Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Midnight Sun XXX Black Double IPA. Holy shit. So smooth, crisp, slightly sweet & malty with an amazingly calm but present hoppy goodness. Hint of coffee at the outset, fresh citrusy hops finish it off. The Black IPA is officially my favourite style, and this might just be the best. DAMN. Thanks, Alaska!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mill Valley Beerworks

The Bay Area Beer Bloggers headed north last night for our January meeting, and I was introduced to Mill Valley Beerworks (surprisingly enough, it's in Mill Valley).

It's a long and narrow room that feels cozy with lots of wood and dark tile. It feels a little small, but a lot of people were able to fit without it being too crowded.

They have about 8 taps? I think? Maybe 10. Two of them were for the Beerworks own brews (although they were sadly out of both when we were there), and the others were a wide range of styles and brewery locations. I went with Bacchus, a Flemish red ale. It was a little crisp, but didn't have the mouth-puckering qualities of most sours. I really liked it - it had a nice sweetness, but was calm. Not like drinking a glass of sweet tarts. I later shared a few beers with Brian, and I've already forgotten what they were. But one was English! And I then decided promptly that I do not like English beer.

The bartenders were all some of the nicest guys I've ever had serve me beer. Everything was in the right glass, too, which is always a plus. The only downside was the price. All draft beers were $7-10, and some of the bottles were pretty pricey (Speedway Stout, which is usually around $11-13, was $24!). But, it's Marin County. I expected as much.

They have a small food menu, which is also pricey - my grilled cheese sandwich was $9. BUT! Holy shit, that was an amazing grilled cheese sandwich. Great bread, a number of different cheeses (I think there was goat in there?), grilled bell peppers and greens. $9 is a lot, yes, but damn that was delicious.

I don't think I'll go back unless I happen to be in the neighbourhood, but that's only because it took so long to get there from Oakland. If I lived over there, I would definitely be hanging out there on a regular basis. If you're in Mill Valley, or anywhere close by, you should definitely check it out.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

CommonWealth Cafe and Pub in Oakland

Last night we went to the CommonWealth Cafe/Pub in Oakland. Its walking distance from our house was a big draw.

It's a very sweet, small pub. Lots of tables - more than I thought would fit - but everyone seemed to be comfortable. It had an pretty diverse crowd - not by Oakland's standards, but quite different than the usual craft beer crowd.

It had a warm, homey feel to it. The bartender was nice and helpful, giving samples of unknown beers and offering suggestions. They had a small tap list (about 8, I think?) and a good bottle list from other countries - they emphasized Scottish beers, so the list was predominantly Brew Dog.

I had Drake's Red Eye, a red ale. It was slightly sweet, nicely malty with a hoppy finish. A typical red ale - nothing too special, but a good, stable option. The Lumberjack had Young's Double Chocolate Stout, since you rarely find it on tap. It was delicious! I don't think I've had it since I first started drinking craft beer, so it was nice to go back to. Really creamy, nice chocolate flavour. The CommonWealth also offers ice cream floats with Young's, which I think would be AMAZING.

They had a good food menu as well. The Lumberjack got Scottish Eggs which sound gross to me, but he gave them a thumbs up while still chewing. I had a roast beef toasted sandwich that was absolutely delicious. The prices were pretty reasonable.

Overall - a fun option to have nearby. Not amazing or extensive enough to necessarily warrant a long trek to get there, but if you're in the neighbourhood you should definitely check it out.