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Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mendocino's 30th Anniversary Single Hop Pale Ale

The 30th Anniversary Single Hop Pale Ale is an American Pale Ale by the Mendocino Brewing Company. As its name suggests this ale celebrates the 30 years of Mendocino being in operation by using the hop that has sustained it - cascade. I found it at Costco.

Mendocino has a close connection to California craft brew history. Two of its early operation managers were the founders of the first modern craft brewery in the United States. Some of my earliest encounters with craft brew included Red Tail Ale, the brewery's flagship beer. Between Red Tail and Sierra Nevada, I got a little preview of what beer could be. If we were lucky Eye of the Hawk could be found. My first homebrew experience was actually based on a Red Tail clone. Unfortunately, in the late 1990's the United Breweries Group bought a majority in Mendocino. The UB Group owns Kingfisher beers.

What changed? I'm not exactly sure, but this post about this 30th anniversary ale says a lot:"Mendocino’s brewery in Saratoga Springs, New York." Glad to see they are keeping it local.

The aroma is mild with slight hints of floral hops and fruit. The taste has pale malts, slight grapefruit hops, and a piney finish. The mouthfeel can be sticky and the body is medium to light.

Overall, its a decent pale ale. However, its a bit disappointing for a brewery that's been around so long. I've heard jokes from brewers about the state of the Mendocino brewing and this beer backs it up. This is a standard pale ale. If you're going to put out a milestone ale focused on one hop, it better be damn good. It better showcase the full flavor profile of the hop. This fails to do so.

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