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Beer Touring: O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

A visit to Scripps Ranch’s new brewery during its first week in business

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company owner Ed O'Sullivan serves up tasters of his Scripps Ranch brewery's beers - Image by @sdbeernews
O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company owner Ed O'Sullivan serves up tasters of his Scripps Ranch brewery's beers
Place

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

9879 Hibert Street, San Diego

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company in Scripps Ranch

Back in July, I visited Ed O’Sullivan, owner of namesake interest, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company (9879 Hibert Street, Scripps Ranch). No beer had been brewed, but there was plenty to be impressed by, namely a quality assurance (QA) laboratory taking up roughly a fifth of the space at his business suite brewery and tasting room, an advanced system for manipulating the make-up of water used to brew beer, and the simple yet inviting nature of a tasting room outfitted with a service window. Last week, I returned during the first week of O’Sullivan Bros.’ soft open, tasted through their opening sextet of brews and chatted about them with Ed and his wife Rose, both of whom were working the counter.

The big goals at O’Sullivan Bros. are to produce ales and lagers that are universally refreshing and be well-known for producing quality dark beers — brown ales, porters, and stouts. There are currently four such beers on the menu, including Sweet Nellie’s Howling Brown Ale, which Ed labels, “the beer the brewery was built on.” Named after Ed and Rose’s dearly departed brown-eyed beagle, it’s meant as a crossover beer for non-craft drinkers looking to get their taste buds wet with a beer that’s easy-drinking with flavors characteristic of myriad dark beers. It fits the bill for that purpose, but is a bit round for the tastes of someone more used to analyzing beers against style guidelines.

Kegs ready for the filling at O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

More impressive for connoisseurs is Catholic Guilt, a hilariously named smoked porter with a light smoldery character brought on by the addition of cherry wood-smoked malt. It’s a no-brainer for pairing with barbecue cuisine. Also quite nice is The Quiet Man, a brown ale-porter hybrid with notes of cola, hazelnut, and coffee. As it warms, welcomed flavors of pumpernickel bread arise in force. Two lighter-colored ales, a pale and amber, are also on tap. The former is made in the West Coast-style, with very little malt presence and clear, though reserved, grapefruit-like notes from Citra hops. The amber is brewed with tropical Mosaic hops that get canceled out to an extent by malt toastiness, but finishes nice and dry, as do most of O’Sullivan Bros.’ beers.

All in all, the beers make good on Ed’s dual missions. There’s room to grow and fine-tune, but no defects. A lot of that has to do with the company’s QA lab and technician, and the fact Ed used connections gained while he was going through UCSD Extension’s Brewing Science Certificate Program to put together a Technical Advisory Board. That group includes White Labs founder Chris White, certified beer judge Brian Boyd, and Roberto Crea of Creagri, a company which produces an olive oil extract that helps preserve beer without pasteurization. This constitutes an unexpected and admirable level of quality control typically only seen at larger brewing companies.

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O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company owner Ed O'Sullivan serves up tasters of his Scripps Ranch brewery's beers - Image by @sdbeernews
O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company owner Ed O'Sullivan serves up tasters of his Scripps Ranch brewery's beers
Place

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

9879 Hibert Street, San Diego

O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company in Scripps Ranch

Back in July, I visited Ed O’Sullivan, owner of namesake interest, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company (9879 Hibert Street, Scripps Ranch). No beer had been brewed, but there was plenty to be impressed by, namely a quality assurance (QA) laboratory taking up roughly a fifth of the space at his business suite brewery and tasting room, an advanced system for manipulating the make-up of water used to brew beer, and the simple yet inviting nature of a tasting room outfitted with a service window. Last week, I returned during the first week of O’Sullivan Bros.’ soft open, tasted through their opening sextet of brews and chatted about them with Ed and his wife Rose, both of whom were working the counter.

The big goals at O’Sullivan Bros. are to produce ales and lagers that are universally refreshing and be well-known for producing quality dark beers — brown ales, porters, and stouts. There are currently four such beers on the menu, including Sweet Nellie’s Howling Brown Ale, which Ed labels, “the beer the brewery was built on.” Named after Ed and Rose’s dearly departed brown-eyed beagle, it’s meant as a crossover beer for non-craft drinkers looking to get their taste buds wet with a beer that’s easy-drinking with flavors characteristic of myriad dark beers. It fits the bill for that purpose, but is a bit round for the tastes of someone more used to analyzing beers against style guidelines.

Kegs ready for the filling at O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company

More impressive for connoisseurs is Catholic Guilt, a hilariously named smoked porter with a light smoldery character brought on by the addition of cherry wood-smoked malt. It’s a no-brainer for pairing with barbecue cuisine. Also quite nice is The Quiet Man, a brown ale-porter hybrid with notes of cola, hazelnut, and coffee. As it warms, welcomed flavors of pumpernickel bread arise in force. Two lighter-colored ales, a pale and amber, are also on tap. The former is made in the West Coast-style, with very little malt presence and clear, though reserved, grapefruit-like notes from Citra hops. The amber is brewed with tropical Mosaic hops that get canceled out to an extent by malt toastiness, but finishes nice and dry, as do most of O’Sullivan Bros.’ beers.

All in all, the beers make good on Ed’s dual missions. There’s room to grow and fine-tune, but no defects. A lot of that has to do with the company’s QA lab and technician, and the fact Ed used connections gained while he was going through UCSD Extension’s Brewing Science Certificate Program to put together a Technical Advisory Board. That group includes White Labs founder Chris White, certified beer judge Brian Boyd, and Roberto Crea of Creagri, a company which produces an olive oil extract that helps preserve beer without pasteurization. This constitutes an unexpected and admirable level of quality control typically only seen at larger brewing companies.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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