Petaluma is best known in the beer world as the home to Lagunitas Brewing. Unfortunately, Lagunitas doesn’t have a brew pub where you can sit down for some tasty brews and tasty food. The closest thing to that would be McNear’s, located in downtown Petaluma. I had the afternoon off, so the wife and I headed south and met some friends for lunch.
Unlike most reviews I give, this one is about food and beer, so I’ll give you a rundown of my entire meal. Before even taking my seat at our table, I headed to the bar to see what was on tap and make my selections for the afternoon. The guest tap was Lost Coast’s Tangerine Wheat. The other beer that caught my eye was Moylan’s Irish Style Red Ale. Having made my choices, I headed back to the table.
I got the Tangerine Wheat to start off. I wasn’t expecting a whole out of yet another fruit flavored wheat beer. Nothing surprising here. The beer smells just like a tangerine; no malt, no hops, just tangerine. Fairly clean tasting beer with a real tangerine flavor. Not sure how they added the tangerine flavor, but I got a big sensation of bitter rind. Not very pleasing but it helped finish a beer otherwise lacking in hops. My wife and her friend enjoyed this one when I passed it around. If you like fruity wheats, this one won’t disappoint. They put a lemon in this one. Seemed like a little too much citrus and this may have added to that overly bitter citrus rind finish.
First food item that came out was the beer battered mushrooms. These were served with a side of ranch. Good bar food. Not much else to add. When you’re talking about deep fried mushrooms I’m not really sure how complex the dish can be. The batter was tasty. Just be careful because these things held their heat for a long time, and I think everyone at the table burned their mouth.
Before the meal came out, I ordered my Irish Red. I’ve had problems with Irish Reds since college. Dave and I had a great idea to stock up on beer one day and went to the Safeway. We returned with 3 cases of beer. We figured this would last some time. It was all gone by the next morning. We had a good time, partied with “Larry the Drummer” and I just remember the last few beers before sickness were Killian’s Irish Red. I’m not saying Killian’s defines the style, but when you have such a bad memory in your head associated with a particular style, it kind of ruins all the beers associated with it.
Moylan’s Danny’s Irish Style Red Ale, as it is properly known, is a very basic Red. Very malty, not much hops, and carries a kick. This by itself doesn’t appeal to me much, and when paired with my tale of woe, I had a hard time drinking this one. It’s overly malty, kind of bready, sweet, and just not my things. Even for a malty style, this one lacked enough hops to balance the brew.
To go with my beer, I had the Caribbean Jerk Pork Loin Sandwich with mango salsa. I wasn’t too crazy about this. I usually get their blue cheese burger and regret not going that way this time. The porn loin was cut paper thin and you only get one piece. The spices just weren’t right for a Caribbean jerk. On top of that, it was very dry. I usually like McNear’s food, but this was a new item and I won’t be ordering again. In the past, I’ve had their BBQ and their burgers, both of which are very good, so don’t let this one bad sandwich influence your opinion of their food, just don’t eat it.
So I’ve had better experiences at McNear’s, but having not mentioned this place to you reader’s I felt I should mention my beers and my experience. McNear’s is still one of my favorite places to grab a beer, so give it a chance. They have a very nice selection of beer on tap, and that alone is worth the visit.
Note: I apologize for the crappy photos. All I had handy was my cell phone.