Mendocino Brewing Company’s Eye of the Hawk says that “This full-bodied intense amber ale is enriched with a spirit, intense sensuous flavor and complex taste impressively mellow, with the dry finish, this totally varietal ale is seductively drinkable.” It’s 8% alcohol by volume.
It’s obviously amber in color, but a little bit on the darker amber side. It’s got a nice creamy foamy head with tiny bubbles that actually grew as it sat there. The smell is caramely and alcoholy… I’d say it almost smells like a barley wine.
The creamy head matches the first taste, as it was creamy and thicker than I expected. The taste was very caramely with almost toffee-like flavors. While it seems to have a big sweet maltiness up front, the hop bitterness is noticeable in the aftertaste. With the 8% ABV and the big malty flavor it really seems to border on a barlywine rather than an amber ale. While there’s a bit of an alcohol taste, the typical “alcohol heat” doesn’t seem to be there.
For me, it seems more like a beer I’d enjoy on a cool November day before a football game. Although it’s more of a sip and enjoy while shooting the shit beer than a chug at a tailgate beer. I think I’d probably pull one of these if I was looking for a barleywine with a bit less alcohol. As I was drinking it, I thought it would go perfectly with beef ribs that have BBQ sauce caramelized on it. Yum!