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Magnolia Pub and Brewery

Location: San Francisco, CA

Type: Brewpub

Available in DC Market: No

What you need to know: It’s a rare lovely day in San Francisco. You head over to Haight-Ashbury, walk around making outdated but obligatory hippie jokes, maybe visit the Cal Academy of Sciences, the De Young Museum, or the Botanical Gardens, all of which are in Golden Gate Park. You get hungry, you get thirsty, you go here. Magnolia opened in 1997 and has become a San Francisco institution. This place has the best food of any brewpub I’ve ever been in.


DCBeer’s own Mike Stein visited recently, and is letting us use this picture. Thanks, Mike.

The brewery and restaurant is named after this person. Caveat clickor (Wikipedia but borderline NSFW).

Beer #1: Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter (English-style Bitter / 4.3% ABV)

Notes: This bitter took the bronze at the 2011 Great American Beer festival in the Ordinary and Special Bitters category. Magnolia makes another bitter called New Speedway. It took silver last year. Magnolia makes good bitters. Don’t whine about why they didn’t bring their “better” one, because it could be worse: they’re not bringing Blue Bell Bitter, which didn’t medal at all. It must be the black sheep of Magnolia’s bitter lineup. Or maybe they didn’t enter it. It will be paired with salt cod fritters for an authentic chippy experience, provided you bring your own newspaper.

Beer Advocate: N/A
Rate Beer: 47 overall, 74 style (11 reviews)

Beer #2: Kalifornia Kolsch (Kolsch-style ale / 4.8% ABV)

Notes: I find it curious when a brewpub makes a lagered beer. One can make two, maybe three ales in the time it takes to lager, and brewpubs generally aren’t known for having a lot of capacity. This Kolsch-style ale is on the hoppier/crisper side of the Kolsch spectrum, assuming such a thing exists. It will be in the high- to mid-80s this weekend. A good beer given the forecast, and the lemony notes in the beer will go well with the preserved lemon and tombo (tuna) being offered at SAVOR.

Beer Advocate: 83 (21 reviews)
Rate Beer: 46 overall, 73 style (49 ratings)

Summary: Magnolia deserves to be at or near the top of any list of places to drink in San Francisco, and we’re lucky to have them here in DC for a few days. I suspect that in terms of the overall food-and-beer pairing experience that SAVOR provides, Magnolia’s offerings will be among the most well-matched.

This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2012 SAVOR participants.

Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.