The Moan and Dove


91 Reviews
The Moan and DoveThe Moan and Dove

Type: Bar, Eatery

460 West St
Amherst, Massachusetts, 01002-2988
United States

(413) 256-1710 | map

Voted the #1 Place to Have a Beer in 2006 - by reviewers.

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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 114
Photo of tjbartjr
4.56/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I've been 21 for over 6 years, I lived in western Mass until I was 26, I even went to UMass for college, but I did not go to the Moan & Dove until a recent business trip! Granted, it wasn't always the Moan & Dove; I think it used to be the Old Amherst Ale House. Anyway, stopped in there to met up with some buddies before we made our way to McMurphys uptown. What a travesty I had never been there before! It's a great little place, the kind of bar you could picture a modern Hemingway or Kerouac relaxing at on a Saturday night. Nice mix of locals and more "alternative" college kids; a decidely different kind of college student than the ones at McMurphys, the Pub, or the late Barsies, for example. Easy to drive past, if you're not totally sure where it is, but a worthwhile stop. Warm, inviting interior, friendly staff. Had a real nice selection of brews, and they have a mug club for those interested in joining. If you're in the area, or passing through, it should be a definite stop on your list.

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Photo of Caesar024
4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

First off, I was driving into town just after dark and this place was virtually impossible to find since it is outside Amherst proper and their sign is completely unlit.

I'm still really glad I made it.

Inside the atmosphere is great: no television screens to suck your attention away from your conversation with friends (or anyone else you happen to meet there), fairly eclectic music doesn't overpower either; dimly lit which is comfortable unless you actually want to read the printed beer menu, then you should make sure to bring reading glasses.

Beer selection was great, with most styles represented in draft and a fine bottle selection. Somewhat disappointed to see two beer engines plus a firkin sitting on the bar, but only one cask beer available (Allagash Curieux, which looks phenomenal, but a little too much when I had to drive back to Springfield afterward). A pretty sold list of "lawnmower beers" there for when friends who aren't as adventurous, but want to hang out.

Service was quick, friendly, and knowledgeable. Also, excellent at giving accurate directions when I had to call to find the place...

I really expected to find food (to pair with my beers), but ended up with a complementary bowl of salted peanuts in the shell. At least they have menus from ares restaurants that will deliver to the bar so you can have something to soak up that 10% imperial IPA (although I think we could have done better than pizzas).

Prices were not out of line, drafts were a little more than what I'm used to paying in Rochester, bottles were generally a little less. Hey I wasn't coming here to find the dollar PBR specials anyway.

All in all a great beer bar. So long as you can find it.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Attended last night so as to attend before departing back to Boston.

Excellent atmosphere, candlelit with glassware for display.With tap selection on a blackboard

Everything their was top notch beer, no Bud, Coors or Miller.

Excellent bartender very knowledgeable and friendly.

5 of the 6 trappists in bottles, I was pleased to find Stone IRS on draft, I had planed on getting whichever RIS they had and could not have been happier.They also had Hoptimus Prime on Cask.

A little expensive,but a very nice place, I will be back as soon as I can be

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Photo of orsulacp
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I had to try this place after the fine ratings. It is right up there with the best in the country, the lack of food is fine, it is a beer bar. The staff was awesome, one person in our party doesn't drink alcohol and the bartender recommended the best NA beer they had, he actually knew things about the NA beer available, very impressive. They had a wide variety of beer on tap, they had a special section for IPA's, a weissbier, and a bunch of other stuff. The standout for me was the Monk's Sour Brown Ale. The draft beers were a little on the pricey side, but not too much, the Stone RIS was 7. The bottle list was exceptional, broken up by style with a wide variety and reasonable prices. The only other downside is that it is a bit outside of Amherst proper so you will have to drive, or have someone drive you here. This place is pretty much exceptional on all things needed in a beer bar, if you are within 50 miles it is a must stop.

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Photo of CudOfCow
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The Moan and Dove is the best bar in the entire valley, if not the state, if not the country. I will forever hold this hole in the wall dear to my heart.

If you are a fan of real beer, that is all you will find. If you ask for anything else, you should probably just find another place to drink.

If you want beer, you will find oh so much. Whether on tap, in cask or in a bottle, there is an endless supply of some of the most unique beers around. The bar men and women are fantastic sources of knowledge and always have a good recomendation if you cant make up your mind. I also have to compliment their selection of music and it is not uncommon to see beer mug graduates standing up to say a poem or sing a song.

The only complaint is that the prices have risen quite a bit since i first started going here, i suppose not nearly as much as the price of gas at the Hess station next door... cest la vie.

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Photo of chuckd123
4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

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Photo of NEBeerWench
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I'll bite - I might be a bit biased in reviewing the Dove because I've been going there since five days after I turned 21 (I realize that that makes me sound like Old Lady River; trust me, I'm not; that was three years ago). All that being said, this bar has become my basis of comparison for every beer bar that I've ever visited. The staff is all extremely competent; this note applies both to the bar-back and doorman staff, and to the bartenders themselves, who are veritable beer encyclopedias. They are all friendly, funny, and helpful: the latter being especially helpful when I'm in the mood for something different, or I'm having trouble being decisive (which, of course, never happens). I have learned an incredible amount about beer and how best to appreciate it, over the past few years.

On that note, the Moan & Dove's beer selection and atmosphere create an environment that is conducive to learning about and appreciating beer to its fullest extent. The amount of beers is enough to keep regulars and/or beer snobs from ever being bored, and yet is not overwhelming to newcomers (it's now up to 183). Coupled with this is the beer list, in which participants try to drink every beer that the M&D offers, within a year. Instead of encouraging this to be a trophy, the staff treats the list like a rite of passage, emphasizing that the point is to learn and appreciate all types of beers, rather than rushing through the list simply to say that one has done it.

Even though the Dove doesn't offer food beyond the ever-present barrel of peanuts, there are about 10 places within 5-10 minutes of driving time that deliver. Also, people may complain that the Dove is out of the way, hard to find, and is not overly easily accessible by public transportation. Although it is true that the bar is not on one of the main bus routes in and around Amherst, it has a bus stop right out front. The fact that it is not right in the middle of things is also fantastic to those of us who enjoy not being inundated by undergraduates who drink Narragansett like it's going out of style.

In short... I love the Moan & Dove. There simply is no place (that I've found, anyway) that quite measures up. Although I've been to my fair share of great bars and beer bars, I've never found any bar that could quite replace this one.

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Photo of Loki
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Well worth the 45 minute drive from Hartford on my business trip. Very surprised at how rural the location was. I wish that any town in NC had a bar like this.

I think they have 14-20 beers on draft ranging from Stone VE to DFH 90 to De Ranke XX Bitter to other fantastic craft beers. Huge bottle selection with some rare and aged stuff. Tons of Belgians and craft beers from all over the country.

They were doing a launch party for Mayflower and had a cask of the IPA that was fantastic. Good enough that with the selection they had I ordered two!

The third beer I ordered was a De Ranke XX Bitter b/c I love the beer and I've never had it on draft. Packed place, no empty seat in the house and the Bartender came by after about 5 minutes and said "I was supposed to bring you something and I forgot." He then immediately poured my beer and said it was on him. I was waiting but not long enough during a night that busy that I would expect anything other than a "sorry that took so long". I will be back here next time I'm within an hours drive.

I would have loved to have more beers but it was 9:15 with a 45 minute drive back, early work the next day, and I didn't have a DD so three was enough after dinner.

Fantastic Place!

I rated the value at $$ b/c it's in MA and beer is just expensive there. Or at least that is what I've observed. Plus most of their offerings are low production to rare beers. Now if they charged that in NC I would probably have to rate it at $$$, but it wouldn't stop me from going again and again.

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Photo of cheers55
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place rocks. My wife and I finally made it here on a busy Saturday night and it was great. After reading reviews talking about snobby bartenders I was surprised with how personable the bartender was who took our order for first round.
Draft list is small but well chosen (Maudite for instance) and bottle line up is spectacular. Had Fantome La Dalmatienne to start and it was great. Later in the evening announcement was made that as a way of saying thanks everyones next beer was on the house! There were 100 or so very happy beer drinkers. M&D has customer service and great beer down to a science.

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Photo of belhav0322
4.64/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

After coveting a visit to this place for a few years now, I was finally able to make it here last week.

We came here on a sleepy Wednesday night and the place was very quiet. A couple of tables were occupied and the bar was lined with empty stools. We were more than happy to occupy three of them.

Did you ever walk into a bar and think to yourself "Gee, this place is spotless and seems so well maintained". Well, that is what I thought to myself. You could smell the cleanliness (in a non-chemical sort of way).

I enjoyed a High and Mighty stout and a Mayflower IPA (YUM!). Both were nice and fresh and served in appropriate glass ware.

Our bartender was kind enough to share a bottle of Affligem Double with us that was opened up for a staff tasting. Very nice. Aside from that our bartender also proved to very attentive and pretty knowledgeable.

The draft selection was not huge, but it was well rounded and well thought out. Many locals were highlighted. My only complaint was that they do not carry anything by BBC (I was told this was by choice on managements part). I found this odd given the neck of the woods we were in. It was also disappointing given that I look forward to getting it whenever visiting my home state. Oh well, to each their own.

The bottle list was very comprehensive (nice lambic selection, something you do not see too often).

All in all, this place was amazing and worthy of the many accolades it receives.

I hope to be back soon.

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Photo of currysage1
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I've been in many times, every time it's on a week night and it is so goddamn loud you can't think. I'm 25 years old. That's F-ing sad. It's a small place so maybe it would be better with an expansion or a smaller volume knob.

Other than that this place is in my top three places to go for real beer. Their selection, tap and bottle, is second to none, and if it is they pass all the others in the bartenders knowledge (can be a little snobby though).

I have to say that it is worth the money to go here and really ENJOY your beer.

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Photo of ImperialGuy
3.33/5  rDev -27.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 1.5

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.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is my favorite place in all of Amherst. I love its atmosphere: very small, closed space. When it does get crowded, boy, it is hard to find a place to sit though. The bartenders dim the lights a bit as the evening progresses, as candles are usually on every table. Local magazines are on a main table for customers, as a huge barrel of peanuts with serving bowls are available for all to spoon out and have for the evening. The demographics are usually locals, grad students and some undergrads, so its not a rowdy college bar. In fact, it is often known as a much more quiet, casual, less get-together "party" place than other bars in most college towns.

The bar is a beaut with its huge selection of beers. A chalk board often has what is on tap tonight and what the specials are. A front-back beer menu sports a whopping selection of bottles, somewhere around 160 different bottles from around the world. The bartenders are also very well educated. Any question I have had of beverages or recommendations have been very well thought. These people love and respect beer. It's selection of micro-brews from the US to around the world is amazing. They also hold many events and specials for breweries from around the world. Because of this though, they are known to be wicked pricey, a turn off to many college aged kids. But what you get in return is incredible. Every penny is worth it here. Highly recommended.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.2/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

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.

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Photo of ams4k
4.86/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The best place for a great beer that I can reasonably imagine. Perfect atmosphere to savor the awesome things they have on draft and in bottles. Impressive Belgian selection and a wide range of American craft too. Intimate setting, lots of wood, perfect lighting, laid-back atmosphere, serve-yourself peanuts in the shell. Great service too -- the waitress wrote down directions to the Dirty Truth (their sister establishment) and came after us with my wife's purse which she had left in the booth. You know the place where beer drinkers go to quaff in peace and joy after they die? It's a whole lot like the Moan and Dove.

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Photo of madmanjf
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped off for a quick visit on my first trip to Amherst. The was stop 2 of 4 as well as the primary reason for the trip.

I arrived on a Saturday afternoon .... quiet time.

The selection was intense ... one trip can't do this bar justice.

The bartender was very nice .... great to talk to, informative, etc.

I had a pint of IPA from Great Divide ... a newcomer in the north-east from Colorado. I had this in bottle very recently, but couldn't resist trying it on draught.

I folowed up with a sample of a lager from Germany ... U. Due to time and schedule, it wasn't possible to stay much longer.

I look foward to a second visit where I can dedicate more time to explore the world here :)

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Photo of akahn
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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!

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Photo of Sammy
4.14/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Seanish
4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The place was easy to get to, not far from the center of Amherst but you really do have to look for the Hess gas station next door or you might miss it, it is very small. Parking was easy, I was able to pull in right on the side of the building.

My roommate and I met some friends here pretty late on a thursday night and the place was very crowded. This was the first visit for all of us and in retrospect we should have gone at a less busy time. It was very dark which could be good sometimes but it made the crowds even more anonymous.

Luckily the beer was great. I was overwelmed at the selection and didn't know where to begin. My roommate and I decided to go for an Amber ale because we both like them and ordered a Rogue Dead guy Ale. We both enjoyed it and I would definitly like to try again and give it a formal review. My friend ordered me a cask beer for my next. I never got the name but it was definitly distinguishable from your run of the mill beer, it had slight oakey flavor that grew on my as I drank it. I didn't have anymore after that being the DD but I tried a bit of my friend's Dogfishhead 60 minute IPA and was impressed with that, it even came in a Dogfishhead glass!

The bartenders were very friendly and quick with our beers, that alone makes any bar better. They also knew what they were talking about which was great for someone like me who is just starting to learn about beers.

I went higher on the atmosphere rating than I actually felt because I went on a thursday night at around 10, which probably explains why it was as jam-packed as a highschool party but after it was less crowded and I got to sit down, The Moan and Dove was fun and I plan on going again soon (at a less busy time)

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

The Moan and Dove is rather small in size but it enhances the atmosphere, when you step in, any beer lover is going to be jazzed with this selection. Eight or more taps with fine brews and MANY(60+) more bottles available. Each selection is served in it's own appropraite glassware with the brand logo. Very impressive. I went in with my girlfriend and two othr friends, all beer lovers and everyon was like a deer in headlights.

We were greeted by a very nice bartender that was very knowledgeable of everything he served us and was able to answer any questions we had, which is a REALLY NICE treat. It was a Sunday night so it wasn't full or even close to full which allowed me to be able to concentrate on my selections.

My first choice was Stone's Mocha Porter on-tap which was very nice. I knew my next selection should be an extreme beer, I chose the 2004 Samichlaus bier which was just right for the occasion...I knew I would revieve some interesting feedback from my friends after I let them all have a sip.

I could only spend about an hour or so here because we were on our way to a Keller Williams show in Northhampton, but I know I will return!

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Photo of Jukebox
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Decided to go on a daytrip with fellow BA and brother Saturn to check out the number one place to have a beer and also to check out the Dirty Truth as well. Sort of hard to find, located in a sort of strip mall next to a hair place and a Hess station. Look for the gas station or you will drive right by. Opens at three weekdays and one on weekends.

Small place with maybe 10 barstools and 5 tables. As you walk in you notice at least 30 taps facing you and the wall of glasses that match the taps. The tap list is very impressive, all good stuff. The bartender when we arrived, was getting ready for a cask festival of some sort that night, which was to start at six. However it was only three, so we ordered a Coniston Old Man and a Left Hand Milk Stout both on tap and served in proper glasses. Both were excellent. We followed that with a bottle of Achell Brune served in a Achell glass and a bottle of Anderson Valley Pale Ale.

I think the service in this place is among the best I have seen in a beer bar before. The bartender really knew his stuff and would help make suggestions or answer any questions anyone had. He even gave both of us a free tasting of Samuel Adams Utopia, because we had never tried it before.

In finishing, The Moan and Dove is perhaps the finest beer establishment that I have been to and if you are in the area you should go too!

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Photo of bkett01
4.5/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

What this bar lacks in size it makes up for in atmosphere and quality. The dark room is filled with tables and a candle-lit bar. A chalkboard at the end of the bar displays the most up to date listing of beers available on tap. Impressive glassware selection is displayed above a very good selection of micro handles.
The service was attentive and very knowledgeable on all the beers they served. I had an Anderson Valley IPA and a Stone IPA, both of which were great (no tap line issues here). Wish I could have spent more time at this place, but arrived too late in the night. The Moan certaintly lives up to the hype and I look forward to my next visit.

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Fifth and final Stop on my beer trip. This place is right down the street from ABC. Tiny, dark little bar located next to a HESS station.

This place is very much like The Dirty Truth in Northampton, but has more of a pub feel to it. It was loud, crowded, a bit grungier, I love it. I bellied up to the L shaped bar and ordered a Hercules DIPA from Great Divide. It was poured in a gigantic chalice.

They offered about 30 or so drafts and an even bigger bottle list.

The staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable. When realized I was from out of town were eager to give advise and directions. I wish that I could have stayed longer and drank more but 8 hours of beer drinking takes it's toll.

I really like this place and would love to make it up more often, most definitely worth a stop if in the area.

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Photo of RatAgain
4.59/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I got to visit this jewel of the beer world this past summer while visiting a friend. He had never been despite living so close. I had read a lot about The Moan and Dove and just couldn't wait to go.
My first impression upon entering was how nice and relaxed the atmosphere was. People were at the bar talking, a few people were playing chess at one of the booths and several more people talking at one of the high tables. Sat down at a high table and an took up the beer list to suggest beers to my friend. The menu has a great selection with good descriptions of all the beers. Ordering drinks was rather easy as the bar wasn't over crowded and the bartender provided our beers and proper glassware.
We spent a good amount of time there and as it got darker the bartender lit candles for the tables which incresed the relaxed atmosphere of the bar. On the whole a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a beer with a friend. The service was exceptional and the pricing and selection good. I sure do wish that I had a bar like this closer to me.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My stop to Moan & Dove was planned as part of a two stop break on a five hour drive from upstate NY to Boston. Other BA reviews accurately describe that a person can easily miss seeing the place because of it's size. My final directions, from a local liquor store, indicated that it was 'in the building by the gas station' which was very helpful. M&D is the fourth Top 50 establishment that i've had the opportunity to visit this year. One thing is for sure... it's all about the beer!

The pub itself is small, well apportioned, cozy and comfortable. The well stocked woody bar showcases an elaborate selection of glassware and the large chalkboard on the far wall announces a selection of draft beers that lets you know that you have truely "arrived". The bottle menu is impressive to say the least. I shared (and savored) a bottle of Stone Old Guardian with the other five patrons at the bar then enjoyed tasting draft Schneider Aventinus and High & Mighty IPA before getting back on my journey.

The bartenders were very knowledgeable, friendly and attentive. I understood from other BA reviews that they didn't serve food so i had stopped in for a sandwich at the Amherst Brewing Company on the way there.

I highly recommend a visit to Moan & Dove.

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The Moan and Dove in Amherst, MA
4.59 out of 5 based on 114 ratings.
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