“There were 170 entrants in the American-style pale ale category. We won the gold,” says OB Brewery manager Scott Watkins.
The local brewery, which opened in July 2016, was also named “Small Brewpub of the Year," with Millea winning “Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year.”
The Great American Beer Festival, held annually in Denver, is the largest collection of American beer ever served in a public tasting event, hosting a private competition as well. Founded in 1982, the event has grown exponentially to keep up with the booming craft beer scene.
This year, the festival drew in 62,000 attendants, 2,404 breweries in the competition, and 8,496 beers entered into the competition.
“The festival brings in judges from all over the U.S., who taste the beers themselves. The panel critiques each beer based on certain characteristics, and the beers are narrowed down through multiple rounds per category,” explains Watkins.
Watkins, who got his start in the beer business in ’94 at Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff, Ariz., says that San Diego breweries do nothing but support each other in the business.
“The beer industry in San Diego is only competitive in the sense that we like to push each other to make absolutely great beers. That’s why so many of us do collaborations with each other. We really push each other and support one another,” he explains.
“It was actually really cool because Port Brewing Co. in San Marcos took all of the beer up in one big refrigerated truck to Denver for the competition. So all of us San Diego breweries delivered our beer up to them,” Watkins says.
Watkins, who previously managed North Park’s Urban Solace and San Diego’s Italian jazz bar Croce’s, says it is the beer and the people that have kept him loyal to sticking within the beer industry.
“It doesn’t hurt that I work this close to the beach, either. I can go for a quick body surf session after my shift – that’s not too bad either,” jokes Watkins. “But, definitely the beer and the people – the friendships built.”
Don’t let the brewery title scare you if you are just looking for a bite to eat. OB Brewery is one of the few breweries that offers a full food menu as well.
“Our food is very good, too. We have a great balance of food that has a good mix of healthy and greasy, too. Gluten-free options, vegetarian options, healthy options are all a part of our menu. My favorite item is the Roxy’s street shrimp tacos,” he says.
Where: 5041 Newport Ave.