Working For Tips | Moonlight Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
40 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States
moonlightbrewing.com

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by errantnight on 05-06-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
40
Reviews:
22
Avg:
4.02
pDev:
8.96%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
1
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 1,858 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

 934 characters

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

 808 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

 583 characters

Photo of drummstikk
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
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!

 1,300 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 585 characters

Photo of illidurit
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

 429 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 836 characters

Photo of MiScusi
3.7/5  rDev -8%
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.

 1,206 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

 768 characters

Photo of Rzzzzz
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado, in a slightly chilled glass. Dark brown with a moderate but elegant off-white head which left a nice trail of lacework down the glass. Aroma is not overpowering, but along with a solid malt nose there is the faint yet unmistakeable aroma of a bike ride through Muir Woods. (more the earth and trees, and not so much the sweaty bikers)

This is a great tasting beer, similar to a nice English brown ale, with caramel malt flavors and some spice accents. I'm picking up cinnamon or allspice--or maybe that's what redwood tastes like--but it's certainly well in the background. A bittering "hops" presence is there at the end, just enough to balance out the sweetness of the malt.

Mouthfeel is great--again, what you'd expect from an English brown ale. Mild carbonation and delicious taste make this one very drinkable brew. I'm impressed by the fact that the redwood isn't really the focal point of this brew; it's evidently simply used in the same capacacity that hops would have been used.

 1,010 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Toronado

A: Deep brown with brown highlights. Thin tan head

S: Sweet caramel, toffee and nougat. Delicious

T: Along the lines of a brown ale, this is excellent with a medium body, great caramel flavor with hints of roast and nuts. There's a light hop bite on the finish. Goes great with my duck sausage.

M: Vibrant and lively with great carbonation

D: Very good - I'd have drunk more if i have the option but there were other beers I'd never get to try calling out to me!

 490 characters

Photo of DIYMonkey
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

When the bartender told me it was brewed with redwood tips I thought I misunderstood him. But when I stuck my nose in it, it reminded me of bailing on my mountain bike and landing in a big billowy pile of redwood duft in the santa cruz mountains, a maneuver I perfected pretty well in college, and it all made sense.

Brian never stops to amaze me.. this isn't a session beer as the resiny taste of the redwood would surely bog you down pretty quick, but it's an amazing brewing idea and is very well executed.

You just have to try it, if not because its just as good as any moonlight brew, but perhaps just for the novelty.

 626 characters

Photo of errantnight
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Monk's Kettle...

Per those fine proprietors, an ale brewed without hops, but with the tips of Redwood trees.

Well, it certainly LOOKED beautiful, a deep mahogany/amber... sorta a cross between a rich amber ale and a scotch ale, with a lovely, creamy head into a tulip glass.

Aroma is a bit faint, notes of pine and toast.

Flavor is... wow, this simply doesn't taste like a gimmick... at all. There is bitterness here, and its in perfect harmony and balance with the malt sweetness. The pine flavor seeps through, and the beer is exceptionally silky smooth and has a distinct dryness to it. Clean, forgiving, tasty.

Apparently there IS life after hops!

 673 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Working For Tips from Moonlight Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 40 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe