The holiday weekend was punctuated by O’Connor Brewing Company’s Black Saturday Block Party inspired by last year’s Black Friday Hurricane Sandy benefit. A perfect chaser for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday craziness, I planned on stopping by O’Connor’s after a day of shopping small in Norfolk, VA.
I drove Shelby and Marleigh downtown to visit a few friends and support Shop Small. We stopped by With Lavender & Lace, Studio Posy, Nest Home, and Lorak Jewelry. The two of them wanted to walk around and hit a few more stores around Granby St. so I headed down to the brewery on W. 25th St. Pulling up I and hopping out of the car into the cold, the first thing I noticed was someone was grilling. Whatever it was, it smelled great. The brewery’s block was barricaded, restricted to foot traffic; a stage was setup with a band running through its set. I headed in.
As soon as I walked to the check-in table I bumped into AltDaily.com’s Hannah Serrano, who is also Marketing and Events Director at O’Connor Brewing Co. She walked me in and we chatted a little bit about how things were going. We passed by Bobby-Qs and CXB BBQ and Eats, this was what smelled so good when I got out of the car. I was definitely not going to miss out on that food. Porter Hardy of Smartmouth was near the street food so I snapped a photo of him and Hannah.
Checking out the food, I saw one of the Hoffmann Beverage trucks being manned by the local chapter of Barley’s Angels, a local group of female beer enthusiasts. The truck was pretty high-speed, LCD panels displayed what beer was coming out of the tap below it. All the O’Connor flagship brews were being poured: Green Can, Great Dismal, Norfolk Canyon, and more. I grabbed a Black IPA and walked around some more.
Several bands were slated to play that night: Nate Sacks, The Janks, BANTUSTANS, and The Wet Boys. Radiant patio heaters kept everyone warm outside in the docking area and street, though the amount of people in close proximity of each other and beer helped out a lot too. Approximately 500 attended the block party but it would be easy to think there were a lot more. Inside the brewery I bumped into Kevin O'Connor, brewer/owner of the brewery. He was all over the place, chatting and checking up on the event.
There were also small batch beers for the occasion and people could buy flights of these to get a taste of each. Traditionally, craft brewers will let the shop come up with their own recipes and formulas. Here’s what was offered:
Chincoteague Oyster Stout – Oyster Stout
Schwarzwald – Black Lager
Winter Pecan – Pecan Porter
Bockenspiel – Bavarian Weizenbock
The Dark Monk – Abbey Ale
Maes Howe – Wee Heavy
Session Quad #2: Insomnia – West Coast Style IPA
By the end of the night O’Connor Brewing Co. poured approximately 4.5 barrels of beer! That’s about 1,500 standard, 12-oz cans of beer! If you stacked those they’d be as tall as—I have no idea, but I bet it’s pretty high. Everyone was having a good time and the food was great. I walked away with some lumpia in my coat pocket, saving it for Shelby and Marleigh.
All-in-all a great night. If they do it again next year, and you’re in the area, you better go.