Bombay By Boat IPA
Moonlight Brewing Company

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IPA - American
Ranked #793
Ranked #7,510
4.04 | pDev: 9.16%
Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 149 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very bitter. It really lingers. Resinous hops. Hints of grapefruit, vanilla, and lemongrass. Nice Moonlight style cocoa and caramel malts in the background. Nice easy drinking body. Finishes sharp and bitter. Would pair excellent with Thai food or barbacue.

Apr 02, 2020
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Johnnyvelvet from California

3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Toronado San Diego. Cloudy Amber with light head and medium lacing. Strong malt aroma with hops in the background. Taste also very malty with strong bitterness. Definitely not a west coast IPA, but a good English pale ale influence.

Nov 25, 2015
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ArrogantB from Colorado

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On hand pump at Toronado. Cloudy orange color. Smells like hops, hints of malt. Flavor was very bitter. This didn't really taste like a West Coast IPA but I'm not sure it was strictly English style either. The bitterness was nice and of course it was smooth being on hand-pump. I'd definitely order another and may do so before I leave the area.

May 02, 2014
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magictacosinus from California

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

To my knowledge, this is the very last beer I had on NYE before I lost any coherent consciousness to review anything that I would further drink. And, it's a good thing too, because I'm always pleased to find something made by Moonlight that *isn't* their Reality Czech pilsner every once in a while. Poured into a 16oz shaker pint glass at the Mallard pub.

Dark amber in color, with a nice frothy white head and some minimal lacing and bubbles throughout. Slightly cloudy, but I can't tell if this is the cask version or not. In the glass, the head dissipates rather quickly, leaving behind nothing more than a small ring by the end. This looks a lot like an English IPA, to be honest, and it's not the worst thing considering that it at least looks different from most IPAs being made in places in the Bay Area, as well as those around it.

Smells quite good - huge citrus notes, pine, and slight caramel sweetness that makes this a classic West Coast take on the style, yet brings in its own level of boldness. Orange peel, grapefruit, and tangerines, with some cardamom, dried leaves, and that pine/sage combo at the finish making its way through. Finishes slightly sweet yet firm, with strong caramel and light toffee. While it doesn't bring anything new to the ocean of IPAs that you have to wade through in this state, it's definitely enjoyable.

The flavor is on par with the aroma - strong citrus and bitterness, with a sweet malty finish and a medium body that makes it quite easy to drink. Grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, pine, cardamom, and some tamarind. Pretty juicy on the citrus fruity end, but also quite dry and firm by the finish, with some strong earthy and toasted grainy properties. No matter how much this warms up, it remains at the same level of bitterness, and never becomes too sweet or flat - although the caramel flavor becomes more heavily pronounced. Carbonation is good, and the beer feels creamy in spite of its medium bodied character. Refreshing, highly drinkable stuff - it's a fine bridge between a California IPA and an APA.

Beers from Moonlight are essentially of home brew quality (it is a one-man operation after all), and this beer really reminds you of that. It tastes very homemade and intimately acquaints people with a bitter beer that is more approachable with its crisp malt backbone and relatively lower ABV. Even though it's not as refined or explosive as other beers they make, this has to be my favorite beer from them, by far.

Mar 06, 2014
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RaulMondesi from California

3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Out of the cask at Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Raul pictured a vibrant, glowing setting sun... Raul pictured an angelic, endearing hula girl as his first mate... Raul pictured a beautiful, sparkling ocean in the never ending distance... And as Raul took his first sip and then swallowed, he kind of got that. Kind of.

With a name like "Bombay By Boat," Raul was ready to be swept away. No, not like that terrible Madonna film, but more like "L'atalante." And did Raul feel like he was sitting next to Jean Vigo after his first sip? Nope. Not at all.

Don't get me wrong, my children. It was a nice beer, but it was a bit more "simple" than Raul would have liked. It didn't "pop" like Raul's imaginary adventure to Bombay by boat (or steamer, for that matter) but it was smooth and tasty enough to warrant wanting to crack another on a schooner to Catalina Island.


Nov 12, 2013
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scottfrie from California

4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Bistro in Mendocino. Pint glass.

A: Served a glowing citrus orange with a soft off-white head that faded into a wispy, lasting film that left thick sheet of lacing down the glass.
S: Citrus bouquet of a nose with hints of tangerine, grapefruit, and apricot.
T: Clean, mild malt breadiness overshadowed by fresh, grapefruit forward, citrus hops. Sweet tangerine and bitter grapefruit pith come through in the finish and aftertaste respectively. Very straightforward and delicious.
M: Very soft carbonation and smooth mouthfeel. Medium body, drying and refreshing.
O: Very delicious and mellow ipa. Super smooth and balanced with a clean and fresh flavor. Would definitely buy again.

Sep 25, 2013
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elNopalero from California

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a pleasing golden tan in color with light foam. There’s some grapefruit and citrus undertones in the aroma but overall it has a pine forward hop aroma.

There’s a slight toast that comes across as it warms, like a whisper of biscuit malt almost. The flavor has an intense bitterness upfront and develops piney with some nice chew on it. The carbonation keeps it spry. Definitely a winner.

Nov 20, 2012
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Hopmonk, Sabastol location. Medium mouthfeel, well hopped IPA. Lacey on medium coloured body. Decent drinkability. Tasty hop melange, and still decently malted and a tad toasty. Hoppy aromas.WOuld estimate IBU in 70 range.Carbonation right there.

Nov 11, 2012
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FosterJM from California

4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1550th Review on BA
Cask to Pint

@Toronado San Francisco

App- A big serious looking orange. Like orange water with how clear it was and how well it shimmered and moved. A bit of yellows and what I would call yellow highlights. A big frothy 1" head that left some great cling.

Smell- When things are on cask the warmth really seems to accentuate the aromas and this was no different. It was damper citrus aromas mixed with some dry pine and grass. One hoppy beer but integrated well.

Taste- I had heard many a good thing about this one and was not let down. Big and hoppy with some great balance. The warmth of the cask just made this incredibly smooth and creamy. The malts take a back seat on the continual sips and layers well with pine.

Mouth- Highly medium to full bodied with a full-low carbonation and deceptively creamy and silky. Residual hops that we're a bit citrus but meshed into a grassy flavor.

Drink- This thing was just a great beer. Had heard so many good things about Bombay and Reality had to try it for myself. So glad I did. Wonderfully creamy and layered.

Oct 07, 2012
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not so obnoxiously hoppy for an American IPA, which is quite alright with me. The cask conditioning makes it much creamier than I'm assuming a regular offering would deliver. Nice spicy tones stay even. Earthy and citric tones define it. A pleasant IPA to drink.

Aug 30, 2012
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ccrida from Oregon

3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the toranado, bombay by boat is clear dirty blonde with an off-white head leaving decent foamy lace.

Smell is pretty heavy on the lemon cirtrus. A little nit of dirty dish-soap. Overall a touch soft.

Taste is also robustly hoppy, a big smack down of lemony hops, as JM said, very impressive depth of flavor for the size of this thing. Firm, lingering bitterness. No malt of note.

Mouthfeel is soft and bone dry, tounge-prickly.

Drinkability is high, an intensely hopped IPA with a reasonable ABV.

Jul 30, 2012
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wethorseblanket from California

4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From cask @ Toronado SF.

A: Pours clear gold with a finger thick white head which leaves unusual vertical columns of lace.

N: Floral and citrus with some pine hop notes. Grassy and herbal. Dank.

T: Follows nose with more pine and less citrus. Smooth finish with a fresh hop cone quality. Tremendous hoppy spice lingers long after the last taste.

M: Creamy from the hand pump with a medium body. Dry and semi-bitter finish.

O: Clean and fresh, just the way an IPA should be! If you ever see this, get it.

Jun 19, 2012
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John_M from Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Flavor Bistro today.

The beer pours a peachy orange color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing all around. The nose is pungent and impressive, showcasing considerable dry citrus, a hint of burnt toast and light pine. This beer smells as if it will an extremely bitter, well hopped IPA, which in fact it is. On the palate, this is an aggressively hopped IPA, with just enought malt to balance the avalanche of hoppy goodness. The hoppy bitterness dries this beer out in a big way on the finish, and there's no doubt this is one of the least malty/sweet IPA's I can recall having in some time. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, though given the abv., the amount of flavor this "no holds barred" IPA delivers is pretty astonishing. This beer drinks like an 8% or 9% abv. IPA, so I was amazed when I saw the 5.9% on this site. Drinkability isn't too bad, though this is one intensely bitter IPA, and so it's hard to imagine drinking a whole lot of this. Still, this is very well made, very well crafted IPA, that is very much in the West Coast style. Impressive...

Feb 04, 2012
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flexabull from California

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask @ the Toronado.

Pours a bright gold color, slight haze, and a nice white head.

Aromas are of pine, bright and bitter citrus, like lemons and oranges.

Taste is just like the nose. Pine like, with citrus, a backdrop of bread dough, and some creamy sweetness. Finish has some resiny hops and lightly bitter notes.

Mouthfeel is great, very smooth, with plenty of body. Not heavy at all.

Overall, a very good beer, and better than the sum of it's parts. Very high drinkability, my glass was empty before I knew it.

Dec 22, 2011
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jkanavel from Texas

3.69/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint of this at the Barley and Hops Tavern in Occidental.

The head was clean eggshell white

body was a beautiful orangy-golden.

nose was very pretty and hoppy but not terribly distinguished. Grassy notes, some floral notes, a little slim on the citrus spectrum.

mouthfeel, thin as it warmed up. PBR thin.But rich and creamy when it had a little chill left on it.

Flavor is where it fell a little flat to me. It was served...not terribly cold. Which is fine, but as it warmed it became astringent, watery, thin, flat. Maybe I was near the end of the keg.

Dec 06, 2011
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dgilks from Australia

3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden colour with a medium creamy off-white head.

Earthy dank hops and a good dose of caramel malts.

Smooth caramel malts with moderate bitterness and an earthy, resinous, bitter hop character. A decent English style IPA.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Pretty fizzy for a cask.

A decent, middle of the road IPA with an okay hop character and plenty of malt.

Aug 10, 2011
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ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a clear copper-orange color with a thin covering of frothy white head. The head faded fairly quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of traditional IPA aromas with some sweet caramel malts and some piney/earthy hops and some nontraditional IPA aromas including some wood and some yeast.

T - Starts off with a nice balance of sweet caramel malts and piney hops and a bitterness. Through the middle, the earthy flavors and bitterness kick in a bit more alongside a bit of wood and yeast. The finish is a nice balance of sweet and bitter that linger nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer is super smooth and a bit dry, which makes it really refreshing.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice mix of traditional and nontraditional IPA elements here create a really nice beer. Especially with the bit of wood from the cask.

Jul 28, 2011
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roodie from Texas

3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Dalva in San Francisco, poured into a pint glass.

A: pours a amber/orangish brown with 2 fingers of foamy head, nice lacing.

S: grapefruit and mango, ending with a delightful bitter piney hoppiness

T: same as the nose, the bitterness is very potent, but very pleasant

M: bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue, nice carbonation adds a spicy quality to the tip of my tongue with each sip

O: a very enjoyable brew, I have not been disappointed by Moonlight IPAs so far.

Jul 26, 2011
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treyrab from California

4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went out to San Francisco to swim Alcatraz and made sure to try as many Moonlight beers as I could. Tasted at Toronado San Francisco for the full effect.

Pulled from the cask into a pint glass. Here goes nothing.

A: Pours in the glass a semi-hazy golden copper. More light gold than bronze. The haze is reminiscent of chill haze, as opposed to unsettled yeast. A nice white head forms and sticks around a bit, but eventually recedes and laces only slightly. Looks pretty still, with minimal carbonation (as expected). Looks nice.

S: An awesome West Coast IPA meets English Bitter. Smells like a nice blend between the two styles. A punch of orange (Cascade, Centennial) hit you first, followed by some English Hops (East Kent maybe) and a nice caramel backbone traditional of ESBs. Nice toast aroma to go with the pungent hops.

T: Pretty much along the lines of the smell. A softer taste and pretty bitter. A very drinkable American IPA and not overly bitter. The orange and mango qualities are there and pair nicely with the toasted malts.

Overall, a solid beer. Moonlight is impressing me with their work. This is no exception.

Jul 23, 2011
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Off cask at the Toronado, in San Francisco.

Bombay by Boat is the exact shade of coppery golden you'd want to see in an IPA. And it's perfectly clear too. All it needs is a giant spongy head, but this pour came from an ambient temperature cask so I don't think... wait a tick! This has a substantial, fully bloomed capping that leaves little scabs of lacing, and lots of them, everywhere. In that case: perfect 5.

This beer stinks. It makes the smelly homeless guy sitting next to you on the subway seem like a breath of fresh air. OK, maybe we won't go that far, but the smell of these grassy, herbal hops is as strong and obnoxious as cigarette smoke, the kind of smell that could stick to your clothing for days. The hops cones must have been the size of pineapples.

Normally this is the kind thing I'd reward, but if anything it's too pungent! The beer's bland, cardboard-y malts do nothing to stand up to these dank, vine-y hops. In fact, I doubt I've ever had a beer that tastes so green and weedy and leafy. It's got as much ganja-like herbals as a 4/20 march... funny that it should be a staple on the hand-pump at the Toronado.

Usually beers this bitter are decorated with pleasant pine or fruity flavours, but this one just has the plain, excruciating, less-than-tasty bitterness of steamed greens. It's like licking a wet jungle floor; notes of birch, vines, leaves, herbs and far rotten fruits saturate the palate and, with no carbonation to scrub them off, they linger like a long-steeped black tea.

What this should be called is Liquified Green Hop Smoothie because that's what it drinks like. In the land of hops, this beer sticks out as a giant among them - and it's not even designed as a double IPA! It's also interesting for emphasizing English hop flavours by using aggressive, American hop quantities. Pleasure in pain - this was a well worthwhile pint!

Jul 10, 2011
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PerHops from California

4.72/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer several times. I've had it on hand pump at toronado. On draft at a few different bars. Tonight I finally understand this beer. I love pretty much everything this guy does, but never really appreciated the IPA. The hops came through so much more than i remembered in the past. Great IPA one of my favorites, if I can find it this fresh.

Jul 09, 2011
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DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the handpump at Toronado, SF. Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Lightly hazed dark yellow color. Two fingers of frothy white head with good retention and glass covering lacing.

4.0 S: Like most IPAs from a cask, this is full of woodiness. Tons of oak, pine, and a heavy though tolerable overall yeastiness. Earthy hops. Malts and yeast give a bready vibe.

4.0 T: For the most part follows the nose. Moderate bitterness, which is perfect for the format.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Super cask creaminess. Well carbonated.

4.0 D: Never had the regular version, but IPAs on cask are awesome and this is no different.

Jun 19, 2011
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beagle75 from Iowa

3.51/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at Beachwood BBQ.

A: Clear, light amber color with less than one finger of persistent white foam head. Heavy lacing remains, with nearly continuous sheeting over much of the glass.

S: Crisp and astringent, with minerality and predominantly floral hops that smell distinctly of roses.

T: Begins dry, with toasty caramel malt, hop aromatics consisting of edgy herbaceous spice and pithy grapefruit citrus, and bright intermediate acidity. Sharp mineral salts emerge in the middle as malt fades, imparting some astringency that becomes amplified in the presence of surging bitterness. Bitterness becomes intense during the finish, tasting of wet coniferous foliage, and enduring on the palate for a considerable long time.

M: Thin viscosity, wet and acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This experimental IPA attempts to push the limit of how much bitterness can be realized, and in that respect it is a reasonable success. IBUs aside, this is one of the most bitter beers I have ever encountered--after having it on two separate occasions a year or more apart. It is also clean in its sensory profile, giving the feeling that malt, hops, and water have all left a mark but the contribution of the yeast (esters, diacetyl, etc.) is all but absent. Unfortunately this quality leaves gaps between those three components, with them seeming awkward and disjunct in their attempts to be relatable.

Jun 04, 2011
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bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.67/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Mikkeller Bar. From notes.

A - Slightly hazy with a bright cold colour. Great creamy two finger, white head. Mild carbonation visible. Great lacing all around the glass as a solid thin cap retains the whole way. In terms of IPA this is spot on.

S - Nice resinous hops. Really citrusy and slightly bready. Slghtly zesty. Whlie I say it is nice and all that jazz, it seemed quite mild to me with all those notes being good but subdued in a way. They did not seem to jump out.

T - Lovely fruitiness that I was hoping would come out more than the aroma. Slight pine is there also with some breadiness. The finish is really resinous and juicy.

M - Nice tingly carbonation with a medium body. Not extremely bitter but you can definately feel it.

D - Standard IPA I guess. I was not overly impressed but enjoyed what I had. The flavour seemed to die towards the end though and I lost interest quickly.

Apr 13, 2011
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Beerenauslese from California

3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On cask at the Toronado during SF Beer Week

Body is yellow gold with a tan head with lots of big round pancake-like bubbles that quickly dissipated to a ring. Leaves some soft lacing.

Aromas of malt, grapefruit, and piney and grassy hops.

Tastes of sweet malt with a huge assault of piney and citrus hops. Finishes bitter.

Body is light and carbonation a bit low, mouthfeel seemed ordinary for an IPA.

I though this was a good beer, but the hop profile seemed harsh. I enjoyed one, but would not follow it with another.

Feb 13, 2011
Bombay By Boat IPA from Moonlight Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 149 ratings