Magnolia Brewing Co. Starts New Chapter After New Belgium Acquisition

This August, news broke that Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Co. was acquiring Magnolia Brewing Co., which had sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015. 

Now that New Belgium has finalized the $2.7 million deal and assumed ownership of the restaurant and microbrewery at 1398 Haight St. (at Masonic), we checked in with Dick Cantwell, Magnolia's new director of brewing operations.

Previously, Cantwell co-founded Seattle's Elysian Brewing. Now a Bay Area resident, he'll be joined by Magnolia founder Dave McLean, who's staying on. The venture will be overseen by Kim Jordan, a co-founder of New Belgium who lives in the area.

Cantwell said that although new brews and a supplemented selection of drafts at Magnolia are in the works, the company is still following the course laid out by McLean when he founded the brewery in 1997. Operations will continue to be led by Brian Reccow, "who has overseen Magnolia through much of its difficulties," Cantwell said.

"There’s a lot to like about what Magnolia has done and achieved over the years," Cantwell said, "and we plan to add to the best of that." 

Key differences—other than a new, seasonally changing menu, will be in the beers that are served.

Cantwell said that while they'd continue to brew and pour Magnolia mainstays, he'll be introducing some brews of his own, as well as selections from New Belgium, Oud Beersel, and beer from Magnolia's Smokestack expansion in Dogpatch, a 30-barrel microbrewery that opened in 2013.

If you're stopping by for a regular pint, you'll have noticed a shift in offerings. "Magnolia’s first lager is shortly to be released," Cantwell said. "There have already been a couple of new IPAs, and a Yuzu version of the Kalifornia Kolsch is on the horizon—later this week, probably."

Further down the line, customers can expect the addition of some wooden foeders for brewing and a Belgian style coolship for natural fermentation.

"We’ll see what kind of bugs will blow in off the Bay," Cantwell said, "and what kind of beer that will make. It’ll take a while, but we’ll eventually be doing our own blends to serve in the two pubs and probably to sell in bottles."

Magnolia Brewing is open in the Haight from 11–11 from Monday to Thursday, until midnight on Friday, 10am to midnight on Saturday, and from 10–11 on Sunday. 

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing is located at 2505 3rd St. (between 22nd and 23rd) and is open from 11:30–10 Monday to Thursday, 11:30–11 on Friday, 11:30am to 11pm on Saturday, and from 11:30 to 10pm on Sunday.

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Magnolia brewing co starts new chapter after new belgium acquisition