Mendocino Brewing Company - Blue Heron Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.8%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 50
- Serving Temperature: 45-50°F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Canada 2-Row
- Hops: Warrior, Cascade
Brewed since 1985, this golden-hued brew drops plenty of lace as you drink down the glass, and presents a sturdy pale malt aroma with touches of caramel, overlaid with mildly floral and citric hops notes as well as some touches of apple skin. On the palate, we enjoyed Blue Heron’s smooth and creamy attitude as well as its balance, as a fairly toasty and somewhat bready malt character is confronted by a very clean Warrior hop bitterness. Some floral and citrus zest hop flavors are apparent, as well, courtesy of the Cascade finishing hops. The firm, but not over-the-top bitterness adds a nice drying, palate-clearing quality. Try pairing this old school pale ale with sautéed prawns served with lemon grass, mint and lime. Cheers!
Mendocino Brewing Company’s story begins 30 years ago this year when the Hopland Brewery opened in the small town of Hopland, CA, along the west bank of the Russian River (the region was an important hop farming area from the mid 19th to the mid 20th centuries). Truly one of the pioneering microbreweries that proved so key to the microbrewed beer renaissance, the opening of this brewpub on August 14, 1983 was a red letter date in U.S. brewing history. It was the first brewpub in California since Prohibition, and only the second in the entire U.S. In those days, people made the pilgrimage from all around the country to visit the little brewpub in northern California that brewed some of the country's best beers. By 1997, there were 780 brewpubs in the United States; these guys laid the foundation for many of those, and the craft brewing revolution that continues to this day.
The brewing operation grew very quickly in the early years. Demand for their flagship beer, Red Tail Ale, and other raptor-themed ales continued to swell to the point where their original brewpub, though expanded in brewing capacity multiple times through the years, could no longer keep up with demand. In 1997, the company underwent major investment and expansion, leading to the building of their Ukiah, CA brewery and bringing the historic Olde Saratoga Brewing Company in New York into the fold to give them access to select markets on the East Coast.
If you’re ever in the area of Ukiah, located about 115 miles north of San Francisco near Redwood country, we highly recommend taking a pit stop at the Mendocino Ale House where you can enjoy the brewery’s beers on tap, just a half mile down the road from where they’re brewed. For hours, call (707) 467-2337. For more info on the brewery, visit them at www.mendobrew.com.
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