By Molly Freedenberg
In this week's issue of the Guardian, we talk about reasons to drink craft beer made locally  and discuss someof the masters making noteworthy brews. But the Bay Area craft brew scene is so vibrant and varied, we could only touch on some of what makes it great. In coming weeks, we'll post longer interviews with experts at brewpubs, better beer bars, and breweries on this blog. Also keep an eye out for a story about seasonal brews in our Holiday Guide and a follow-up to this week's "Beer Here!" article, both coming out in November.
For our first installment of our online beer series, we'd like to give a nod to Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery  and David Mclean, the award-winning brewmaster/owner of the Haight-Ashbury destination spot. Here's the transcript of our Q&A with him:
SFBG: How long have you been around?
DM: 12 years next month
SFBG: Why is Northern California so good for brewing beer?
DM: It's one of the birthplaces of the modern, American craft beer movement, giving it a 30-40-year head start over many other regions in the country. Not only does that mean that there are many talented brewers here but also that we have a well-educated customer base who appreciate the diversity of flavors and styles brewed in the area. The many facets of the Bay Area's artisan food and beverage culture dovetail together, impacting both the way brewers think about their craft and the way local beer drinkers embrace local beer.
SFBG: Why is it important to drink beer made locally?
DM: On one level, it's just a good idea to support local businesses in general. More specifically, when talking about craft beer, there is a sense of local identity and local pride that comes from drinking beer made in one's community. And, from both an environmental and flavor
standpoint, it's nice to not expend resources shipping beer great distances. Most beer tastes best when fresh and though that doesn't mean you can't get fresh beer from farther afield (or stale local beer), you greatly improve your odds drinking local. That's especially true if you drink beer at your local brewpub, where the beer only travels from the physically attached brewery to your glass.