The month of March brings us two joys: dark beer and debauchery. Malty, roasty brews are happily deposed in honor of Saint Patrick and the hunt for the perfect Irish treat is in full steam. Our resident brewer/botanist, Molly O’Brien, brings her unique brand of acerbic sweetness in this month’s Brewer’s Choice, Wolfhound.
“I really began my love story with dark beers while I was working the graveyard shift. Porters and Stouts kept me warm during those late night shifts,” she recalls. Her entry to our Brewer’s Choice Series sprung from that love of malty brews. Foreign Extra Stout is a seldom-brewed style in the U.S. and was traditionally crafted for shipping long distances. Bigger than traditional Irish stouts, with deep, molasses-like flavors, Wolfhound balances the dryness of roasted malt with a touch of sweetness.
Wanting to pay tribute her Irish ancestry, Molly named her brew after the famous Irish Wolfhound dog breed. When it came time for her photo shoot, Molly visited the aptly named Wolfhound bar in Oakland to ask the owners if she could borrow their canine mascot for our calendar shoot. Molly smiles, “It was everything I hoped for—I brought chips to bribe the dog to sit and pose with me, drank a whiskey with the owners and shared stories of Ireland.” She even provided her own wardrobe for the shoot.
Molly began her journey into craft beer eight years ago. “I started homebrewing as a hobby in my tiny apartment in Berkeley and now I’m here,” she says, standing proudly on the brew deck of the 15-barrel pilot brewhouse.
“I left my love for landscaping over three years ago due to a bad knee injury and wanted to find another career that I could fall in love with,” she says. Though she had no previous experience brewing professionally, she put in an application for a position at Drake’s.
Over the years, Molly has moved up the ranks, learning everything she could and garnering a reputation for being a knowledgable and hardworking team player. She is now our senior Brewhouse One Brewer, helming the day-to-day production of dozens of new and experimental brews.
Molly is also still actively involved with plants and is studying to get her B.A. in Landscape Architecture. In addition to Wolfhound, Molly also helms our annual Tree Beer, infusing the brew with personally hand-foraged tree parts, sticky spruce tips and pine leaves. Her love of all things botanical is also on full display with her passion project, Foxglove Florals, curating beautiful custom floral arrangements.
Wolfhound will be released this Friday, March 3rd, at our monthly First Friday block party. Come meet Molly and share a pint with our Irish lass. Our long-standing community fundraiser will this time benefit John Muir Middle School, and feature live music, food trucks and tasty brews you do not want to miss out on! Join us from 4:30pm onward to drink for a good cause.