Wednesday, February 16, 2011

San Francisco - Moylan's Brewpub

While I may have said our trip to San Fran wasn't all about beer, as Stina pointed out in the comments, there was definitely still a lot of it for me to enjoy.  Our first stop of the trip was Moylan's Brewpub in Novato, California straight up highway 101 from San Francisco.  I'm glad this was our first stop as it was the most generic of the three places but since it was first it didn't affect my experience much.  Honestly though it was still pretty good with decent food and good beer.  It basically reminded me of an Irish pub restaurant that brews its own beer.
It had an Irish feel (the owner is Irish apparently) and the food was sort of a mix of a few Irish dishes, burgers and then other normal American stuff.  I'd say it was food similar to what you'd find at an Irish Pub.  You can see some of the flags and part of the interior in that picture.  See, the interior isn't bad but it is what you'd expect to see, right?  The food we all got was decent and made for a nice lunch to go with the beers.  And I'll give them credit, there were quite a lot of beers.  Nearly every style was represented, from milds to bitters to hoppy monsters, and all of them were at least okay.
Nice looking Celtic crosses as tap handles to go with the Irish theme.  This is the first set of taps and there was a second group of the same size a bit further down the bar.  While there were like 20 beers available, this was our first stop so I only got five samples.  (Yes, only.  Stop shaking your head like that.)
Nice set of samples.  From left to right, we had: Kilt Lifter scotch ale, Moylander double IPA, Hopsickle triple IPA, Special Reserve '09 Old Blarney barleywine, and Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout.

Kilt Lifter had a light caramel aroma.  Decent amount of caramel and toffee followed with some vanilla in the finish.  Strong flavors in a well made scotch ale.  The double and triple IPAs were super duper hoppy with no sweetness backing either up at all.  If you like hop bombs, you'd love these but for me the bitterness never let up and I'm glad I only had some small samples..  I was hoping the barleywine would be great but unfortunately it was just ho hum.  It had a sweet aroma but the flavors were very muted and I thought slightly oxidized and cardboardy.  I don't know how it is fresh but with a year and a half on it (assuming the '09 is from some time in '09) the flavors just weren't strong enough to be enjoyable.  Finishing with the imperial stout was a good idea though.  Some roast in the nose followed by lots of roast and coffee.  Some lingering bitterness which may build in a full glass but in the sample wasn't too bad.  Hops seem to be Moylan's thing I guess.
Nice flag for you.  After those samples we got ready to go but not before picking up a growler of their Extra Special Bitter.  My wife had gotten a glass at the bar and thought it was pretty good.  Later that evening I poured myself a glass of it to give it a try.
Nice looking growler at least.  The ESB poured with a little head but I was too slow on the picture (and it still ended up a little blurry.  I'm so good at pictures.)  Smelled a bit bready, very inviting.  Hints of bread and some caramel finishing with a light bitterness for a nice balance.  Pretty tasty.

As a start to the San Francisco breweries, Moylan's was nice.  Enjoyable atmosphere, decent food, and pretty good beer.  Some of the beers were sort of heavy on the hops for my palate but hopheads would eat it up (drink it up?).  The ESB and Kilt Lifter were both well made and not bitter so maybe their lighter beers would have been a better choice for me.  My wife enjoyed the former and my sister in law got some of the other lighter ones and enjoyed them so probably.  Next up is Russian River!  Look for the write up tomorrow but for a small preview, that place was awesome.

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