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Marin County Brewpub Guide
1809 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Credit Cards: All except Diners' Club
AN EVER-ROTATING selection of beers from 27 different recipes, including several Great American Beer Festival medal winners; four to seven are usually offered on tap at this, the oldest brewpub in Marin. They use hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington and from Kent, England, and malts from the American Northwest. Between four and seven selections on tap. Four-ounce samplers are 75 cents (pints $2.75).
Specialties we tried included the following: The Raspberry Trail Ale smelled like a jelly doughnut, but the sweet-dry flavor was light and refreshing. However, the tinge of raspberries did not pair well with the savory flavors of the food. It may pair well with chocolate cheesecake! The Marin Hefe Weiss is an unfiltered wheat beer with an unappetizing cloudy yellow appearance, but looks can deceive, as this paired well with the food. It's light and yeasty, with a dry bite at the finish. A real standpout is the Mt. Tam Pale Ale; an amber-hued beer, medium-bodied and well-balanced, with a long, slightly metallic finish, this ale never leaves the menu, clearly defining it as a house favorite. The quaintly named San Quentin's Breakout Stout can best be described in two words: espresso coffee. This beverage looks, smells, and tastes for all the world like java, an intensely black brew with a tan head. Big, creamy-textured, roasted, and malty, with hints of bitter hazelnut, it's a meal in itself.
Seasonal: "Hoppy Holidaze" spiced Christmas ale, "Harvest Ale" honey malt brew for Thanksgiving, and "Star Brew 1000" barley wine-style commemorative wheat beer, to be released
Brewmaster: Arne Johnson.
Take-out/Keg Availability: 22-oz. bottles ($3-$4); 5-gallon kegs ($40-$45).
SUPERIOR PUB GRUB, including such beer buddies as jalapeño pepper poppers, buffalo wings, and calamari fritti. Our selections included the following:
Onion rings: Beer-battered bermuda onions served piping hot and crisp ($3.95). Soup of the day: A thick, gluey, salty potato-leek; lotsa leeks, not much potato ($2.25 a cup; $3.25 a bowl). Vegetarian pizza: Colorful, sautéed chunks of carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers atop a good semolina crust from the wood-burning oven ($9.95, regular-sized; $5.95, mini). Turkey burger with honey-chili sauce: Served on a fluffy Kaiser roll, a moist and tasty burger--not dry and sawdusty like many of its kin--with a spicy-sweet sauce and addictively crunchy fries ($5.95). Desserts include a standard carrot cake, a New York cheesecake, and a tiramisu--none house-made ($3.50), and none even offered by our server.
ADEQUATE but uninformed
SPORTS-MEETS-SUDS. Dangling mountain bikes and model aircraft surrounded by beer memorabilia. Deep-bar dark even at lunchtime. Low lights made menu-reading a challenge even at midday. A small area for al fresco dining in the outdoor shopping mall setting.
Din: The blaring recorded rock and soul music actually prevented conversation.
Restrooms: Small, untidy, and prone to long lines; not a good place to escape your dining companions.
Non-drinkers: Non-alcoholic bottled beers, organic apple juice; has a restaurant feel but with plenty of pub games.
BEER SELECTION, food, Friday night jazz on the outdoor patio.
RESTROOMS, service, and noise.
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From the Oct. 16-22, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.
© Metro Publishing Inc.