Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sonoma Trilogy #1: Marin Brewing Company

North of San Francisco, there aren't too many breweries, but nearly all of them are my absolute favorites.  Here is the first stop out of three, over the course of 24 hours, the Sonoma Trilogy 2011.  I present the Marin Brewing Co, in Larkspur (Southern Sonoma County).

1809 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939

Walking in you're greeted immediately by the brewing equipment (always appreciated), and the bar was welcoming, with plenty of chachki bullshit everywhere.

What stuck out first?  The overly excited bartender.  Probably 90% of her customers didn't share her enthusiasm about beer, but she did recommend Triple Rock* in Berkeley, and kept mentioning her boyfriend works at an upscale bottle shop in the city.  Cool story bro.   But on to the beer...  There was a small tap list, and I only had a few of them:

First off:  IPA on cask, tapped earlier that day.  Meh.  Actually, just boring.  If you're going to cask an IPA, it better be bitter and alcoholic as shit to start, so you can mellow that out.  This was neither, and really just tasted like mildly flavored water.  I didn't even care about finishing it. (That's really saying a lot, especially since I'll go to great lengths just to kill a warm Bud Heavy.)

Second beer:  Half Nelson.  The same bartender nearly shit a brick when I asked if the name was because of the hop used (Nelson).  Turns out it was, which led to a five minute rave about Alpine.  OK, now we're getting somewhere... This was a really delicious blonde ale (think Renegade Blonde) that was obviously dry hopped to fuckdom, making for a delightful session beer.  I could easily drink six pints of this.

And that was it for me, since we needed to get to the next stop in the Trilogy: Lagunitas.  In retrospect, I can see how this brewery fits a niche in the immediate area: there are plenty of tech companies in the area, and employee get-togethers here are probably more fun than T.G.I.McScratchies, especially in a region known solely for it's wine.

* Brats, Chris, Sambo, this place sounds like it deserves a trip over AGU time.

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