Mendocino Brewing Blackeye Ale: Beer of the Month

Mendocino Brewing Blackeye Ale. (Kirk McKoy /Los Angeles Times / December 1, 2011)

Mendocino Brewing Blackeye Ale

Mendocino doesn't list this as either a regular or a seasonal brew, but it has an impressive-looking silvery label featuring two raptor birds with challenging expressions, so they're evidently committed to it. And a good idea, too. This is a solid beer with a certain muscular authority, like a stout but a little lighter and particularly easy to drink.

It's a black-and-tan, meaning in this case a mixture of Mendocino's Eye of the Hawk ale, which uses a judicious blend of Saaz (Pilsner) and piney Cascade hops, and the brewery's dry Irish-style Black Eye Stout. It pours very dark brown with a light brownish head and a malty, nutty, fruity nose. The palate is nice and round, with light effervescence and a long, smooth bittersweet finish.

In terms of food pairings, it would go equally well with red meat or anything flavored with toasted nuts, making it your basic roast beef/peanut butter sandwich beer.

— Charles Perry

Quick Sip

Style: A lighter, easier drinking stout.

Price: $3 for a 22-ounce bottle.

Where to find it: Beverages and More (www.bevmo.com) and Total Wine (www.totalwine.com)

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