Co-founder of Marin Brewing Company in 1989 and an avid brewer, Brendan Moylan opened Moylan’s Brewing Company in 1995 in Novato, CA. Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant was originally a $3.5 million project that has now established a strong following among North Marin County’s beer enthusiasts. Moylan’s features a 57 foot long bar, a dart room with fireplace, a reading library featuring brewing books and magazines, and lots of humorous signs and stickers about beer or bars. The theme for this pub is definitely Irish, so you may want to wear green. Brewmaster Brendan Moylan is assisted in creating Moylan’s delicious brews by Derek Smith and Jim GrBac (yes, GrBac).
My first exposure to Moylan’s was through drinking Hopsickle Imperial IPA on draft at Pizza Port in San Clemente. This award-winning beer was so good that I wanted to visit the brewery/ restaurant if ever in the Novato area. Hence, I was thrilled that my wife and I stopped at Moylan’s for lunch as part of our trip. Moylan’s produces about 2000 barrels of beer per year so they are still a microbrewery, but their long list of beer awards challenge any brewery and demonstrate their beer quality.
Moylan’s offers good food and an extensive list of beers. You can even surprise a friend by buying them a beer in advance of their next visit. Our time at Moylan’s was limited so I only sampled six beers (a few were specialty beers that aren’t generally available). My tasting notes follow.
Moylan’s Pomegranate Wheat (5% ABV): This unfiltered wheat beer made with pomegranate juice pours with a reddish hue and white foam. Pomegranate wheat has a very sweet aroma of pomegranate juice with a background of malt. The smell was almost like candy. This beer is light-bodied with mild carbonation. Pomegranate wheat has a very sweet pomegranate juice flavor followed by a subtle malt flavor. A cloying sweet aftertaste finishes the beer. This beer was overly sweet for my personal taste.
Moylan’s Therapy Session IPA (4.5% ABV): This special release beer pours a clear light gold color with white foam that leaves a nice lace. Therapy Session IPA surprised me with a delightful aroma of mangoes, peaches, and even guava. The beer is light-bodied with mild but prickly carbonation. A sip of Therapy Session IPA produces tastes of malt and biscuit followed by an assertive hops bitterness. The finish is dry with lingering hops bitterness. This is an excellent session beer that can put a bitter kick into your day.
Moylan’s Our Dark Secret Double Black IPA (8% ABV): This special release beer pours a clear dark brown (almost black) color with beige foam that left a great lace down the glass. Our Dark Secret has a strong aroma of smoky grains with pine resin and grapefruit. The beer is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Our Dark Secret has subtle flavors of roasted malt, biscuit, coffee, and dark chocolate that are overlaid with a very strong hops bitterness and some grapefruit pith. The beer has a dry malt finish with lingering massive hops bitterness. There’s a tasty hops demon waiting if you can discover Our Dark Secret.
Moylan’s Moylander Double IPA (8.5% ABV / 90 IBUs): Made with five types of malt and five types of hops, Moylander Double IPA has won so many awards that the brewery may just collapse from the weight of medals. And I’m going to drink (at least once) any beer that the brewer describes like this: “Our Moylander Double IPA is fat and resiny, with aggressive and excessive hops swinging on an enormous malt backbone like naughty monkeys on a vine.” This beer pours a clear copper-gold color with frothy, off-white foam that leaves a great lace. Moylander has a malt aroma with bouquet of orange blossoms, grapefruit and pine. The beer is full-bodied with hop oil coating the tongue and moderate, prickly carbonation. Moylander Double IPA tastes of malt, grapefruit, and grapefruit pith that is followed by a massive hops bitterness. The beer has a dry malt finish with delightful puckering bitterness. The alcohol is well-integrated and all the flavors are excellently balanced. Moylander is an outstanding double IPA powerhouse. Oh yeah, give me some naughty monkeys!
Moylan’s Hopsickle Imperial IPA (9.2% ABV / 100+ IBUs): Created as a tribute to hops, Moylan’s Hopsickle uses Cascade, Simcoe, Columbus, Ahtanum and Chinook hops in its making. This beer pours hazed copper in color with a beige foam head and tiny bubbles. Hopsickle has a strong hoppy citrus and floral aroma. The beer is medium-bodied with pleasantly moderate carbonation that creates a rich feeling. Hopsickle has a very strong hops bitter flavor up front that will make you pucker, followed by malt, hay/straw, earth, and peppery spice with well-integrated alcohol. Hopsickle has an assertive bitter hoppy finish that doesn’t overwhelm but definitely lays seize to your taste buds. Drink this beer while eating some extra sharp cheddar cheese. My first Moylan’s love, this is an outstanding beer for any who love double IPAs and don’t plan to taste anything else for the rest of the evening.
Moylan’s Cask Conditioned Chocolate Porter (5.2% ABV): Another specialty release, this beer pours a dark black color with no foam present in my glass. Moylan’s Chocolate Porter has a huge dark chocolate aroma. The beer is light-bodied with very mild carbonation. Moylan’s Chocolate Porter has a bitter dark chocolate flavor with hints of malt and cocoa. The beer felt somewhat watery in my mouth – especially after having drank Hopsickle. I liked the chocolate flavor but was left searching for more – perhaps the naughty monkeys stole the rest.
Moylan’s is a great place to visit and a beer lover’s oasis. I highly recommend you go there, grab some naughty monkeys, and then have a Hopsickle for dessert. Tell them Firkin Ron of the Jungle sent you.
Thanks to my lovely wife (Hot Patricia of the Jungle) for supporting this big game beer safari!