Last October, Golden Gate neighborhood residents Brian Koloszyc and his wife Teresa announced their plans to build a brewery and tasting room along San Pablo Avenue. This Saturday June 4th, Novel Brewing Co. will open their doors to the public for a soft opening, just in time for the third annual Love our Neighborhood Day.
The day will signify the end of a long journey that began for Brian with home-brewing in the kitchen, led to competitions and an internship with Firestone Walker and culminated with the dream of owning his very own brewery. The brewery will also be the first for North Oakland (soon to be joined by Temescal Brewing).
Novel will surely be a popular destination for the anticipated 10-15K neighbors and visitors on the open streets route on what’s expected to be another sunny day in the East Bay. Novel will be a sponsor of this years event and Teresa was on the organization committee.”The fermenters are full and the yeast is happy! Beer cometh!” declared Novel in their most recent newsletter.
They initially targeted opening in late Spring 2016 and were right on the mark despite the expected wrinkles along the way. “Construction flew by fairly quickly. We had to make a few tweaks to our plans along the way to get approvals from the City of Oakland that set us back a bit, but I guess that’s to be expected”.
Novel Brewing Co. will eventually have as many as 16 styles of beers but will lead off with (pending a last-minute fix of their chiller that conveniently went out yesterday):
- Belgian Style Dubbel
- German style Kolsch
- Irish Style Stout (Nitro)
Five more beers including an American IPA are in the fermenting process and should be available as quickly as two weeks from now.
The interior theme feels a bit like a 19th century library mixing books (lots of books!) with industrial accents and even an antique (and soon to be functional) letterpress printer. The press will be eventually be used to print menus and even labels for the bottles.
Koloszyc noted that the books are from his personal collection and consist of mostly fiction pieces but will eventually mix in some poetry and screenplays. Koloszyc was an aspiring novelist before turning his passion to craft brewing.
The in-progress tasting area features sixteen taps. Novel also will offer 32oz growlers for neighborhood beer enthusiasts to refill.
The Novel theme is even extended to the tasting trays which consist of drilled out books and a bookmark that identifies the distinct brews.
The trusty stainless steel fermenting tanks are already in use and can produce batches in the neighborhood of 150 gallons.
So what’s in store for Phase II? “We haven’t really had a moment to breathe yet, but we definitely have ideas! A game night, trivia night, perhaps some book readings. We definitely want to mix it up and try different things.”
Novel will eventually offer bar bites and will partner with food trucks and local restaurants in the meantime. Koloszyc also revealed that Kitchen on Fire, a commercial kitchen and cooking class event space, has leased the adjacent spot and they are in discussion to partner in some way.
Koloszyc notes that the success of Novel will be focused around the tasting room and not distribution. “With our capacity, the profit margin on distribution is pretty narrow. We want to be a neighborhood joint … that happens to be a brewery.” Koloszyc is working to hire their first employee to help pour and coordinate events as well as an assistant brewer when they’re in full swing. Expect a Grand Opening celebration sometime around July.
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Soft Opening Hours:
Saturday: noon – 10pm
Sunday: noon – 8pm