O’Connor Brewing Co.’s new Grainstorm Series is loaded with outside-of-the-box collaborations featuring the unique flavors and personalities of several breweries throughout the Commonwealth. Having released several collaboration brews since the new year, O’Connor Brewing is thrilled to expand the series even further.
The idea for the Grainstorm Series was conceived last summer when O’Connor began experimenting with brewing small batch and one-off beers in their 3.5-barrel pilot system. The brewery’s first official release of collaboration brews took place shortly after the new year and featured four mash-ups with Ardent Craft Ales in Richmond.
The four-part release included Mouth Feelz, a soft and juicy triple New England IPA; SNAX, the Imperial Oatmeal Chocolate Milk Stout; a traditional Berliner Weisse served with a single shot of housemade syrup named Berliner-NICE; and a saison infused with ginger and beets dubbed Bloody Roots.
Following this handful of quiet releases, O’Connor and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery of Richmond launched Wheeze the Jööce on Jan. 26. Wheeze the Jööce is a triple dry-hopped New England-style IPA. Brewed with pureed soursop, a tropical fruit similar to lychee, the triple New England-style IPA showcases soft fruity aromas and flavors.
Having collaborated previously on a wild saison, Kevin Storm, lead brewer at Hardywood, shares his excitement about the opportunity to once again join forces with O’Connor’s Production Manager, Bob Sweeney, and Lead Brewer, Kane Wille. “When Bob called me and asked what we need to do next, the three of us landed on this New England IPA,” he says. “The whole thing was such a simple, organic process, and working with those two is always a blast.”
Next in line for the series is the festive collaboration with Richmond’s Stone Brewing, Who’s That Lady. Ready for its Valentine’s Day debut, the deep ruby red Baltic Porter offers rich flavors of chocolate and dark cherries, which unite with hints of vanilla and charred toast for a smooth, robust finish. Still awaiting an official release date is the Blood Orange IPA crafted with fellow Norfolk brewery, Benchtop Brewing.
“We’re really excited to see how the Grainstorm Series grows and evolves from here,” says Kevin O’Connor, owner and president of O’Connor Brewing Co. “I’m already impressed with the beers that we have produced for this series so far, and our customers seem to be, too.”
To further involve the local community in the Grainstorm Series, O’Connor Brewing is not only partnering with regional breweries, but also with local organizations and restaurant groups to craft more one-of-a-kind brews. Thus far, O’Connor Brewing has released Sensible Kölsch as a part of the Sensible Seafood Program at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, as well as the Bold Man Oyster Stout, currently a part of the brewery’s Steel Battalion Series, for the Virginia Oyster Trail.