Hello Beer Fans!
It is hard to believe that 2009 is almost upon us.Â It has been a great 2008 at the pub and we will start 2009 off with the 15th Anniversary of O’Brien’s Pub in January.Â The pub was founded in 1994 by Jim O’Brien and was the first account for most of San Diego’s local breweries.Â It was also the first pub to serve cask conditioned beer in San Diego.Â Lindsey and I have been growing the legacy of good beer since 2003 and this will mark our 6th year owning the pub.Â As you might suspect I have a few good beer events planned to mark the occasion.Â Instead of the normal Anniversary week we have had to expand to Anniversary Month.Â But more on that later on in the newsletter.Â For now, let me focus on what you will be enjoying this week at O’Brien’s.
We are tapping our last cask beer of the year this Thursday, December 18th.Â We will be closed the next two Thursdays, December 25th and January 1st.Â To celebrate the end of the year, we are tapping a very special cask from Alpine Beer Company – Bad Boy Double IPA, brewed by and mostly named for Shawn McIllhenney at Alpine.Â We will tap the cask at 5 pm and I do not expect it to last very long.Â To help out those who may not be able to make it early enough to enjoy the cask I will also have a draft keg on tap at 5 pm.Â That is more than 25 gallons of Bad Boy and while I will not dare you to drink it all (because I think you all would), I will venture a guess that there might just be a little bit left at the end of the evening.
And while you are at the pub, check out our new merchandise – new men’s and women’s shirts including long sleeves and new sweatshirts.
Friday the 19th we will reprise our Winter beer night with Belgian and American beers including four beers that are on tap now – Sam Adams Chocolate Bock, St. Bernardus Christmas, Sierra Nevada Celebration and New Belgium Abbey Grand Cru.Â Look for other great winter beers like Gouden Carolous Noel and Corsendonk Christmas to be on tap as well.Â I keep buying more of the St. Bernardus Christmas and I expect it to be on tap until at least the first week of January.
Saturday the 20th we will have some new bottles from Hair of the Dog in Oregon.Â We will have the Blue Dot Double IPA and Fred from the Wood.Â Fred is a big massive dark beer named for beer writer Fred Eckhardt.Â Only 20 cases of this made it to Southern California and we were lucky enough to get one.Â This is a beer that we have never carried at the pub before and I am very excited about it.Â Both bottles will be for sale all day and 10% off all weekend.Â We also have some other great new bottles – AleSmith YuleSmith and Barrel Aged Old Numbskull, Hanssen’s Kriek, the epic Firestone 12 (a blend of many different bourbon barrel aged beers) and the Hitachino XH – a Belgian brown from Japan aged in sake barrels – it is delicious.Â And we still have all of our big bottles in stock and the great Danish meads.
Sunday the 21st is the Charger’s national kick in the teeth as their previously prime time game against Tampa Bay is the victim of flexible scheduling (a euphemism for replacing match ups with lousy teams with hopefully more important games).Â The game is now on at 10 am instead of 5:15 pm.Â So in place of staying open late, we will open early for one more last Chargers breakfast.Â We will have mimosas and great breakfast specials from 10 am to Noon and then switch over to our regular menu inlcuding Fish and Chips and Fish Tacos.
The Rest of the Year
Next week is very short due to Christmas.Â We will be open Monday the 22nd and Tuesday the 23rd and then not again until Saturday the 27th.Â Every year we close down the 24th, 25th and 26th of December so that we and our employees may spend time with family for Christmas.Â It is a family run business and family is an important part of truly being successful in life.Â So you will have to forgive us what may seem like a cruel gesture of denying you Pliny or Pure Hoppiness for a few days.Â May I suggest that you could use this time to visit some of San Diego’s other fine beer establishments like Downtown Johnny Brown’s, Hamilton’s, Churchill’s, San Diego Brewing Company, Toronado, etc…
That said, we will be having our great pitcher special on Monday the 22nd – $9 pitchers and $13 pitchers of strong ales.Â It is our special every Monday night of the year and it is hard to beat.Â And here I have some good news/bad news for you.Â Due to the increase of malt and hops this year, the price of Blind Pig is going up.Â Now that sounds like only bad news, but Blind Pig will now be priced like all of the other strong/rare ales and as such, you will now be able to order pitchers and you guessed it, that means $13 pitchers of Blind Pig on Monday nights!
Tuesday the 23rd is our annual Christmas Eve-Eve party.Â It is always a night filled with good cheer at the pub.Â And to help the cheer along I will have 3 beers from Hollister Brewing in Santa Barbara on tap – Bowling and Beyond Double IPA, Tim’s Strong Pale and The Pope IPA.Â All of the beers are just in 5 gallon kegs so they may not all last through the night.Â So please stop by for a little holiday cheer with good friends and good beer.
Just to emphasize the point – THE PUB WILL BE CLOSED DECEMBER 24TH, 25TH AND 26TH!
Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th we will be open normal hours.Â And if the football gods are willing, the Chargers will be playing at 1 pm against Denver for the AFC West Division title and a place in the playoffs.Â I can hardly believe I just wrote that.
The pub will be open normal hours on Monday and Tuesday, December 29th and 30th.Â Tuesday, December 30th will be our annual New Year’s Eve-Eve party (see the theme?).Â It is another night of great cheer and lots of champagne (roederer estate sparkling wine to be precise) and cham-Pliny cocktails (champagne and Pliny – very good, just ask Kat) and Malheur Brut and Dark Brut and Deus!Â It is a great place to ring in the new year a little early, without having to worry about all of the real drunks that will be out on the road on the 31st.Â So help us raid Lindsey’s Champagne supply and toast farewell to 2008 and a welcome to 2009.
THE PUB WILL BE CLOSED WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31ST AND THURSDAY, JANUARY 1ST!
Coming in 2009!
So I am not going to detail all of January’s 15th Anniversary events, since I haven’t made up all of the details yet.Â I can tell you that we will be tapping special beers and special casks throughout the month and releasing special bottles.Â We will start off with a bang on Friday, January 2nd – our first day open in the new year.Â I am putting some very special beers on tap for our employee party and we will have all of the beers on tap on Friday the 2nd.Â The line-up will include – Alpine Bad Boy, Ballast Point Sculipin IPA, Pizza Port Solana Beach Swami’s IPA and Deschutes Abyss among others.Â I will probably find room to tap a few more special beers, but suffice it to say that we will have an incredible tap line up from the very first day of the year.
The main promos for the month focus on Thursday/Friday, cask/tap combinations.Â Each Thursday we will be featuring some fantastic cask beers and each Friday we will feature a huge line-up of beers from that brewery on tap.Â Here is the line-up of our great brewery events:
Jan. 8/9 – Green Flash (West Coast IPA cask)
Jan. 15/16 – Pizza Port Carlsbad (Poor Man’s IPA cask)
Jan. 22/23 – Port Brewing and Lost Abbey (Hop 15 cask and a special barrel blend just for O’Brien’s!)
Jan. 29/30 – Russian River – Southern California’s first TION night with a dozen of Vinnie’s Belgian-style beers on tap!
For each brewery night, I expect to have at least 10 beers on tap.Â Each brewer is pulling out some great beers and some will only be in five gallon kegs.Â I will be going up to Lost Abbey in January to blend the beer with Tomme for our Anniversary.Â I have no idea yet what it will be or how much we will get.Â For the Russian River TION night I expect to have nearly 20 Russian River beers on tap and Vinnie Cilurzo himself will be there.Â All of Russian River’s Belgian-style beers end with TION, like Damnation, Supplication, etc.., hence the TION night.Â We will also have some special library/reserve bottles for sale inlcuding 3 liter bottles of Damnation.Â I will have a complete calendar of events along with some expected beers in the first email of 2009.Â All I can say is that every Friday in January at O’Brien’s will be an unforgettable night of beer (unless you drink too much and then it will be all too forgettable).Â And expect the kitchen to be kicking out some amazing food to go with all that great beer.
AndÂ as if the beer gods smiled upon us for our 15th Anniversary, Beer Advocate magazine just named O’Brien’s the 15th best beer bar on the planet!
I have some ideas for Christmas gifts from our friends George and Mary at Taste Artisan Cheese and Gourmet shop in Hillcrest.Â This is from Mary:
Just in time for the holidays, Taste is collaborating with Ballast Point Brewing to offer Beer & Cheese Gift Baskets.Â Weâ€™ve pulled together two fine basket options, each filled with treats the beer lover on your list will love.Â
BP Premium Basket ($75 +tax) includes any 2 bottles (22oz each) of Ballast beers (Yellowtail Pale Ale, Calico Amber Ale, Big Eye IPA, Black Marlin Porter and Wahoo Wheat Beer), 2 logoâ€™d pint glasses of selected beers, 3 cheeses weâ€™ve paired with selected beers, salami, olives, mustard and crackers.
BP Basics Basket ($50 +tax) includes one 22oz bottle of your favorite Ballast beer, 2 logoâ€™d pint glasses, 2 cheeses paired with selected beer, salami, olives and crackers.
We also do custom gift baskets â€“ just give us a call at (619) 683-2306, send an email to email@example.com, or visit Taste and weâ€™ll help you create the perfect gift basket!Â We even offer local delivery!Â Visit Taste in Hillcrest – 1243 Â½ University Ave. or online through our Friends page on the Oâ€™Brienâ€™s website or at www.TasteCheese.com
And last,Â I just want to share a few things with you that have brought me happiness in 2008.Â As I mentioned in the last newsletter, John Jorgenson, gypsy-jazz guitarist extraordinaire is coming to San Diego in January.Â Tickets are available at www.acousticmusicsandiego.com.Â For those who enjoy something heavier, like Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden, let me recommend Valient Thorr.Â Check them out at: www.valientthorr.com.Â And youÂ might have heard us play Rodrigo y Gabriela at the pub.Â This Mexican guitar duo has a new live album out that is great – find it at: www.rodgab.com.Â And my favorite drink aside from beer is Absinthe.Â IÂ can wholly recommend www.absintheclassics.com for all things absinthe.Â IÂ have toÂ mentionÂ our annual pub crawlÂ throughÂ Belgium with Ciao Travel – check out the trip at www.ciaotravel.com.Â There areÂ just over 15 seats left inÂ next year’s tour.Â Lindsey and I both love Antica Trattoria in La Mesa – www.anticatrattoria.com.Â Of course all things beer make me happy andÂ in 2009Â we willÂ be going to SanÂ FranciscoÂ Beer Week – www.sfbeerweek.org.Â Â If you go to San Francisco, stop by Green Apple books – www.greenapplebooks.com – you’ll be glad you did.Â And for all things beer in San Diego, check out theÂ Brewers Guild at www.sandiegobrewersguild.org.Â And every New Year’s weÂ watch the Lord of the RingsÂ trilogy – truly great movies.Â A special thanks to allÂ those who have served our country and community in the armed forces, police and fire department.Â Â
So let us wish you all a peaceful and prosperous 2009.Â Thanks for making 2008 such a fun year.Â Â We will look forward to raising a glass in cheers with you soon in this year or the next!Â With heartfelt appreciation – Tom, Lindsey and the entire O’Brien’s Crew, bartenders:Â Micaela, Michelle, Coral, Kat, Tiff and cooks: Humberto, Cesar, Jose,Â Said and Luis!