The Thirsty Beagle: Oak & Ore, OK brewers go next-level for bar's anniversary

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Oak & Ore, OK brewers go next-level for bar's anniversary

If you know anything about the restaurant business, you know that starting up a concept and seeing it through to success can be a dicey proposition.

Myself, I grew up in the restaurant business. My father owned a frozen food/restaurant distribution company in Toronto. In the summers, I would run on deliveries, mastering the art of using a dolly to get 150 pounds of frozen fries off a delivery truck and down steep, narrow flights of stairs to the restaurant's walk-in. My dad would pay me $20 a day -- not a bad deal for a 13-year-old.

When I was a teen, my dad got me jobs at the restaurants he worked with. I worked the grill, worked food prep, cleaned tables, cleaned bathrooms -- you name it.

Over the years, we saw a lot of restaurants come and go. We saw apparently successful restaurants that had trouble paying for their deliveries, running up tabs reaching tens of thousands of dollars. 

Running a successful restaurant or bar is tough. The hours can be rough if you have a family. There's no guaranteed income. It's hard to get staffed up with good people -- especially if you're working with a niche concept.

I say all that to make this point: It's worth extending a hearty congratulations to Oak & Ore, which is getting ready this week to celebrate it's one-year anniversary. 

While the bar and restaurant has been open for a year now, the idea of Oak & Ore goes back more than half a decade. As I reported in 2014, the inspiration really took shape for founder Micah Andrews in 2010. 

Sometime after that -- the date is fuzzy now -- I met Andrews at a beer tasting. He introduced himself and let me know he was working on a concept that would be a new thing for Oklahoma City. It wouldn't be about restaurant guys who try hard at beer -- it would be beer guys who try extra hard at beer.

I stored that info in my back pocket like any good reporter would, but I really didn't expect to hear about it again.

Lo and behold, Andrews was serious. Now, all these years later, we have one of the top beer destinations in the state right in the heart of Oklahoma City. Kind of makes you think -- who else out there is sitting on an idea right now that we won't see for four or five years?

Anyway, I digress. Oak & Ore has made it through that always-tumultuous first year in business, and they are ready to party -- with a little help from their friends.

For starters, the first Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit is set from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at Oak & Ore, featuring an excellent line-up of speakers. You can find more info on that at the Oak & Ore FB page.

Then the bar is following that up by hosting its official anniversary party at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, featuring a pretty awe-inspiring line-up of local craft beer options.

Let's take a look at the list for Thursday:

(Times of release listed for special beers -- all beers while quantities last)

-405 ESP
-Anthem Coffee Pappy Burleson (7 p.m.)
-Anthem Smoked Pecan Pappy Burleson (7 p.m.)
-Anthem Cranberry Pappy Burleson (7 p.m.)
-Anthem Babalon
-Black Mesa ES-ESB
-COOP Bourbon Barrel Gransport Porter (6 p.m.)
-COOP Coconut Territorial Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (6 p.m.)
-COOP Pineapple Habanero Saison (6 p.m.)
-COOP Chai Brown
-COOP Wild Raspberry Hibiscus Saison
-Dead Armadillo Hoppy Ending
-Elk Valley Bourbon Oak Nemesis
-Elk Valley Rum Oak Nemesis
-Elk Valley Schank! Berliner Weiss
-Iron Monk Chocolate Habanero Stout
-Marshall Coffee Big Jamoke Porter
-Marshall Oat IPA
-Marshall Volks Pils
-Prairie Vanilla Noir (8 p.m.)
-Prairie Foudre Weiss (8 p.m.)
-Prairie Falcon Punch (8 p.m.)
-Roughtail Indian Curry Hoptometrist
-Roughtail Honey Rye Wheat

That right there is an impressive list. My must-haves, in no particular order: Anthem Coffee Pappy, COOP Pineapple Habanero Saison, Elk Valley Rum Oak Nemesis, Iron Monk Chocolate Habanero Stout and Roughtail Indian Curry Hoptometrist (FWIW, a few years back Choc did a curry OPA for IPA Day at TapWerks, and it was great!).

But really, as they always say, you can't go wrong with any of those offerings. So feel free to get out to Oak & Ore the next two days to take part in the festivities.

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