Jackie O’s Brewery anniversary event hits the right notes

How do you hold onto the title of the area’s best brewery, year after year. You work at it; that’s how. Jackie O’s Brewery of Athens, Ohio, has to be the sharpest brewery in our shed when it comes to special events. Over the past weekend, this stellar Appalachian-region brewery treated its fans to a 12th Anniversary Extravaganza that was just about everything you could ask for.

With 86 special Jackie O’s beers on tap over two days, all you could say was shazam, because there was a lot of magic going on here. The brewery topped off this draft explosion with a wonderful anniversary bottle release that had the beer geeks all a-Twitter.

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary
Beer fans hit Jackie O’s Brewery taproom hard during the 12 Anniversary weekend.

All three Jackie O’s locations were fully involved, with each having its own set of unique brews pouring. Sure some of them were only one sixtel each and went fast, but that’s to be expected. The variety, however, was incredible:

  • Bourbon barrel aged stouts, adjunct stouts, and barley wines, check;
  • Wine barrel-aged sours, check;
  • Mixed fermentation farmhouse ales, check;
  • Fruited Berliner Weisses, check;
  • Barrel-aged cuvées, check;
  • IPAs, check;
  • and on and on.

Seven anniversary bottles released

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary
Special bottles from the 12th Anniversary release

The brewery released seven limited-allocation brews in bottles. Several were very small batches. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you each one was very good to excellent. They included:

  • Herringbone wine barrel aged sour with strawberries
  • Provender mixed fermentation saison with fresh local alfalfa hay
  • Spirit Beast blend of BB-aged barleywines and imperial stouts
  • Houndstooth wine barrel-aged sour with black raspberries
  • Apple Brandy Barrel Dark Apparition RIS
  • Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition Russian Imperial Stout
  • Vanilla & Coffee Bean Bourbon Barrel Dark Apparition RIS

Hundreds of beer fans lined up early or came later in the day Friday to be sure they got their allotments of these bottles. The smaller purchasers probably spent at least  $100, while the larger purchasers dropped $600 for full allotments. Days like these surely help brewery cash flow. By late Saturday morning, supplies of some of the labels were beginning to get thin or disappear. The first to go were the beautiful Herringbone and the Apple Brandy Dark Apparition. You don’t want to be late to a Jackie O’s bottle release.

Brewery founder/owner Art Oestrike called the weekend amazing.

“The support you get from the entire community of Athens and the beer community, it’s just incredible,” he said. “Twelve years — we couldn’t do it without all our supporters out there. Thanks to Brad Clark and our whole staff. It’s awesome, just awesome.”

The logistics worked at Jackie O’s Brewery event

jackie o's anniversary
The line queued up inside a large beer packaging room at the brewery.

The bottle release set-up was masterfully handled this year. Getting the bottle sales line totally inside the brewery was a very nice touch, especially considering the single digit temps outside. A welcomed treat on Friday morning was the complimentary coffee and donuts that greeted early arrivers, who began showing up about 9:00 a.m. Jackie O’s Brewery also filled the room with a great mix of music provided by none other than Brad Clark, who heads Jackie O’s brewery operations.

Jackie O's anniversary
Deejay “BC” spun some fun tunes for those waiting in the bottle line. When not entertaining, BC (Brad Clark) heads brewery operations at Jackie Os.

The bottle line began inside the brewery’s beer packaging room, then snaked its way behind brite tanks and fermenters to the bottle sales tables.

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary

A crew of brewery employees efficiently filled each order, picking bottles from the inventory of cases behind them.

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary

They very carefully checked and double checked the beer orders.

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary

Next, you passed the merch table and finally hit the credit card station to pay for all your booty. A special treat on both bottle-sale days was finding brewery founder Art Oestrike manning the credit card check-out station. All brewery hands were on deck for this special sales event, and they did a great job with it.

Real good things never get old

While the brewery is 12 years old, they have only been doing anniversary events since 2009, so this is the eighth year that they have thrown one. Brad Clark, who’s been there for all of them, summed up the weekend by talking about his appreciation for the beer community.

“It’s great to see all these different customers who we’ve been working with (at these event) for the better part of a decade,” Clark said. “There’s a lot of little reunions that happen on weekends like this. It’s great to host everybody and hopefully show them a good time.”

Jackie O's Brewery anniversary
Seasoned, Charleston, WV, area beer fans arrived early to stand in line for Jackie O’s special anniversary bottle release. Left to right are Chris Godwin, Lynette Stewart, and Chad Lasure. It was nice having beer vendors to serve you while waiting in the line.

We here in the Brilliant Stream beer community can assure Brad Clark that folks had a great time there this year. We met plenty of people from all over Ohio, the Charleston-Huntington-Parkersburg areas of West Virginia, the eastern half of Kentucky, and the Pittsburgh area. There were even people from Chicago and other far away places. There’s a ton of members of the beer community who are looking forward to next year’s 13th Anniversary Extravaganza. Congratulations to the entire staff and management of Jackie O’s Brewery for hosting such a super event.

12th Anniversary Extravaganza Tap List

Brewpub Draft List

Public House Draft List

Brewery Taproom Draft List

Anniversary Bottle Release Descriptions


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