In 1995 Moylan’s Brewing Co. opened at Rowland Plaza, bringing Novato into the ranks of other world class brew towns like Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington by claiming the rights to it’s own Microbrewery thanks to bay area native Brendan Moylan.
The 44-year-old co-owner of Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, Brendan brought more than 28 years of brewing experience to Novato, which began with his first home brewing kit one year after college.
“One January 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 there and started working for a beer importing company, then one day I walked 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 brewing techniques at UC Davis, Moylan became a founding partner in Marin Brewing Company, which opened in April of 1989.
Moylan moved his family from San Francisco to Novato in 1989 because he wanted to raise his two children in the city’s small town atmosphere. In 1991 Moylan decided to expand on his brewing ideas. “My adopted home town was the natural choice for a brewery” he said.
Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant, Novato’s only brewpub, was $3.5 million project that has established a strong following among North Marin’s beer connoisseurs. Moylan’s features a 57 foot long bar, a dart room with a fireplace and a reading library featuring brewing books and magazines from Brendan’s personal collection. By constructing 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. According to Moylan, the location at Rowland Plaza provides good freeway visibility and helps attract a greater number of customers from the nearby theatre and corporate offices. When Moylan co-founded Marin Brewing Company back in 1989 there were only about a 100 brewpubs across the country. Today, there are more than 2000.
It 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 preferred it this way because Moylan’s is more of a family-style gathering place where people feel comfortable. It’s a nice blend of good food and good beer. “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, watch some sports, or enjoy our outside beer garden”
“Prohibition in this country ended our brewing tradition,” Moylan 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.” In fact the craft brewing market share grew by 7% in 2004.
Moylan’s makes many popular beers such as its Kiltlifter Scotch Ale, India Pale Ale, Tippperary Pale ale and Ryan O’ Sullivan’s Imperial Stout. Moylan’s packages its fine beers in 22 ounce bottles made right on site in Novato and distributes them all over California and five other states. Moylan’s beers have won global recognition in the Great American Beer Festival, The California State Fair and the World Beer Cup, the Olympics of brewing held every two years at a different venue. In 2005 Moylan’s introduced its newest bottled product: Hoppsickle, Imperial India Pale Ale, the hoppiest beer on earth.