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The Moan and Dove

Not Rated.
The Moan and DoveThe Moan and Dove
BA SCORE
100
world-class

104 Ratings
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.59%
Taps: 23
Bottles: 175
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

460 West St
Amherst, Massachusetts, 01002-2988
United States
phone: (413) 256-1710

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Voted the #1 Place to Have a Beer in 2006 - by BeerAdvocate.com reviewers.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ruds
2.46/5  rDev -46.4%

I did deliberate as to write this review (or non review as it happens) but decided to in the event that anyone else from England decided to pop by without a passport !!!

We called by on a Saturday night around 8pm and the place was deserted (hence my low atmosphere rating)

I went to the bar to order with my friend and was ID'd.

For the first time ever on a trip to the states I didnt have my passport on me (ok - my mistake I realise ... ), but did have my UK picture driving licence which clearly displays my date of birth.

Now lets put things in perspective, I'm in my mid 30's and look mid 30's!

The girl behind the bar refused to accept my UK pitcure driving licence as valid ID (It's a plastic card with hologram etc and actually looks a lot more secure and un-fakable than my friends MASS state driving licence)

I asked her straight out, do i not look 30+?

yes she replied you do, but its company policy to ask everyone for ID.
Ok - I get that 'jobsworth hat etc', however I had visited the sister pub, the Dirty Truth the previous evening and was NOT asked for ID !!!

No surprise there were only 3 or 4 other people in there !!!

Wasted 20 minutes of our time seeking this bar out and headed straight back to the people's pint!

Ruds, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of markcl
3.18/5  rDev -30.7%

Atmosphere was great, I thought -- lots of wood paneling, dimly lit, small, intimate place where it be great to bring a couple friends for some good conversation. Exactly the type of place I'd want to be in when it's cold and windy outside...

...Especially with the quality and selection of beers. Totally outsanding, both drafts and bottles. Good balance of local stuff and non-Mass beers, especially west coast stuff. Beer menu is well-curated with brief descriptions of styles for the uninitiated or for whoever needs a refresher. This is a serious place for beer.

All this makes for a great little tavern that would be a regular spot -- however, I had such an absolutely horrible experience with the service and that has unfortunately tainted my impression of the place and has definitely damaged my desire to go back.

Bartender, a pretty young guy, very aggressively asked me for an ID. I still haven't gotten a MA ID since moving up here, so I produced my Ohio driver's license. He then asked for anything else with my name on it, and I produced my debit card.

At this point I was thinking, fair enough, this is a college town and a small place like this can't take any chances. I'm not baby-faced by any means, but I'm 25 and I understand the need to check ID. Happens all the time.

I thought that'd be enough, though. The guy, again very aggressively, starts quizzing me on my social security #, date of birth, ASTROLOGICAL SIGN, even. I produced this information with no problems. He then asks me to sign my name three times on a piece of paper so he can verify that my signature matches the one on my ID and debit card. I don't want to play a psychiatrist, but there was a level of contempt that he seemed to have that seemed to stem from his feeling that I *must* be underage and therefore a liar.

At this point, I was ready to go, it almost didn't seem worth it. I've been an avid craft beer enthusiast since becoming of age and I've never encountered any security routine like this. I had some great beer in my fridge at home and that seemed like the best place to be, at that point.

As it turned out, my fiancee, who is older than me (and doesn't drink beer) forgot to bring her ID, and understandably no one without one is allowed in the place. So after the whole ordeal, the bartender told us that she couldn't be there anyways.

I'm sad the guy had to be such a hard-ass about it. There's a civility and courtesy that should be practiced, and it's too bad that was lacking.

That said, the place is pretty awesome for beer/atmosphere and I'm sure I just had a bad apple. Next time I'll bring my birth certificate and college transcripts just to be sure though.

markcl, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of ImperialGuy
3.33/5  rDev -27.5%

I must have stepped into some alternate universe. I've been to this place twice, based on reviews I've read here and in beer publications. Both times I found the selection good, and interesting, but not fantastic, the number of taps not being high. Neither time was there anything on cask.

Both times the service barely existed. Young (I'm over 50) slacker guys. The first time, he's chatting with an attractive young woman, obviously a higher priority than a couple of thirsty geezers, but c'mon, the place is supposed to be legendary! The second time, the bartender did not bother to walk over, or even shout over to the booth my friend and I were in. Both times, we had to get up and ask for service.

I'll stick with the Amherst Brewing Company when I'm in the area.

ImperialGuy, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of ybnorml
3.43/5  rDev -25.3%

Everyone raves about this place? It's small has no air conditioning and has no food (that is if you don't count the big barrel of stale unshelled peanuts. Not a lot of beers on tap (the place is not big enough for more taps). What was good was the ecclectic selection of hard to find beers. I had been looking all over for Stone Brewings Imperial Stout. I had to buy the whole 22 oz bottle but it was very good.
Beer geeks will appreciate the knowledgable staff and the fact that they use the proper glasses when pouring Belgians.
That being said. I will have to try this place again maybe in the early fall or early spring. The selection warrents a second shot.

ybnorml, Jul 18, 2003
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.7/5  rDev -19.4%

So I stopped by here after going to Amherst Brewing and People's Pint. After driving through some farms (I knew this was in a rural area), I pulled up behind the gas station next door. Interesting location for sure...

I was served a Founder's Breakfast Stout, my only beer, in a half pint glass. It was served at proper temperature, and apparently I got the last one of the keg, so it was free. Can't argue with that.

The bartenders were polite, but not particularly helpful. I guess it is a local's place, so I won't dock them here. They did get me a free Breakfast Stout...

The selection of beers is where I was disappointed. Sure, the selection wasn't bad. I struggled to find something I haven't had and sounded interesting in an area I don't even live, though. I decided on a beer that I have at home. Maybe I'm spoiled with Brick Store Pub in Atlanta, but I was expecting more - maybe some of the Cisco sours, a Lost Abbey beer or two, something local and interesting (BBC sours I've heard about?). They did have a decent lambic selection in bottles, but I was by myself so didn't go that way. I had tried them all anyways. Oh yeah, and no cask.

I really don't understand everyone's obsession with this place. It's rather expensive, the beer selection is mediocre by a beer bar's standards, and mostly everyone was drinking beer out of a huge stein (I realize it's because of some sort of club). This place could be great - I'm sure they have the means to get some great beer, but they just don't.

coreyfmcdonald, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of SpicyGose
3.85/5  rDev -16.1%

Went here a few days ago. Great little bar that doesn't serve food but you can bring in your own. Great for picky eaters. Great tap list of rare imports and craft beers. Big bottle list that you can conquer over a few years. It's a nice place to bring a friend for drinks.

SpicyGose, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of gotbeer
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%

I've been here several times, but never reviewed it. It's a great place with an incredible selection of beers. Cask, on tap, and more bottles than I care to think about. Different selections every time I go in. There is also a decent selection of top shelf scotch and other liquors. This is a great place for a beer lover, no doubt about it.

The service has always been decent. No food is served, but there are peanuts by the door.

The atmosphere is okay. There is a little odd vibe from time to time that detracts a little from the atmosphere in my humble opinion. Food or air conditioning would be huge assets for this place in my opinion.

Worth checking out for the beer selection alone..

gotbeer, Jul 21, 2006
Photo of John_M
4.06/5  rDev -11.5%

Ummm.... this place was rated the number one place to get a beer on BA in 2006? Really?

The M&D is yet another fine beer bar located out in the sticks, in the last place you would expect to find it. It's located in a small strip mall, right next to a barbershop, chinese take out restuarant and a gas station. It's also pretty small, consisting of a small bar area to the left when you walk in (probably has 12 or 14 seats), a couple of good size table areas in the middle and then 3 or 4 booths to the right against the wall. I really doubt this place can hold more then 50 or 60 folks at any one time, tops! On the other hand, the place has a very relaxed, low key vibe, with a pretty eclectic selection of music going (loved hearing the ventures while I was there). The beer selection is certainly decent, consisting of around 20 beers on tap, not including a cider and one beer on cask (which this day was the entire butt porter). The selection here is pretty good, but I'd hardly call it mind blowing. They had 5 or 6 Stone beers on tap, and then 4 beers from Bink. They also had the Mongo DIPA from Port, Victory Braumeister pils, smuttynose baltic porter and old brown dog, anchor liberty ale, etc. A nice selection, no doubt, but I can't say it exactly wowed me. Bottle selection was a bit more impressive, with around 160-170 selections. They had some nice stuff, but there was nothing on the list I hadn't seen before or can't get at home. No disrespect, but I was really hoping I might see something at the M&D that I can't get back in Baltimore (they did have the high and mighty twin beast stout, but that's the only thing I saw that I hadn't ever seen or had before).

Service was good. The two young women tending bar were friendly, pleasant and quick. I'm not sure just how much then knew about beer, but it was more then sufficient for my needs.

Prices were high, no two ways about it. 12 ounce pours of anything Belgian were in the $9 or $10 range, and can someone please tell me why arrogant bastard needs to be $6.50 a pint? Generally, most pints were in the $6 range, except for the liberty ale, which for some reason was $4 a pint.

As near as I can tell, they don't serve any food here, but you can order in from any of the surrounding restaurants (accoustics are not good here, so it's not the easiest place to hold a conversation - I think that's what I was told). A number of places do this in the NW, and frankly I thought it a good idea here as well. Otherwise, you can help yourself to free peanuts while sipping on your beer at the bar.

This is definitely a very good place, but it's certainly not the sort of place I'd drive a 100 miles to get to (which I do rather frequently to get to some of the better beer bars in Philly). I don't know. I really had high expectations for this place, and frankly I feel kind of let down. Oh well...

John_M, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of buckiflyer
4.09/5  rDev -10.9%

Saw that the Moan and Dove was highly rated by fellow beer advocates, so I was very excited to stop by on my recent trip to Wester Mass. Finally made it by on a raining Saturday afternoon. First impressionwas good with the outside painted black and good signage from the road. I was able to find a seat at the bar next to a patron enjoying his hummus, cheese and bread. Service took awhile as only one person working, about 20 minutes later second employee arrived but service remained slow. Was encouraged to sample the cask Tally Ho before purchasing. Enjoyed it along with the Arogant Bastered draft along with the free peanuts. Very surprised that fellow patrons at the bar were not more friendly. Overall I enjoyed the trip and will return asap to sample more beer I can not get here in NC. Would have loved to have been in town for their pub crawl.

buckiflyer, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of aquatonex
4.09/5  rDev -10.9%

This place reminds me of those swank little coffee shops in the old days where the young intellectuals would go to talk about society and eclectic topics.

A little dark, but not too dark. It's a rather small place with rather uncomfortable seating, all wood. Right next to the door is a barrel of peanuts where you can just scoop up a bowl full and bring it to your table. They are in shell and must have been brined, but a lot less salty (and much better) than your normal beernuts. Try to avoid the bottom of the barrel. A cliche that is true in this case. No food otherwise, which is a bit of a bummer. I like to eat with my beer.

Staff is very knowledgeable about the beers, but they usually are understaffed and it takes awhile to get served.

Beer selection is awesome! Somewhere around 150 beers in their repetoire. Always new ones to try. The draught range is pretty good (20), though, so it's really a bottle place for the variety. A lot of imports, by far the best selection in beers of anywhere I have seen so far in MA or NY.

A word to the student, this isn't a very cheap place nor are there specials on beers, it's a place to go have one or two interesting offerings while spending a little as well.

aquatonex, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%

I’ve heard a ton of hype about The Moan And Dove over the past couple of months, more to the effects of you will be impressed with their selection. When someone boasts that much I wonder what other places they have been and how does this place compare. Being located in western MA it threw some doubt in my mind. Don’t get me wrong there are some great watering holes as well as breweries in the western part of the state, but the idea of have a killer beer bar never crossed my mind. After hitting a couple choice beer stores my mind was stuck on beer as usual. At first appearance I would not use the word “dive” or “whole in the wall” … more “raw” and “homey” at the same time, that is just how I like my bars. The chalkboard at the end of the bar immediately intimidated me for a brief moment; three DFH, a Stone, Allagash White, a slew of Belgians, a couple of Rogue, a Mc Neil’s on cask and many more. I want to guess about two dozen on tap, then the bottled beer list found its way to me and it was a big of a jaw-dropper. Right off the bat I noticed 5 of the 6 Trappist breweries, no Westve … some of the other Belgians I had never seen or tasted before like Bink Blonde and Bruin, a bunch of Cantillons as well as Guldenberg (Thank you Shelton Bros.). All of the DFH, Stone, Victory, Heavyweight, Rapscallion. Some Rogue, SN, Sam Smith, Young’s, Fullers, Unibroue, Schneider … the list goes on and on, over 200. So they were right, impressive. Perhaps the most impressive beer bar that I have been to east of the Mississippi and west of the Atlantic. Being that they have only been open for a few months I can see this list growing and they could easily build a vintage list … but then I’d have to move in and become a permanent fixture.

No food, as they are too damn busy to even worry about that, peanuts at the bar but you can bring your own food in. Service was fine, and the crowds was mixed of old-timers to college punks to locals. The music ran the same gamete, this place gets pack on the weekends from what I was told. On the Tuesday night during my visit there were at least 20-25 patrons one that was working on his list of beers to join the mug club. A must and worth the two hour drive from Boston … I will be back.

Jason, Mar 26, 2003
Photo of fdrich29
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%

I've been here twice now, both times with groups of Boston BA's.

The bar is dark, lots of black and red, and very mellow. Well mellow until you look at the right side wall and it's pictures, I won't ruin the surprise, see for yourself if your in that part of the state. You certainly don't feel like you're in a bar connected to a strip mall (for lack of a better word).

They have a nice selection of brews here, all reasonably priced. Folks living out here must think this place is a godsend.

We had the same bartender both times we were there, a young, attractive blonde woman who was attentive, fun and knowledgable about beer.

This establishment has never been high on my list of places I wanted to visit, and western Massachusetts is far from where I'd be if I had a choice in the matter, but it's hard not to give this place high marks. Great beer, small, cozy atmosphere, spunky bartender and you can order food from anywhere and bring it in with you to eat. I can't say I've seen that anywhere else.

Not a bad place, worth a visit, if you're out that way.

fdrich29, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%

This is a true Micro-Geek beer bar. Odd location kinda on the outskirts of town in a building that doesn't really look like a beer bar. Inside is a single room with a bar on one side and a few tables on the other. A barrel of peanuts as well. A dozen or so taps and a beer engine as well. Nice comfortable environment for a beer.

All the beers that we had were trouble free, and they seemed to care about having good products available.

Bartender was very concerned about how much we have had to drink. Frendly and attentive service. No complaints.

Had a Stone 7th from a bottle. They had many hard to find brews on tap and in bottles from just about anyone that you could want that is available. A place to frequent just to see what they have.

Only food was peanuts, so be sure to eat beforehand.

vladtheimpaler, Feb 24, 2005
Photo of Sammy
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%

I only found out after that it is so highly rated. It is a relatively small place, well lit by natural light. Moderate bar was all full, but the socializing tables in the middle were fine for us. Instant service, good glasses and good and varied selection. I particular liked the photo of the latest beers up on their website that I could prior check out. Northwest Mass., not an easy trip to come out on a regular basis, which I would do. I enjoyed it,it was a laid-back and diversified crowd.I know this is "corny", but I have a "sweet" spot for all the shelled peanuts you can eat.

Sammy, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of trbergman
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%

The Moan and Dove was the final stop on my beer tour of Western Mass. The first thing I was struck by was the seemingly odd location - I nearly missed it, even with a GPS - just on the side of the road, next to a gas station. While the place is pretty much inaccessible on foot, everything else about it more than makes up for that. The twenty taps offer a pretty wide selection, although it is dominated by American craft brews. Not to worry, though, as they have an extensive bottle selection with plenty of Belgian, British, and German beer. Prices are reasonable and they're upfront with the sizes of their pours. I didn't notice a food menu, but there's a large barrel of free peanuts by the door. I also noticed that one group had a couple pizza boxes on their table, so perhaps you're allowed to bring in outside food.

No complaints about the service. No great praise either, but then I knew what I wanted and I wasn't sitting at the bar. Music was pretty good, and not too loud. I'd definitely return.

trbergman, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of akahn
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%

This bar is a gem of Amherst. One of the perks of living in this town. A great place to stop in for a pint on the way home from work, a great place to go out with friends, etc. Service is friendly and knowledgable, prices are reasonable, the vibe is nice, whether it's a slow afternoon or a busy night time. The beer selection is simply excellent. There is always for everyone, but especially something for a beer advocate. Something hoppy, something malty, something Belgian, something German, often something delicious and English on cask... Fun events as well. One criticism is that sometimes I get beers in pint glasses that I don't think should be in pint glasses, but that's not a huge deal. Also, it seems that they prefer certain American breweries for whose kegs to put on. I think there are a lot of excellent American brewers than don't show up on their draft list, including breweries from the area, and I'm not sure why this is.

Oh, and peanuts in the shell!

akahn, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of bewley
4.16/5  rDev -9.4%

We stopped by on a Sunday evening a few weeks back. Didn't expect the bar to be in a plaza location--actually--I expected it to be in a bigger space. It was pretty slow the day we went, just a few regulars chatting with the bartender.

The bartender seemed efficient, but barely. He dropped a bottle, so his dexterity may have been off. The truth be told we waited a bit for a refill (while he picked up his laundry next door). Basically, he had a zero personality and was probably suffering from the night before. No biggie.

The service issue notwithstanding; the beer selection was fantastic as well as the atmosphere. For the beer selection alone we would go back in a heartbeat.

bewley, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.2/5  rDev -8.5%

I stopped here during a drive from Boston to Pittsfield. I really had no choice but to check it out, as it was voted best place to have a beer by BA in 2006. After stopping here I can say that it is an excellent establishment, very comfortable and relaxed with good beer selection, but it's not possible for me to rate this above the Ginger Man or Hop Devil (Manhattan) or the Map Room in Chicago. Regardless it was nice. There were about 15-20 beers on tap, all good (Spezial Rauchbier, Stone RIS, SN Bigfoot, DFH Johnny Rawton, etc), and also 2 beer engines although there were no casks available when I stopped. There were about 5 booths, 2 tables, and maybe 10 seats along the bar, all comfortable.

Worth a stop for sure, but no need to drive too far in case you have access to LA, Chicago, or NYC beer bars.

TurdFurgison, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of ecoboy
4.24/5  rDev -7.6%

Outstanding, well-laid-out menu. I actually appreciate the employee opinions in the descriptions. Selection would be given a 5.5 if I could. Love the proper glass selection. Love the commitment to firkins.

Another establishment where the number system of this site breaks down. Clearly one of the best places for a beerfly to visit in the region. But the service can gravitate toward you-should-be-thankful-I'm-serving-you-this-beer and the small room can feel like cramped quarters; you're not going to find "your space" in there if your mood does not reflect that of the other patrons. And it just doesn't freaking matter: you want a judicious selection of some of the best beers on this site, somewhere between Boston and New York City, and you want to pay reasonably for the privilege? You go to the Moan and Dove. Period.

ecoboy, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of harsley
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

harsley, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of ajendrysik
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

ajendrysik, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of alee42
4.33/5  rDev -5.7%

I have visited the Moan and Dove a few times now with my friends. I like it so much I think this place will become a regular hangout spot whenever I'm in town. It's in a nice location and not too far from the neighboring universities. It's a little dark inside, about 12-13 bar stools and tall tables in the middle. Bench tables are on the side for sitting. You might just catch the big barrel of peanuts on the right side when you walk in. You can pile 'em into a bowl and snack on with your beer.

The they feature their beers on-tap on a blackboard above the bar. Only about 20 beers, they do have a rather large bottle menu - I haven't tried anything of it yet. The staff is friendly, and they do ask for IDs if guy at the door isn't there to do so. Arguably the best bar for the beer and the fun in the Amherst area.

alee42, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of chuckd123
4.34/5  rDev -5.4%

Have now been to the Moan twice, and it is near the top of my list of beer bars. Only real downside is the lack of food, but I suppose you could bring your own. Beer rules at this place, and the bartender who's been there both times is exceptionally nice and genuinely interested in talking beer & making suggestions. We asked what the story is with the shelf over the bar holding countless bottles of the same beer. He proceeded to tell us the story of meeting the brewers on a trip to Belgium (De La Senne) and falling for this particular "hoppy ale" called "Taras Boulba", which apparently is the favorite of the bar staff. We tried a bottle, and it was very good, though I am currently in a "no such thing as too much hops" mood that doesn't seem to want to end, so I prefer a full on IPA (or Double), but it was a very drinkable beer. The atmosphere at this place is excellent -- a very dark and fairly small place, the emphasis is on beer and nothing else. Excellent selection of taps, and more than enough bottles. It's a good hour drive for me, but I'll be back many times. Absolutely worth a visit (or many) if you're anywhere near Amherst.

chuckd123, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of PatandDavid
4.36/5  rDev -5%

My second visit was on the latest bus tour (first was the first bus tour). Sad to say I haven't been here unless I was on the BA bus, but to be honest, this is a very serious beer bar, and it would be hard to come here and not have a designated driver. Ok, here goes why I gave the tally I did: Atmosphere: the place is rather small, but really that makes it all the more cozy. Get some good beer in you, and it really gets a certain beer loving vibe going on. When it gets dark out, it gets dark in, and that lends itself to the atmosphere...for serious beer drinkers only. Quality: I have to commend them on their beer menu, many choices, including great bottles (I had Cantillon Vigneroune sp?), and I saw Mahrs Ungespundet on tap. These are only two of the many fine beers and beer styles they had to offer. The beers I had were tasty, fresh, and in appropriate glasswear. Plus they had cask beer, nuff said. Service was good, I never had to wait at the bar. Everything I ordered was available, and they have a table set up so that folks can get themselves water to keep themselves hydrated. Selection...you already know I thought it was very very good. Food: no food, but I did have some peanuts, thanks. Would go again, just need a DD.

PatandDavid, Sep 06, 2004
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The Moan and Dove in Amherst, MA
100 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.