Brewing Company and I go way back. I can recall drinking their beers all the
way back to the early nineties. In those days, Red Tail Ale, the soft
and dry pale ale that was the company’s flagship, was sort of a holy grail.
That was probably because it was fairly hard to find, at least when I lived
in Rhode Island. I had to drive to Massachusetts to get it, and couldn’t
always find it there.
How times have changed. The company has grown considerably since they opened
California’s first brewpub, the Hopland Brewery, back in 1983. If you’ve
ever seen that wonderful Discovery series on beer,
The Beer Hunter ,
you’ll know there was a short segment filmed there. Beer savant Michael
Jackson (not the gloved one) tours the Hopland brewery and discusses its
history with the owners. If you haven't seen the Beer Hunter, I
wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
Back in 1997, though, Vijay Mallya invested heavily in the company, and
expanded it considerably. With added capital, a brewery in Saratoga Springs,
New York was bought; another was built in Ukiah, California with a whopping
200,000 barrel capacity. Some say the beers have lost a bit of their
character since the expansion, and that the Saratoga Springs brews aren’t as
good as the Ukiah ones. But for the most part, I think the beer is good.
Availability has obviously improved with the expansion. I see Mendocino
brews all over Atlanta, in bottles and on tap. The prices are usually
reasonable, too, at about $7 a six-pack. With all of this success, though,
one wonders why it took so long for Mendocino to bottle an IPA. I’m sure
that the Hopland brewpub has had one regularly, but it was only recently
that White Hawk Select IPA hit store shelves.
I’ll let the brewery tell you a bit about their beer before I go on:
White Hawk is a traditional IPA .The IPA recipe is based on the original
1880 brew that was sent to India for the British troops. The advent of India
Pale Ale was born of a need to supply beer in the 1800's to British troops
in India. This hearty, heavily hopped ale was brewed to endure the rigors of
the long voyage from Great Britain.
White Hawk Original IPA was launched in California in early 2002 to meet the
demand for a unique India Pale Ale. Consumer response for White Hawk IPA
exceeded expectations and it is fast gaining a loyal following both in 6
pack and on draft.
My sample was bought in a 22-ounce bottle for $2.29, a pretty good deal to
be sure. I was happy to see the beer on the store’s shelves. It’s a nice
example of an IPA with an appropriate 7% alcohol content by volume and an
impressive 60 IBUs of bitterness. Just the thing to satisfy my hop cravings.
White Hawk Select IPA pours to a bright, orange amber color with a
thick rocky cauliflower head formation and a very spicy citric hoppy nose.
As soon as you sip, you’ll notice the full mouthfeel so rich with chewy
But then the hops take over, and really steal the show.
There’s an intense grapefruit hop character which quickly emerges. In the
finish, there’s more hop spiciness and an intense bitterness that lingers on
the tongue long after sipping. I love it, and all those hops make this a
great beer to accompany spicy food.
Well worth your time, and for just over two bucks for a twenty two ounce
bottle, well worth your money, too.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.