The eclectic industrial-residential Dogpatch neighborhood suffered a big beer blow earlier this year with the closure of Magnolia’s brewery and restaurant, but now there’s some good news for hop heads in the area. A new brewery plans to take over the former Triple Voodoo Brewery space on Third Street between 19th and 20th streets; the location housed Triple Voodoo for more than a decade before the brewery shut down during the pandemic in November 2020.
Olfactory Brewing Co. hopes to start selling beer by the end of summer, says Phil Emerson, one of four partners working to bring the business to life. Emerson comes from Alameda’s Almanac Beer Co. and holds a degree in Food Science and Technology (Food Chemistry) from UC Davis, with an emphasis on beer. But he’s not the only one with street cred on the team: partner Max Crango-Schneider comes from brewing at Elk Grove’s Tilted Mash and partner Trevor Allen has spent more than a decade installing brewing systems including at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The team’s fourth, Robert Moyer, lives on the East Coast but Emerson says it was the two of them who first started planning Olfactory more than a decade ago. “It started as a small dream,” Emerson says.
As far as the brewery’s focus, Emerson says they’ve got a “fondness for things that aren’t over the top” — which means you can look forward to sessionable beers including, of course, a traditional crisp lager and some hoppy brews. The team is looking forward to using local and seasonal ingredients too, including malt from California’s own Admiral Maltings. And for any fans of Almanac’s fruited and barrel-aged beers, Emerson says Olfactory will do two mixed-fermentation sour beers made with fruit grown between San Francisco and Davis.
They’re focusing mostly on direct-to-consumer sales, so while they’ll be doing some canning to start, the main thing will be selling beer over the bar in Dogpatch. Emerson says they’re open to working with a few “really good accounts” but with the capacity to brew only about 1,000 barrels a year, they don’t plan to do a lot of distribution. It’s also a matter of quality, he says. “I’d rather you get the beer incredibly fresh, when it’s at its peak,” Emerson says. “The name Olfactory, it’s your senses, it’s your sense of smell, and so much of that, especially for fresh beer, is time-based.”
There won’t be any food, at least to start, but customers will be welcome to bring their own. And even though the ultimate dream would be to open multiple taprooms around the region, Emerson says they’ve got their sights set on being “a brewery with intention,” growing only when it’s in the best interest of both the quality of the beer and the well-being of the team. “We don't want to create jobs people don't want to do,” he says.
Olfactory Brewing Co. will be located at 2245 3rd Street in San Francisco.