Monday, January 15, 2007


I've been seeing the beers of MOONLIGHT BREWING on tap at San Francisco's Toronado bar for well over a decade now - Death & Taxes, Reality Czech, Twist of Fate - and always wondered why I'd never heard of any trips to their brewery, or never saw these fine beverages in bottles. Then this past holiday ale season I had their incredible seasonal "dark strong ale" SANTA'S TIPPLE, which was among the best beers I drank all year, and I started to get more curious. The clincher was the pint of 2005 TOAST MALT LIQUOR that I had on tap at the aforementioned Toronado last week, quite frankly a total mindblower of a beer that has little if nothing to do with what the words "malt liquor" inevitably conjure up in your mind. I asked the question - just who is Moonlight Brewing?

Turns out Moonlight's a one-man shop in Windsor, CA - about 90 minutes north of me - by the name of Brian Hunt. Rather than re-tell his tale his here, I'd like to instead point you to this excellent article from 2003 that reveals the iconoclast behind the beer. I guess you could say I've got a new hero, and a brewery that I'm now going to be honking the horn for in 2007 (expect more reviews of their wares in these pages coming soon). Hunt sounds like the sort of brewing throwback we should be lionizing, and I hope the Beer Advocate crew & their ilk get wiser to him this year (I'll try to do my part). Anyway, this 2005 TOAST beer was something special. The whole "malt liquor" thing's got to be a joke - to me it tasted more like a deep, dark, rich amber/barleywine mix, with the sort of roasted, uh, "toast" taste to it that was just the bomb if you know what I mean. Less harsh/complex than your average Belgian dubbel for sure, but easily in that league. The company I was keeping that evening was going bananas for it as well. I wondered if giving it a 10/10 was too much, given that I just did the same for AVERY'S THE REVEREND a couple weeks ago, and then I said "whatever". 10/10! Come see us in the Bay Area and get you-self some!


Anonymous said...

If you ever get the chance to chat with Brian it.

Salt of the Earth he is. If you would like to see pix of the farmhouse brewery...peruse.


Ashub said...

Indeed! I'm pleased that the T continues to have a keg or three of his on tap. Death and Taxes remains one of my favorite beers.

There's a bursty Toronado tribe.

and some nice pix of Brian with fresh hops (probably for Green Bud).

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say, I so completely agree with you. Moonlight Brewing and Hunt is what it is all about.
It was like an epiphany for me, the first sip of Reality Czech I ever had. And ever since been slightly obsessed with finding his beers around the city. Had a couple of pints of Lunatic Lager up in Sonoma a while back. So bright and a hoppy crispness. Great beers. Going to have to get down to the Toronado and try some TOAST.