Mendocino Black Hawk Select Stout | Saratoga Springs, New York
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”]This review is fraught with danger. I hate to review a brew under these circumstances but being cheap I don’t think I can avoid it. I was given a bottle of Black Hawk because a friend had a tasting and put this brew, along with 2 others and some white wines in the freezer to get them chilled. Well, he forgot about them and today he found them frozen solid. This one, the Black Hawk, was oozing some dark liquid out of the cap. The others were hanging tight but are lighter brews. I knew this one would need to be drunk as soon as it thawed.
I got it at 5:30, it had been out of the freezer for a while but was still pretty much frozen. I left it out until around 8PM when it looked like it had finally thawed but was still cold. I put it back in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It’s now 8:30 and just poured it in a frosted glass.
I have consumed frozen beer before. Usually was a Killian’s or an “Ice” brew. Typically it shifts the flavor profile and tastes watery. This brew is still very good. Or at least I hope that freezing didn’t shift it to tasting good.
Roasty toasty is the first thought. Very smooth malt start that drifts off to a ever growing toasty finish that hints on being dry and bitter. As most brews the first, second, third tastes are always a bit different. Your taste buds get slammed and shifted and different flavors come through.
First taste super malty and shifts to toasty toffee flavors and finishes dry and bitter. Second sip and it’s malty but shifts to roasted coffee flavors and finishes dry. Swirl a bit of it on third taste and it seems a more smooth and maybe a bit vanilla. But I have to admit it always finishes with a roasted flavor that lingers for 20-30 seconds.
Now that it it is warming up the finish is less bitter and dry. When its colder its more crisp. Smooth vs. crisp? Not sure which one is better.
I think this is a well-made beer that even stands up to the abuse of being frozen. I need to see what their website says.
Black Hawk Stout retains the big traditional flavors of an Irish-style stout and yet offers a refreshing dry crispness that is rare in many dark beers. Black Hawk Stout is replete with a rich, roasted malt flavor that makes this not-so-heavy stout, creamy and ever so smooth. It has a subtlety that surprises and converts even the most reticent stout drinker.

A photo of a 6-pack from their website
A photo of a 6-pack from their website

I figured this is a West Coast brew based on the name but the label said NY. I was sorta right. Mendocino Brewing was founded in Mendocino Count CA back in 1983 but they joined up with the UB Group and acquired Olde Saratoga Brewing and that’s why this was brewing in the Northeast.
So they call this a dry stout. Maybe the time in the freezer smoothed it out. As I finish the last few sips I sense the dryness on the finish but I don’t on the start. I find it interesting that such a malty brew is made by a brewer that features hops on their logo and the label of this dry stout. This is part of their Select Series.
I would proudly offer this brew to Beer Brothers Mark and Brett.
Nice brew and the best part, it didn’t cost me a thing. (You can buy it at Vineyard Wine Market).
Brewery: Mendocino Brewing


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