Mendocino Brewing Red Tail Ale

By Derrick Peterman

Mendocino Brewing Red Tail Ale 6-pack bottles showcasing classic amber ale packaging

When Mendocino Brewing’s Red Tail Ale first hit the shelves over 30 years ago, it marked a significant departure from the norm in an era dominated by light industrial lagers. At that time, the beer market was saturated with similar-tasting, mass-produced beverages that offered little in the way of variety or excitement. Red Tail Ale, with its bold and distinctive flavor profile, was a breath of fresh air for beer enthusiasts seeking something different.

Since its debut, California’s beer landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation. The craft beer movement has taken root and flourished, leading to a proliferation of breweries and a seemingly endless array of beer styles. Despite this evolution, Red Tail Ale remains a classic, holding its own amid the ever-changing trends. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its quality and the lasting appeal of its unique flavor.

In the current beer market, where über-hoppy IPAs and experimental brews featuring every conceivable ingredient are the stars, amber ales like Red Tail Ale often fly under the radar. However, these beers are incredibly underrated. While they may not always be the most exciting or trendy choice, they offer a balance and drinkability that can be hard to find in more extreme styles.

Red Tail Ale is drinkable yet far from boring. Its complexity sets it apart. The beer’s caramel character is complemented by deeply toasted malt notes, creating a rich and satisfying flavor profile. This is further enhanced by an earthy finish that adds depth and nuance. It was a radical brew when it debuted, challenging the status quo and offering something new and exciting for beer lovers. Today, it remains just as impressive, standing as a reminder of the innovation and creativity that sparked the craft beer revolution.

For many beer enthusiasts, Red Tail Ale represents a link to the past, a time when craft brewing was still in its infancy and pioneers like Mendocino Brewing were charting new territory. Drinking it is not just about enjoying a great beer; it’s about appreciating the history and evolution of the craft beer industry. It’s about recognizing the impact that early innovators had in shaping the diverse and dynamic beer culture we enjoy today.

In conclusion, Red Tail Ale is more than just a beer; it’s a symbol of the progress and growth of the craft beer industry. It serves as a reminder of how far the industry has come and the importance of celebrating and preserving the classics that helped pave the way. So, the next time you reach for a beer, consider giving Red Tail Ale a try. You might just find that this underrated amber ale offers a refreshing change of pace and a connection to the rich history of craft brewing.