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Friday, September 29, 2006

Marin Brewing Co. in Larkspur, CA

After a great start to our Northern California brewery tour at Moylan's in Novato, we drove 15-20 minutes south to Larkspur where we found Marin Brewing Co. Seemed like an obvious next choice, as Marin begat Moylan's in the form of Brendan Moylan (who is still heavily involved with Marin). Like Moylan's, Marin was another easy find, just off route 101 and in a shopping area with an accompanying large parking lot. Inside the brewpub is just as spacious. And once inside, it didn't take long for Jay to find Arne Johnson, brewmaster, who was onsite taking care of brewing operations. We grabbed a table for a much-needed lunch and Arne stopped by a few times to check in on us, get our reactions to his brews, and talk (also, like James over at Moylan's) of his recent experience at hop school in Yakima. Arne was most interested in our take on his Quad, a new recipe added to his arsenal of award-winning brews. You can see from the picture with the jeroboam, that he was anxious for us to take some with us for another tasting. But, alas, I was bequeathed with a bomber to take home with me because I didn't rank as high as Jay (just kidding...but it's true :) Fortunately, a 22oz. bottle fit a lot easier in my suitcase for the flight home than the 3 liter bad boy would have! For food, we each chowed down on a well-made, tasty chicken sandwich, each with different accompaniments. Sampling the beers was another difficult proposition, like at Moylan's. Each brew on its own was at least above average. But, if you forced me to pick my top three (sorry, four), it would go something like this: Mt. Tam Pale Ale; Double IPA; Blueberry Wheat; San Quentin Stout; Port Reyes Porter; Albion Amber. Did I say 3, 4.... or 6?! Did I mention the barleywine? Yeah, that too! Awesome and spot-on interpretation of the style. I think you get the picture. This probably sounds like a broken record. But, the beer, the brewer and staff, the food, and the atmosphere get high marks here, just as at Moylan's. If they're going for consistently all-around high quality at these two establishments, they certainly have not failed to hit the mark. Thanks, Jay, so far 2-for-2.

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