Novato Advance, February 14, 1996 - A-5

Moylan's Delivers Wide Brew Selection

staff writer

Novato joined the ranks of San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and a host of other U.S. cities by claiming the rights to its own microbrewery. Moylan's restaurant and brewpub opened in August at Rowland Plaza. Owned and operated by 34-year-old Brendan Moylan, co-owner of Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, Moylan's features full-menu lunch and dinner and anywhere from 5-10 of its own microbeers on tap.

Brendan Moylan, Owner of Moylan's brewpub and restaurant at Rowland Plaza in Novato, poses with his beer-making equipment.


Moylan, a life-long Bay Area resident, brought to Novato more than 18 years of brewing experience which began with his first home-brew kit and culminated in a brand new brewery constructed of his own design from the ground up.

"One January after college I went out and bought the Christmas gift I really wanted: a beer brewing kit, and one thing led to another," Moylan said. "I got a degree in accounting and decided I didn't want to go into accounting. I started working for a beer importing company, then one day I wallked into Buffalo Bill's brewpub in Hayward and my eyes got big and I knew it was what I wanted to do."

After taking extension classes on brew techniques at UC Davis, Moylan became a partner in Marin Brewing Company, which opened in April of 1989.

Moylan moved his family from San Francisco to Novato seven years ago because he wanted to raise his two children in the city's small town atmosphere.

Four years ago, he decided the time was right to expand on his own brewing ideas. "My adopted home town was the natural choice for a brewery," he said.

Enter Novato's only brewpub, a $3.5 million projed that has already established a strong following among North Marin's beer connoisseurs. Moylan brought with him Paddy Giffin, an assistant brewer at Marin Brewing Company, who serves as the operation's head brewmaster.

By constructirig the brewpub in an empty lot from his own vision, Moylan was able to increase efficiency and productivity, while still leaving room for expansion as the establishment's popularity grows.

And if industry trends are any indication, it will do just that.

Moylan said when he co-founded Marin Brewing Company back in '89, there were about 100 brewpubs across the country. Today, there' are more than 800.

"Prohibition in this country ended our brewing tradition," he explained. "Budweiser and a few others moved in fast and captured many of the larger markets. Now we're entering into a new phase of beer brewing. I think you'll see it continue to grow."

Moylan's new building features a 57-foot bar and dart room complete with a fireplace and small library dedicated to literature on, you guessed it, beer brewing.

According to Moylan, the location at Rowland Plaza provides good freeway visibility and helps attract a greater number of customers from the nearby movie theater and corporate offices.

"It just all seemed to fit,"he said. "I decided to go for this spot and build my own building because I knew I wouldn't have to second guess myself. "I could have put in pool tables and turned it into just a bar, but I prefer it this way because it's a more family-style setting where people feel comfortable. It's a nice marriage of food and beer."

While Moylan's attracts many customers who enjoy the family atmosphere, there are also plans to expand its bottled beer selection and increase marketing in Marin County and beyond.

Two of Moylan's most popular beers are already available in "finer liquor stores," Moylan said: India Pale Ale and Irish Red Ale commemorative editions.

Six more beer flavors are planned for release in March, he added.

Moylan operates the bar with his wife, Eileen, and a staff of 50.

Eric Reimer, general manager of Moyan's, said it's both fun and exciting to work in an up-and-coming brewpub. Reimer describes moylans in this way:

"We are a family restaurant where it's okay to bring the kids. You can come here to hang out with your friends or meet new friends. You can play darts or just watch some sports on our television sets. We like it a little noisy here, so you'll find the music a little loud. We are a place to hang: a brewpub."