Mendocino's Superb Beers
by Kevin R. Kosar

At, we taste an awful lot of beers, wines, liquors and liqueurs.  I dare say our office has enough alcohol in it to get an entire army division blitzed, or, were he still alive, get Oliver Reed moderately buzzed.

Due to the raw quantity of tasting we do, many of the products are but blurry memories.  We tried them, they were decent or not so good, and that's that.  Only the outstanding one's remain on the tips of our frontal lobes.

The beers of Mendocino Brewing will remain etched in my brain for quite a while.  I sampled three of them the other night and was impressed by their high quality.  All of them were good, good enough to be beers that I would actively seek out and recommend without reservation to beer lovers.

(Note- while Mendocino is headquartered in Ukiah, California, and their brewery there creates the beer distributed on the West Coast, the beers reviewed here came from their other brewery in New York State.)

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Eye of the Hawk(8% alcohol by volume)- As the folks at note, "Mendocino Brewery's seasonal strong ale, Eye of the Hawk, is sunny-amber colored."  An unbelievably tasty beer.  Dishes notes of butterscotch, is creamy then close with a nice hops crispness.  As I muttered upon tasting it the first time, "too drinkable."  (Rating ****)
Blue Heron (6.1% alcohol by volume) is a crisp, hoppy golden ale.  Though quite strong, you wouldn't know it.  This is just the sort of ale that you could knock back four or five bottles with ease then stand up and fall flat on your face.  Pair with a burger or hotdog, or enjoy it straight up.  (Rating ****)
The Red Tail Ale is described as an amber ale, though in fact it is copper colored and could pass for a Irish red.  It's more complex than Blue Heron, the caramel malted barley, perhaps, helping add a softness and slight sweetness that balances remarkably against the crisp hops.   A winner of many prizes, and with good reason.  Highly recommended.
(Rating ****1/4)
Last up was Black Hawk Stout (5.2% ABV).  It's a very flavorful beer that will blow away those not accustomed to powerful ales.  It's ink black and begins sweet before slipping into a long cocoa powder note and a mild roasted, coffee-like finish.  It's scrumptious and as with the other Mendocino beers, well worth the $7 or $8 a six pack. (Rating ****)
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