White Hawk – Mendocino Brewing Co. (Ukiah, CA)

Alright.  I had two of these Mendocino Brewing Co’s White Hawk IPA’s in my fridge for the last two weeks.  I knew I had to do a review on one of them.  Figured the West Coast needed a little representation.  So here goes…

Appearance:  Pours really cloudy., well at least this bottle did.  Really rich but thin head.  Deep orange/copper hue.   Gushing co2 in the glass…tons of bubbles.  I was kind of  surprised by that.

Aroma: Up front, a fruity, floral hop nose.  A bit phenolic.  Noticed some cherry notes, a bit of pine.  Caramel too.  But overall malty as hell.

Taste: Very chewy, malty body.  Nice bitterness though.  The co2 really blasting through this one.  The malt backbone in this beer really overpowers the hops which may suggest that this beer should marketed as a pale ale rather than an IPA.  I mean you still get some hops in the aroma/taste but they play back seat to the malt character…I wonder what malts they brew it with…Instead of hops you get this lingering bready, malty taste.

Overall Thoughts?: Not bad. Very malty and the aroma threw me off a bit.  I’d buy a six pack and drink ’em but wouldn’t want any more than that.  This beer was uncharacteristically malty for an IPA but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Usually these West Coast IPA’s are over-loaded with hops but this one favors a more traditional approach. According to the Mendocino web site this beer is based upon the original British recipe for India Pale Ales, which I thought was cool.  And, this beer has one of the most bad-ass labels going.  Nothing says bad-ass like a mean, white hawk.

Unofficial History Lesson: India Pales Ales were developed by the British during the 1600’s.  When the Brits were colonizing India, they needed the beer to last the long voyage all the way down the southern tip of Africa up to India.  And since it was a long, hot trip, the brewers would add a shit-load of hops to ‘preserve’ the beer and keep it from spoiling.   Now it’s one of the most popular styles of beer brewed today.

Unofficial Rating: C+

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