Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moylan's Brewery and Restaurant

Moylan's Brewery and Restaurant is located in Novato. Moylan's was founded in 1995 by the co-owner of the Marin Brewing Company, Brendan Moylan. Moylan is another graduate of the UCD brewing program.

Moylan's has a little row going with Port/Lost Abbey over the use of the Celtic Cross.

Moylan's has racked up an impressive array of awards.

Moylan's is just north of where Highway 37 hits Highway 101 off the Rowland exit. It's hard to miss as it the first thing you see going east from Highway 101 on Rowland road.

Moyalan's sits at the far end of a long business district, with offices a theater and shopping mall nearby. They have the corner to themselves with plenty of parking, which is necessary to accommodate the brewpub's big space and crowd. The outside resembles a large modern house with a country decor, a style found through out developments in the 90's in northern California.

Inside is a different world. Its big. High ceilings, big bar, big restaurant seating, again its big. A long mirrored wall adds to the feeling of spaciousness. The theme is aiming for an old British Isle tavern, which they achieve. I'm pretty jealous that there is nothing of this size in Sacramento. They have plenty of TVs for watching sports. There is also a nice outdoor patio to enjoy your beers during nice weather.

We ordered appetizers, the food was decent, although the calamari was great, but I was satisifed. The service was pretty slow, despite an empty restaurant.

Brew Reviews:

Spiced Winter Lager 6%ABV
Pours a clear, yellow. The aroma is spicy with coriander and whiffs of cinnamon with some sweet caramel malts and citrus. The taste is mild, but a blend of the coriander, citrus, cinnamon, and finished with a Belgian taste. The spices linger and negate any hops.  Light bodied, high carbonation, crisp. If you like these types of beers, Try It, but otherwise Skip It. There are better holiday beers around.

Octoberfest 5.8%
Pours a dark red color, light head. The aroma is light with whiffs of Munich malts and even some spice. The taste is mild with the Munich, bready malts and grassy and spicy hops. Medium bodied, average carbonation, smooth finish. Not a very good Oktoberfest. I'd skip it.

Celts Golden Ale 5%ABV
Pours a dark yellow, burnt gold. The aroma is weak with hints of wheat and floral and grassy hops. The taste has the bready wheat malts up front followed by some light stone fruitiness and grassy hops. Light bodied, medium carbonation, flat finish. I enjoyed it more than I thought, I'm not usually a fan of blond ales. Try It.

Special Bitter 5.2%ABV
Pours a light amber or orange color. The aroma has assertive earthy and floral hops with notes of light malts. The taste has a light citric fruitiness from the malt, light roasted malts, and a strong bitter hop finish. Light bodied, medium carbonation, smooth drinkability. Pretty good replica of a standard English Ale. Try It.

Tipperrary Pale Ale 5%ABV
Pours a light amber color with a good size head. Aroma has bready malts, with hints of toffee and citrus hops. The taste has the caramel and roasted malts up which carries though out with a flavorless bitter bite that only pops at at the end with some pine and citrus. Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation, smooth with a chewy finish. Not your West Coast Pale, more reminiscent of the more malt-centric East Coast American Pale Ales. Try It. 

Chelsea Moylan's Porter 5%ABV
Pours a dark brown color. The aroma has hints of roasted malts, chocolate malts with hints of coffee.The taste has roasted and chocolate malts upfront which have a dry, bitter backbone, mixed with sweet caramel malts. The finish has light earthy hops and bitter chocolate and coffee malts. Medium bodied, higher carbonation than usual for a porter, and dry finish, almost like a stout. An enjoyable porter, Try It.

Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout 10%ABV
Pours a very dark black, no light is getting through there. There's a thick, short, milk chocolate head that lingers. The aroma is subtle with roasted chocolate malts, dark fruits, with hints of spicy hops. The taste has roasted malts and sweet chocolate malts upfront followed by a more bitter and earthy roasted and chocolate malts. The finish has a hint of alcohol.Thick to medium bodied with low carbonation. The flavors are well balanced, although a little more sutble than I expected, but enjoyable. Try It.

I have also reviewed:
Old Blarney Barley Wine
Dragoons Dry Irish Stout

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Moylan's and I suggest you make the trip. They have a few really great beers and I would definitely frequent this place more if i was close. While they have a big selection of beers, I think they would do a lot more by focusing on a lower number of styles. Some of their beers are close to greatness, they just need a little more attention.

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