Day 9 – Bierfestens Cali Beer Adventure – Moylans, Marin & Hayward Bistro

Posted on April 1, 2011


To be honest Not sure what day of the trip I’m on, but I know I’m drinking my way around Cali and getting a great appreciation for one of the great Beer states in the world. Yesterday I had a great start to the day as I had an alcohol free day the previous day as I spent the night in an Oakland Hotel.. yeah well after that experience I know I’m not from the Crib, nor have Homies, nor speak with a gangster attitude.. that was Scary with a Capital S..

So left in the morning to send Suits back to Australia via US Post.. and what an experience.. as their computer systems aren’t setup for foreigners sending parcels overseas, as you have to have a US Postal Address as their system requires a ZIP CODE. (90210). Anyway that took an hour, but afterwards I went to Hayward Bistro to see what sort of bar it is..honestly its a small hole in the wall bar that sells sandwiches at Lunchtime. It had been in my beer radar for years since I learnt about the Double IPA Festival that it holds in conjuction with the Barley Wine festival as part of the San Fran Beer Week. Basically its not a bar i would go back to in a hurry if I were not in the area.

The Next stop was Marin Brewing that is across the bay and you arrive in this little trendy Market place that appears like all the locals wear Dockers & Polo shirts to work. Wearing Jeans and one of the few clean beer shirts I was unsure how ‘accepted’ to the social set I would become. It was interesting that the brewery was opened by Brenden Moylan, yes of the Moylans group. It seemed to be full of locals and guys that were dressed as Sailors, and it wasn’t the most comfortable feel, and maybe the bartender ignoring me for the first period didn’t help. But then I was able to order a Tasting Tray with a selection of beers that were in 4oz samples for $1.75 a sample, so not unreasonable at all.

For me the standout beer was their Escape from Alcatraz Stout and their Imperial IPA. I wasn’t so much a fan of the standard IPA, but it was definitely a better example than could be bought anywhere in Australia.. but this is not a pissing contest.

The next stop was going to be Moylans Brewery up in Novato, so it was only a 20-30 minute stop in Marin and after those samples I was blowing a very low reading on my breathalizer that I have kept in the car for this trip.

The GPS got me to Moylans in about 15 minutes and it struck me then that most brewpubs are either in Strip Malls or Industrial business parks, though some like Russian River are in the main city area. Moylans is located across form a huge shopping complex with Costco, Starbucks and other shopping like stores. After walking into the bar the menu was exactly the same as Marin Brewing, so I decided before attempting to hit 20 samples I had better have some Lunch so I ducked up for an hour to Subway and caffeinated myself at Starbucks!!

One thing I will say about American Coffee it is crap compared to Australia but I have missed Starbucks with a passion. I will spend about half hour to an hour a day enjoying their Mocha.. I dont drink beer all the time.. just most of it.

So Moylans is very Sports bar, and tons of locals, and unfortunately one very very drunk guy who was slurring his beer order to the waitress, and in any other bar in Australia he would have been asked to leave. I was dismayed to see him still served another 2 beer even though he could barely stand. Guess its all in the name of TIPS.. but very irresponsible service of alcohol in that occurrence. Moylans had about 20 beers on their board and thought I wanted to try them all I knew i had to be picky for the tasting set.

The Black Ale made for the Giants Winning the World Series in 2010 was very interesting and one that I would easily have more of, and is the reason why I have wanted to go to the source of the breweries.. so i can taste beers that we dont see in bottles or are quite rare.

Again as expected the IPA’s from Moylans are some of the truly classy beers that they come out with, adn their IPA was great and one that I could easily drink every night if I could. The Porter and Stout were also exceptional, and I finished with a Barley Wine OLD BLARNEY that was a strong one, especially as it was still early and I wanted to Hit Lagunitas that night.

If there is a choice between Moylans or Marin I would definitely say I’d feel more comfortable in Moylans, and I think the beers are better overall. But seeing as both bars are run by the Moylans I have to admit that these are good spots that are worth visiting at least once. If I had more space in my luggage I would have purchased more beer from Moylans to take along with me.. but 23kg per bag is just not enough airlines..


As I have run out of time I will have to write up my adventures in Petaluma and Lagunitas in the next Post.. the adventure for beer continues as I wait for my flight at Oakland Airport…

where to next is anyones guess.. though it should be a fun time the next few days..