In today’s beer landscape, where a homebrewer with a dream opens a brewery every 10 minutes, it’s easy to forget the classics. Like the perpetually award-winning but somehow still underrated Marin Brewing Company. I’m guessing many Bay Area beer fans have never been there, even though it’s been around since 1989.
Today, I salute them even more than usual for brewing a beer called Not My President IPA. This is a less ballsy move in Marin County than in some other parts of the US, of course…but it does risk pissing off the 1/3 of the county who voted for Trump, and seeing a business risk pissing off anyone in the capitalist swamp that is 2017 makes me smile. Kudos, also, to the beer bars putting it on tap, and to the guy who posted the picture of Toronado’s draft handle for it to a beer group last night. (Spoiler alert: it’s a penis with Trump’s head on it). Marin has had the courage of its convictions for decades, though. Marin and its sister brewpub Moylan’s donated to over 300 charities last year, and have run a breast cancer fundraiser festival for 16 years.
The pub itself is family friendly and approachable. The music is uncontroversial and tends towards classic rock. Sports are on TV. Lots of regulars. There are some dashes of only-in-Marin personality, like the collection of old coaster doodles across from the bar, bike stuff everywhere, and photos of locals…but in some ways, this pub could be in any neighborhood in America.
However, most sports bar-type suburban locales don’t have beer this good. When I’m trying to convince someone Marin Brewing is good (which I’ve had to do way too often) the easiest argument is 3 Flowers rye IPA. That beer wins medals for a reason. It’s one of the best selling 22-oz bottles at the Marin grocery store where I work, so the locals get it. Maybe the name turns some people off — it doesn’t taste like flowers, dude, it’s referring to hop flowers! I was drinking a glass of cask 4 Flowers (3 Flowers plus another hop) when I decided to finally write this post.
If you like the dark stuff, Pt Reyes Porter never disappoints. If you want a Belgian, you might actually get one (a rarity for a California brewpub). And if you’re one of those beer tickers who needs everything to be imperialized or rare or barrel-aged or have exotic fruit in it…well, Marin does that sort of thing sometimes, (like the beer brewed with Chinese medicinal herbs sourced from Jerry Garcia’s acupuncturist.) And Old Dipsea barleywine is delicious.
Marin doesn’t aim to be the king of hop bombs, strong ales, or weird adjuncts. It does all those things, but it mostly provides a friendly neigborhood brewpub that makes me wish, for just a minute, I lived in Larkspur.
Are you going? Cool. There are some daily specials to learn and love, if you’re one of the 4 people in the Bay Area beer scene (other than me) who are actually on a budget.
Monday: Tasty gringo tacos for $2.50
Tuesday: $3.50 pints (do NOT tip your server 50 cents, c’mon now.)
Wednesday: $3 off growler fills, so, $12.
The pub is located at 1809 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939. Public transit to Marin Brewing is technically possible, but not convenient unless you’re near certain bus stations in Marin County or you’re in SF near the ferry. (I do recommend the ferry option, it’s pricey but fun.) What you could do, if you want to try a ton of beers but not die on the way home, is end your session with a movie at the Cinemark that’s stumbling distance away.
Or just look for Marin beers at smart beer bars. (Hey beer buyers…as of 2015 the wholesale prices were more than fair.)
Disclosure: We’re not BFFs, but Marin brewer Arne and I run in the same circles and we drank a lot of beers together in Belgium in 2015. I liked Marin a lot before all that. Hey Arne and Betz, when are we getting beers again?!