St. Paddy's Day's dark star

Black Irish Stout debuts at Scripps Ranch's other brewery

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company's Black Irish Stout
  • O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company's Black Irish Stout
  • Image by @sdbeernews

There’s never a shortage of fun imbibing opportunities come St. Patrick’s Day. Most involve Guinness, green beer, or whisky and car-bombs of Irish attribution. Being a beer locavore, I gravitate to March 17 celebrations involving San Diego beer. Thing is, very few of them bother with Irish beer styles — reds, dry stouts, etc. Karl Strauss Brewing Company has its multiple-award-winning Red Trolley Ale and Half Door Brewing Company brings an enjoyable mix of Ireland crossed with Southern California, but this year, I spent St. Paddy’s at O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company.

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

9879 Hibert Street, Scripps Ranch

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

The product of an Irish family with a bent toward darker ales, O’Sullivan Bros. is Scripps Ranch’s other brewery. There’s no shame in that. In business for less than six months, it has a lot of growing to do before it rates with OG Ranch brewery, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, but it’s worth checking out, especially on a day devoted to emerald green, clovers, and Celtic joy. I’d been to O’ Sullivan a few times and wondered what it would look like packed to capacity. After seeing it on St. Patrick’s Day, I need speculate no longer. There was nary a space to lay down my taster flights, but once I found one, I found myself taking a shine to the same beer as most of the evening’s revelers — O’Sullivan Bros. Black Irish Stout.

As dark as they come on the SRM scale, the beer had been added to the menu for the first time that afternoon; added enticement to lure St. Paddy’s celebrants. Even with a beer board that’s two-thirds dark beers, this chocolaty quaff stands out thanks to its smooth drinkability. Low on roast, big on cocoa flavor, and just 6.2% alcohol-by-volume, it’s the type of beer that can be enjoyed one after the other, or as a nice close-out pour after consuming lighter or more hop-forward ales. Black Irish served as confirmation that I made the right choice this St. Patrick’s Day, but there’s no need to wait another 365 to enjoy it again.

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