The Rare Barrel, Anvil Brewing, Fieldworks, The Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room (and the unfortunate shuttering of Pyramid) have all contributed to a thriving West Berkeley brewery scene. North Oakland and Emeryville have unfortunately been left out of the fun … until now. Golden Gate residents Brian Koloszyc and his wife Teresa have leased the former Pallet Space Gallery building and filed city permits to open Novel Brewing Company next year.
Transplants from Massachusetts and St. Louis respectively, they both bounced around the country before settling in the Bay Area where they met. They eventually planted roots in North Oakland where they’ve lived together since 2011. “We’ve grown to love our neighborhood” noted Brian when I reached out through email.
Koloszyc, a former systems administrator, successfully transitioned his enthusiasm for brewing from hobby to passion to career. This transition culminated with graduating from the American Brewers Guild and an internship at Firestone Walker Brewing Company on the Central Coast. “I told myself that if I still retained the flame for brewing, I would jump in. The internship turned that flame into a fire, and there was no looking back after that”. Brian’s brewing pedigree along with Teresa’s background in environmental engineering have proved to be a formidable tandem. “We have supported each other through this adventure, and can’t wait to see it in operation!”
When Brian & Teresa finally decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, they set their sights on their own backyard of the North Oakland-Emeryville-Berkeley region. “It was a long and educational process of finding a location with several misses along the way. In the end, we found this spot on the way back to our house from the grocery store”.
While there will be no Beer Garden as rumored, the space will accommodate a Brewery and approx. 534 square foot tasting room. Koloszyc hopes that their presence will attract a restaurant of some sort to the adjacent building and the two could partner together. “For right now, we will offer bar snacks, and hope to attract food trucks during tasting room hours”. Koloszyc is aware of the attachment that residents have for the Street Art that adorned the former Pallet Space Gallery that shuttered last December. “We plan a facade improvement but want to keep as many of the murals as possible.”
The brand “Novel” is a reference to Brian’s love of books and previous career choice. “I was an english and philosophy major in college, and thought I was going to be the next American Novelist”. He likens the appreciation for beer and the tendency to inspire conversation much like a good novel. “Ultimately, we would love the tasting room to be like a Novel, with its pages filled with stories from our patrons.” Books and the love of the printed page will be a motif that he intends to carry over into the aesthetic of the tasting room. “We plan on integrating at least one old printing press and a few other industrial pieces into the tasting room to bring that part of our history into the fold.”
Novel is a long way from establishing a beer menu but teased us with his ideas. “The plan is to provide beers of all styles so that there will be a little something for everyone to enjoy. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards English and German beers, but we’ll also have plenty of hoppy american styles for all the hop heads out there. At some point down the line, we will most likely have a very small barrel program for aging and sours as well. You can look forward to having a tasting room menu that includes anything from an IPA to a Gose, or a Nitro Stout to a Doppelbock.”
If all goes well, Brian anticipated opening in late spring of 2016. To keep up on their progress, follow Novel Brewing Company on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or subscribe to their blog newsletter at novelbrewing.com. The Public Market and The Intersection development on San Pablo have both also teased the idea of attracting breweries to the region.