May 23, 2007

MENDOCINO BREWING COMPANY "Cast of Hawks" sampler pack

I thought I had tried something by the Mendocino Brewing Company before realized I hadn't until I picked up this sampler pack. The Medocino Brewing Company started brewing beer in Hopland, California in 1983 and were apparently the state's first brewpub. The company now run's two breweries. One in Ukiah, Ca and the other in Saratoga Springs, New York.


Tuesday May 15, 2007
WHITE HAWK Original IPA: While some acquaintances of mine shy away from the hoppier end of the beer scale I am one that says "Bring 'em on. I ain't scared" so any IPA I happen across is gonna be given a fair shot. So naturally the first bottle I pulled out of the box was going to be of that style. White Hawk seems to be in a weird place as far as IPA's go. At a 6% alc. count it is in line for the style of brew it is bit there's a bit more bitterness to the hops, in both it's initial swigs and aftertaste, than what I usually look for. Different than most west coast IPA's I have tried but the batch I am trying was brewed at their Saratoga Springs, NY location (as are all the ones that came in this box) so maybe there is an east coast bent on it. I'm not really familiar with any east coast IPA's though so if anyone can point me into the right direction -please do. White Hawk would not be my first choice when it comes to IPA's but it does have enough of it's own interesting character where we might meet again some day.

Friday May 18, 2007
EYE OF THE HAWK Select Ale: Taste wise it's pretty deceiving for sporting an 8% alcohol content. Very malty and a bit of caramel in the taste with the proof kicking back once down the throat. A nice full feeling in it as it goes down pretty easy for the punch it packs but all in all flavorwise I didn't find much to get excited about. The better half, who isn't much of a beer drinker at all but does enjoy the occasional Sleeman's or Bell's concoction, had a glass of it and said she'd consider picking up a six of it for her and her friends for one of their sewing circle meetings.

Monday May 21, 2007
BLACK HAWK Stout: They're calling for temp's in the 80's tomorrow. I also have the day off. I have a shitload of yard projects plans and I hope to get one or two of them in action. I might wanna take a break a here and there. To me, stouts is not the most perfect choice when it comes to thirst quenching beer on a hot day. They're just a bit too thick for such times. I always think of them as more like an inside in the colder months kind of thing. I have this and the Red Tail Ale left to try before this sampler 12 is gone. I figure I might as well give the stout a try tonight and if the Red Tail doesn't cut it tomorrow I can always mosey on down to corner store after dinner to pick up something I can enjoy a taste of while sitting on the porch and watching the sun go down. I'm sorta up and down about stouts. I like them when they have a super molasses and/or chocolate/coffee flavor and my opinion lessens on the ones that lean to the burnt grain and/or smokey thing. Black Hawk tilts a bit more the the latter. Not enough to declare something like "I think some old used campfire wood was thrown into the vats" or anything but also not enough to entice me to pick up a six if heading over to visiting a stout liking friend's either.

Tuesday May 22, 2007
RED TAIL Ale: I wish I could say "Saving the best for last" and act like I meant it but in this case it was purely accidental. I'm not usually a big fan of red and amber ales but this 7 percenter one is damn decent. Easy drinking, a clever balance of hop & malt as well as a fruity tinge to it's flavor. Most red's and amber's are not usually my favorite of any brew family but there's something in the complexity of this to make it stand a a couple inches above most.

So to rank them in order
1st-Red Tail
2nd-White Hawk
3rd-Eye Of The Hawk
4th-Black Hawk

In postscript I have to say that while drinking each bottle I would always glace at the label and see some hawk with an intense look sorta looking back at me. Did it make me think Hawkwind? Yeah, for a second of two but then images of black velvet tapestries that a hillbilly uncle of mine who once lead a southern rock tribute band and now sings Toby Keith songs at karaoke at the bowling alley every Wednesday night has tacked up on the walls of his den.
http://www.mendobrew.com/

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