Mendocino Brewing Co.
Saratoga Springs, NY
Red Tail Lager
The nose is malty but with a slightly stringent, green-leaf smell, like washed lettuce or fresh green beans. It’s not off-putting as there is a sweetness underneath the grassy hop notes.
The mouthfeel is decent, a bit thin towards the back, but otherwise great. There is a touch of those green beans in a snappy, hop character at the start, opening up into a decently chewy breadiness. Some toasted notes appear, though they are reasonably clean and bring out the grainy husk of the malts.
As the beer warms some, the hop character becomes grassier but the malt hides some very subtle touches of sweet fruits – nothing to be put off by, but enough to keep you interested. The mouthfeel also improves into something a bit more full, but the finish is very crisp, like the high altitude air this particular brew’s eponymous bird frequents.
I first tried this brewery in 2003 or so and they have always impressed me – plus they’re in NYS; I love their Blue Heron and Eye of the Hawk. This a brewery to sample if you haven’t done already. Always eminently drinkable (plus the labels are beauties).