The Thirsty Beagle: June 2017

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Angry Scotsman Brewing reveals brewery location

Happy Saturday beer fans!

I'm putting up a special weekend post today to make an exclusive announcement -- I've got some news to share on Angry Scotsman Brewing.

You may remember in my follow-up blog post after Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival that I shared news about Angry Scotsman eyeing a location near downtown Oklahoma City for the build-out of their brewery and taproom.

I'm excited to announce today that ASB founder and brewmaster Ross Harper is now ready to announce the exact location and to share the first rendering/image of the proposed building.

So let's get to it. Angry Scotsman Brewing will be located at 704 W Reno Ave., just west of the heart of downtown Oklahoma City at the intersection of Reno and Lee avenues. Here's the first image of the building:

Harper promised an ample outdoor beer garden space, and you can see that is delivered. The brewery will be a stone's throw (assuming you've got a strong arm) to downtown -- a mere five blocks away from Chesapeake Energy Arena -- and will feature a tremendous view of the OKC skyline to the east.

Harper shared the following thoughts:

"Yesterday, we signed a lease on the future home of Angry Scotsman Brewing. This is a huge, exhilarating step forward for us as we progress to getting the brewery open. We take over the building on July 1, and from there we’ll get the build-out rolling and the tanks in ASAP. 

"In due course, we’ll have one of the largest patios/beer gardens in downtown with great skyline views, and this location puts us just blocks from the Chesapeake Arena, Myriad Gardens, Bricktown, Film Row, and the Farmers Market — not to mention fellow breweries Anthem and Stonecloud. When the final section of the Oklahoma City Boulevard is completed, you'll be able to stroll or bike right by our south door.

"Not only is this a growth moment for ASB to celebrate, it’s also a moment of personal reflection. Taking on responsibility for a commercial lease, investors, and an SBA loan is both exciting and terrifying. Frankly, it’s mainly terrifying. Sometimes I question why I’m choosing the years of extra stress, exhausting work, and financial risk when I could just have bought a boat and kicked back with a homebrew. 

"And the answer always comes down to this: That’s not who I am. I'm driven to bring Angry Scotsman Brewing to market, and to not just succeed with the brewery, but to sustain and give back to the local community while I do it. I can’t do it alone, and I’m fortunate to have the faith, investment, and support of my incredibly patient (she has to be, with me) fiancĂ©e, our extended families, friends, and the OKC craft beer community as a whole. Thank you all. I promise I won’t let you down.

"Here’s to the opportunities ahead!"

I came away from OCBF incredibly impressed by Harper's beers, so I certainly can't wait to see what the future has in store for ASB.

And how great to see the downtown area go from zero full-strength craft breweries a few years ago, to as many as six within the next year?

These are good times, my friends.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Plaza Beer Walk to feature new Six Point formulations

One of my favorite recurring local beer events is coming up next week as the fine venues along NW 16 present another edition of the Plaza Beer Walk.

This time around the featured brewer is Six Point, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based craft brewery that makes up part of the Craft & Barrel portfolio.

Some people may not be aware that in May, Six Point announced a reformulation of its core lineup of beers -- Resin, Bengali, Sweet Action and The Crisp. So the Plaza Beer Walk, set for 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, may be your first chance to try some of the new recipes.

Six Point announced that they are now packaging their beers unfiltered, have improved their ingredient sourcing and have tweaked recipes to reflect changing palates.

From their blog:

"Sixpoint has undergone many significant evolutions since inception in 2004, but May 2017 is the biggest one yet. This isn’t a new beer -- it’s a top down improvement of the whole lineup. We’ve been slowly dialing in these formulations over the past three years… now get ready for the rawest, juiciest, and most modern iterations of our core beers blasted everywhere Sixpoint is available in both cans and draft. We’ve improved our ingredient sourcing, tweaked recipes to reflect changing palates, and are now ready to release our beers unfiltered, like drinking right from the tanks."

Craft & Barrel's Freddy Lamport said the new formulations will be available during Plaza Beer Walk.

If you're looking for the adjusted recipes in liquor stores, you can tell the difference because Six Point has updated its packaging as well.

Here's the old:

And the new:

I'm especially excited about the new Bengali formula:

"With Bengali, we tweaked the hop character, and incorporated some new hop strains we’ve just recently acquired, to seriously dial in that citrusy-tropical aroma. Then we smoothed out the texture with oats, and dried out the malt body to let the hops take full control. This thing is all about huge tropical character up front, and a clean, dry finish."

You can read about all the recipe changes here.

So what else is going on?

-Oak & Ore's Sun, Surf and Sessions: Summer Launch Party with Founders is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday.

-The Root is hosting a Traveler Grapefruit Shandy Pint Night at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

-Marshall is hosting its weekly Food Truck Friday at noon this Friday, and you'll want to get by the brewery to try their latest beer, This Land Lager. The German Helles has a kick-ass label art concept and is said to be one of brewmaster Eric Marshall's favorite styles. They'll also be pouring a new Belgian tripel, if you're not into Germans (or their beer).

-Learn to Brew-Edmond is hosting a Beginning Beer Brewing course with extract kit this Saturday at noon. More details here.

-If you're a big Twisted Spike fan but have lamented a lack of liquor store availability for their beers, fear not, you should expect to start seeing 10th Street Pale Ale popping up in package stores next week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Beer odds and ends: What's up in the 405 this weekend?

Howdy beer folks! How about a quick rundown of local beer happenings as you head into the weekend? Hope everyone has a great weekend!

-Twisted Spike is serving up a new blend starting at 4 p.m. today at the brewery -- an IPA infused with Amarillo and Centennial hops.

-The Patriarch is hosting a Roughtail Liz Lemondrop pint night starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, featuring two different kinds of special glassware. Liz Lemondrop is a farmhouse saison featuring Azacca and Lemondrop hops.

-Speaking of Liz, Roughtail has a new beer on tap now at the taproom. Liz Lemongrass is a saison (Liz Lemondrop base) with dried lemongrass and fresh basil added. This is a taproom-only offering right now.

-And one more note on Roughtail: They just canned a fresh batch of Hoptometrist -- you'll see the 06/16/17 stamp on the bottom of the can. Moving forward, Roughtail will stamp dates on its cans. This will replace the stickers found on top of the plastic can holders you're used to seeing.

-405 Brewing is hosting a bottle release for Lime Tart release at the brewery at noon Saturday. In addition to bottles, the beer will be available in 4 oz. pours (with glassware for $5).

-COOP's taproom will be closed at 5 p.m. Saturday for a private event, FYI.

-Oak & Ore is hosting a Prairie Father's Day Brunch on Sunday morning. Reservations are required for special glassware and beer offerings. More info here.

-Also at Oak & Ore, they're holding a Sun, Surf and Sessions: Summer Launch Party with Founders Brewing at 5 p.m. Wednesday. More details here.

-Anthem is hosting live must tonight and Saturday, and then a Paint and Pint Night on Monday at 6 p.m. Get the facts on all these events at their FB page.

-Your McNellie's group pint nights for Monday: Angry Orchard Easy Apple at OKC; Anchor Odeprot at Norman; Lucky Bucket Strawberry Blonde at Tulsa; and Marshall Arrowhead with Porter peaches at Tulsa-South.

Friday, June 9, 2017

News flash: Women like IPAs, too

Bartenders and wait staff of Oklahoma City: Would you like to take your life into your own hands?

If so, go ahead and ask me what kind of beer I want, and then ask my wife if she would like a cider or sangria.

There's a 2 million percent chance at that point the situation will play out like this:

All kidding aside, Mrs. Beagle has been imploring me for at least a couple years now to write about something we've experienced repeatedly when we go out for dinner or drinks. That being the perception among bartenders and waiters that because my wife is a woman, she must not be interested in beer.

And especially heaven forbid she might want an IPA! (That inevitably leads to a patronizing warning that IPAs are "kind of bitter." Ummm, OK, thanks for the info.)

That gender stereotyping has happened so much to us that it's become a running joke and almost an expectation when we go out.

Of course, to my great amusement, it sends my wife over the edge every time. And I know we're not the only people it happens to.

Red Earth Brewers President Nicholas Hodge shared a story with me about him and his wife ordering drinks. He ordered a German lager, she ordered a COOP F5 IPA. A different server brought the drinks out and placed the lager in front of his wife and the F5 in front of him. Ha!

I know that the craft beer segment is small, and that a lot of women (sure, probably the majority) would pick a blonde ale or a cider or a fruit-forward wine, for example, over a hardcore IPA most of the time.

But that doesn't make it any less annoying for women who would opt for the IPA.

Mrs. Beagle, for one, is not taking it lightly. She has taken to combating the problem by either ordering the most intensely hopped IPA on the menu, or just saying eff-it altogether and ordering bourbon or Scotch neat.

Come on wait staff of the world: Not all women are interested in fruity fru-fru drinks.

But don't take my word for it. I asked Mrs. Beagle to share why it pisses her off so much:

"It pisses me off because I hate to be pigeon-holed. It's 2017 for crying out loud, stop it with the gender stereotypes. Women can like IPAs and men can like cider. Every time a waiter offers me a blonde it only encourages me to order the 'manliest' beer on the menu."

Well, on behalf of Mrs. Beagle, I've got a newsflash for everyone out there: Women like beer, too! And even -- gasp! -- bitter beer.

Has this happened to you as well? I'd love to hear your stories, even if only to know we're not alone out there.

So, what else is going on?

-Live on the Plaza is tonight. They're doing a dog-friendly theme this time around, and it looks like it'll be a spectacular evening to stroll around the Plaza District.

-Your upcoming Monday night McNellie's pint nights: COOP Saturday Siren at OKC; Elysian Space Dust at Norman: Oskar Blues Priscilla at Tulsa; and Renaissance Gamma Ray IPA at Tulsa-South.

-Earlier this week I wrote about the Dogfish Head Beer Dinner on Tuesday at Picasso Cafe; there is another DFH beer dinner for those on the east side of state. The Bond Tulsa is hosting one on Wednesday night. More info can be found here. And even before both of those events, Oak & Ore just announced they are hosting a DFH Oklahoma Launch Party on Monday at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dogfish Head hits Oklahoma this week

Exciting news this week as we've learned that Dogfish Head is set to drop to Oklahoma wholesalers this Friday.

That means it's only a matter of days before the beer will hit local bars and liquor stores.

As reported in this space in April, here's the lineup of beers we're expecting to see (some seasonals won't be available right away, naturally):

-60 Minute IPA (package, draft)
-90 Minute IPA (package, draft)
-120 Minute IPA (package, draft)
-Beer to Drink Music To (package, draft)
-Burton Baton (package, draft)
-Festina Peche (package, draft)
-Flesh and Blood IPA (package, draft)
-India Brown Ale (package, draft)
-Midas Touch (package)
-Namaste (package, draft)
-Palo Santo Marron (package, draft)
-Pennsylvania Tuxedo (package, draft)
-Punkin' Ale (package, draft)
-Romantic Chemistry (package, draft)
-Saison du Buff (package, draft)
-Seaquench (package, draft)

To welcome the brewery to Oklahoma, Picasso Cafe is planning a DFH Beer Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The dinner features five courses and five DFH beers, with a cost of $45. You can make reservations by calling (405) 602-2002.

I will update this post as I learn of any additional welcome events.

So what else is coming up on the calendar?

-Anthem is holding a Domestique release party at 6 p.m. Thursday. The bourbon-barrel-aged Belgian quad will be available for $10 a bottle. While it will not be available for growler fills, a special coffee and vanilla version will be available on tap and eligible for growler fills.

-On Saturday, Anthem is hosting a full day of live music, with food from Thunder Dogs. The event -- Cowtown Roots Revival 2 -- is set for 1 to 8 p.m. More info available here.

-The Root is hosting a Tallgrass Key Lime Pie pint night at 6 p.m. tonight.

-405 Brewing is tapping its new Yeah! IPA at their taproom at 4 p.m. Thursday. They describe this beer as Northwest-inspired, hopped with Mosaic lupulin powder and Citra, and dry-hopped with Zythos and Motueka hops.

-Rock & Brews is holding a Big Sky pint night at 5 p.m. Thursday.

-COOP is holding a pair of pint nights for its Saturday Siren. The beer will be featured at 6 p.m. Friday at McNellie's Norman and then again at 6 p.m. Monday at McNellie's OKC.

-Yokozuna Chisholm Creek is holding a Rahr & Sons Beer Dinner at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is $50 and includes four courses/beers. Call (405) 500-1020 to reserve a spot.

-McNellie's OKC is holding a Samuel Smith Beer Dinner at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The cost is $50 for this four-course, four-beer pairing. Email to make a reservation.

-Marshall released its popular Double Tough IPA last night, and it will be available on draft only at a handful of locations in Tulsa, and at Oak & Ore and The Patriarch in the OKC area.

-If you're a fan of Prairie's Flare gose or Merica saison, the brewery has news for you. Four-pack cans of Flare and single bottles of Merica should be shipping out of Krebs and landing in stores any time in the next five or so days.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ranking the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across the World beers

I understand you may not have time to try all 12 of the beers in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across the World 12-pack. Hey, that's what I'm here for.

I picked up the mix pack last Friday and worked my way through all 12 over the weekend. This year's Beer Camp edition featured collaborations with six overseas breweries and six here in the U.S.

I was super-excited to try these, but I have to say I came away with mixed feelings, with about only half of the beers landing in the "I'd have that again category." I'll have a bit more analysis, but first, let's get through how I ranked all the beers:

1. Dry-Hopped Barleywine Style Ale (Avery)

-Not a traditional barleywine -- it checks in at 9.4 percent ABV and 90 IBU -- but I found the combination of the malts and hops intriguing and even somewhat refreshing.

2. Ginger Lager (Surly)

-I did not expect to enjoy a lager so much more than I did some of the other beers in the set, but this was a terrific, full-flavored beer and one that would totally be a great poolside sipper.

3. Dunkel Weisse (Ayinger)

-For someone who would pick an IPA first, second, third and probably fourth, I have to tip my hat to this dunkel, which I thought was a terrific example of the style.

4. East Meets West IPA (Tree House)

-Solid IPA that checked all the boxes for me -- a nice blend of hoppiness and haze befitting of the style.

5. Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden (Duvel)

-Had to give Duvel its due on this one. I thought it was technically very well executed and offered a great blending of traditional Belgian yeast notes with a refreshing pop of hops.

6. West Coast-Style DIPA (Boneyard)

-This was a solid DIPA, although it didn't really hit any wow points for me.

7. Atlantic-Style Vintage Ale (Fuller's)

-I was expecting this beer might be a touch heavy, especially with the addition of plums, which struck me as a little oppressive in beer. But the plums actually played nicely.

8. White IPA with Yuzu (Kiuchi)

-This is where things started to go downhill just a bit for me. I felt like the witbier style and yuzu overpowered the base beer -- I wouldn't consider this an IPA, necessarily.

9. Campout Porter (Garage Project)

-Seemed like a solid base porter, but the addition of honey and vanilla did not work for me -- I felt like the honey super-charged the vanilla and left the beer a little too sweet.

10. Dry-Hopped Berliner-Style Weisse (Saint Arnold)

-This one seemed a little over the top, and I could not really clearly discern the dry hops.

11. Raspberry Sundae (The Bruery)

-With the fist few sips, I thought this was an interesting beer, but as the lactose aftertaste built up throughout the time I sipped the beer, I came to find it a little harder to enjoy. Would recommend this one for sharing, unless you have a thing for lactose.

12. Thai-Style Iced Tea (Mikkeller)

-Same as above -- the first few sips were really interesting, with an intriguing ice tea taste. But once your palate got adjusted and figured out what was going on, it became too much. I appreciate the risk and the desire to do something different, but this one was too sweet for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the chance to try all these different styles, and it definitely was interesting to see breweries pushing the boundaries. While there were a few I wouldn't have an interest in drinking again, I'm glad I tried the whole pack, if only because it gave me a chance to break free of the all-IPA-all-the-time rut I often find myself settling into.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Get to know a brewery-in-planning: Frenzy Brewing

We know that the impending enactment of State Question 792 and the approval last year of Senate Bill 424 have had a profound effect on the craft beer business in Oklahoma.

One example of that, which I have mentioned several times on the blog, will be the proliferation of local homebrewers who open breweries, taprooms and pubs.

One such homebrewer -- actually a homebrewer tandem -- are Edmond residents Matt and Beth Conner. The Conners are working to launch Frenzy Brewing. They've already seen a string of success in local, regional and national homebrewing competitions, and have announced plans to make the leap to pro status with a brewery and taproom.

You may have already had their beer -- they've poured at Mashed In and most recently at the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival. So let's learn a little more about this brewery-in-planning as I interview Matt Conner.

The Thirsty Beagle: How long have you (and Beth) been home brewing, and what encouraged you to now make the step to the pro ranks?

Matt Conner: I started homebrewing in 2011. A friend of mine was a home brewer at the time and I helped him with a couple of batches. My dad home brewed when I was in high school so I asked him if he wanted to brew with me. We did our first batch on May 7, 2011, and I was hooked. We did extract brewing for a couple years and switched to all grain in 2013. My wife and business partner, Beth, worked with me on a recipe for a beer to pour at a party for her running group. We brewed it in March of 2014.

The decision to go pro has a lot to do with our competition success. We joined the Red Earth Brewers a few years ago. I judged a few club competitions with REB and at FOAM Cup in Tulsa. I recognized that the quality of our beer was comparable and, in some cases, better than the beers I was judging. I was encouraged by my close brewing friends to enter some beers into BJCP competitions. We started shipping beers off to competitions all over the country. Success came quickly. We have won over 25 medals and ribbons over the last couple years, including two Best of Show. The feedback you get from the judges can really help improve the quality of your beer.

The passing of SQ 792 is another big factor in our decision. It’s a game-changer for breweries. Prior to it passing, the only option was to be a production brewery or a brew pub selling 3.2 beer. Now a brewery can sell full-strength beer on premises, and self-distribution will be allowed in late 2018. Profit margins are much better when you sell directly to the consumer, bar, or restaurant. There are more business model options for the next wave of breweries, which makes our brewery plans financially viable.

TTB: Where are you in the process of getting Frenzy off the ground? 

MC: We’ve organized the business, registered with the State of Oklahoma, and have tentative approval on a federal trademark for our name and logo. We are currently working on the business plan. Our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is slowly growing as well. Recipe development and testing is also a big focus right now.

We have a number of recipes nailed down and a handful of others that need a little tweaking. We’d like to be open for business by late 2018, which would coincide with full implementation of SQ 792.

TTB: What type of format are you looking at? For example, a taproom with draft-only sales, or what?

MC: Initially, we are focusing on a taproom with on-premise drinks by the glass, growlers to-go, and keg-only self-distribution. Longer term we will consider growing our self-distribution and offer packaged product.

TTB: You guys are Edmond residents and had suggested you may be looking to set up shop in Edmond. Are you still looking at Edmond or have you expanded your search area?

MC: We have spent the last few months doing market research, and the local craft beer community has been amazing. We have been able to talk to OKC metro-area brewery owners, brewers, tap room managers, bar managers and a bar owner about their experiences. After all this research we feel Edmond isn’t quite ready for our business model. If the plan was for a brewpub rather than a taproom, we think it could be successful. We’re disappointed since we’ve called Edmond home since 1993.

We feel somewhere closer to downtown OKC makes more sense. The growth of downtown over the next decade is going to be amazing. The addition of the downtown park, new convention center, the streetcars and other MAPS 3 projects are going to fuel that growth. There are already breweries open in a few different areas in and around downtown and more in planning. We envision OKC becoming a craft beer destination for people all over the metro and for out-of-towners. Beer tourism is huge in some cities. With OKC being at the crossroads of two major interstates, we think beer tourism will be huge here as well.

TTB: How about that name -- where does Frenzy come from?

MC: Obviously you’ve never brewed with me! When people ask what a typical brew day consists of, I always tell them it’s waiting around, followed by frenzied activity, followed by waiting around, followed by frenzied activity.  Wash, rinse, repeat. Once I started brewing with others I realized I’m a bit high-strung during the brew day. Those who know me best would agree that frenzy is the epitome of me. Beth and I struggled to find a good name for a few months. We had a home brewery name that we felt wasn’t right. Finally, we sent one of our good friends, John Knight from Ment Apparel, a text asking him for some help with a name. We had talked to him about it in the past but this time we got serious. We bounced ideas off each other via text for a while, until I finally came up with Frenzy Brewing Company. We all loved it. A couple of weeks later we all agreed it was the one. John designed our logo and that’s when we established our social media presence.

TTB: What should people expect in terms of beer style and brewing approach?

MC: The beers we plan to brew are the beers we love to drink. Nothing will be off limits. We have no plans to be a niche brewery. Bars and breweries that have an eclectic mix of styles are our favorites and we want to provide that to our customers. We plan to brew somewhere around six to eight year-round offerings with four to six more one-offs, variants and guest brewer beers. Our taproom will offer American, English, Belgian and German styles. We will probably dabble with some sours and barrel aging.

TTB: Lastly, I have to ask about Vampire Glitter. How much of an asset is it to essentially already have a flagship beer established?

MC: The story of Vampire Glitter begins with Beth. She wanted to brew an IPA for a ladies-only contest that the Red Earth Brewers hosted in early 2015. After a little trial and error Vampire Glitter was born! It took second place at the ladies-only contest. She debuted it publicly at Mashed In 2015 and it took first place in the hoppy category. It has won quite a few medals in competitions including Best of Show at a BJCP competition in Arkansas. It has become our flagship beer.

Vampire Glitter has a bit of a following. It is recognized at every event we pour at. Having a beer with name recognition is fantastic -- until you can’t use the name anymore. Ours is a cautionary tale. One of the first things we did after organizing the business was to apply for a federal trademark for the name Vampire Glitter. We received a response back that our application was denied. It turns out there is an existing trademark for the word Vampire for beer use by a Belgian brewery. We were shocked and frustrated because it seems ridiculous that such a common word could be trademarked. It turns out the brewery that owned the trademark had gone after Clown Shoes for a beer they called Vampire Slayer, even though the beer was being produced before the trademark application was made. Clown Shoes had to settle with the brewery for an undisclosed amount. The Belgian brewery isn’t even making the Vampire beer anymore. Our attorney reached out to the trademark owner to ask for consent to use the name Vampire Glitter and they declined. The name is going away but the beer is not. We will open up a competition on social media for a new name. Whoever can come up with a name that we feel is worthy of the beer will receive one free pour per week at the taproom.

You can find out about the competition here.