Beer Wednesday: Eye of the Hawk Select Ale by Mendocino Brewing Co

My roommate recently brought back the Eye of the Hawk Select Ale by Mendocino Brewing Company from our local Trader Joe's. He liked that it was on sale and styled itself as a "dry ale." After trying it, I have to say the dry ale description is apt; overall it was an interesting and pretty nice ale.

You may recognize Mendocino Brewing Co as the makers of the very delicious Red Tail Ale and the Black Hawk Stout. To me Mendocino Brewing doesn't have a distinctive style to their beers like some other brewers do, but they make good beers nonetheless.

The Eye of the Hawk is interesting as far as ales go. It has a nice malty and fruity flavor on the first taste. After the initial attack the beer's hops really appear on the palate. Now I am not a huge hops guy, but the Eye of the Hawk is similar to Speakeasy's Prohibition Ale in that it balances its hops pretty well. The hops lend a bite to the back end of the beer. The finish is clean. After the finish the dry ale description does live up to its billing; I found it dry in a pleasant way.

Unfortunately, while the hops do balance well within the beer, the Eye of the Hawk is not as smooth as the Prohibition Ale is. For this reason it would never become a rotation beer for me, because that type of hoppy flavor doesn't agree with my palate enough for me to crave it. The bite I describe above is too pronounced for my taste.

Part of the reason may be that this beer has 8% abv, which is pretty high for an ale. My roommate said he got he got the six pack for $6.99. I would recommend Eye of the Hawk to people who like their ales hoppy and flavorful, or if you're interested in trying that style.


  1. I've started warming to this beer more and more. Partially I credit Aaron for getting me to sample some more hop-centric beers in the IPA tasting, which is expanding my palate. Partially I think the beer is just growing on me as I had another on Monday night and enjoyed it even more than the first.

    I am going to keep my eye on the hoppy ale category, and if I find some really great examples I will put them up.

  2. At one point, my local Costco offered a 24 pack from the Mendocino Brewing Co. with six bottles each of the Eye of the Hawk Select Ale, the Red Tail Ale, the Blue Heron Pale Ale and the White Hawk IPA. (And thus I did not know the Black Hawk Stout existed.) To this day that was my favorite case of beer from Costco ever. It even edges out the 24 bottles of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA due to the variety within the single case.

    Alas, Costco rotates their beers just a little too frequently for me and I was never able to get another. All four beers had great hop content relative to their individual style. I really liked the variety that on any given day I could go into the fridge and decide how many hops I wanted to go with whatever my mood or dinner desired.

    I actually liked the Eye of the Hawk the least, but that is not an insult to the Select Ale, but a compliment to how much I liked each variety. Mendocino might be my second favorite brewery after Stone (of course) and before Sam Adams.

  3. I didn't know Costco carried a Mendocino Brewing variety pack at one point, that's pretty cool.

    In my opinion their Red Tail is one of the pinnacle beers you can find. Just really well done.

    There is an interesting discussion today over at The Brew Club started by a question from Scott: Do beer glasses matter?

    I encourage everyone to weigh in.