It's the end of an era. SF beer pioneer Dave McLean has officially passed the reigns of both his restaurant-brewery locations to Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company and Belgian brewer Oud Beersel. The new Magnolia Dogpatch has been transformed from its Smokestack barbecue days and reopened as a lighter dining room decked out in grey booths, floral wallpaper and 1960s-1970s photos of San Francisco. In the brewery space, picnic tables and TVs showing the Giants and the Niners form an indoor beer garden. Next year, there are plans to open up a 6500-foot event space next door that will also house a koelschip (or coolship), an open fermenter for sour beer production.
Chefs Laurance Gordon (Mikkeller, ThirstyBear) and Roque Mendoza (Magnolia Haight) offer a menu with a little something for everyone—including kids, who now have their own coloring book-style menu. Start off with the clams cioppino (clams baked in a cioppino-like sauce with herbed bread crumbs) and the smoky-sweet popcorn before moving onto the mass-appeal entrees—We like the roast chicken with preserved lemon and olives.
Considering Magnolia’s history as a pioneer of the English ales and cask beer trends, the new bar wisely keeps Magnolia hits like Kalifornia Kolsch and Proving Ground IPA (with new can packaging) on the menu alongside a long, new list of palate-pleasing beers from porters and pilsners to bock and red ales. Initial standouts include the Cucumber Squeeze, a cucumber Meyer lemon IPA, and sour beers from New Belgium, including a spiced apricot sour and a Le Terroir dry-hopped American sour ale.