Re-Living the Bar Exam


Recently, I played a little law office hookie with a few of my colleagues, in the name of legal research (of course), to re-live the “bar exam.”

The particular bar we examined was Magnolia Brewing Company’s new digs in San Francisco’s Dogpatch. Magnolia, which has been around an impressive 20 years, is one of the growing number of craft breweries in the United States.

We were met at the brewery by Dave McLean the founder and chief brewer of Magnolia. Dave, an amiable but intelligent guy (he, like I, went to U.C. Davis after all), looks a bit like Jerry Garcia (who he actually named one of his beers after), and rocks an enviable beard.

Dave McLean

[Dave with Eugene Pak of Wendel Rosen, who, believe it or not, is a craft beer attorney, although I think it’s just an excuse to drink beer. Eugene’s Twitter handle is @BeerAttorney]

Dave gave us a tour of the newly built brewery, which he explained sits on over 10,000 square feet of space, has a 30 barrel system which will allow Magnolia to expand into distribution, and in addition to serving as a brewery is also a pub and has a restaurant called Smokestack that specializes in BBQ.


[Piggys. Sorry veg-heads]

The interior design of the place is both old and new and has an industrial almost steampunk look to it with its exposed rafters and piping and design elements made to look like they are from three-quarters of a century ago.

This dichotomy between old and new, I discovered, extends beyond just the interior design but to Magnolia itself:

  • Magnolia is one of the more established of the new crop of craft breweries in San Francisco which has taken the age-old art of beer making and found a newly appreciative audience of fans. Dave’s interest in beer came from his experience drinking English style beers, a country with a long and distinguished history of beer making, which Magnolia has made into its own.
  • The funds used for the construction of the brewery were obtained the old-fashioned way directly from interested investors, but through the decidedly modern take of crowdfunding, through Bolstr. Through Bolstr, Magnolia raised $150,000 in just 24 hours.
  • Dave also has an interest in locally grown, sustainable foods, and is a supporter of the slow food movement. For example, the spent brewery grain from Magnolia’s beers are sent to Devil’s Gulch Ranch, in nearby Marin, where it is used as feed for the pigs whose pork is used for Smokestack’s BBQ. “I can’t say that every piece of pork we serve was fed grain from our brewery, but it’s cool to think it might, don’t you think?,” posits Dave.

Beer cart

[Forget electric. Magnolia’s human powered beer cart!]

All in all it was a great bar exam. Oh, and the beer? It was excellent.

So, next time you’re in Dave’s part of town – he has two pubs – one in Haight-Ashbury and the one we visited in the Dogpatch – stop by Magnolia Brewing Company and go see Dave.

And, thanks Dave for the tour and being such a gracious host.

2 Responses to “Re-Living the Bar Exam”

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