Beer o’ the Moment: Mendocino Black Eye Ale

We’ve mentioned the wonders of the Mendocino East/Olde Saratoga Brewing Company on a few occasions. Their Mendocino Black Eye Ale is an interesting take on a traditional bottled Black & Tan. Rather than blending a stout with a lager like the Yeungling or Saranac bottled versions — or even with a lighter ale, as in the famous Guinness/Bass pairing — this one blends Mendocino Black Hawk Stout with Eye of the Hawk, an 8% abv American Strong Ale. Hence the name Black Eye. Get it?

Black Hawk is a fairly run-of-the-mill stout, but mixed with the tasty (and strong) Eye of the Hawk, it makes for a pretty interesting brew with a bit more depth than many others of the style. It clocks in at a relatively high 6.5% abv, and there are some definite hot alcohol notes at the start, courtesy of the strong ale, but it is surprisingly thin and a bit watery feeling in the mouth. It is slightly sweet, with an almost dark chocolatey bitterness at the finish. Almost. Not a perfect beer, but plenty interesting.

Due to our close proximity, this is a beer that we have enjoyed almost exclusively on a brewery fresh basis. It is available as a blend when both the Black Hawk and Eye of the Hawk are on draught in the tasting room, and in 22 oz. bombers from their cooler or in stores nation wide. The best experience we’ve had with this beer was the incredible Jack Daniels barrel aged version that seems to make periodic appearances in the Saratoga Springs tasting room. Given Mendocino’s broad availability, Black Eye may be on store shelves in many locales on a slightly more aged basis. It is usually sold at popular prices, and is certainly worth a try should you happen across it.

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~ by bojangles on September 5, 2007.

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