Jackie O’s XIV
14th annual anniversary party starts Friday, Jan. 10 in Athens
The number of craft breweries in Ohio has nearly tripled over the past five years: there are 328 independently-owned breweries operating in the Buckeye State today, compared to just 110 at the end of 2014.
We’re at the point now where a brewery anniversary is roughly a daily occurrence. This blog has endeavored over the past two years to chronicle as many of these occasions as possible, but it has become an almost Sisyphean task and, ultimately, not as engaging a topic as it once was. Is something that happens every day worthy of column inches?
It is when you put on an anniversary party like Jackie O’s does.
This Friday, the brewery will celebrate 14 years in business with the release of seven barrel aged beers in bottles and the tapping of a whopping 81 unique beers across all three Athens locations.
Jackie O’s is one of the longer-tenured breweries in the state; only a few trailblazers like Great Lakes, Columbus Brewing Company, Barley’s and a handful of others have been making beer in Ohio longer. Starting out as a tiny brewpub in 2005 – owner Art Oestrike purchased O’Hooley’s in downtown Athens and renamed it after his mother – Jackie O’s quickly expanded to open the public house next door to the brewpub in 2009. Demand for their core beers – Mystic Mama IPA, Firefly Amber Ale and Razz Wheat, to name a few – necessitated further expansion in the form of a production brewery and taproom that opened in Athens in 2013.
Along the way, Jackie O’s developed what may be the state’s largest and most prolific barrel-aged beer program. At a nondescript warehouse near the brewery, hundreds upon hundreds of barrels are filled with stouts and saisons and sours and all manner of other styles, soaking up character while they await their eventual release. This weekend’s anniversary celebration will feature no fewer than 50 beers from this impressive cellar, including seven that will be released in bottles starting Friday morning.
Four variants of the popular Dark Apparition Russian imperial stout headline the bottle release. The annual bourbon barrel aged Dark App is supplemented by a vanilla and coffee bean infused version, as well as a cinnamon and coconut variant. Rounding out the Dark App bottles is a variant aged in rye whiskey barrels.
Two barrel aged saisons made the cut for this year’s anniversary bottle release. Ouillage is a Vienna-style saison aged in oak barrels for 28 months and then refermented on whole, fresh blackberries. Hive Five Reserve is an oat saison brewed with orange blossom honey, aged in oak barrels for 23 months, then refermented on wildflower honey.
With so many beers maturing in barrels, you had better believe there’s ample opportunity to make a stellar blend. Spirit Beast is that beer, artfully combining five bourbon barrel aged barleywines, imperial stouts and porters to make a decadent cuvée bursting with character.
If you’re planning to buy bottles, you’ll want to get to the Jackie O’s brewery taproom early on Friday morning: bottle sales begin at 11 a.m., but lines are known to form overnight and some of the available bottles will sell out very quickly (the two saisons, in particular, have very small allotments per person.)
Get all the details on the available bottles and allotments, the draft lists at all three locations and more at facebook.com/jackieosbrewery
Cheers to 14 years of beers from Jackie O’s!