Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery is located at 1398 Haight Street at the corner of Masonic in San Francisco. The Brewmaster is David McLean another graduate of the UC Davis Brewmaster Program.

Magnolia's sign isn't the most prominent but if you're at the corner of Haight and Masonic, you can't miss it. The space is rather small and when we went there was a 20 minute wait for brunch.

The decor reminds me of a UK pub, from the the small, white tiles on the floor and dark wood framing to the leather booths. It's cozy and welcoming.

The food was really good. We had brunch and would definitely go back. The service was slow, but other than that the experience was very enjoyable.

Magnolia takes an traditional English approach to its beers, not only in recipe, but in serving. Several of their brews are cask conditioned and served with natural, low carbonation at a slightly warmer temp. Cask conditioned beer is also known as "Real Ale" in the UK. They also use imported UK products like Maris Otter malts, which imparts that traditional English Ale taste. They have a very extensive lists of recipes, many of which are highly rated.

Here is what I tried:

Dark Start Mild
This is an English dark mild ale with an ABV of 3.6%. The beer is a dark reddish brown, clear with a thin off-white head and low carbonation. The aroma is roasty with notes of fruitiness like pear or dark fruit. Tastes like the aroma, the light fruitiness is upfront followed by the roasted malts. The finish has a lingering bitter roasted flavor. Easy to drink. I'd Try It if you're a fan of brown ales.

Bonnie Lee's Best Bitter
This is an English Bitter that pours a light amber color with a small head. It has an aABV of 4.6%. The aroma is subtle and has light bready malt notes with whiffs of roasted malts and hints of floral hops. The taste has a bit of diacetyl or buttery flavor with earthy hops and light malt hops. It's medium bodied with light carbonation. Not my favorite, I'd skip it and try another bitter. This was one of their lower rated bitters.

Kalifornia Kolsch
This is a classic Kolsch. It pours a pale yellow with a nice white head. It has an ABV of 4.8%. the aroma is mild with light bready malts and hints of citrus. The flavor starts with bready malts followed by the citrus and maybe some fruity or floral hops. The breadiness being more prominent. It's light bodied with higher carbonation. It's crisp and refreshing. This is pretty good for a Kolsch and I suggest you Try It. Not many brewpubs I've seen try this style, so enjoy it!

Deep Ellum Dubbel
This is a Belgian Dubbel. This beer pours a light brown with a thin off-white head. It has an ABV of 6.9%. The aroma is mild with light roasted and chocolate malts, hints of dark fruits, spices and Belgian yeast. The flavor starts off with the dark fruits followed by the dark malts and finished with some spice and juniper. The juniper lingers with you. This was your standard dubbel until the juniper hit, which made a nice surprise. I'm not a big juniper fan, but this was tame enough to compliment the beer. I suggest you Try It.

Cole Porter
This is a standard American Porter. It pours a very dark brown with a small tan head. It has an ABV of 4.8%. The aroma has strong smokiness with roasted notes and whiffs of nuttiness and coffee. The flavor has chocolate, coffee and roasted malts with a smokiness through out. The body is medium to light with light carbonation and a dry finish. This a very unique porter that has a nice complexflavor. This is definitely one of their Must Have It beers.

Chocolate George Stout
This is a Sweet Stout. This pours a very dark brown with a coco colored head. The aroma has coco, roasted malts, and a bit of vanilla and hints of alcohol. The flavor is lighter than the aroma would suggest with coco, roasted malts and alcohol. The body is medium with low carbonation. Not a good version of a Stout. The flavors and body could be stronger. I would Skip It and try another.

Overall, I liked Magnolia. I didn't get to try all their beers, but in general I like what I tried. They have a great spin on the traditional English style that is served alongside great food. I think Magnolia is a Must Have It if you want to visit a brewery in San Francisco.

1 comment:

  1. Cole Porter? I'm drinking that for the name alone....