkability for an 8% ABV... don't notice the alcohol so much... flavors of the brew tend to dominate the palate... good stuff... I really enjoyed this one... Recommended...

 614 characters

Photo of alexskovan
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a pale amber with an inch of off-white head, very pretty in the glass. Sharp sweet floral aroma, with toasted malt as well, very inviting. Taste is a slow caramel wave in the mouth with hops tickling in the background and all of it crashing to a pleasing, mildly bitter finish.

A very nice ale.

 303 characters

Photo of bigremy
1.86/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I sadly didn't like this beer for some reason. The appearance was alright, your average amber in color. The aroma didn't impress me either and wasn't very appealing. The mouthfeel didn't do much for me, and I found the taste to be lacking in character. There was a strong finish to it, but I thought it overpowered any flavors lingering from the initial taste and there was too much carbonation. Definitely not my favorite choice for a Strong Ale, but others seem to like it.

 475 characters

Photo of Foxman
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy orangey amber with fair to middling carbonation. A finger of light tan head sinks soon to traces of foam. Sprigs of lacing bloom on the inside of the glass.

The aroma is sweet with toasted malt, whispering of caramel and berry. The hops are present with a tinny spiciness, not necessarily pepper or citrus. A soft doughiness comes through as well.

Upon tasting, the malt is a healthy mix of candy sugar, caramel, and berry fruit. The hops are more pervasive here with a mild citrus passage and some pepper as well. Molasses, vanilla, and a smokey note come before a flex of alcohol. Baked biscuit and a lash of residual sweetness cede to a more raw and dry bitterness in a lingering finish. It's not really blended so much as coexistent, but it has a fun nature.

Medium bodied, it does have a slightly oily flow, but this is washed away in the wake of an unexpectedly stinging onslaught of carbonation.

It's a lot busier than just the aroma would have one believe. And it's not really blended, in spite of the multi-tiered complexity. But it's one of those rare birds that can still be enjoyed in spite of a less than organized approach. And despite the ABV, which is warm and active on the palate and thereafter, it's never a chore to drink down. This is a solid brewery, and I think they took some chances in brewing this beer. For the most part, those chances work in their favor.

 1,407 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- clear auburn brew sporting a 1 finger, taunt, off white head, good retention, sheets of white lacing appear of sides of the glass

S- toasted grains, caramel, dried fruits, floral, perfume alcohol

T- well balanced, toasted malts, fruity malt characters, leafy hops with some raw oils, woody, faint alcohol at finish

M- smooth and partially oily medium body with very subtle alcoholic heat at finish.

D- mellow brew that nicely balanced and decently complex, solid offering.

 479 characters

Photo of praufs01
3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance –Clear copper color with a frothy off-white head.

Aroma – Sweet pineapple fruit smell.

Palate – Smooth with moderate carbonation.

Flavor –Carmel and fruit with a light cleansing hop finish.

Final thoughts – Nice brew but a little out of balance. Could use a slightly stronger hop finish.

 309 characters

Photo of MMAJYK
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dingy, medium amber color with reddish orange hues in the light. Semi transparent. Minimal head after semi conservative pour with no lacing at all down the glass.

S- Hoppy smell jumping out of the glass. Also is sugary sweet on the nose. I sense some sour grapes mixed with apples and sourdough bread.

T- Sweet like maple syrup. Also pick up the bitter hop oil and alcohol. I also taste citrusy fruit (grapefruit?) and molasses.

M- Medium to thin and oily. Stinging carbonation on the back of the tongue, and soft up front.

D- A little too sweet and syrupy for a session beer. However, I really enjoyed this beer as my first of the day. 1-2 is all a man would need to get his *feel* of this one.

I feel that I do like this beer, but it does not have sessionability. It is very sweet almost like a wine. It tastes very sweet which to me is not appealing in a beer, but somehow I like it.

 894 characters

Photo of NitroGen
4.03/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation - 12 oz. Brown Bottle

Appearance – Pours brilliant, deep and clear amber with a tight white foamy head that slowly dissipates to a light thin cover and lacing down the entire glass.

Smell – Surprisingly clear malt that is deep and sweet leaving a robust smell of alcohol with no hints of herbs or grains.

Taste – Starts with lots of carbonation that although it is at 8% ABV I found to be very smooth, well balanced leaving a light crisp aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Well balanced as it hits the entire mouth with a smooth and pleasant aftertaste that grows with a more pronounced alcohol closer to the bottom of the glass.

Drinkability – I like this ALE and would recommend to anyone looking for a great tasting beer. I could see sticking with this for an afternoon tailgating or a night out with friends. The only caveat is that I would need to remind myself that this is a strong ale as the Hawk will not say a thing.

 942 characters

Photo of armock
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an amber orange color with a white head

S - Sweet malts and some hops

T - Taste is a little hops and the alcohol comes through

M - Medium carbonation seems a little dry

D - Its a pretty good beer its not my first choice from this brewer I'd pick up the Red Tail Ale before this but its worth a try.

 312 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber color, with good head and creamy retention.

Malt is prevalent in the the aroma and flavor, sweet but pale and imbued with a fruity, yeasty character. Alcohol is present but not overpowering.

Finish is clean, perhaps something less than would be desired but overall its clean and unobtrusively strong. Solid, unremarkable ale.

 340 characters

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tart, dry hops and lightly sweet, powdery malt.

Deep orange straw color, slight haze, mild-moderate head.

Tart edge of hops and sweet malt. Thick, creamy body hints at sugar and alcohol. Hops poke through pallet with stamina and subtle vigor.

Good stiff ale with a heart. Mmm.

 280 characters

Photo of gwood
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is an old staple of mine...I'll admit. In my freedom years it was on tap at all my haunts.

A - Cooper colored with flashes of medium amber orange in the light. Not much of a head, what is there doesn't hang on long.

S - Malts up front with hints of light colored fruits and a slight piney hop at the end.

T - Just like it smells, in order, the way I like a beer like this to be.

M - Clean and crisp. Just the right amount of body from the malts.

D - Very drinkable for the abv, hence a beer that we used to cut loose with about once a week back in the day.

Overall, I'm partial to the beer but it fits well in the style IMO and is really quite a shocker in terms of how drinkable it is, watch this one.

 718 characters

Photo of malcontent
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish to honey-hued liquid capped off by a nice bit of head. Lacing is strong although the head is less-than-durable.

Apple cider, fruit gum and a Champagne dryness on the back end provide a complex nose. It does get a touch ester-y, though.

Well, it's certainly fruity... Apple and plum mix with a sweetness that borders on overbearing at times. Hops rescue the beer on the finish and as it warms, the brew mellows a good deal.

Surprisingly not syrupy with mouth-filling, but never aggressive, carbonation. The alcohol is on the high side and I, unlike others, do find it detectable. Therefore drinkability is somewhat limited.

 634 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a murky copper color with a small head that fades fairly quickly leaving almost nothing behind.

S- Smell is sweet and mettalic, grains as well as a slight alcohol character.

T- sweet and grainy yet full and well balanced. raisans and other darker fruits capture the palate.

M- Thick and well carbonated. Very easy going down.

D- Despite the somewhat high alcohol content this beer is amazingly drinkable. For a cheaper beer purchased from trader joes I think this brew is a home run.

 496 characters

Photo of jayfarley3
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap in a pint glass at, has a cloudy dark amber color to it. smells sweet and malty with only a slight hop aroma to it. tastes very smooth for the 8% abv and is medium-bodied. drinkability is good. paired very well with my club sandwhich i had with it for lunch.

 269 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed up in New York - 12 oz. bottle with no freshness date; served in my Sam Adams tulip. It pours lightly-hazed, medium amber, unfiltered?, with a two-finger, loose tan head that recedes fairly quickly, yet leaves moderate lacing. In the nose it is rich and malty, vinous, with molasses, dark fruits, green/citric hops in the back, and an aniseesque spiciness. The malts are pungent on the palate, imparting molasses, toasted, caramel, milk chocolate, and vinous notes. The spicy/grassy hops have to battle the malts for supremacy, and on the way contribute a medium bitterness, notes of green/leafiness, and sea salt. It has a medium to full body that is tingly at first, but becomes smooth, almost creamy. Overall an agreeable, easy-to-drink strong ale that delivers and nice interplay between the malts and hops.

 818 characters

Photo of gmfessen
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is an orange-copper color with a thick, bubbly, light brown-tan head. The taste has a fruity spiciness and a hint of alcohol, almost Belgian-esk. The taste is initially of a sweet maltyness that quickly transitions to bitter from a combination of the hopping and alcohol bite. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly mouth-stinging carbonation. Overall, this is a drinkable beer but not quaffable. The alcohol is fairly apparent, which takes away from the drinkability.

 523 characters

Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 968 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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