Hops From Heaven
The Moses brothers lead locals to a frothy promised land with Post No Bills, Monterey Beer Festival.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
For locals who have discovered the pleasures of small-batch beer, there is good reason to add a few hops to the step: Two seminal, suds-lovers’ events – the opening of Post No Bills in Sand City and the 10th Annual Monterey Beer Festival – kick off the month of June, and usher in what looks to be a deliciously bitter future for the area.
Behind the ferment are two brothers, Jeff and Mark Moses, whose relationship with beer began decades ago in the bar of Hotel Irondale, a Pennsylvania steel town inn owned by their father John (“We worked and lived in the bar downstairs,” Mark says). The introduction was a formative one, and years later, the brothers are each, in their different ways, helping to bring great beers to an underserved beer community that is understandably thirsty for new and diverse tastes.
After leaving a successful career in television production, Jeff founded the Monterey Beer Festival in 2001, and brought with it beers from around the world that hadn’t been seen much by aficionados in the 831. He has since extended his reach – as the owner of MBF Co., he creates and distributes beer, wine and soda throughout the world, including his own label, Irondale Brewery (after the namesake hotel), which currently offers a Double Chocolate Stout and a Tres Vieux IPA, both with the trademark tagline “Money in a Bottle.”
Mark, for his part, is set to do locally what Jeff, as a distributor and manufacturer, cannot: sell beer. Post No Bills, Mark’s craft beer house opening in Sand City on June 6, is an innovative store/tavern hybrid modeled after City Beer in San Francisco and Beer Revolution in Oakland. “There’s nothing else like it in Monterey,” Mark says.
Featuring hard-to-find (as well as widely distributed) beers, wines, ciders and craft sodas from around the world, both in bottles and on tap, Post No Bills lets patrons comfortably enjoy a bottle in-house at retail prices (there is a one dollar corkage fee), take some bottles home, or both. The selection promises to be the best thing west of BevMo in Salinas, but with an atmosphere that is much more beer lounge than warehouse, boasting high ceilings, sleek concrete lines and a welcoming patio area out front for sunny days and warm nights.
“It will definitely fill a hole created by the demise of Ol’ Factory Cafe,” says local beer expert Chris Nelson, who, with his wife Meredith, runs the website www.beergeek.com, one of the festival’s sponsors. “There seems to be a building momentum for a craft beer scene on the Peninsula and Post No Bills is going to be a big part of that.”
Jeff, who distributes many of the beers that will stock PNB’s refrigerators, agrees with the sentiment. “Monterey is growing as a craft beer community,” he says. “When people start to go down the craft beer path, it opens up all these different kinds of beers to them.”
The growing local enthusiasm for craft beer is something that Jeff has seen firsthand, and his 10th Annual Monterey Beer Festival, which is set to pour on June 11 at the Monterey Fairgrounds, promises “the greatest assortment of beer ever assembled on the Central Coast,” from the Belgian Lambic to the banana bread. This year also marks the first-ever VIP tasting, an hour-long party before the festival that features an exclusive selection of transcendent brews. “Whoever comes to the VIP tasting is going to get a real treat,” Jeff says. “Just a plethora of different styles.”
But even the mildly and rather important have much to look forward to: The festival brings live music, food from local chefs, and beers and ciders from over 80 breweries that span the globe, from Belgium and Germany to Thailand to Jamaica, as well as several brews from California and across America. With four-and-a-half hours of tasting time, folks could conceivably sip their way around the world several times over.
For those who can’t wait until Saturday to get a taste, Post No Bills, in its opening week, will be hosting a special brewers party on the Friday before the festival, as well as an after-party the day of, and a “No rest for the (Beer Fest) weary” party the day after.
The seamless relationship the brothers appear to enjoy is in many ways a reflection of the industry as a whole.
“There’s a communal spirit in the craft beer community,” Jeff says. “It’s almost like a family.”
“There are a lot of great people in the craft beer business,” Mark adds. “Real salt of the earth people who like to enjoy life.”
Any locals who classify themselves as the latter would do well to raise a toast to the Moses brothers. Or better yet, become a customer.
POST NO BILLS CRAFT BEER HOUSE opens 3pm Monday, June 6, at 600 Ortiz Ave., Sand City. www.postnobills.net
10TH ANNUAL MONTEREY BEER FESTIVAL happens 12:30-5pm, Saturday, June 11, at Monterey Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey. $35 general; $55 VIP (11:30am start). Tickets available at select locations, see website for details, www.nightthatneverends.com