The Thirsty Beagle: Edmond beer scene, where you at?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Edmond beer scene, where you at?

BEER

Completely unacceptable.

That's what I feel like the craft beer situation is like in Edmond right now.

Before you say, "But what about The Patriarch?" check out this list:

-Oklahoma City
-Tulsa
-Norman
-Stillwater
-Broken Arrow
-McAlester
-Krebs
-Broken Bow
-Ponca City
-Pryor

That's the list of cities in the state with operational breweries right now, according to ABLE Commission records.

Where you at, Edmond? I mean, when Ponca City, Pryor and even Broken Bow (with not one but two breweries!) have gotten in the game, you know you're behind the times. (And, we're due to have a brewery in Enid soon, while I've also seen someone is trying to open one in Duncan.)

Fortunately, things have improved and look like they will continue to improve as far as Edmond is concerned.

I've seen it all play out. I've lived in north Oklahoma City since 2002 (Penn and Memorial represent!) and in the Edmond/Deer Creek area since 2004.

At that time, things were pretty bleak in Edmond/north OKC when it came to craft beer. In recent years, the situation has taken an upswing, thanks in large part to The Patriarch and places like S&B, Pub W, the Garage, Skinny Slims and Republic, among others.

But what about a brewery? Through all the years, even as SB 424 was enacted, even as we pushed past more than two dozen breweries in the state... nothing in Edmond.

That will change presumably soon following the recent announcement that Frenzy Brewing Co. -- currently a brewery-in-planning that you've probably seen out at beer events -- will open up shop in Edmond.

We also know that Battered Boar is located just south of Edmond city limits, and within a year or so they will be joined in the area by Roughtail, which is re-locating to the booming Western and Memorial corridor.

So yes, things are getting better, but it's still a little disappointing that Edmond remains brewery-less.

But here's the thing: If there's anything I've come to believe from living in Edmond and going to The Patriarch, it's that Edmond is a sleeping giant when it comes to craft beer.

I'm a firm believer that Frenzy and Roughtail will open the floodgates to some kind of brewery boom in Edmond. And I feel like you just have to look at The Patriarch to understand that.

I followed the opening of that bar closely at the time, and spoke to the owners several times through the construction process. They were hopeful that their location -- just down the street from UCO -- would lead to a steady stream of customers from the college.

If you frequent The Patriarch enough, however, you know that college kids are in fact not the primary customer there -- after all, when you're slumming your way through college, the $8 glass of beer is probably not your top choice, due to budgetary constraints.

Instead, the crowd at the Patriarch -- at least to my eyes -- appears to be a 25-and-older group, and even shading more toward a 30-and-up clientele. This is a group that:

1.) Has disposable income;
2.) Enjoys leisure time;
3.) Often works in Oklahoma City and might not want to drive back downtown on a weeknight or even a weekend; and
4.) Wants Edmond to be as cool as any city in the state.

If you try to tell me this crowd won't enthusiastically embrace a local brewery in their own backyard, I will not believe you.

So that begs the question, what's the deal in Edmond? I know real estate is generally pricey in the city, so there's that. There's also the issue of meeting zoning requirements and gaining approval of the planning commission and city council. Approvals from those bodies for an alcohol-related business -- gasp! -- have not always been a sure thing due to the somewhat traditional and conservative (and let's be frank, stuffy) nature of Edmond.

But it just takes one or two trailblazers to set the new norm, and if Frenzy can bust in through the door that The Patriarch has cracked open, then look out. We could be seeing a new brewery hot-spot in Oklahoma.

SPORTS

I firmly believe Mike Gundy is terrible at picking quarterbacks. The reason, however, is not because he's a poor evaluator of talent. The reason, as far as I can see, is a combination of loyalty and stubbornness -- a combo that has backfired in the past and appears to be backfiring this season.

That being said, I think OSU fans are incorrect in making calls for Gundy to go.

Over the years, if anything, Gundy has proven he is an excellent evaluator of talent.When your recruiting classes are typically ranked anywhere from 25th to 45th in the country, yet you consistently pile up wins, that says to me you have a knack for evaluation, and also for squeezing the most talent out of who you're throwing out on the field.

Look at the stats that back this up. Over the past 10 years, OSU's average recruiting class ranking is 34.4, according to Rivals. Only twice in that stretch has OSU pulled in a class ranked in the top 30 (No. 27 in 2014 and No. 28 in 2011). More years than not, OSU's class has been ranked No. 35 or higher.

Yet look at the wins. Over that 10-year stretch, OSU actually has the 10th-best winning percentage in college football, and is just a few percentage points away from being in the top five. I would say that is outperforming your recruiting numbers by a significant margin. Again, good evaluation and coaching.

Also look at one of my favorite recent stats: Over the past three seasons (2015-17), there are only six power five teams to have recorded 10 wins each season: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, OU, Wisconsin and... OSU.

I mean, wow. When I went to OSU (1999 to 2001 football seasons), the team was 5-6, 3-8 and 4-7. That's 12 wins in three years! We had no idea what a bowl game even remotely looked like.

So clearly Gundy has been a great coach for OSU. He's brought the program to levels I certainly never expected were possible. This has pulled expectations for OSU football way up. For example, I went to the South Alabama game earlier this season, which OSU won by a score of 55-13. Yet I walked away feeling like the team was average at best.

So I get that people are pissed right now about Gundy and the OSU football team. Let me come back to that point in a minute. First, let's take a look at Gundy's questionable history of QB decisions. He's always handled the QB situation at OSU kind of oddly...

-Riding with Bobby Reid when Zac Robinson probably was the better choice (loyalty).

-Starting Alex Cate when Robinson was hurt, when clearly Brandon Weeden was more talented (loyalty).

-Starting a wobbly Robinson against OU in 2009 instead of Weeden (loyalty, maybe also some stubbornness). The Cowboys lost 27-0.

-Riding Robinson (9-for-21 passing for 44 yards and one interception, eight rushes for minus-six yards) for almost that whole Bedlam game (stubbornness).

-Sticking with an inconsistent J.W. Walsh for several games instead of Clint Chelf (loyalty).

-Riding with Daxx Garman for several losses instead of turning the offense over to Mason Rudolph (stubbornness).

-Giving Taylor Cornelius the starting job (loyalty) and then sticking with him through several frustrating losses (stubbornness).

The good news for Cowboys fans is that over the years, Gundy has generally, eventually, gotten the QB call right. And to give him a little more credit, things are complicated a little by the new four-game redshirt rule this season.

If not for that rule, we may have seen Dru Brown or Spencer Sanders already. And if Cornelius can't put points on the board against Texas tomorrow or Baylor next weekend, you probably can expect to see one or both of the aforementioned back-ups take the field for the last three games of the year.

The problem is that OSU has already lost three games and now faces a real possibility of not making a bowl game this year -- and Gundy appears to be digging in with his support of Cornelius.

Still, I'm not about to call for Gundy to go.

For me, it's pretty simple. Gundy is the best coach OSU has ever had. He's won far more than he's lost, and he's done it with less talent than other teams. OSU has been historically good by OSU standards in spite of Gundy's quirkiness with picking QBs. You can be upset about Gundy picking Cate over Weeden, or Garman over Rudolph, or Cornelius over Brown/Sanders, but you can't get around the fact that Gundy still deserves credit for the overall, unprecedented success of the program.

I just hope OSU doesn't sit out the bowl season with a more capable QB sitting on the sidelines all year.

STPMO

It used to happen right around this time of year.

Press releases would come into The Oklahoman newsroom from the city of Oklahoma City or the city of Edmond declaring which day Halloween would be observed on.

What's that you say? Why would you not celebrate Halloween on, oh I don't know, Halloween?!

Yes, this is one of my all-time peeves, when people move Halloween off of Halloween because Halloween falls on a Sunday. Thankfully, this is only a once-every-six-or-seven-years type of deal, and it won't happen this year, with Halloween falling next Wednesday.

When Halloween was about to fall on a Sunday, what was annoying was how the cities tried to pretend like they weren't moving Halloween because of religious reasons. Look, everyone gets it -- Halloween celebrates scary spirits and deathly scenes and ghastly non-religious goblins, so clearly we can't have that happen on a Sunday in Oklahoma.

The problem is that cities -- government entities -- can't declare they are moving Halloween off Sundays to respect church on account of that whole separation of church and state deal.

So they would hint at excuses like avoiding a school night. This despite the fact that the next four years (pending any leap years) of Halloween would be school nights. Or, in the case of Edmond, they would simply wait for Oklahoma City to announce its decision, and then say they, too, would move Halloween, just to fall in line with "other cities in the metro."

To be clear, this is not a peeve against religion or church. I'm just against moving Halloween and coming up with lame excuses for doing it because you know you can't state outright the real reason you're doing it.

Here's a thought: Let's just celebrate Halloween on Halloween every year and skip all the lame excuse-making.

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