This particular post has been long gestating as Marin Brewing Company is one of the earliest breweries I visited when I moved to the Bay Area and have since returned a few times. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to write this up although I think a big part of it was a really underwhelming first visit a year ago where the service was pretty poor (perusing Yelp, that seems a fairly regular complaint) and the food was so-so. Subsequent visits, though, delivered some good food and somewhat better service so perhaps the first was an anomaly.
Marin Brewing Company was opened in 1989 and quickly became a fixture of Marin County (just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) and drew beer enthusiasts for miles around—and even spawned a successful sister brewpub up the 101 called Moylan’s. I’d enjoyed their beers while living in Southern California in bottles, and occasionally on tap, and was honestly never particularly wowed by any of what I’d tried. That’s not to say they weren’t fine beers there was just never anything that I’d rank as “great”.
Located in a business park just after crossing the Richmond Bridge, Marin Brewing is a fairly unassuming place from the outside. Upon entering it definitely has the ‘pub’ vibe down pat with a large bar/dining area decorated in that pub vibe with dark wood and knickknacks adorning the walls. Factor in the nice outdoor dining area and it’s a pretty sizable place and has far more character than one might assume from the outside.
The menu has a nice range of items with a healthy selection of sandwiches, burgers, salads and wood fired pizzas and I’ve sat outside (very enjoyable on a summer evening) and the inside (nothing particularly special unless you’re there to watch a Giants game in the bar—they love their Giants there!). I’ve ordered a few different things off the menu in the few trips I’ve had, ranging from pizza to chili to chicken sandwich and it’s all been pretty decent although priced a little higher than it should be.
I’ve tried a number of their beers (see rough list below–I’m sure I’ve had more but I don’t recall which nor did I log into them on Untappd) on the various visits—but a special shout out to the 3 Flowers. I love a well made Rye IPA (with Alpine’s Nelson still being the gold standard) and I felt this was a very worthy attempt and even got a growler of it to go. I am surprised, though, by how few beers they had on tap—I was expecting a more robust list (considering they seemingly list every beer on their website) and was somewhat disappointed at just over a handful available at any given time.
- Preservation Ale (American Pale Ale)
- 3 Flowers Pale Rye IPA
- Old Dipsea (American Barley Wine)
- Hoppy Holidaze
- San Quentin’s Breakout Stout
- Mt. Tam Pale Ale
- White Knuckle
- Altar Boy (Belgian Pale Ale)
Beyond that rocky first trip the subsequent visits to Marin County Brewing Company have been good. I’ve had some tasty meals, fine beer and my wife and daughter have enjoyed themselves which is always the biggest factor.