Review of Mendocino Red Tail Ale

25 May
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Mendocino Red Tail Ale from the Mendocino Brewing Company located in Ukiah, California. 

This is a handcrafted American-Style Amber Ale and will be the first beer that I have ever had from this brewery. 

By perusing around on their website,, I discovered that they produce a variety of beers.  Basic styles along with Imperials and Oragnics among other things.

I also found a nice little description of the Red Tail.

Red Tail Ale is our flagship brand.  It is brewed in the traditional “old world” manner, using premium two-row malted barley, hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain.  It is an amber ale with a rich complex refreshing flavor and a crisp dry finish.  Like a good wine, Red Tail Ale is a perfect complement to fine dining.   

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to give it a pour and a taste. 

This brew stands in at 6.1% ABV and comes in a 12 oz. bottle. 

The appearance was of a decent little amber/orange color with an off white, soapy head that had some nice size and pretty good retention.  The brew was mostly cloudy with some burnt yellow highlights at the bottom.  The lacing left behind was ok as it left a few patches on the sides of the glass for me to appreciate.

The aroma had some mild, but sweet smelling caramel malts mingled with an earthy, “peat” type of fragrance.  Some fruit notes, of what smelled like peaches, were blended admirably with a low to medium hop whiff.  The essence reminded me of an “ESB” to tell the truth.   It was balanced pretty well I thought, although it was a bit relaxed and laid back.  Nothing bad, just a bit mild.

The taste brought out a sugary, sweet caramel coalesced with a more prevalent hop bitterness and bite than what was found in the nose.  The fruitiness was stumbled upon again and welcomed, however I started to detect the slightest bit of grain that overtook the sweetness as the beer warmed and I worked my way down the glass.  It was still well rounded and balanced ideally though.

The mouthfeel was medium to light, smooth, mostly crisp and semi-refreshing.  It seemed to be somewhat watery actually with not a lot of flavor left on the palate.  Oh well.  It is what it is. 

This beer wasn’t bad!!!  It not a world class brew, but it was rather pleasant and enjoyable.  The Red Tail is worth a try if you see it, for sure.  It’s not overcomplicated or overbearing, although it does have enough individuality for some conversation and contemplation.  It made for an easy drink and is almost sessionable at 6.1% ABV.  Give it a shot and let me know what you thought of it.  I’m going to have to try and find a few more Mendocino brews and see how they stack up before I come to any conclusions on the brewery as a whole….. but the first impression was pleasant enough.

What are some other Mendocino beers that I should try?

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments.  I really appreciate it.  Have a great day and enjoy a “craft beer” if you have a moment.


Score:  3.45 out of 5
Grade:  B-         

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Country: USA, Mendocino


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