It’s great when your next door neighbor gives you a six pack of beer for Christmas. This past Christmas it was Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Co. in Ukiah, Calif. (His holiday guests gave it to him, and he doesn’t drink. I returned the favor with a bag of Great Lakes coffee.) The beer is smooth, amber in color and very drinkable. It’s a refreshing, clean ale with 6.1 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). And of course, I left a bottle out for Santa on Christmas Eve.
The beer’s history dates back 1983 and the Hopland Brewery, two hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge on Highway 101. Hopland Brewery was the first brewpub opened in California (and second in the U.S.), according to the Mendocino Brewing Co. website, www.mendobrew.com. Mendocino Brewing Company moved operations to an expanded facility in Ukiah. The brewery added Olde Saratoga Brewing in New York state. Mendocino today produces more than 20 nationally recognized labels and about 75,000 barrels a year. Red Tail is its flagship brand. Beeradvocate.com gives the beer a 79, which is an Okay and Try It rating. The rating goes from 0-100.
— Rick Blanchard