O'Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company's Black Irish Stout
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.
9879 Hibert Street, San Diego
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.