O'Connor Brewing Company

Author: Hannah Serrano

By in Blog Comments Off on American Craft Beer Week 2017

American Craft Beer Week 2017

American Craft Beer Week takes place this year from May 15 to May 21, and as always we have a jam-packed week put together for you to better enjoy our tasty, local craft beer…

***Special pins and experimental randalls all week!***

Monday, 5/15 Military Monday

Tuesday 5/16 Taco Tuesday with Karnage Asada

Wednesday 5/17 Ghent Your Game On: Game Night with Video Game Heaven 6-9pm + Get Stuffed

Thursday 5/18 Growler Fill Thursday + Rustic Roots Gourmet

Friday 5/19 Firkin Friday + All About the Cheese

Saturday 5/20 Chrysler Museum Glass Studio Mug Club 10am + Pickin’ On the Porch: Live Music with Brackish Water Jamboree & Friends + BBQ by Malbon’s Flying Pig

Sunday 5/21 Beermosa Brunch with Rustic Roots Gourmet & Sugar Shack Donuts 12-7pm + Sensible Seafood Fest Kickoff Celebration with Capt’n Crabby & Rustic Roots Gourmet 1-4pm

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Stuff to Do This Weekend if You LOVE Great Beer and Good Times!

topgunEvery month or so our friends at AltDaily put on a cult classic movie screening at one of our favorite places in town, the Naro Cinema in Ghent. Even better–they always have an O’Connor beer bar to benefit the Muse Writers’ Center, another great Norfolk-based organization. For this month’s event, AltDaily is doing TOP GUN this Friday night at 9pm! So get ready for a hilarious time, punctuated by an epic singalong…

Movie tickets are about $9. Click here for the FB event page.

IMG_0073We had a great time at the recent Harrisonburg Capital Ale House’s Mesquite Challenge. If you missed it, get to Capital Ale House Midlothian on Saturday for the Copper Fox Brewfest & Mesquite Challenge. Nine Virgina breweries, including OBC!, teamed up with Copper Fox Distillery to create nine new beers EXCLUSIVELY for the event. This beer isn’t just any beer, though. Each brewery created their beer using a special ingredient: Copper Fox’s Mesquite Smoked barley malt.

Tickets are $20 and include the following:

– Entrance into the event
– A commemorative Copper Fox glass
– 9 taster tickets to sample every brew
– Opportunity to try some of Copper Fox’s whiskies and gins
– Live entertainment
– Opportunity to vote for your favorite brew with the chance to win a Barrel Kit from Copper Fox that you can use to age your own whisky

Click here for the FB event page.

As if Stockley Gardens Spring Arts Festival wasn’t already awesome enough, this year they’re adding an O’Connor beer garden! We’ve had a long, fruitful partnership with Hope House and this fantastic event, and we’re excited to be a part of it again. If you’ve never gone to Stockley (well, you must be new around here or are just completely avoiding Ghent), here’s the gist:

Twice a year, on the third full weekend in May and October, people flock to Stockley Gardens in Norfolk’s historic Ghent neighborhood to browse through jewelry, pottery, paintings, and other works of art by over 130 artists. The park is full of strollers and dogs and tantalizing smells. Music drifts from the stage. Friends stop to chat. And throughout the weekend, there is a feeling of hope.

Stockley Gardens Arts Festivals are events that are put on by Hope House Foundation and also benefit the organization. The proceeds from these events helps pay for housing, transportation, medical care, and more for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. But of course, the events themselves benefit the entire community.

Click here for the FB event page.

Even though they won’t be pouring OBC, the LAVA Music Festival is gonna be a kick-ass time! Headliners include Fitz and the Tantrums, Of Montreal and Mutemath. Just having that many cool acts play in SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA on the same day… well, we think that’s worth a shout-out. And since our friends at Devil’s Backbone are providing the beer, we can safely say you’ll still be drinking well, even without us on tap. 😉


Lastly, if you’re a Hampton Roads beer lover, you probably already know about the Virginia Beer Festival at Town Point Park, so we won’t bore you with the details. But this list of participating breweries (including OBC, of course!) may be of use:


Hope to see you out and about this weekend!

By in Blog Comments Off on The Return of S-Turns – Friday, April 24th

The Return of S-Turns – Friday, April 24th

April 17th, 2015 marks the 2nd return of our beloved S-Turns (or “sturns” as pronounced by some of our customers).   We would never correct a customer of a mispronunciation – that would be rude.  In fact, many of us here at OBC have embraced “sturns” as this beer’s official nickname and we kinda love it.  For those of us who know the correct pronunciation, “S” followed by “Turns”, then you most likely also know the local reference – a well-known (dare-we-say world-renowned) surf spot on the Outer Banks enjoyed by all who visit there.  S-Turns beach is clean and beautiful, uncrowded most days, and the waves are world-class during a good swell.  We wanted to honor this local spot by using it’s name in the first of our Endless Saison series.   Drinking S-Turns Summer Honey Saison will keep you wanting more, just like S-Turns itself.

S-Turns is a classic Saison brewed with pilsner and wheat malts with the addition of chamomile, candied ginger, and a generous amount of honey. Fruit esters and a slight spicy character on the nose are followed by a pronounced malt and honey profile on the pallet with just enough Galaxy hops to add balance. As the name suggests, this beer will take you through twists and turns of flavor and enjoyment.

Click here to RSVP to the S-Turns Release on Friday, April 24th

(We had originally planned the S-Turns release on the 17th but found out a few days ago that this baby needed another week to reach optimal deliciousness – sorry for speaking to soon!)

Other upcoming NEW beer releases:

Friday, May 1: The debut of OBC’s Ironclad Series: Bourbon Barrel Aged Robust Porter

Tuesday, May 5: Steel Battalion Series #3: Cinco de Maibock

Friday, May 15:  Zephyrweisse limited Hefeweizen debut

Saturday, May 30:  SpyHop White IPA re-release at O’Connoroo

By in Blog Comments Off on O’Connor Brewing Co. and the Norfolk Tides proudly present: WALK-OFF KOLSCH

O’Connor Brewing Co. and the Norfolk Tides proudly present: WALK-OFF KOLSCH


It’s almost that time of year again—baseball season.

There is no better place to get your baseball fix than at Norfolk’s very own Harbor Park, watching the Norfolk Tides play. Since 1961 the Tides have played in this area and have had some very notable players to come about (Dwight Gooden, Bobby Jones, Jose Reyes and David Wright, to name a few).

This year to add to Harbor Park’s craft beer lineup will be O’Connor Brewing Co.’s very own “Walk-off” Kolsch.

A Kolsch is typically a very crisp, clean, and clear beer that is fermented with ale yeast at a warm temperature and lagered (or stored) at a much cooler temperature. Our version of this famous style—which we have brewed in collaboration with the Norfolk Tides—is extremely clear, very crisp, and has subtle hints of pineapple and pear. A very session-able and easy-drinking brew that pairs perfectly with warm summer days and cooler nights at the park, our Walk-off Kolsch is a perfect beer to start (and end) the game.

We will release our delicious Walk-off Kolsch this Friday, April 17th at the brewery. Tasting room hours are from 4-9pm, so come by and try some before it hits the taps at Harbor Park!

— This blog was contributed by OBC’s Warehouse Manager, Nick Curtis. Click here to check out the Facebook event page for Walk-off Kolsch’s brewery release.


By in Blog Comments Off on Brand New Beer: COMMONWEALTH COMMON


Commonwealth Common Release

Steam Beers or California Commons were the inspiration for this brew. They were originally brewed into coolships, shallow open fermenters, as a way to chill the wort before refrigeration was available. These steaming vessels were the reason the style got its name. Anchor Brewing has trademarked the term Steam beer and continues to keep the tradition alive. All other steam beers are legally California Commons, so we decided to make the style our own. Although we do not use coolships, our hybrid lager is sure to please those looking for a medium malt body and a crisp bitterness.

Virginia as one of the original colonies has been a commonwealth before the formation of the United States of America. That means the people of Virginia decided to come together to forma political structure for the common good and well being of its citizens. It is in this spirit that O’Connor Brewing has brewed this Virginia Common for the good of our community. This brew brings together German malts and American hops to produce an amber lager with an upfront and pronounced bitterness.

Join us April 10th, 2015 at our brewery for the release of the newest in our Steel Battalion Series.


Click here to RSVP to the FB event page for the Bottle Release of Commonwealth Common.

Other upcoming NEW beer releases:

Friday, April 24: The return of S-Turns Summer Saison

Friday, May 1: The debut of OBC’s Ironclad Series: Bourbon Barrel Aged Robust Porter

Tuesday, May 5: Steel Battalion Series #3: Cinco de Maibock

By in Blog Comments Off on Turning Five

Turning Five

Time flies when you’re making beer! A few of us remember for our first brew back on March 17th, 2010. The chiller wasn’t cooperating (of course) but we were determined to brew our first batch on St. Patty’s day – for F%#K SAKE. As per our first blog, it hasn’t always been malt rainbows and hop waterfalls, but we made it to 5, that defining birthday that all small businesses hope to achieve to prove they kicked ass, didn’t screw it up, or were now at least worthy enough to “re-up” for another 5 years. So yes, we guess it means all of those things to us; but more specifically, it means it’s time to up the ante with some serious home-grown ingenuity. Not just with creating inventive and inspired brews (that’s a given), but also with the way we go about it.
We won’t share all of our bright and sunny ideas today (that would be a bit too self-indulgent), just know that every day presents a step closer to some original and sustainable ideas that will hopefully make our customers and our region proud. That is what fuels and excites all of us O’Connor brewery workers – constantly coming up with the new and the improved. Our team is so creative and fun it’s palpable. In fact, two things that we hope remain constant for our future is our culture and our values, they’ve no doubt carried us this far. So on that note, we want to sign-off with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has ever supported us – customers, friends, employees, family, other breweries, distributors – you have helped us learn and achieve so much. Now it’s time to for some Irish cheer and of course – green beer! Join us tomorrow as we celebrate turning 5 and St. Patty’s Day. Slainte!

By in Blog Comments Off on The Treaty of Ghent Belgian Dubbel

The Treaty of Ghent Belgian Dubbel

1024px-Signing_the_Treaty_of_GhentA BRIEF HISTORY LESSON ON THE WAR OF 1812 & THE TREATY OF GHENT

Situated on a deepwater port and located at a strategic position on America’s East Coast, the city of Norfolk has played a key role in America’s Naval history. This history is being recognized with the 200th anniversary of the signing and ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. Though brief and relatively obscure, the War of 1812 represents a wealth of regional and local significance.

With feelings still raw after the American War of Independence, the relationship between the United States and Great Britain in the early 1800s was shaky at best. On June 22, 1807, the US frigate Chesapeake left Norfolk harbor on a mission to relieve the USS Constitution in the Mediterranean. The Chesapeake had among her company four alleged deserters from the British Royal Navy. While underway, the British frigate HMS Leopard sent word requesting their return. The request was refused. The Leopard responded with cannon fire, seized the four sailors, and the Chesapeake returned home to Norfolk; whose citizens set to the task of fortifying Fort Norfolk to defend the town from the Elizabeth River.

Britain’s impressment of American merchant sailors, their support of Native American Indian tribes, and trade restrictions resulted in declaration of war by the Americans in 1812. The war itself was fought most notably in the Chesapeake Bay area.

You may be familiar with the story of the Star Spangled Banner, which Francis Scott Key wrote while being held on a British ship during the bombardment of Fort McHenry. But less often told is the story of the burning of Washington D.C. in 1814 by British troops. Supposedly, British officers ate the meal that was on the table at the White House before setting fire to the presidential residence.

With the war at a stalemate, and popular opinion for the war at a low on both sides, delegations from both the US and Britain met in the Flemish (now Belgian) city of Ghent. The Treaty of Ghent ended the hostilities and established a status quo ante bellum, denoting no loss of territory by either side.


The Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk,  heart of the city’s arts and cultural scene, is the namesake of Belgium’s Ghent. The community is a hotbed of collaborative, creative thought and has produced Norfolk’s two homegrown breweries.

This spirit of cooperation is reflected in a very special Belgian ale, auspiciously named “The Treaty of Ghent.” Collaboratively brewed by O’Connor Brewing Co. and Smartmouth Brewing Company, the Treaty of Ghent is a traditional Belgian-style Dubbel with a rich malty backbone, the phenolic fruitiness derived from the use of both Abbey and Monastery (aka Trappist) yeasts, and a respectable 6.5% alcohol-by-volume. Brewed in O’Connor’s 30-barrel system, the recipe was a true collaboration between O’Connor Brewing Company’s Kevin O’Connor, Smartmouth’s Porter Hardy and the respective brewing teams of both breweries. They each put forth a recipe and found that both ideas matched over 90%. With a few subtle tweaks, the brew sheet was set.

Collaborations among craft breweries are becoming ever more common, resulting in brews that are much more than the sum of their parts. This past fall OBC linked up with Ashland-based Center Of The Universe Brewing for “Orange is the New Stout,” a salted orange imperial stout. While Smartmouth recently collaborated with Richmond’s Cary St. Cafe with their Grateful Dead-themed “Going Down The Road Feeling Brown,” a generously-hopped brown ale.

This Friday, February 20th, OBC is proud to announce the release of The Treaty Of Ghent, a history-making brew that commemorates our special place in history.


Local Notes:

James Barron, captain of the ill-fated USS Chesapeake, and Commodore Stephen Decatur (once friends) later engaged in a bitter letter-writing feud that resulted in the two fighting a pistol duel in 1820. Both were wounded, Decatur later died of his wounds. The pistols are on display at the Norfolk History Museum in the Willoughby-Baylor house.

Fort Norfolk, under control of the Army Corps of Engineers is located at the Southern terminus of Colley Avenue, and is open to visitors on a limited basis.

This blog was contributed by Michael Wingfield; OBC tour guide and beertender, avid history buff and local writer.

By in Blog Comments Off on We Now Introduce You to the Amarillo Hop

We Now Introduce You to the Amarillo Hop

amarilloLadies and gentlemen, we now introduce you to the alluring hop which we’re featuring in this year’s release of Lil’ S.I.P.A., the Amarillo.

I’m an American hop variety, hailing from the Pacific Northwest — Washington state to be exact. My given name is “humulus lupulus,” but you may know me better as “Amarillo.” The name “Amarillo” is trademarked by Virgil Gamache Farms Inc., who initially bred me into existence…so sorry boys, I’m not marrying out of this family name!

My best feature: I’m packed full of myrcene…highest in my class to be honest. Some may call me incredibly pungent, giving off notes of citrus or grapefruit — guilty as charged. My high myrcene level also lends a slight metallic flavor that accompanies the “just bit into a tangerine” sensation you’re experiencing.

What makes me a great date: Being incredibly aromatic. Go ahead, give me a little sniff.

Guilty pleasures: 1950’s sci-fi movies, country line dancing, and deep fried Snickers bars.

What do I look for in a vessel? I want a nice, clean pint glass…you know, something to really help me open up. I’m not opposed to meeting at a local brewery, especially one with as many Certified Beer Servers as O’Connor Brewing Co. has!

Turn-offs: Hop aphids (yuck!), mildew, clear beer bottles, Zima, bad tippers.

Turn-ons: A beer clean pint glass, 2-row pale malt, a confident hop-head.

I pair well with: Anything spicy! I love a good hot dog or pulled pork sandwich. But I really shine next to a massive BLT… trust me, I play off nicely with bacon fat!

Favorite movies: Police Academy, Titanic, and Tombstone. I know, I’m so all over the place!

I’m an interesting hop variety that may not be familiar to many folks. But trust me, I’m as unique as they come! Once you get a taste on this year’s Lil’ S.I.P.A. you may find yourself wanting me more and more. And that’s OK…I won’t play too hard to get!

Lil S.I.P.A., featuring Amarillo hops, is back on tap today–Friday, Feb 13, 2015. Tasting room is open 4-9pm.

This blog was contributed by Tasting Room Manager, Mike Palfrey; who incidentally also dislikes Zima and bad tippers, and loves both country line dancing and the movie Titanic.

By in Blog Comments Off on A Day in the Life of an OBC Brewer

A Day in the Life of an OBC Brewer

Danny2My cell phone sings out the joyous sounds of Rebecca Black.  I open my eyes, roll over and look at the time.  It reads 4:00am.  The room is pitch dark and a little cold.  I tell myself I’ll get up in five minutes.  Ten minutes go by before I finally decide to get out of bed.  I throw on some cargo pants, put my cell phone in a dirty, yeast stained case and add a knife and a mini flashlight to my pockets.  The clock now reads 4:15am.  I’m off to work at O’Connor Brewing Company.

Once I arrive, I can see the steam rising out of the hot liquor tank and melting the ceiling. The first sign of good news has arrived as I know I have hot water. My feet slip into black, steel-toed boots. I soon start mashing in the glorious glutenous grain that creates the sugar needed to make beer. The smell of baking bread fills the brewery. This is just the beginning of a day in the life of a brewer.

As the day moves on, valves are turned, grain is milled, yeast is harvested, hops are added, kegs are filled and beer is made. Then the cleaning begins.  Everything the beer or wort touches is doused with cleaning chemicals.  The brewery needs to look spotless.  It is safe to say that at least half my day is spent cleaning in some form.  I’m not sure any brewer likes cleaning, but it is necessary to ensure quality beer.

Danny1Once, my work day is over, I count all my new burns and scratches. I wipe a little grain dust off my shirt and wash my hands of the oils left over from hops. Finally, I head to the tasting room to taste the fruits of my labor.  My favorite, part of brewing is that I put my blood, sweat and Hannah’s tears into a product for people to enjoy.*  When I hear somebody order an El Guapo or Red Nun at a bar or I see somebody grab a six pack of Norfolk Canyon, I can’t help but smile knowing somebody is going to enjoy something I made.

The brewing team at OBC is both gracious and humbled anytime we receive compliments on our beer.  If you ever see one of us during retail or out and about, please feel free to strike up a conversation.  We are also always up for constructive criticism and would love to hear your opinions regarding OBC beer.  Thanks to all of our customers and drinkers, you guys make waking up at 4:00am a little easier.

-Danny Sump, Brewer

*Blood, sweat and tears never actually touch the beer.