The Thirsty Beagle: 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Release the hounds -- Beagle Beer is here!

It only took more than nine years of tirelessly documenting the Oklahoma craft beer scene, but finally I have reached the mountaintop of craft beer glory.

A Thirsty Beagle beer will be released to the market.

It's Beagle Beer, to be precise, and it comes from the mind and brewing tanks of Elk Valley Brewing and brewmaster John Elkins.

The beer -- a super-dry-hopped tart farmhouse ale conditioned with Brett -- will be released on Saturday at the OK City Brewing Co-op, 520 N Meridian. You can see details of the release here. It's set for noon, with 150 cases of 500 ml bottles going on sale for $6-a-pop.

The idea for the beer was born this spring, when Elkins and I brainstormed ideas for a collaboration beer to celebrate Oklahoma City Craft Beer Week.

My initial suggestion was something dry-hopped, maybe with some fruit added and, if possible, with the obligatory hot peppers that I try to finagle into every beer I make at home. In other words, some kind of complete monstrosity.

Fortunately someone with actual brewing skill -- Elkins -- stepped in and suggested using a Le Ferme saison base, super-charging it with Mosaic and Citra hops and conditioning it with Brett to add tartness and a subtle, spicy pop.

Only one keg of the beer was made last May for OKC Craft Beer Week, but Elkins was so pleased with the result that he decided he would re-create the beer and scale it up for a commercial release.

Now you can score some to take home for yourself. And even better, if you can't make the release on Saturday, a limited amount of the beer will be sent out to distribution in bottles and on tap.

And then lastly, if you want to learn a little more about the beer, you can check out the podcast I recorded with Elkins earlier this year. That's includes a good interview about the beer and about Elk Valley in general:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What's brewing? New labels from Cabin Boys, Vanessa House, COOP and more

It's been awhile since I checked in and reported on new beer labels being submitted to the feds by Oklahoma brewers, so I figured this would be as good a time as any to do a wrap on what was shaking in November.

Most notably, we saw Cabin Boys get into the act with their first batch of product labels.

Just a reminder that these label approvals do not always provide an accurate reading on when a beer will be released, or even that it will be released at all. But they generally are pretty indicative of a brewer's production plans, and are just fun to look at either way.

First, we have Bearded Theologian, a 9.5% ABV Belgian quad that appears headed for 22 oz. bottles. The beer is described as having "deep aromas and flavors of raisins and caramel" and "hints of cinnamon and spices."

Cabin Boys also has Cornerstone Saison, checking in at 6.2% ABV. They describe this beer as "unforgiving and unaplogetic" with spicy flavors and a solid malt foundation.

And the new Tulsa brewery may deliver one of the more creative beers we've seen in a while with Felix Et Tenebris (Latin for "happy and dark"). This is an American orange stout that checks in at 8.7% ABV and is described as being a "roasty, chocolatey best." It was brewed with orange slices in the boil. 

We have a couple new offerings from Vanessa House filed in November as well, presumably to be brewed at the co-op. First, is 1st Anny Pina Colada Ale. This is a 7.5% ABV beer brewed with pineapple, coconut, vanilla and lactose.

Next we have Power's Out, a 10% ABV imperial stout brewed with vanilla beans.

We had a couple labels submitted from COOP in November, one that I am especially excited about. That would be Bourbon Barrel Aged DNR with Chocolate. This next iteration in the Cask-It Series sounds incredible. I'll definitely be on the look-out for these bottles when they drop.

And then we also had 2017 BBA TROAIS. This version has been aged in bourbon barrels, promising a "spirit-forward experience."

Down in southeastern Oklahoma, we can see that Mountain Fork is expanding its product line-up. The McCurtain County brewery filed a couple labels in November. The first is Crumpet, a 4% ABV English-style brown ale.

Also we have Sneaky Snake. This Belgian-style golden ale checks in 9% ABV.

Up in Stillwater, Iron Monk looks to be working on what I think would be the strongest beer they've produced to date. Nel'd It is a 12.5% imperial stout brewed with molasses.

Back to OKC, we have a label from Twisted Spike. Rose Rock is a 5.5% ABV Irish red-style ale. And don't forget, this beer is actually being released this Friday night at The Patriarch.

Finally, we have one more newcomer -- the first label filing I've seen from Heirloom Rustic Ales. Plains Beer is an open-fermented and bottle-conditioned saison, checking in at 6% ABV. Typically you would see bar codes on labels intended for package-store distribution, so I'm not 100 percent clear on the avenue to market for this beer -- it may be brewery-only. This also could be a non-final version of the label.

Also worth noting, Prairie filed about three dozen labels in November -- mostly for imperial stouts with a range of variants. According to Prairie officials, those are a series of special beers for Prairie Dawgs members. I won't bog down this post with images and descriptions unless I get an indication that any of those beers are intended for public distribution.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week in beer: Roughtail, Prairie OKC and COOP grab the spotlight

Happy Monday beer fans. I know you're all counting down the days until Saturday -- that's the day both Prairie OKC and Roughtail are set for big releases. But there's a lot going on this week all over the local beer scene.

Check out the week in beer!

-TapWerks is hosting a COOP Cellar Night at 6 p.m. today (Monday), and a Founders CBS release at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

-COOP and Pub W are teaming up for charity on Tuesday with the Paws for Purpose Give Back Night. This fundraising event is set for 5 p.m. at the south OKC Pub W location and will feature a trio of COOP release on tap: 2016 Territorial Reserve Oak Aged Imperial Stout, 2017 Territorial Reserve Oak Aged Rye Wine, and Ryesling. Ten percent of all food sales from the evening will be donated to Paws for Purpose, the pet therapy program at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center.

-Oak & Ore is sending its 2017 Fried Chicken Tuesday calendar out with a bang by teaming up with Founders on Tuesdays this month. They'll feature $4 Founders Centennial IPA each week along with chicken and waffles. Note that you should mark your schedule for Dec. 12 when O&O offers Founders Breakfast Stout, KBS and CBS.

-The Patriarch is teaming up with Stonecloud to host an Ugly Sweater Party at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. The event will celebrate Stonecloud's draft release in the market and also award some cool prizes for the coolest/craziest/ugliest sweaters.

-You can head back to The Patriarch on Friday for a Twisted Spike Double Release set for 5 p.m. This will feature Rose Rock Irish Red Ale and Monk's Crossing Dubbel, plus special glassware with purchase.

-Get ready for a crazy day at Roughtail on Saturday as they'll release four different beers at the brewery in Midwest City: A triple-dry-hopped Everything Rhymes with Orange, a collaboration with American Solera, a collaboration with Central Standard Brewing, and a Milkshake ERWO. The release is set for noon.

-Saturday is a big day for Prairie OKC, too, as they open at 10 a.m. for a brewery-only Barrel Aged Christmas Bomb release. There will also be Barrel Aged Bomb and Whisk(e)y Noir in bottles, and limited special glassware with barrel-aged beers on tap.

-The inaugural OKC Santa Crawl is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. You can find the list of participating venues right here. Looks like this will be a fun Santa-themed drinking event, although its beer credentials may be a little lean. On the plus, proceeds go to charity.

-The Brew Shop is hosting a free Brewing Beer 101 glass at 10 a.m. on Saturday, while Learn to Brew's Edmond location is hosting a Basic Brew Class at noon Saturday.

-Anthem is hosting a Beers & Boards board game meet-up from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the taproom.

-McNellie's Tulsa is hosting a very cool beer dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday featuring some rare, aged Christmas beers. Reservations are required. More details here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Week in beer: Upland debuts, Plaza Beer Walk returns

Happy Monday, beer fans. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break and consumed some fine beverages.

Here's your weekly rundown on what's happening on our local beer scene.

But first, we had some big news drop recently in the ever-growing list of out-of-state breweries that distribute in Oklahoma.

The announcement came from broker/distributor Atlas Brand Craft & Barrel that Denver brewer Crooked Stave will be dropping in Oklahoma on Jan. 1.

Crooked Stave is certainly a great get for the state, and another feather in the cap for ABC&B. You can expect announcements soon on launch events and distribution plans.

Meanwhile, on to the rundown of beer events this week.

-Oklahoma is welcoming yet another new out-of-state brewery this week as Indiana's Upland Brewing Co. makes its local debut. Upland will be featured tonight at 6 p.m. at Oak & Ore with a lineup of eight beers, and then will be launched in Tulsa at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Roosevelt's.

-Stonecloud will begin hosting weekly trivia with Geeks Who Drink, starting tonight at 7 p.m.

-The McNellie's pubs are all hosting their regular Monday pint nights today. The lineup is: Shiner Cheer at OKC; Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat at Norman and at Tulsa; and Great Divide Yeti at Tulsa-South.

-Plaza Beer Walk returns this Wednesday, featuring Boulevard. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with stops at Empire Slice (Snow & Tell); Saints (Lemon Ginger Radler); Oak & Ore (Hibiscus Gose, Jam Band and Whiskey Barrel Imperial Stout); and The Press (80 Acre and glassware). Note that The Press is a new addition to the Plaza District and a first-time participant in the Beer Walk.

-The Root is hosting a six-week Jenga league/tournament, with a top prize of a Santa Fe Brewing snowboard and a $75 gas card. Week two is Wednesday with sign-up at 6 p.m. and games beginning at 7 p.m. If you missed week one, you can still participate and catch up on points if you start this week. More info here.

-Anthem is hosting a Pints and Palette date night Wednesday at 6 p.m. More details and ticket info here.

-The Patriarch is hosting a Sour Flight Night with Upland Brewing at 5 p.m. on Friday.

-The Fur Shop in Tulsa is hosting a Roughtail Polar Eclipse Pint Night at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

-Oak & Ore will close out its month of Sunday beer brunches this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an Elk Valley Coffee Beer Brunch.

-Looking down the road a little bit, Prairie announced today that it's brewery-only release of Barrel Aged Christmas Bomb! is being moved from Krebs to the Prairie OKC location. That event is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oklahoma will get BCBS... later

Every year about this time, we settle in for the holiday season with a fresh round of debate on Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.

I'll never buy it because Goose Island sold out to Anheuser Busch.

I'll buy it as along as Goose Island is making it the same way, because it's still a good beer.

This year, you can still have that debate. Sort of.

Actually, it'll be next year.

Following up on rumors that had been swirling locally about the stout's availability in Oklahoma this year, I confirmed with Goose Island that BCBS will indeed be available in Oklahoma -- after Jan. 1.

That decision had not always been a sure thing, however.

Several liquor store owners reported hearing from their AB rep in the past few weeks that BCBS would not be arriving in-state this year. Only today did one liquor store owner tell me that the rep had a different story.

And just this afternoon, confirmation came for Goose Island of the post-Jan. 1 plan to ship to Oklahoma.

I do not have clarification on a reason for a delayed release as compared to past years, but at least you know that if you do want some BCBS, you'll be able to score some eventually.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Oklahoma set to welcome four new brick-and-mortar breweries this month

In what is turning into a remarkable one-and-a-half-week span, Oklahoma will witness four new brick-and-mortar breweries open for business between today and Nov. 25.

Although I can't say I know the answer definitively, it's hard to imagine that post-Prohibition our state has ever seen such a development unfold.

The veritable explosion of new breweries begins today at 11 a.m. when Prairie OKC opens to the public. We'll then see Heirloom Rustic Ales in Tulsa and Lazy Circles Brewing in Norman opening on Friday, and Cabin Boys Brewery, also in Tulsa, opening Nov. 25.

Wonder if adding four breweries is real feat? Consider that the latest ABLE report on licensed high-point brewers in Oklahoma lists 19. While Lazy Circles is not on the October report, one would presume they would be on the November report, and that would make 20.

So, the next week-and-a-half window is a big deal for the Oklahoma craft beer scene.

Which leads into an interesting point that I've delved into on the blog and podcast, and that is, how many breweries can Oklahoma support?

We know we have 20 licensed right now (not including low-point brewpubs), and we know that about 10 (give or take) brewers are contract- or gypsy-brewing or working to get their own taprooms open or in the early stages of getting off the ground. It may not be a stretch to think that by the end of 2018 -- once the distinction between high- and low-point breweries is gone -- all-told we will be around 30 breweries in the state.

Which makes me feel like I'll be sticking to my prediction that we eventually get to about 50 -- or even 60 -- breweries in Oklahoma.

That seems like a lot, but consider the recent statistic from the Brewers Association that Oklahoma ranks dead-last in the country in breweries per capita. We have a lot of room for growth statistically, and many cities in the state with no brewery.

Seems like the environment is ripe for this thing to take off.

Speaking of taking off, one of those breweries mentioned above -- Heirloom Rustic Ales -- is ready for its Friday launch.

I was able to catch up this week with Heirloom brewer and founding-partner Jake Miller to learn a little more about their brewery and upcoming plans.

A quick crash course on Heirloom: The company consists of Miller, a professional brewer who got started with Prairie and American Solera and moved on to brew in Oregon and Florida, and a pair of dentists, Zach and Melissa French. Zach French is a long-time homebrewer who once blogged about beer under the handle Oklahoma PedAler, and who is well-connected in both the Tulsa and Oklahoma City brewery scenes. He conceived of the idea for the brewery in 2016, and now here they are.

They'll turn out an eclectic run of blended and mixed-fermentation beers, with a lot of barrel aging and unique ingredients.

Check out the Q&A:

Thirsty Beagle: Give the readers a little snapshot of the Heirloom story. Who is on your team, and how/why did you all decide to get into the beer-making business?

Jake Miller: There are three of us. Zach, Melissa, and myself. Melissa has spent the bulk of her time on taproom build-out and design. She’s created a space that’s pretty much an unparalleled experience in Oklahoma. Zach is a very decorated and awarded homebrewer. He’s made incredible mixed-fermentation/blended beer for several years now. I’ve been professionally brewing for a little over three years now and had small stints at three different breweries before Heirloom.

TB: Elaborate on your beers and brewing approach -- what should consumers expect in terms of styles?

JM: People should expect a sharp focus on refreshing and drinkable beers. We want our saisons and lagers to be approachable (as those styles should be), but also intriguing and complex. We have several barrels that are filled, and several that are waiting to be filled. Those will create all sorts of blending possibilities for Zach and I to work with. We’re casting a fairly wide net, as far as styles are concerned. We’ll have pale ales, saison, lagers, porters, milds, and probably a bunch of other beers that are harder to categorize. We don’t want to get cornered into being one-dimensional, but we also don’t want to wander too far from our roots.

TB: How about market plans? Obviously you're starting in the taproom, but should consumers expect to see distribution of any kind?

JM: We plan on putting a lot of focus on selling our products straight out of the taproom. We like that we don’t have to worry about quality issues that way and that we can keep the price affordable. We do plan on self-distributing several low-point options to the Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets.

TB: Talk about your location and building a bit. What should visitors expect in terms of the vibe when they come to visit?

JM: We’re in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, which is just outside of downtown Tulsa. It’s an artist haven and recently has seen a lot of small business growth. Inviting and comfortable are definitely the two first words that come to mind when describing the vibe of our taproom. Melissa thought about everything. The lights, chairs, plants, and bar all evoke more of a coffee shop feel than a brewery taproom. We’ll be playing old skate videos and cycling races on our projector. We really want it to be a place where people feel welcome and can stay a while.

TB: You guys are joining what has become a really fast-moving market in the Tulsa area. Describe what the energy of the beer scene is like in that part of the state right now.

JM: Absolutely. It seems almost weekly that we hear about a new brewery in planning, or an old brewery in planning starts construction. It’s really cool to see that kind of growth, and we’re excited about being in the middle it. There are several of us that are all within a mile or two of each other, so it’ll be great to watch that culture develop.

TB: Your grand opening is this Friday; can you provide details about what festivities you have planned?

JM: We’ll have seven beers on draft for people to try, and we’re hoping to fill our 32 oz. cans the day before for people to be able to purchase and take home. We’ll have the Mr. Nice Guys food truck on site, and the weather looks really good, so it should be a good time.

(Blogger's note: Good luck to Heirloom -- and the rest of the soon-to-open breweries -- as they open their doors!)

Pints and Pins

We've got a few recently added beer events this week that were not mentioned in my week in beer roundup from Monday.

-Back Porch Draft House in Lawton is holding an Oklahoma Tap Invasion at 4 p.m. Thursday. It's worth noting here that they'll be putting Angry Scotsman on tap, so that may be a first chance for some in southwest Oklahoma to try ASB.

-The Root is hosting a Founders Tap Takeover and Pint Night at 6 p.m. Thursday.

-Roughtail has yet another special release planned for noon Friday. This time it's another run of e-Juice fruit IPA. Interesting detail here: Roughtail has also applied for federal label approval for keg collars for e-Juice, so you should expect to see some retail distribution on this.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Week in beer: Heirloom launches, Twisted Spike hits one year, and Prairie OKC to open?

There's no shortage of fun beer events this week, folks. Check out the rundown!

-Stay tuned for news on the imminent public opening for Prairie OKC. The taproom was open tonight for a members-only event, and the beer was flowing. There's been no official announcement that I've seen, but I would expect it'll be pretty soon.

-Oak & Ore's Fried Chicken Tuesday continues tomorrow night, featuring $4 Marshall Old Pavilion Pilsner paired with sticky chicken wings with Vietnamese sauce.

-TapWerks is hosting a Green Flash pint night at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

-McNellie's OKC is hosting a Guest Favorites Beer Dinner Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The cost is $25, and you can email to reserve your spot.

-If you're looking for a unique beer event, you need to get over to Oak & Ore on Wednesday. They're hosting Lambic Lunacy at 6 p.m., featuring a great selection of Lambic beers.

-Thursday is a busy day, with several events on tap. For starters, The Patriarch is hosting a Stone Tap Takeover, with glassware, stickers and free swag, plus a special release that is typically brewery-only, Scorpion Bowl IPA. That's set for 5 p.m.

-Roosevelt's (Tulsa) is hosting a Knee Deep Brewing launch party at 5 p.m. Thursday.

-Anthem is holding a release party for its winter seasonal beer Rye'd or D'IPA. That will also be 5 p.m. Thursday.

-McNellie's South is hosting a Rahr & Sons beer dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday.

-New brewer alert! Heirloom Rustic Ales is holding a grand opening for its Tulsa taproom at 3 p.m. Friday. I'll have more to come on that later this week on the blog.

-Marshall's weekly Food Truck Friday is noon to 8 p.m. this week, featuring Andolini's.

-Hard to believe it's already been a year, but Twisted Spike is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a party from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. This ticketed event ($20 plus fees) features a commemorative glass, unlimited 4 oz. pours of all beers and first tasting of new and special-release beers. Plus, a portion of proceeds will go to the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma.

-Stonecloud is hosting its first bottle release from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. The beer, Sirens of Titan, is a dark sour with cherries that will be available by the 1,500-milliliter magnum bottles. Each bottle will go for $45, with a limit of three per person. You might say, "$45 is a lot for one bottle." To that, I would say, read this beer description from Stonecloud: 

"This beer was inspired by the perfect cold weather combination of dark chocolate and sour dried cherries. We crafted a dark sour base to highlight rich cacao notes and keep the roasted bitterness to a minimum. It was fermented and extensively aged in fresh Chardonnay barrels from Napa with our favorite house developed blend of wild yeast, lactobacillus and pediococcus. Once Sirens had reached its peak we re-fermented it on a blend of Montmorency, Royal Anne and Lambert cherries at a rate of over 2.5 pounds per gallon. This incredibly complex beer initially comes through with notes of intensely dark chocolate, wild funk and oak while finishing with lasting tart cherries as it warms. It clocks in at 8.2% ABV, 3.25 pH, has a finishing gravity of 1.6 Plato and was bottle conditioned."

So, ummm, yeah. To be honest, that sounds exactly like my last homebrew project, if you subtract all the words from that description except beer. Anyway, the night will also include an oyster pairing from Sea Gypsy and a limited amount of pours of Sirens of Titan from 4 to 7 p.m. ($10 for a 10 oz. pour). 

-Oak & Ore and Vanessa House are teaming up on Sunday for a reprisal of the Super Hero Beer Brunch, this time featuring a turkey drive (turkeys must be fully frozen). That's set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with reservations highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Vortex Alley Brewing to open to public this week

We know that over the next year Oklahoma will see a big wave of new breweries opening.

One of the breweries on the front-edge of this particular wave is getting into the act in mere days, as Vortex Alley Brewing is set to open its taproom in Ponca City on Friday, Nov. 3.

The event will be 4 to 9 p.m. at 220 E Central.

I caught up with VAB co-founder David Thomas for a Q&A to learn a little more about his new venture. Check it out: 

Thirsty Beagle: Talk a little bit about your brewing history. How did you get into beermaking, and what made you decide you wanted to go pro?

David Thomas: Our brewing history actually starts with our brewmaster Marc Spaulding. Marc fell in love with Leinenkugel Honey Weiss in 2000 and decided that he wanted to learn how to make it himself. Marc bought books and homebrewer magazines and started studying. Marc is a welder and fabricator by trade so he was able to build almost everything he needed to start brewing. After Marc had introduced me and I feel in love with the world of homebrewing and craft beer, we were brewing in his garage and I was going through a Brew Your Own Beer magazine and in the back was a listing of breweries by state. I came across this one called Hank The Wiser out of Cheney, Kansas. I got on my computer and started looking up this brewery and found out that it was a father and son team that was brewing on a 1/4-barrel setup and brewing 30 gallons a week and opening on Friday night and if they had beer left over they would open again on Saturday. I fell in love with this concept right away and it started the day dreaming of the possibilities. When I started to hear the rumblings of the possibility of the Oklahoma laws changing, I looked at that dream as a real possibility and started putting some data together to show to the guys that our dreams could become a reality.

TB: You're going to be one of the few brewers in the state to open a taproom that's not in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. What does it mean for you to be the first to open in Ponca City?

DT: There was a small mention of VAB in one of your blogs back in late January 2017 and it read “There's a new brewery on its way to Ponca City, of all places!” I loved that when I read it. The reason why I love it because we love being unconventional and we love the thought of having the opportunity to bring a strong craft beer presence to our hometown.

TB: And building off of that, how do you assess the beer culture in that part of the state.

DT: Exciting! This is a great time to be a craft beer lover and Oklahoma brewers are doing some amazing work. I consider us the next wave of breweries hitting the landscape and I have had a chance to talk with a lot of the other breweries in the development stages and I know that Oklahoma has just provided a peek at what we can do.

TB: Talk about your plans -- what type of beers are you looking to bring to the taproom, and then further down the road, do you have plans for distribution outside the taproom?

DT: This has been a constant question for us: 'What will be your flagship beers?' The answer to that is we don’t know what our flagship beers will be. I feel that because we are a nano brewery and we are doing 1.5-barrel brews that it has allowed us a freedom we may not get with brewing 30 barrels. We have the chance to create beer, do a lot of one off’s and to experiment while we let our customer base tell us what they like. Myself being a consumer of beer, I know I like to be offered variety and every time I go to the liquor store or brew pubs I always look to see what is new. Ninety percent of the time I will go with what is new. We will have some beers on heavier rotation then others because Marc has to have his honey wheat pretty much all the time. We have discussed distributing but it’s a little further out in the future. We could look at something once October 2018 rolls around to see what’s available. 

TB: Lastly, I think people have an idea where the name Vortex Alley comes from, what with Oklahoma's weather being what it is, but why did you feel you wanted to settle on that for your brewery's name?

DT: Marc’s fiancee was the one who brought the name Vortex Brewing to Marc and I, and at first I wasn’t over the moon about it, but Stephanie came ready to sell this name to us. Her first pitch was that vortex and Oklahoma is a no-brainer. Her second pitch was that during the whirlpool process of the brewed wort a vortex is formed at the bottom of the kettle. Her third pitch is what sold this name to me. One of the definitions of vortex is a center location pulling objects toward it; I was hooked with the last pitch. I wanted our brewery to be that force, to be the center location bringing people toward it. We had been trying to come up with a name for over a month and to get four different-thinking people to agree on anything is almost impossible. Even Vortex Brewing wasn’t a smash for everyone at first, and we needed a name to start the filing processes so I put it out there that if we didn’t come up with a better name in 24 hours that we were going with this one. The next day (co-owner) Spencer (Boatmun) asked that we add the word Alley into the name and we became Vortex Alley Brewing. I can’t think of being called anything else.

(Blogger's note: You can learn more about the brewery opening by clicking here.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

The week in beer: Stout Day, Angry Scotsman and brewery bike crawl

-McNellie's OKC is hosting a Rogue Dead Guy Pint Night today at 5 p.m.

-Red Coyote Edmond is hosting a Spooky Pack Pint Run on Tuesday at 6 p.m., featuring free COOP Negative Split at the end of the run.

-The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is staging a Crazy Mountain Beer Dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday. That's about $60 a person, and reservations are required by calling (405) 235-6262. More details here.

-After a successful launch party at The Patriarch, Angry Scotsman is getting back after it with an All Suds Day event at Oak & Ore. That's set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

-There are at least four different International Stout Day events happening in Oklahoma City on Thursday. In no particular order, you have The Patriarch opening its doors at 3 p.m.; 405 Brewing hosting an event beginning at 4 p.m.; COOP going with stouts on all 18 taps at 4 p.m.; and TapWerks promising "something special planned with our friends at Prairie," although I could not find a time for their event.

-For those on the east side on Thursday, Marshall is hosting a Stout Day celebration at its taproom. That event kicks off 2 p.m.

-Friday is big day for Vortex Alley Brewing, as they open their taproom in Ponca City. I'll have more to come on that on the blog shortly.

-The Brew Shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the 19th annual American Homebrew Association Learn to Homebrew Day. This is a great event if you're interested in learning how to make your own beer.

-The weekend heats up even more on Saturday as Stonecloud and Anthem team up for West Side Drank: A Stonecloud and Anthem Brewing Collab. Starting at noon, each brewery will tap West Side Drank, their collaboration brett pale ale. Each will also offer two fruited versions of the beer, and if you bring your receipt from one brewery to the other, you can get a free 4 oz. pour of West Side Drank.

-If you're in parts east on Saturday evening, the annual Hops for Hope is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Bartlesville Municipal Airport.

-Lastly, there's a super-cool event set for Sunday. The Pint Rider Brewery Bike Crawl is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with stops at Anthem, Stonecloud, Bricktown Brewery, Twisted Spike and Prairie OKC. Tickets are $40 and get you an event T-shirt and beer samples at all five stops. You guys -- we finally have enough breweries close enough to do cool crawls like this!!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bricktown Brewery celebrates 25 years

Can you remember what you were doing 25 years ago?

Personally, I was rocking Hypercolor T-shirts as a freshman in high school. And while that's exciting and all, there was something else notable happening in 1992.

That was the year Bricktown Brewery opened for business in downtown Oklahoma City. Hard to believe that much time has passed, but now BTB is celebrating its milestone 25th birthday.

They are hosting a series of events from Wednesday through Friday this week. To get the scoop on what's going on, and to dive into the history of BTB, I caught up with general manager Charles Stout for a Q&A.

Thirsty Beagle: Bricktown Brewery is celebrating a big anniversary -- 25 years. For people who may not know, does that represent 25 years at the existing location on the corner of Sheridan and Oklahoma?

Charles Stout: Yes the original Bricktown location has been open for 25 years!

TB: What do you guys have planned to commemorate the occasion?

CS: We are tapping a 25th Anniversary Ale that honors our most popular beer in our history (Copperhead Amber Ale) on Wednesday, October 18. Then on the 19th we are hosting a Brew Crew Reunion to honor all past and current employees over the years (oh, and the Thunder open at home that day!). On Friday the 20th we will have a VIP reception to honor our anniversary and then throw a huge party with original DJ Cliff Davis and the always popular Superfreak playing a concert on the second floor.

TB: Has anything changed in the Bricktown Brewery philosophy over the years when it comes to making beer? Or do you guys have a formula/approach you've tried to be loyal to over the years?

CS: We stayed true to 1992 original recipes and added several seasonal beers up until 2011. Then with new ownership and leadership we made a move to improve and elevate all of our products, from beer to food. We have made an even-more-focused effort on consistency of each of our flagship beers.

TB: Speaking of formula, a lot of people want to know what will happen on Oct. 1, 2018, when the statutory distinction between high- and low-point beer goes away. Will Bricktown Brewery begin making stronger beers?

CS: When the law changes we are excited to brew beers that have an ABV that is style-appropriate. Some beers, like the IPAs and the browns and stouts, will see an increase in ABV along with our limited-time-offering seasonal beers. We have learned to embrace the "session" style (below 5.0%) and some of the lighter beers will stay in that category to promote a longer drinking session to enjoy in our restaurants.

TB: Bricktown Brewery seems to be quite active lately in terms of pouring beer at festivals and tastings. Why do you feel those types of event are important to attend?

CS: We are being approached more, and with the current ownership group have the resources to participate in more festivals. We love festivals and hanging out with the public and our brewery friends in Oklahoma.

TB: Tell us a little bit about the 25th Anniversary Ale you will unveil -- what is that beer all about?

CS: The 25th Anniversary Ale is an homage to our original "Copperhead" brand. Copperhead was our biggest-selling beer for the longest time and really kept people coming to visit. The style is classic amber ale, a beer with distinct malt profile and a balance of Fuggles hops that is unique and flavorful. This beer has a crisp body and an upfront sweet taste that finishes with a Fuggles hit.

TB: Lastly, as someone who has been a witness and participant in the Oklahoma beer scene for more than 20 years, what are your feelings now on where the industry is going in Oklahoma?

CS: Things are very exciting! Just seeing our own success in each Oklahoma market we come to, along with the fun crowds at all the taprooms it is clear Oklahoma is becoming a beer state. We are seeing a more diverse craft beer crowd to include those from rural Oklahoma, women, and of course all the many travelers to our state. The dedication to hard work and quality that we are seeing from the new surge of breweries is very refreshing and a good sign that beer is a viable Oklahoma industry!

You can find details on all of BTB's events this week at their Facebook page.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New podcast: Everything you need to know about Angry Scotsman

Happy Saturday, beer fans!

Just in time for today's launch party for Angry Scotsman Brewing, check out the latest episode of the Thirsty Beagle Oklahoma Beer Podcast.

In this episode, we sit down with ASB founder/brewmaster Ross Harper to get the scoop on all things Angry Scotsman.

Check it out!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So, what's the deal with the co-op?

A week ago about this time, Elk Valley pulled the plug on its planned re-launch party -- which had been set for last Saturday -- at the OK City Brewing Co-op.

Then last night, second verse same as the first as Angry Scotsman announced its re-launch party -- set for this Saturday -- had been switched from the brewery building on N Meridian to The Patriarch.

Then earlier this evening, Vanessa House followed suit, announcing their re-launch party (Oct. 21) has now been postponed.

All these developments have people asking me, and asking around on social media, what's the deal with the co-op?

While some have suspected some sort of nefarious scheme or fishy circumstances, the truth is actually a lot less sexy.

It appears the co-op has fallen victim to the same phenomenon that has caught up almost every single brewery that has ever tried to open for business in Oklahoma: Everything about opening a brewery takes longer than you think.

I spoke with co-op owner Brad Stumph last night and he confirmed as much, saying that they had set a very aggressive timeline for re-opening the brewery to the public, but they simply did not have all the T's crossed and I's dotted yet to do so.

Stumph said that production at the brewery is ongoing -- as we have seen with both Elk Valley and Angry Scotsman -- so you likely will still be able to find these beers around town, such as on Saturday at The Patriarch.

Speaking of that, festivities for Angry Scotsman are set to kick off at noon on Saturday, with Rusty Kiltpin (Scottish 80/export ale), Night Terror (American black IPA), Pale Ryder (American pale rye ale) and a secret special release set to be on tap (a release time for the special release has not been announced). There will also be a pair of food trucks on hand, and both OSU and OU football games on TV.

If and when new dates are announced for the co-op, I'll be sure to pass those along in this space.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week in beer: Wine vs. Beer, Angry Scotsman and The Root

Good day beer fans. How about getting your week started with the latest goings-on on the OKC craft beer scene?

Here's your week in beer:

-McNellie's OKC is holding a Weihenstephaner Festbier Pint Night today at 5 p.m.

-Oak & Ore is hosting Wine vs. Beer II: OAKtobOREfest Cheese Pairing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, featuring four Marshall Brewing beers paired with four Artisan Fine Wines and Spirits wines and four kinds of cheese. Tickets are $35, with a portion of proceeds going to the Whole Kids Foundation.

-The Root is holding an Abita Bourbon Street Chocolate Stout pint night at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

-Anthem is hosting a beer and donut pairing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, featuring Holey Roller Donuts. Tickets are $35 and get you five donuts and five beer samples.

-The Patriarch is celebrating University of Central Oklahoma's Homecoming at 5 p.m. Thursday with Bronchtoberfest 2017.

-The Root is back at it on Friday with a rooftop, moonlight yoga session at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and get you a beer, cider or wine.

-The OK City Brewing Co-op launch party for Angry Scotsman is set for 11 a.m. Saturday.

-Busy week for The Root, as they are hosting a breast cancer awareness fundraiser Saturday at 8 p.m. Breast Intentions will feature music, art, beer and food, with proceeds benefiting Oklahoma Project Woman.

-Twisted Spike is holding a session of Beer Yoga at noon on Sunday. More info here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Elk Valley re-launch to feature rare beer

I wrote earlier this week about the Angry Scotsman debut event coming up at the OK City Brewing Co-op, but as we all know, that is not the first event on tap this month at the co-op.

This Saturday the spotlight belongs to Elk Valley, as they celebrate the re-launch of the brewhouse on N Meridian.

The festivities are set to kick off at 11 a.m. and continue to 9 p.m., and Elk Valley is promising some fresh batches of Magic Juice, Pale Ale, Coffee Nemesis and Cheap Sunglasses.

There also was a cryptic mention on the FB event page about cracking open "something special," and I can confirm that this is indeed something very special.

Elk Valley will tap a limited supply of Wyld Pumpeon -- a 2015 batch of Pumpion that has been aged with Brett. That is set for 4 p.m., although you may be able to score a sip of this beer a little earlier if your table tennis skills are up to snuff.

Saturday's event will include a ping pong tourney set to begin at 3 p.m. (or 2:30 p.m. if more than 20 people sign up) with the winner of the tourney getting the first pour of Wyld Pumpeon. How awesome is that?

In addition to ping pong, there will be a food truck (Fat Sosa) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., games, music, mini-tours and raffles for glassware, beer, growlers and some yet-to-be-determined prizes.

Sounds like a pretty solid time.

In related/unrelated news, Elk Valley filed for label approval for a new beer recently. You can see below a keg label for Firefly Crew. This is a witbier brewed with coriander and lemon peel, and you should expect to see it in the market in about a month, give or take:

There's also new beer news from another of the co-op partners, Vanessa House. They filed for label approval for a new barleywine, Rent's Due:

Seems like an interesting take on a barleywine -- it's a little on the low side for both ABV and IBUs, per BJCP style guidelines (although still within the appropriate limits). Perhaps we're talking about a more sessionable barleywine, if there is such a thing? The release date for this beer has not been set, per Vanessa House reps.

And then, there's even more new beer news! COOP has filed for label approval for the next in its DNR Cask-It Series line: Tequila Barrel Aged DNR.

As someone who has embraced tequila and homemade crafty margaritas in the past year, I'm especially intrigued by the way DNR and tequila will intermingle in this one. Look for a release date on this a little closer to the end of the month.

So what else is going on?

-The Root is hosting a Boulevard Hibiscus Gose Pint Night at 5 p.m. today.

-The 14th annual ARTonTAP beer tasting hosted by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is set for Friday night at 7. More details here.

-STASH in Norman is hosting its Hair of the Dog Oktoberfest at 6 p.m. Friday. You can get more info on that here.

-The 2017 OKCtoberfest is set for Friday and Saturday at the OKC Farmers Market. All the details on that are here.

-Roughtail is releasing Adaptation 10.2 (Citra) and 10.3 (Mosaic) at noon on Friday.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Angry Scotsman set for official public debut

It's been a little more than a week since the announcement that the OK City Brewing Cooperative was being relaunched, but already one of the co-op members is making the most of the opportunity.

Not only has Angry Scotsman Brewing (ASB) founder and brewmaster Ross Harper been working away in the brewhouse on N Meridian, Harper is getting ready to debut his beer to the paying public for the first time.

The official launch is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at the co-op, 520 N Meridian.

In the meantime, you can start to get a feel for ASB's plans for branding and product line-up based on label approvals filed with the federal government.

The brewer was approved for keg collars that show four mainline beers and also a pair of rotators -- a special release and a rotating IPA:

The label filings also show plans for canned releases, as evidenced here:

ASB has taken the approach of filing a generic label for approval and then updating the design at a later time. One can also check this image from the event page for ASB's release event for a feel at the potential design/look of the brand:

In terms of the Oct. 14 event, here's a blurb from the event page:

"We'll have our flagships Rusty Kiltpin, Pale Ryder, and Night Terror pouring, plus a selection of small batch releases to enjoy, too. You'll also be able to get growler fills of Rusty Kiltpin and Night Terror to take ASB suds home for the first time.

"We're lining up food trucks, yard games, music and more to make this the party it needs to be. 21 and up only per OK law, but well-behaved furry friends are always welcome."

If you can't make the event on the 14th, consumers should expect to see ASB kegs hit the market this month as well.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week in beer highlighted by Plaza Beer Walk, stein-holding contests, ZOObrew

Hello beer fans! There's a lot going on this week on the local beer scene -- how about a quick look at the weekly beer calendar? Cheers!

-McNellie's OKC is holding a Goose Island Fest Bier Pint Night at 5 p.m. today.

-Twisted Spike is hosting a Red Coyote social run tonight at 6 p.m.

-Skinny Slim's OKC is hosting a Prairie Takeover at 5 p.m. Wednesday, featuring 2nd Anniversary and BA Christmas Bomb.

-The September Plaza Beer Walk is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, featuring Roughtail. Venues are Empire Slice (Helles or High Lager); Saints (Hoptometrist); The Mule (Salvador Denali); and Oak & Ore (ERWO and glassware).

-Anthem is hosting a beer release for its new BA farmhouse Family Tree. That's set for 5 p.m. Thursday at the brewery.

-The Patriarch is holding an Anthem Ogletoberfest Stein Night at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

-The Root is doing its second annual Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Competition at 6 p.m. Thursday.

-Marshall has a Firkin Friday set for noon this Friday, featuring a special firkin to be tapped at 4 p.m.

-The annual ZOObrew beer tasting and small-plate event is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Tickets available at

-The annual Plaza District Festival is set for 11 a.m. Saturday.

-The annual McNellie's Harvest Beer Festival in Tulsa is set for noon Saturday.

-Stonecloud is hosting a Pints for Prostates event at noon Saturday.

-The second annual Beer and Beefsteak Banquet is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at Fassler Hall OKC.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Cooperation makes it happen: OKC brewing co-op is reborn

The OK City Brewing Cooperative is back.

That news was revealed today as former Black Mesa Brewing co-founder Brad Stumph announced he has acquired the brewing license most recently controlled by Mustang Brewing.

The move -- one that has been rumored in beer circles for weeks -- means brewing operations are now resuming at the former Mustang brewery on N Meridian, where a foursome of brewers are expected to be working.

That group is comprised of Elk Valley, Vanessa House, Angry Scotsman and Kolibri Ale Works.

This is now the third iteration of the OK City Brewing Cooperative.

Stumph said when Mustang closed shop in July, it created a big opportunity.

“The barriers of entry into the brewing industry are substantial, largely because of the high cost
of brewing equipment,” he said. “By providing a fully outfitted place to hone their craft, I hope
to give aspiring brewers an outlet and a less risky option for learning the business of running a
brewery. I’d like craft beer enthusiasts to see this facility as an ongoing preview of the Oklahoma
brewing industry’s future.”

A grand opening for the new co-op is set for noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3. Leading up to that, each of the four member brewers will host special releases set for each Saturday in October. That schedule is as follows: Elk Valley (Oct. 7); Angry Scotsman (Oct. 14); Vanessa House (Oct. 21); and Kolibri (Oct. 28).

This latest development marks another turn in a somewhat twisting history of the OK City Brewing license.

Back in August of 2012, I wrote a story about the advent of the co-op. The concept was launched west of downtown in a building on Sheridan Avenue.

The original members of the co-op were Redbud Brewing (led by brewmaster Chase Healey, who had earlier left COOP Ale Works); Anthem Brewing (with brewmaster and founder Matt Anthony, who later exited the company over philosophical differences); and Black Mesa.

That arrangement was short-lived, however.

Within a month of my writing that article, Healey left Redbud to take a brewing job in Texas (he of course went on to found Prairie and eventually American Solera). The cooperative's owners said they would hire a new brewmaster, and the Redbud brand would continue.

As the calendar flipped to November 2012, Redbud still had no brewmaster.

That's when Mustang Brewing stepped in to the equation, striking a deal to purchase the Redbud brand, the cooperative building and the OK City brewing license. (Blogger's note: In a blog post concerning Mustang's closure in July, I inaccurately described Mustang as having an earlier role with the co-op.)

From there, Mustang, Anthem and Black Mesa continued brewing at the co-op. That lasted until May 2013. That's when the second of two horrific spring storms that month ravaged the building, tearing off a portion of the roof and leaving debris strewn over the brewhouse.

That ended the Sheridan building's run as a brewing cooperative. Anthem eventually opened its own building, and Black Mesa built a relationship with O'Fallon Brewing in Missouri to contract brew. Mustang moved to its long-time home on N Meridian Avenue. While Mustang maintained control of the Redbud brand -- and promised on-and-off for years that the brand would be revived -- it never was.

With Mustang going out of business in July, it appeared the OK City Brewing license -- and the idea of a cooperative -- would fade into oblivion.

But back in to the picture came Stumph, who within the past year separated from Black Mesa over philosophical differences. He is now the third owner of the OK City brand.

"This is going to be fun," Stumph said. "(It's a) good slate of brewers to kick this thing off right!"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oklahoma court denies liquor association lawsuit

A federal judge in Oklahoma City today ruled against a lawsuit that challenged State Question 792, leaving the law in tact as it was approved by state voters in November 2016.

State Question 792 -- approved by more than 65 percent of voters -- reforms Oklahoma's alcohol laws, amending the state constitution and introducing a large amount of significant changes to the state's Prohibition-style regulatory set-up.

Primarily, SQ 792 will serve to eliminate the sales distinction between high- and low-point beer in Oklahoma and allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and high-point beer. On the whole, the changes will affect all levels of the alcohol industry, from production, to distribution to retail sales.

Liquor store owners argued, in part, that they would be treated unfairly under SQ 792 because grocery and convenience stores would receive unfair business advantages. This, they argued, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They argued they should be held on a level playing field with grocery and convenience stores because they are similarly situated.

They sued in December, asking the court for an injunction to block the law from going into effect.

In a 13-page opinion issued today in federal court in Oklahoma City, District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled that the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma had "not upheld the burden ... for their requested declaratory relief."

There was, of course, a rather glaring problem with the liquor store argument: Liquor stores have a significant distinction that naturally makes them not similarly situated with grocery and convenience stores. That being the ability to sell liquor.

The court pointed this out in the opinion.

"Plaintiffs essentially argue that because Oklahoma has drawn the dividing line for regulation between all beverages containing more or less than 3.2% ABW in the past, any change to the division is unconstitutional," the ruling states. "This simply cannot be the case."

"...the Court finds Plaintiffs’ argument that Oklahoma’s history of regulation shows spirits are similarly situated to wine and beer unconvincing."

The court went on to rule that evidence provided by the defendants demonstrating that liquor is different from beer and wine, and showing that 23 other states regulate liquor differently than beer and wine, "makes it rational to conclude all alcohol sellers holding licenses in Oklahoma are not similarly situated."

The liquor stores had challenged several other portions of SQ 792, but the court found cause to reject all claims.

As it stands, SQ 792 is still on track to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Prairie OKC brewery taking shape

I had a chance last week to stop by and tour the new Prairie OKC brewery, and things are really starting to take shape there as they near an opening date for the facility on NE 8 near downtown.

The major components of the brewery -- walls, windows, doors, floors, walk-in cooler, etc. -- are complete and you can really get a feel for the layout and possibilities for the space.

Some finish work still remains, including the bar top and tap area, tables and chairs and artwork.

But all the brewing equipment is in the brewhouse (although not in its final arrangement when I was there) and brewery general manager Greg Powell said they are looking at a possible mid-September opening, pending any last-minute delays.

Powell said they plan to feature at least eight beers at opening, and told me OKC fans should typically expect to see beers that are unique to the OKC location.

One notable exception will be Prairie Bomb!, which will likely be on tap year-round. Powell said because of space and storage constraints at the OKC facility, the Bomb! wort will likely be produced in McAlester or Krebs and then shipped to Oklahoma City, where it will be fermented and spiced.

He said fans should expect multiple Bomb! variants throughout the year.

Maybe the best way to get feel for how things look is to take a little photo tour. Here we go!

First, you have a look at the entry on the west side of the building. This is directly to the east of the train tracks:

Next you have a look at the bar area. Two rows of taps will be located under the shelves: 

Here you have a view looking west at what will be the main seating area:

Similar view as above here, but now you can see the west entry and the large roll-up garage door:

Here's a look inside the brewhouse. In the back, you can see a staircase that leads up to an upstairs area that will likely be used for private events:

More brewhouse and fermenter action. Powell said one of the neatest features of the brewery will be its serving tanks, where beer lines will run directly from the brewhouse to the taps. He said this is a great way to protect beer integrity because it limits the amount of time beer is moved around from vessel to vessel:

A look at the walk-in cooler. This view will actually be obstructed by some fermenters and/or tanks that will eventually be moved into that area:

A different angle of the brewhouse:

Here's a look at the brewhouse from the staircase that heads up to the private event area:

And here is said area. The windows with the blue Xs look out over the bar and seating area:

Here's the view of the brewhouse from the private event area:

And here's what you will see when you're enjoying drinks in the main seating area:

And finally here's a wider view with the bar at the right, the seating area straight ahead and the private area upstairs. You can see the space will allow for a ton of natural light:

What you can't see from the pictures is the rest of the building. Prairie will be one of several tenants in an indoor-open-air concept that developers hope will eventually hold restaurants and art galleries. With the right mix of businesses, this could quickly become a destination area for locals and out-of-towners.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Now live: Episode 3 of the Thirsty Beagle Oklahoma Beer Podcast

Newsflash people: Episode 3 of the Thirsty Beagle Oklahoma Beer Podcast is now posted for your listening pleasure.

In this episode, I provide a re-cap of the Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit, and play back a recording of the Hops Panel that I moderated at the Summit.

We also cover progress for some of our breweries-in-planning, run down an insane beer events calendar and bring you our Hot Brewer of the Moment and Best Thing I've Had to Drink Lately features.

Give it a listen, and as always, I appreciate any feedback or suggestions!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oklahoma beer label report

It's always fun to peruse new beer labels as our local brewers submit them to the feds for approval, and we've had quite a bit of action on that front over the past few weeks.

Let's take a look!

(Reminder: These labels are not always indicative of the final version of a particular label -- more on that in a minute -- and don't always equate to a brewer bringing said label to market. But they are generally a good indicator of what new beers brewers are planning to introduce.)

First, we have a new canned offering for Nothing's Left, with their 6.5% ABV Strawberry Blonde. This one has been on draft for a time now, but it looks like it may be headed to liquor stores, too:

We've got a new beer from Anthem, Family Tree. This 9.3% ABV farmhouse/saison brett has been aged in oak barrels, according to the labeling:

The latest from COOP's DNR Cask-It series has been aged in rye barrels:

It looks like Dead Armadillo is going a little dark with a new canned Dunkelweizen:

We just recently saw a new beer unveiled by Iron Monk -- The Nine IPA. That beer features a cool label design completed as part of an Oklahoma State University Graphic Design Challenge. Now Iron Monk has filed two new labels, which certainly have the look of art-level graphic design. We have Outland, a 6.7% ABV dry-hopped citrus pale ale, and Roadtripper, a 5.6% ABV saison:

Now we get to the part about label submissions that almost assuredly will not be the final label that hit the market. It looks like both Prairie and American Solera are from time to time employing the tactic of submitting a placeholder label to the feds for approval, then revising the label before the beer hits the market. I asked Prairie President Zach Prichard about this practice, and he said the feds allow revisions to labels without brewers having to resubmit the updated label for approval. So this appears to be a good tactic if you want to keep secret what your label will look like until the beer is released.

Anyway, the placeholder labels do still seem to reveal a beer's name and some basic info. In recent public filings, we've got a trifecta of such labels from Prairie: Booyeah, which is described as a 7% ABV imperial stout aged in rum and whiskey barrels with coconut, vanilla and cocoa nibs; Double Barrel Noir, a 13% ABV imperial stout aged in rum and whiskey barrels; and Imaginary Friends, a 7% ABV IPA:

And then one from American Solera -- Sobo Pils, a 4% ABV offering that appears headed for release in kegs and bottles:

It will be interesting to see if the placeholder tactic is one that more brewers will employ down the road in order to the control the reveal of their branding and images.