Working For Tips
Moonlight Brewing Company

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From:
Moonlight Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Style:
Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #6
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
90
Ranked #9,522
Avg:
4.06 | pDev: 8.37%
Reviews:
26
Ratings:
18
Status:
Active
Rated:
Sep 28, 2021
Added:
May 06, 2008
Wants:
  6
Gots:
  1
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Notes: None
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of unlikelyspiderperson
Reviewed by unlikelyspiderperson from California

4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
An odd and surprisingly delightful beer. Deep amber with a lofty and tightly packed head that holds its own. The aroma has an earthy and spicy note that is very reminiscent of a redwood forest in the rain. There are also deep red fruity notes and some slightly woody/medicinal hints.
Taste follows with a rich and complex flavor that gives me the impression of barrel and vermouth and that same earthy spice of a rainy conifer forest. It tastes like an ancient time. Like a romanticised earthen hut in pre-Christian Europe.
Mouthfeel is full and soft and a little soapy.

A very unique and enjoyable beer
Sep 28, 2021
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Yeah. I like it. It’s wild. It’s like the burrow that says, “No more. No more. To hell with your fat self. You wanna go up and down the canyon? Use your own damn legs.” That’s what I feel when I drink this beer. Redemption.
Aug 25, 2021
Photo of BerkeleyBeerSleuth
Reviewed by BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Dark red tinted brown body with a tan foamy head. Delicious roasted malts; nutty and caramel. Light flavor of redwood. Very good malty flavors, very much like a brown ale or a nut ale with a medium filling body. Some taste of dark fruits. Clean sweet finish. A great beer for the coming autumn months, and don't worry the redwood is very mild and not overpowering,
Aug 02, 2021
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
i really liked this beer, its unique and subtle and well made, but in the end, i wanted a lot more of the special ingredient here. its an unhopped ale brewed with redwood tips, which i have never heard of in a beer, and so i wanted them to really lead the way. instead, they are folded into a nice earthy malt base, fuller feeling body, and lightly english yeasty ale thats hearty and fully satisfying to me, and of great quality, but not exactly brimming with redwood character, whatever that might be... i do get a soft woodiness, a pine note where hops might be, and a cool organic bitterness, but its not as botanical feeling, piney, fresh, or aromatic as say spruce often is in beers that use it, and i am left wanting more, as much as i like this clear copper colored beer as an autumn session brew. its still got plenty of flavor, biscuit, light maple, and a faint herbaceousness. definitely has an old school vibe about it, and fits the fall season really well. a nice pint of beer, but i would love to have experienced more redwood tip character in here, unless im just missing it and expecting it to be something other than it is, i want more! perhaps this wasnt as fresh as it could have been and that element had faded some, who knows...
Nov 09, 2017
 
Rated: 3.85 by CheapBeerBuzz from California

Nov 19, 2016
 
Rated: 4.28 by IceAce from California

May 08, 2016
 
Rated: 4.1 by vidisad from California

Aug 24, 2015
 
Rated: 4.47 by cletusdog from California

Aug 21, 2015
Photo of Luu777
Reviewed by Luu777 from California

4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
On draft at City beer. Poured in a tall glass with about an inch of head. Malty redwood is a great description. If your looking for hops don't go here but if you love malt this is a keeper!
Jul 28, 2015
 
Rated: 3.59 by Bp123 from California

Jul 24, 2015
 
Rated: 3.94 by Resuin from Massachusetts

Jul 20, 2015
 
Rated: 4.5 by redfox405 from Virginia

Jul 10, 2015
 
Rated: 4 by AnHeroicHippo from Canada (QC)

Aug 07, 2014
 
Rated: 3.5 by Texasfan549 from Texas

Jul 25, 2014
 
Rated: 3.75 by jacewg from District of Columbia

Jul 15, 2014
Photo of scottfrie
Reviewed by scottfrie from California

3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
On-tap in Mendocino. Pint glass.

A: Pours a root-beer caramel brown with a clinging tan head that faded into a lasting fuzzy film. Great streaky lacework was left down the glass.
S: Woody, roasted and malty smelling. Slight herbal forest notes as well.
T: Mild chocolate, woody malts, slightly sweet caramel, no bitterness at all. Grainy aftertaste with more wood and earthy flavors.
M: Creamy mouthfeel with soft carbonation. Medium body with a good amount of chew to it. Solid and easy to drink.
O: Definitely woodsy, with a mild leafy taste. Very smooth and quaffable.
Sep 25, 2013
 
Rated: 4.25 by mc4z from California

Jul 14, 2013
Photo of elNopalero
Reviewed by elNopalero from California

4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
Instead of hops this is made using redwood tips, like a gruit. It’s a ruddy amber in color with great foam. The aroma of redwood tips is there, present and upfront. With that I find notes of cherries and sweet vermouth, like a well-made Manhattan. It’s lightly carbonated, giving it a fuller, rounder body. It’s not hoppy but mellow, with that sweet wine finish. Needless to say, I loved every sip.
Feb 21, 2013
 
Rated: 4 by spycow from Illinois

Jan 12, 2013
 
Rated: 3.75 by t0rin0 from California

Nov 04, 2012
Photo of Jsenay
Reviewed by Jsenay from Texas

3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Served from tap into moonlight glass

A - Deep brown in color. Nice head which dissipates slowly. No lacing.

S - Not much to the smell. I can smell some subtle roasted malt but not much else.

T - It's got a nice level of sweetness up front with some chocolate/coffee flavors. The spice doesn't hit until the aftertaste. Got a spicy Cinnamon with the red wood (I'm guessing) earthiness lingering on the back of the tongue.

M - Really smooth for what I was expecting with it being a gruit. Full bodied mouth feel with the subtle and delicious spice bouquet at the end.

O - It tasted almost exactly like death and taxes to me with less of that smoky flavor until the spice hit at the end. It is really delicious and I loved the subtleties of the aftertaste. It is an interesting take on a classic beer style. I will definitely order this again.
Jul 13, 2012
 
Rated: 4.25 by popery from California

May 15, 2012
 
Rated: 4 by oldp0rt from Canada (QC)

Mar 15, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
Reviewed by MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
On-tap at Flavor Bistro. Served in a Moonlight pint glass.

A - Very dark brown with some ruby-red highlights when held to the light. A finger of tan foam settles to some splotchy lace and a thick collar.

S - Smokey, roasty, woodsy, and earthy, with some coffee as well. There's an herbal character that could easily be mistaken for hops, but I'm guessing is actually the spruce tips?

T - Again, very earthy and woodsy, with roasted malts, smoke, and light cocoa sweetness. Finishes with moderate bitterness, but not much over herb flavor.

M - Medium-high carbonation, slightly gritty medium body, crisp and refreshing finish. Like most Moonlight offerings, it doesn't reveal an alcohol.

D - Interesting beer - I'd probably guess hoppy black lager or porter if having this blind (which is indeed what happened, as Flavor had no idea what the beer was when I asked). I enjoyed it quite a bit and had no problem putting down the entire pint.
Feb 21, 2012
 
Rated: 4 by rbrefbeerman from California

Nov 18, 2011
 
Rated: 5 by rob133 from California

Nov 14, 2011
 
Rated: 4.25 by westcoastbeerlvr from California

Nov 14, 2011
Photo of avaldivia
Reviewed by avaldivia from California

4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
On tap at Flavor Bistro In Santa Rosa. Served in typical Moonlight Brewing Pint Glass.

A: Very dark brown. When held up to the light, a bit of a reddish hue was visible. Little head to speak of. Virtually no lacing.

S: Roasted malts were first and foremost. A bit pf smoke.

T: Delicious. Roasted flavor was pronounced, as was a smokiness. Very pleasing. There were a few hints of coffee, some woody aspects as well.

M: Fairly thin. Very carbonated. A bit dry.

O: I tried and was not a fan Legal Tender, which was also a Gruit. I almost didn't order it for that reason, but I am really happy I did. This was a very tasty beer. One I will order again.
Aug 16, 2011
Photo of litheum94
Reviewed by litheum94 from California

4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On tap at Toad in the Hole.

P: A very deep, red-brown, almost black. Garnet hilites. Brownish head fizzles out quickly.

A: Roasty coffee aromas. Some dark fruit sweetness, plums. Has a "nitro" aroma that a lot of dry stouts have. Minty. Wood tones.

T: Very roasty at first, porter like. Light chocolate sweetness and coffee. Creamy. More mint, but with less of a menthol flavor. Unidentifiable spicing, possibly sage. Wood tones, tasting like a redwood grove smells. Active carbonation on the finish.

I almost didn't order this becaus I'd had it before. I'm glad I got it, because it's way better than I remember it being. Great roasty tones with good spicing and the Redwood adds a nice flavor. Wonderful.
Aug 10, 2011
Photo of Hojaminbag
Reviewed by Hojaminbag from Colorado

3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Working for tips pours a surprisingly dark color, with a body that is almost black and a healthy brown head. The retention and lacing are both pretty good.

The aroma leans toward the dark malt, with both roast and smoke making an appearance.

Hints of coffee mix with roasted malt and the slight flavor of smoked wood lingers in the background. Just a hint of an herbal flavor, and it tastes like there are some spices thrown in. Very dry overall.

Dry and smooth.

This beer wasn't really what I expected at all, but I liked it. Fairly understated in flavor, I found that I downed this beer very quickly.
Aug 03, 2011
Photo of biegaman
Reviewed by biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
On-tap at Monk's Kettle, in San Francisco.

Working for Tips is inspired by ancient brewing traditions and, indeed, it looks nothing like most modern beers, save maybe the stouts. It is black with some ruby highlights but not enough that it can claim to have any real colour. It has an ultra-lush head that’s tinted an off-white colour and leaves shrouds of lacing that are thick enough to wrap a baby in.

How strange is it for a beer brewed with redwood tips that one does not find any redwood aroma. Not a trace of it, in fact. Not even a shadow of a trace. Instead, the bouquet has a coffee and cream (more cream) richness, with a very pronounced maltiness and a savory herb, earthy note that may be the redwood only showing up with a little warmth.

The redwood can't really be claimed to be tasted on the palate either; however, there is some earthiness that obviously can't be attribute to hops. Mostly there is just a coffee-and-cream flavour and lots of roasted maltiness. Calling it 'chocolaty' would probably be an exaggeration, the beer isn't that rich. It is mild, medium-bodied and has no real intensity.

It's not surprising to find, since the brewer didn't use any hops, that there's no bitterness at all. In fact, this is one of the smoothest (and I try use that word as sparingly as possible) beers in recent memory. That coffee-and-cream flavour comes without any roast or astringency at all. It's got such a creamy texture you might suspect a nitro-tap was at play.

Moonlight Brewing works hard for their money and I'm glad the beer reviewing world treats them right. Although this offering, with less than 20 reviews under its belt is still in its infancy, it already rates a "B+" and I've no doubt it'll soon have an "A" next to it, just like the fantastic Reality Czech and Death & Taxes brews. I'd consider it as good as those.
Jul 27, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
Reviewed by ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A - Served a black color with a bit of brown mixed in and just letting light through around the edges. There is a frothy finger of brownish-tan head atop that fades slowly leaving behind lots of lace.

S - The aroma is a mix of many different elements including some herbs/floral elements, some chocolate malts, wood, and a just a touch of hops.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malt and some wood flavor. There is also some floral flavors starting up in the background. Through the middle, the floral flavors get a bit stronger with some herbs as well and just a bit of was seems like hops. The finish is a mix of chocolate malts, floral elements, and a bit of wood that lingers.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit dry from the herbs and floral flavors.

D - Very drinkable. Lots of flavors that do not seem like they would work together mix here for a really tasty and balanced beer.
Jul 26, 2011
Photo of 4000qtrap
Reviewed by 4000qtrap from Missouri

3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
Source/Serving: Draft @ Toronado's

S: Light, but deep roastiness, dark chocolate, spicy cherries + wild berries, faint toast and earthiness.

T: Semisweet berries and coffee up front with a little spice. Burnt malts are light in intensity like a schwarzbier and play off one another well. Spicier in the middle which is deep and rich and interesting in their complexity. Some bitterness is provided by the roasted malts in the background. Much drier and almost no fruit but still very full flavored. The finish is a continued progression to more dry spices, but light roastiness lingers.

Notes: If you sat this beer down in front of me I'd swear by taste it was a black Belgian like Russian River's Rejection. You do notice the lack of hops but in something like a black Belgian you don't really miss them.
May 01, 2011
Photo of largadeer
Reviewed by largadeer from California

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
On tap at Flavor. Dark brown with ruddy tints, almost black. The beige head holds pretty well. It smells of heavily roasted malt, chocolate-like in character. Espresso and evergreen come out as it warms. I might be crazy, but this smells like it's fermented with lager yeast. The palate mirrors the aroma: roasted malt is prominent, lending chocolate and espresso flavors. There's a bit of nougat sweetness, a light herbal character and a touch of carob. The body is fairly light, and it's a pretty clean and crisp beer on the whole. For a non-hopped/gruit style beer, this is great.
Dec 03, 2010
Photo of drummstikk
Reviewed by drummstikk from California

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5
Look, there's a reason most beers have hops in them -- they make malt taste great. To make a beer without them is a uniquely difficult task, but Moonlight has done it.

Working for Tips is dry and light bodied-enough that you really can taste incredible wood, juniper, and resiny flavors from California Redwood tips. The malts compliment this dry herbaceous taste with a light-chocolate brew that is roasty. But even though sweetness has been minimized, you'll still have a coat in your mouth after a few sips. That's the sugary malt that hops usually balance out.

Carbonation is minimal, another of Brian Hunt's nice touches to allow us to appreciate the Redwood. A tap pour will give a half-centimeter milk chocolate foam that dissipates before long.

While this beer may appeal mainly to beer geeks, it's important to remember that beer went without hops for millennia. Hops grow in narrow belts in the mid-northern lattitudes, and they weren't even introduced to beer in these parts of the world until the second millennium. We should rightly view them as an option in our brews. Tongues are slower to change than minds, however, and mine is no exception.

This brew probably isn't drinkable enough to enjoy a pitcher with a friend. Instead, enjoy a small amount and delight in the hoplessness!
Mar 26, 2010
Photo of Halcyondays
Reviewed by Halcyondays from California

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark amber with a soft off-white head, nice look, good head retention.

S: Woodsy, herbal, piney.

T: Get a lot of crystal style English-like malt initially. The redwood tips come in, with a nice piney but not over the top bitterness. There's a certain fruity ale sweetness from the tips that maintains a good balance.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy, not a huge aftertaste, nice herbal feel.

D: I was real excited to try this one, reminded me a lot of Alba Scots Pine Ale which I gave a similar score to. Very solid ale, and I like the experimentation.
Dec 20, 2009
Photo of illidurit
Reviewed by illidurit from California

2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5
On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Pours a deep orangey copper color with a creamy khaki cap of head. Aroma is caramel with some slight roastiness and herbs. Flavor starts out nice with a round caramel character tempered by some herbal notes but the finish is quick to turn vegetal. I appreciate the creativity but the aftertaste tastes, unsurprisingly, like leaves. Very nice mouthfeel but I can't call the drinkability very good.
Sep 05, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
Reviewed by Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Had this on-tap at Jupiter in Berkeley. Very pleased to see this quite interesting beer as I'm a fan of evergreen spiked beers. I've never had redwood tips in a beer before and it's intriguing how different they are from spruce or juniper- much earthier and much less sappy and in-your-face than the pine is. This beer pours a murky copper with a short, creamy head with some nice lacing. Smells grainy with some spicy notes and a light banana and cherry sweetness. The taste also has a grainy anf fruity sweetness with the spicy/earthy notes of the redwood tips creeping up the backend. There is also some more sweet banana and cherry as well as some citrus and bitter flavors that I would swear were from hops. Ends with some smooth, tangy, lager yeast notes. Smooth, fruity, earthy, and easy to drink. Very interesting and delicious.
Aug 23, 2009
Photo of MiScusi
Reviewed by MiScusi from California

3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
On tap at The Trappist in Oakland, CA.

A- Served in a chalice, is dark root beer color, some big sudsy bubbles try their hardest to form but nothing really comes up. The bartenders disclaimer was that lack of head might be from the oils in the beer due to the redwood tip use. That's actually what I was thinking while she was pouring it.

S- Knowing there are redwood tips I want to say it smelled something along the lines of a green nature-y smell, but I didn't get that at all. It had a bit of perfumy smell to it, but it was hard to pick up the aroma from the chalice.

T- Hard to describe. Seems like a bit of a toasty or lightly roasted flavor that gives off a sharp malt bite, a bit of bitterness. That same fragrance that pops up in the aroma is noticable in the mouth if you hold the sip in there for a minute.

M- It was oily... slick, on a medium to medium-light body.

D- I like to try new stuff but I didn't really like this a while lot. It's not a horrible beer though by my tastes, and I still appreciate what they are doing here even though that doesn't suit my taste, which I reflect in my score (a bit higher than what I overall probably thought of it). I wouldn't have it again though.
Jun 15, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
Reviewed by GClarkage from California

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
06/01/08- Had on tap at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa, CA.

Presentation- 12oz pils style glass pour via the tap.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. Fairly creamy looking 1/4 inch slightly off white head. Decent lace trails and light patches left behind.

Smell- Caramel-toffee malted nose with a good amount of redwood-pine scented hops...errr, redwood tips. Very nice nose.

Taste- Tastes like the nose. Kinda tastes like a brown ale infused with redwood trees. Redwood bark flavored malt with a good amount of roasted caramel. Tastes hoppy without the hops.

Mouthfeel- A bit too carbonated for my tastes, but not annoyingly so. Leaves a redwood hop like bitterness in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Pretty yummy and quite different. I would definitely try this again.
Jun 05, 2008
Working For Tips from Moonlight Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 44 ratings