Beer Maverick

OB Brewery, Ocean Beach

Opened in July 2016, OB Brewery has a roof top patio within earshot of the waves breaking near the pier. The setting is hard to beat, the food is good, and the beer shows early potential though it isn’t quite up to snuff yet.

[About two years after this write-up, OBB won the 2018 Great American Beer Festival Very Small Brewpub of the Year award. Their Dunkelweiss won a gold medal that year, too.]

You can’t beat the views from the rooftop patio! Beach, pier, palm trees, La Jolla in the distance and Newport Street below for people watching. You can easily hear the waves. The patio itself is nicely set up with plenty of seating, pretty red umbrellas and heaters for cooler weather. There are three floors; it looks like only 1 and 3 are really in use. (A large square table over a glass floor you might see in some pictures online had been removed by my visit, leaving an open and incomplete looking area on the way to the restrooms.) The food is good: I had a burger and poutine, and I would get them again.

Hefeweizen (5.6% ABV). Advertised as a German wheat beer, but tastes like a Belgian. The brewery is new, so their offerings should improve over time.  2.75/5

This spot opened just a few months ago, in July. I wouldn’t have reviewed it yet except that I wanted to complete a full sweep of Ocean Beach so I can post an OB Craft Beer Tasting Tour (stay tuned, coming soon). The early reviews of OB Brewing on Yelp, for example, have been mixed, mostly focused on slow service and the fact that they ran out of their house beer quickly after opening, balanced by good food and a great location. Having helped to open a bar a few years ago, I am sympathetic and patient with these sorts of growing pains. My guess is that with feedback, time and some additional experience, any issues in the restaurant or brewing operation will smooth out. They have already begun fixing the service issues.

Dunkelweizen (5.6% ABV). As the name would suggest, this has hefeweizen flavors on the finish. It is smooth and soft up front, with lightly toasted malts. It is quite drinkable. 3/5

The name proclaims this to be a brew pub, but they only have three of their own beers (so far, anyway; one online source said they are ultimately planning to offer eight). The house beers are okay, but they pale in comparison to the guest taps. They’ve only been open a short while so hopefully the quality and quantity of house brews will improve over time. If not, they should just remove the house brews from the menu and focus their energy on the obvious strengths of the location.

Night Moves (American Porter). This has a dark color and light body, with perhaps a little too much sharpness. The toasted malts do not take center stage; though not generally what I look for in a porter, this one could be perfect for quenching your thirst after a hot day at the beach.  3/5

The many assets of this place mean that it will likely succeed. They are still experiencing growing pains, as other reviews may tell you. The lone bartender on the roof in the afternoons has a hard time seeing new customers arrive because of the set up, so for faster service be sure to check in at the bar before you sit. And the beer needs some work. But service was friendly and quick, food arrived fast and it was well prepared. If you want to support a new local brewery while enjoying good food and a great view from the patio, give it a try.

[no website that I can find]     5041 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107


Don’t Just Take My Word For It (links to other reviews):

San Diego Eater on OB Brewing’s Opening

San Diego Brew Review 

San Diego Brewery Guide