Downtown San Rafael may be the Bay Area’s newest beer bastion. The State Room Brewery, Iron Springs Public House, and the Tavern on Fourth with 18 NorCal selections on draft — the city center is bubbling (and burping) with Marin-made brew, and the recent openings of Tam Commons Tap Room & Kitchen, at Fourth and C streets, and Pond Farm Brewing Co. in the West End give beer hounds and hopheads a mile’s worth of malted marvels to choose from.
Farther afield, the sudsy fun continues. BJ’s Restaurant and Roadhouse at Northgate Mall has been beer-making since 1996. In Novato, Adobe Creek Brewing, Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant, HopMonk Tavern, and Indian Valley Brewing (which is building a brewhouse) are thriving. And Mill Valley has Headlands Brewing Co. and Mill Valley Beerworks.
All this brewing means ample opportunity to taste woolly and wild West Coast IPAs and innovative Pilsners as well as intriguing, less-familiar finds like Trappist ale and sour ale, barley wine, Kölsch (created in Cologne, Germany, and made with a hybridized brewing process) and Märzen, a Bavarian-style lager famously quaffed at that region’s Oktoberfest. Definitely enough choices to keep your glass full.
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.