Moylan’s Brewery

Brewery Profile

Moylan's Brewery & Restaurant, Novato, California. Traditional ale and BIG hop-bombs!

I first encountered Moylan’s beers when Richard from brought me a bottle of Ryan O’Sullivan’s imperial Stout back from Tucson, Arizona. It was a fantastic full bodied and full flavoured stout. I then found an interview with head brewer Denise Jones on YouTube. I was interested to hear from and taste beers produced by one of the less well-known breweries in the very competitive Californian beers scene and on top of that a female head brewer too.

Then rather recently Beers of got in a big order of American craft beer on the back of the order place for GBBF 2010. In that shipment was a good range of Moylan’s beers. So to join my bottle of Hopsickle bought at Beer Ritz in Leeds I added four more to the selection.

The Brewer

Here is short interview with Head Brewer Denise Jones.

Rob Derbyshire HopZine Co-EditorFirstly could you give a little bit of background of how and why you became a brewer?

Denise Jones Head Brewer of Moylan’s Brewery – I decided about 16 years ago to change careers from delivering mail for the US Postal Service. Looking back on positive experiences in the food business in my past, I applied to enter the American Brewer’s Guild, then taught by Dr. Michael Lewis of the UC Davis Master Brewer program. I grew up in the restaurant business and felt that small pub brewing would be rewarding and challenging whilst also still being near the food business. I have been successfully brewing beer as a pub professional for 15 years.

RDWhy do you brew the type of beers you brew? Dose Moylan’s have a “House Style” and what do you see as the common link between each beer??

DJ – Moylan’s brews a variety of beers for the pub and for packaged distribution. Good portions of the packaged beers are very strong in alcohol and flavor and many of the pub standards are lower in strength. All of our lines of brews are served on tap at the pub and we bottle 12 different selections throughout the year. There really isn’t a house style….a numerous amount of hoppy beers, malty beers and dry approachable beers are what we strive to manufacture. During the fall and early winter, we make a few German variety lagers for the house and often these selections become the favorite seasonals of our daily clientele. Variety and seasonal freshness are important to the patrons and we are happy to brew what our customers enjoy.

A common link is quality, consistency and drinkability…at least that is what we strive to do.

RDWhat are your personal goals as a brewer and what are your aspirations for the brewery?

DJ – My personal goals for the brewery are quite simple….make quality beers that people enjoy. As a company goal outside the pub, we just would like to have a small presence in all of the finest beer markets around the US and around the globe

RDWhat is your permanent range? How do you plan and decide which seasonal beers to brew?

DJ – Seasons decide for me…Fest in October, White Christmas Winter Lager for the winter holidays, crisp lagers in spring and lower strength offerings in the summer to quench. Packaging twelve bottled products over the course of the year allows little time for whimsy and expression. I find that those electives are better suited for barrel aging projects.

RDWho or What has influenced you most as a brewer?

DJ – I don’t have a hero that I look to that brews beer. I find inspiration from many sources. Just the fact that I am in a great profession that I enjoy provides daily inspiration to me.

RDA lot of brewers say they brew the kind of beer they want to drink. What is your favourite style of beer and which other brewery’s beer do you enjoy.

DJ – I do enjoy most all of the beers that I create and brew. Daily moods dictate what I may want to drink. I have so many beers that I find enjoyable, picking just one isn’t an option. Truly, I don’t think that I have made my favorite beer as of yet.

The hops and the barley!

The Beers

Chelsea Moylan’s Porter 5.0% ABV

A dark brown porter with a hue of scorched chestnut around the edges cascaded into the glass with a head that was similar in appearance to a big dollop of partially melted ice cream. On the nose I got a big scrumptious waft of creamy caramel along with blackberries and a hint of burnt wood at the end. As I swallowed I experienced a creamy sugary flavour that led onto an impression of burnt brown toast that ended clean roasty and a little dry. The only thing that let it down was the level of carbonation, a little too much for my liking. Overall it was a really solid sessionable porter that was a great way to start the tasting.

Hopsickle Imperial Triple Hoopy Ale 9.2% ABV

When people think of Moylan’s this is one of the beers that they think of. Renowned for being seriously hoppy and racking up 100 on Ratebeer. Once the liquid settles in the glass I was presented with a great looking hazy pale orange beer that was topped off with a foamy white head. On the nose I got shedloads of fruity juicy hops. Big and fresh with tones of grapefruit and satsumas. Like liquidated green hops but never resinous.   As soon as you take a mouthful the full the on hop-onslaught begins. Big chewy malt is brilliantly balanced with sharp, bitter, resinous hops.  Despite a massive bitterness it manages to remain fresh and vital. I loved the floral hops, citric hops, grassy hops…HOPS! HOPS! HOPS! There is also a taste of candied orange peel. Very pithy and maybe a hint of ground white pepper. To be honest I was a bit worried before I drank this. I expected it to be too aggressive and unbalanced but I was wrong, very wrong. For a double IPA it’s surprisingly easy drinking. So darn tasty and it never becomes over powering.  A celebration of hops and clearly lots of them.

Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout 5.0% ABV

When you think of Dry Irish Stout you think of a certain Irish stout referred to as “The Black Stuff”. This beer has certain connection regarding its taste but they are worlds apart in many ways.

The appearance was just like you’d expect, black as coal with an unrelenting head of beige foam. The nose was surprisingly complex and appealing, dry oats, raisins, cocoa, caramel, smoke and a little bit of new leather. In the mouth I wasn’t very convinced I’m sorry to say. I noted flavours of raisins, sweet fruitcake, astringent oats and a hint of paracetamol. The body was a little thin and watery for the style, I expected it to be smooth and velvety but far too much carbonation really impaired this stout.

And one more…

A great IPA, give it a go!

Nor-Cal IPA 6.5% ABV

A hazy pale orange IPA crowned with a healthy heap of white creamy head. The nose was of big citrus hops, tangerines, and the zest from lemon and limes a couple of spoonfuls of honey and a grassy spice like nettles. The taste was amazing a uniquely a Northern Californian IPA, enough of a difference from a typical West Coast IPA. An experienced floral notes before a monstrous grapefruit explosion that remained juicy without becoming overpowering and lip-puckering. This then fell away to pithy orange, zest of lemon and more floral notes that rounded of any sharp edges. The finish was of prickly hops with dry grapefruit bitterness. It was a cracking beer and had lots of flavour and “oomph” for a very respectable abv.

For more information visit:

Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant, 15 Rowland Way, Novato, California 94945, United States

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>