Magnolia Dogpatch Is Fully Up and Running, in a Big Week for Beer

Brunch and happy-hour service began this week, part of some big changes in the beer scene all over the Bay Area.

There have been perturbations throughout the Bay Area beer universe — the happy kind. On Polk Street, the former Buffalo Theory will soon become home to a medium-term pop-up from SoMa’s Black Hammer Brewing, set to last until February at the very earliest. Further, Chef Tim Luym of Buffalo Theory has landed at Brew Coop in the Mission, a sort of fast-casual, pour-your-own spot in the former Osha Thai.

Meanwhile, in Windsor, Natalie and Vincent Cilurzo cut the ribbon on a Russian River Brewing production facility specifically designed to accommodate the hordes who take over Downtown Santa Rosa for the all-too-brief appearance of Pliny the Younger, the brewery’s time-consuming and labor-intensive Triple IPA. With seats for 200 and a dozen brews on tap, it’s all the more reason for SMART to hurry up and build that extension to Windsor (scheduled to open by 2022).

But the best news is probably that Magnolia Dogpatch is fully up and running. After a three-month hiatus and a rebrand from the original name, Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing, the reimagined brewery-restaurant rolled out service under Chef Laurance Gordon in September. It’s since debuted brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with dishes like a croque madame, flatbreads with bacon or sausage, a house breakfast sandwich, and a half-dozen cinnamon sugar-dusted doughnuts for $5.

While rosé made a noble effort at dethroning Champagne from its primacy over the last two summers, it’s probably worth letting a beer brunch have a go. Proving Ground IPA, Kalifornia Kölsch, and Pepe Le Pew Saison are all willing to take a shot, although Billy Sunday Pale Ale seems best suited to the task. Now that Magnolia is partially owned by New Belgium Brewing and Dick Cantwell of Seattle craft brewery Elysian has headed up brewing operations, we’ll see if the concept has the staying power that eluded the previous incarnation. One additional strength is that Chef Gordon hails from Mikkeller and Back of the House’s Belgian brasserie, Belga, both of which are as beer-focussed as they come.

As of this Monday, Oct. 22, lunch is up and running as well. Gone is the barbecue, and in its place, diners can find chicken meatball and fried fish sandwiches, a Sheboygan bratwurst — an underappreciated variety in California and something J. Kenji López-Alt’s team was doing at Wursthall for a while — plus amped-up vegetarian dishes like a “fully loaded” roasted cauliflower. Happy hour, though, maybe the real prize. With $25 select pitchers, discounted bar bites, and $1 off house beer and tap wine, it could have the magic touch. This Magnolia is in full flower — but more importantly, great week, everybody. Great week.

Magnolia Dogpatch, 2505 Third St., 415-864-7568 or magnoliabrewing.com

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