I've been familiar with Mendocino Brewing Company for a while now. Their Red Tail Ale has long been one of my favorites (a post will be forthcoming, I promise), and they make a decent pale as well. But today I went with a six pack of one of their other brews--The Eye of the Hawk. Here's the scoop.
Mendocino bills this one as a "Special Ale." I have no clue what that is supposed to mean. And, as I'll get to later, it's not all that special. Beer Advocate labels it as a Strong Ale. I'm not sure that really fits either. Arrogant Bastard would--quite credibly I think--excoriate this beer mercilessly for claiming to stand in the same genre as itself. This beer is malty enough that I am tempted to label it a Scotch Ale, but I'm not nearly familiar enough with that particular genre to be so bold. So I'll stick with Strong Ale, arrogant bastards notwithstanding.
As I mentioned, Eye of the Hawk is malty. Really malty. And a sweet malt at that. From start to finish, this beer is malt malt malt. There is a little hint of bitter earthy hoppiness, and a good amount of carbonation, which in combination manage to take the edge off of the malts ever so slightly. And if there's more flavoring than that going on in here, it's way too subtle for my tastebuds.
Mattie posted earlier on a combination of Eye of the Hawk with another of Mendocino's brews. He gave it a lukewarm review. Lukewarm is about as good as I can do too. It's certainly not a bad beer. And with the big bold flavor and increased alcohol content, it's not boring either. But in the end, it left me looking for a little bit more.