The Thirsty Beagle: 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cheers to Star Wars weekend!

It's Star Wars weekend, so I thought it would be appropriate to re-share the Star Wars-themed beer bottle labels that Mrs. Beagle and I created for the recent Star Wars/Beer art show at The Patriarch.

First, you have Hoth Winter Warmer -- perfect for those -76F nights!


On the other end of the heat spectrum, we have Tatoonie Summer Saison -- made from water sourced from local moisture farms!


And of course we had to represent the dark side, so we created -- what else -- an imperial  stout.


Of course, if you know anything about the Death Star, you'll know why it's pretty funny to say that Alderaan Ale is "no longer in production."


Pints and Pins

-Oak & Ore is continuing its series of Coffee Beer Brunches in December. This Sunday, brunch starts at 11 they'll be giving away dual logo Founders Breakfast Stout/Oak & Ore coffee mugs with the purchase of a FBS pour. They'll follow that up on the Dec. 27 with a dual logo Black Mesa/Oak & Ore mug when you buy a pour of the new Los Naranjos coffee stout.

And one other little nugget of intel on Oak & Ore: Mark your calendar for Jan. 14 for what promises to be an epic one-year anniversary party at the Plaza District venue.

-Marshall Brewing is open from noon to 5 p.m. today for pints and growler fills, before their Ugly Sweater party kicks off and runs 'til 8 p.m. Sounds like quite the festive day!

-Prairie Artisan Ales has announced they will be closed on Christmas Day, but open 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 26 (or Boxing Day, as us Canadians know it).

-In case you missed it earlier, Slaughter's Hall is hosting its one-year anniversary party on Saturday, starting at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Republic aims to focus on gastro and pub

If you've been to Republic Gastropub on Classen Curve, you know they place a focus on the gastro part of their name, spinning up creative and tasty dishes that elevate the standard pub fare.

But they also like to focus on the pub part, and that's reflected in a series of upcoming beer events.


As you can see from that image, they're hosting a Beer Social tonight at 6. This is part of continuing series of beer social set for the third Tuesday of each month. Tonight's social features holiday favorites including St. Bernardus Christmas, Delerium Noel, Samichlaus Classic and Unibroue La Resolution. The $20 cost includes these flight pours paired with some creative small bite snacks and a full pour of your favorite beer at the end.

Really, for 20 bucks, that's a pretty sound deal.

Now, if you can't make it out tonight, you should mark your calendar for next month. Republic is planning a special event on Jan. 19 -- a four-course COOP Ale Works beer dinner, set for 6 to 8 p.m.

Republic's Mike Folks says the pub's beer dinners are a more formal version of the socials. They typically include four courses, and feature a beer pairing with each course and a farewell pour at the end.

The dinner will run you $50, and you can reserve a seat by emailing mfolks@goodeggdining.com to put your name down for the one of the 50 spots available.

While Folks admits that Republic is cuisine-driven, they view the socials and beer dinners as important offerings.

"Our purpose is to highlight the talents of our chef team, but the dinners and socials are in place to feature certain breweries or styles of beer," he said. "Being a gastropub, we are definitely cuisine-driven, but really enjoy teaching and offering our guests quality beer and food pairings."

One thing is for certain: Oklahoma City's beer landscape is ever-evolving, and venues really need to show they care about their beer to maintain customer loyalty. Republic has been active in Oklahoma City Craft Beer Week, and these dinners and socials only help further show the pub's dedication to craft beer.

Pints and Pins

-Speaking of focusing on beer, Slaughter's Hall in Deep Deuce has made efforts recently to pick up its beer game. They've expanded their beer offerings and have started up a nightly Hoppy Hour, featuring select $1.50 COOP cans, among other choices. If you haven't stopped by, but want to, this weekend might be a good bet. The pub will celebrate its one-year anniversary at 7 p.m. Saturday with a local tap takeover. More details here:



-The Brew Shop is hosting a beer and wine tasting at 4 p.m. Friday, featuring Healthy Craving Nuts.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Patriarch art show hits the geekdom jackpot

In my house, there are two things we can all get geeked out about: Beer and Star Wars.

So when The Patriarch announced it was hosting an art show where the requirements were beer and Star Wars, I was in.

And today, it's showtime, people. Get yourself down to The Patriach at 6 p.m. to see how the awesomeness of beer and Star Wars is combined.


As the graphic mentions, the art show supports a good cause -- the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County -- and you can even see an art submission from the Thirsty Beagle himself (along with the lovely and talented Mrs. Beagle) if you stop by.

We combined our knowledge of beer, The Force and graphic design to spin up some nifty beer bottle labels. Here's a sneak peek:


I know there will be several outstanding submissions to take in. And hey, don't we all need a reason to get out on a Thursday evening?

Pints and Pins

-Speaking of helping charity, don't forget that tonight is the Jingle Brews Christmas Karaoke party at Oak & Ore. They're accepting canned food donations for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Particularly canned meats. Those who bring a donation will be entered into drawings for door prizes.

-Roughtail Taphouse has added itself to the list of beer spots that are available for you to book your holiday gathering or party. Email privateparty@roughtailtaphouse.com for more info.

-Dead Armadillo recently announced they have purchased a new canning line. Just FYI.

-Anthem reports their seasonal Festivus Ale should be available in stores by the end of the month.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oak & Ore Christmas party combines karaoke, ugly sweaters

As the days until Christmas tick by -- only 18 to go now! -- Oklahoma City's local beer establishments will really start getting into the Christmas swing.

One good example of that is an event planned this week at Oak & Ore: Jingle Brews Christmas Karaoke.



Here's a press release on the event:

Craft beer bar and restaurant Oak & Ore will host a Christmas Karaoke party from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at 1732 NW 16 in Oklahoma City's Plaza District.

The Jingle Brews Christmas Karaoke party will feature live music by Daniel Walcher from 6:30 to 8 p.m., followed by Christmas Karaoke from 8 to 10 p.m.


There will also be an ugly Christmas sweater contest, a selfie/ussie photo booth, festive Christmas-themed Jell-O shots and limited seasonal craft beer releases. Bring a canned food donation for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and receive a door prize.


Walcher is a folk/rock singer-songwriter from Oklahoma City. He is currently in the production stage of his new album, set for release in early 2016. Walcher recently signed with Post 352, an independent publishing and record label company in Oklahoma City.


Founded in December 2014, Oak & Ore offers a rotating, 36-tap selection of brews from Oklahoma and around the world, thoughtfully paired with a craft beer-inspired dining experience.


Learn more about Daniel Walcher www.danielwalchermusic.com. For more information about Oak & Ore, visit www.oakandore.com.


I'll keep you updated as more Christmas events are announced.

Pints and Pins

-Your weekly Monday pint nights at the McNellie's group: Delirium Noel in Oklahoma City; Palm Spectacle in Tulsa; Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat at Tulsa-South; and Left Hand Bittersweet Coffee Milk Stout at Norman.

-Reminder that this Thursday at 6 p.m. is the Star Wars and beer-themed art show at The Patriarch. Yours truly has a submission in the show, so be sure to stop by and check it out.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Roughtail gets in holiday spirit with beer party

If you don't think I've been blaring Christmas music in my car since mid-November, brother, you are sadly mistaken.

Right after the annual Beagle Family Disney World Summer Vacation, Christmastime is my favorite time of year. But not just for Bing Crosby, Christmas lights and the Rudolph claymation special.

Christmastime beer is pretty good, too. The flavors and smells of Christmas -- all the spices and pines -- just work in beer. Plus there's something about enjoying a beer by the fire, next to the Christmas tree, that just makes beer seem more special. I know, I know, pretty sappy. Either way, when you know how I feel about the combination of beer and Christmas, there's no doubt that I'd be a sucker for an event poster like this:


This is happening tonight at Roughtail Brewing, and it includes this beer lineup:


Clearly, you can do worse if you're looking for something to do tonight. But that's not all that's on the docket on the OKC beer scene today. Let's take a look:

-Slaughter's Hall is hosting a Left Hand tap takeover tonight, featuring Polestar Pilsner, Warrior Fresh Hop IPA, Twin Sister Double IPA and Fade To Black Baltic Porter. Bonus note: Slaughter's Hall has Anchor Christmas on tap, as well.

-Mustang Brewing's tap room is open from 4 to 7 p.m. today with offerings from both Mustang and Elk Valley Brewing.

-Not tonight, but Oak & Ore is offering up a cool deal at 11 a.m. Sunday to go along with their new brunch menu. From their FB page: 

"Each Sunday for brunch in December we will be featuring a different coffee beer and doing some cool giveaways! The first one up is from our friends at COOP Ale Works. We will be tapping a keg of the coffee version of the famed Territorial Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, as well as giving away COOP pint glasses and swag (while supplies last). You won't want to miss out!"

Pints and Pins

-The United States now has its largest amount of breweries ever -- surpassing the previous high-water mark established in 1873.

-Anthem Brewing reports they are getting ready to package their 2015 Festivus ale. I don't have a specific timeline on release, but will update if I get more details.

-Iron Monk has updated the hours at its tap room and is now offering tours. Full details available at the Iron Monk FB page.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bourbon County Brand Stout drops in Oklahoma

Wasn't too long ago the idea of having Goose Island beer in Oklahoma was far-fetched.

The idea that we would ever get Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout was even more wild.

Well, this isn't your older brother's Oklahoma beer scene, folks.

The 2015 vintage of BCBS -- featuring a new 16.9 oz. bottle -- already surfaced in some stores on Tuesday and is expected to hit more today.


The beer is traditionally released on Black Friday, eliciting long lines at stores that have it in stock. Looks like we'll likely be able to avoid the lines here in Oklahoma as the beer slowly surfaces at various stores.

And for those who want to try it on tap, you'll be in luck there as well. TapWerks has announced they will tap a keg of BCBS at 11 a.m. on Friday. Oak & Ore will also tap a keg at 11 a.m. as part of a larger Black Friday Brunch and Beer Bash, including Elk Valley Coffee Nemesis (with branded coffee mugs), Elk Valley Pumpion, Omnipollo Yellow Belly, Founders Backwoods Bastard, Prairie Christmas Bomb and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale.

A good time will be had by all.

In the meantime, let's talk a little bit more about BCBS. For years, this was akin to some sort of mythical beast of a beer for us in Oklahoma. Many had heard of it, but few -- mainly the traders and beer travelers -- had tried it.

When Goose Island was bought out by Anheuser-Busch, it created a natural conundrum. How can we as beer fans covet/worship a beer that ultimately is made by the evil overlord? Some have chosen to no longer kneel at the BCBS altar.

For example, in scanning the local beer social medias this week, I noticed several people being dismissive of BCBS, some specifically citing the A-B tie-in.

Let's not be mistaken: BCBS is a good beer. The beer is made in the same way it's always been made, with the same technique and the same type of ingredients, and in the same brewery in Chicago. While you may find the ownership situation unsavory, the beer itself is indeed something to savor.

Goose Island describes it like this:

"A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer."

If you want to learn more, read this blurb lifted from an article in the Chicago Tribune from earlier this year:

As notable as what’s in the bottles will be the bottles themselves: All BCBS beers will be packaged in new 16.9-ounce custom brown bottles that will be sold individually. Designed by marketing and design firm VSA Partners, the bottles include prominent raised lettering and a small label affixed to the bottleneck.

Goose Island's manager of brewing innovation, Mike Siegel, said the new bottle is an effort to heighten the Bourbon County drinking experience. Though the beers are some of the most sought after in the world, they have until now been packaged in the same 12- and 22-ounce glasses as much of the Goose Island lineup.

This beer is something we put a lot of effort toward, and people stand in line all over the country for it,” Siegel said. “The challenge was to come up with a package that elevates it to the next level.”

Before we dig in a little more on each beer, here’s the context promised above: To celebrate the brewery’s fifth birthday back in 1993, Goose Island’s then-brewmaster, Greg Hall, brewed the most audacious beer he could: a rich, boozy stout aged in barrels that previously held Jim Beam bourbon. Hall called the beer Bourbon County Stout.

The beer was a quick hit and helped launch a movement; aging imperial stouts in whiskey barrels has become an industry touchstone. Most “best beer in the world” lists include a healthy number of barrel-aged stouts, and at least a few are likely to come from the Bourbon County family. (Though Goose Island was sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2011, and some of its beer production has been exported to A-B breweries outside of Chicago, the Bourbon County beers continue to be made at Goose Island’s Fulton Street brewery.)

Twenty-two years later, the annual Black Friday release of the Bourbon County series has become a beer calendar event, drawing ever-larger crowds that begin gathering ever earlier.


And for more about the flavor profile specifically, read this, also from the Tribune:

As usual, BCBS will be a blend of imperial stouts Goose has aged for nearly a year in bourbon barrels from several Kentucky distilleries. Drinkers can expect a beer similar to past releases.

“We’re very happy with the beer, and we’ve got a process down that works for us,” Siegel said. “We just focused on making more this year.”

Goose pulled beer from about 4,500 bourbon casks this year — up from about 4,000 last year.

A Goose Island spokeswoman said the suggested retail price for Bourbon County Stout will be $9.99, which would be approximately the same suggested price-per-ounce cost as last year. However, retailers are free to price the beer as they wish.


Early word is that it is retailing in the $11 to $13 range in Oklahoma stores.

In addition, this year Goose Island will release several special variants of BCBS. It's not clear at this point if any of those will make their way to Oklahoma.

Monday, November 23, 2015

OKC establishments offer Thanksgiving, Black Friday beer fixes

Federal holidays typically mean liquor stores -- and a lot of your favorite local drinking establishments -- are closed. But fear not, here's your run-down of how you can escape your in-laws, avoid the Black Friday shopping madness and beat those post-turkey blues -- even on Thanksgiving Day.

-TapWerks is not scared. They are open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Black Friday.

-The Patriarch is open Friday and they encourage you to take a biscotti break from Black Friday. They'll be tapping a keg of Evil Twin Biscotti Break at 3 p.m.

-Roughtail Taphouse will be open on Black Friday and Saturday. On Friday, they're offering 32 oz. growler fills for $8 and 64 oz. growler fills for $16. On Saturday, they'll have free tours at noon and 2, 4 and 6 p.m. They ask that you make tour reservations at roughtailbeer.simplybook.me.

-The Prairie tap room will be open 1 to 5 p.m. on Black Friday and Saturday.

-Marshall Brewing is open at 11 a.m. on Black Friday for tour, pints, merchandise sales, food truck offerings and the debut of a new Session Series release.

-The Brew Shop will be closed for Thanksgiving, but open regular hours the rest of the week.

Pints and Pins

-Speaking of Thanksgiving and turkey, if you're still not sure how you'll prepare your bird this year, there's still time to try a beer brine.

-Your weekly Monday pints at the McNellie's group: Sam Smith Winter Welcome in OKC; Prairie 3rd Anniversary in Tulsa; Weihenstephaner Vitus at Tulsa-South; and "Bourbon Barrel Stout" at Norman. (Not sure from who, but swing by if you like bourbon barrel stout in general.)

-Black Mesa has rolled out a snazzy new website.

-Mustang is putting out a mixed six pack next month featuring Strawshita Strawberry Wheat Ale, Farmhouse Ale and Tractor Therapy IPA.

-Mashall is accepting reservations for group events and holiday parties at the brewery in December. Email kyle@marshallbrewing to book your spot at the tap room.

-And along those same lines, The Patriarch also offers rooms for private events. Email kristen@thepatriachedmond.com to book your event.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Visit to Anchor Brewing a trip to where it all began

It's hard for me to talk about craft beer and go more than five or 10 minutes without mentioning "The Audacity of Hops."

The book is considered the most detailed account of the modern history of American craft beer, and it especially highlights the role that Anchor Brewing Co. played.

To sum up: Prohibition wiped out hundreds of small craft breweries in America, and the ones that came back fizzled out over the next few decades under the weight of Big Beer. By the mid-1960s, Anchor Brewing was the last small commercial craft brewery in business. The last one.

And it too was on the verge of going out business, before it was scooped up by Fritz Maytag, the great-grandson of the founder of the Maytag appliance company.

Maytag found the brewery in poor shape. It was filthy, stocked with run-down equipment and was one or two days away from shutting down for good. As Maytag described it, he purchased a 51 percent share of the brewery in 1965 for less than the price of a used car.

Through hard work, determination and the insistence that Anchor should never cut corners in its beermaking, Maytag saved the company and in the process, laid the foundation for the American craft beer scene we know today.

For years following Maytag's purchase, anyone who wanted to start a brewery would stop by Anchor first to take a tour, or to try to pick Maytag's brain, or they were just inspired by Anchor's beers. It's not an overstatement to say that the tree of American craft beer -- with some 4,000 branches now -- grew from a trunk called Anchor Brewing.

So, when I had the chance to tag along on my wife's business trip to San Francisco last week and set up a tour at Anchor, you'd better believe I jumped at it. In fact, within about an hour of landing at the airport, we found ourselves walking through the doors of the Anchor brewery.


When you first walk in, the building is not all that inspiring. In fact, it looks a lot like a 1960s or 1970s law office, with a small reception and waiting area giving way to a concrete staircase. The staircase leads you to the tap room, where you start to get a feel for the history of the brewery. 


It's plastered with old-school tin beer logos and memorabilia, photos and old beer bottles. In one tall glass case is every version of Anchor's Christmas beer ever brewed, starting with the first one in 1975:



(Interesting story about Anchor Christmas: The labels have been hand-drawn each year by the same person. He lives on a houseboat and draws a different tree each time.)

After you get a short lecture on the history of the company and each of its beers...


...you get to go back to the brewhouse, where you see Anchor's iconic copper kettles:


The three kettles, imported from Europe and in use for decades, are used to make every drop of Anchor beer. Anchor is distributed in all 50 states and several foreign countries, so you might think it would be hard to produce enough beer in only three kettles. To solve that issue, they brew pretty much around the clock, taking a break only from about 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

After leaving the brewhouse, you see the open-fermentation room, the hop storage room and the glycol chiller room. From, there, it's on to the bottling line:


And from there, it's back to the tap room to sample pretty much all of the beer in Anchor's main-production lineup.


Overall, it was a super-cool tour, and I came away appreciating Anchor probably even more than I did before. A word of warning if you try to make your own trip: The tap room is not open to those who don't have tours reservations, and they also don't serve beer for sale. You can stop by and visit the gift shop any time, but really your best bet is to get a reservation so you can take the tour and sample the beer.

Pints and Pins

-Evil Twin meet the brewer and glassware night at Oak & Ore is 5 p.m., Wednesday, followed by an Evil Twin beer dinner at TapWerks set from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. You can get tickets for the dinner here, but sticker-shock warning: they're listed at $69.57.

-Republic is hosting a Beer Social today at 6 p.m. The cost is $20 and gets you "A line up of pub favorites paired with small bites."

-Black Mesa is holding a beer dinner at Lottinville's on Wednesday. Call the restaurant for reservations.

-A date has been set for the annual Mashed In homebrewers showcase. Next year's event is set for Feb. 28.

-Oak & Ore is launching its new brunch menu and brunch drinks on Sunday, and everyone who shows up in their pajamas will get a free side of bacon.

-Super-cool deal coming up at The Patriarch -- they're accepting art that combines beer and Star Wars for a Dec. 10 art show. More details right here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Marshall Brewing set for annual Big Jamoke release

Tulsa's Marshall Brewing Co. is set to celebrate the 2015 release of its delicious Big Jamoke Porter, and the brewery is throwing a little love to the folks in Norman.

A Marshall beer dinner featuring Big Jamoke is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at McNellie's-Norman. You can see all the details on this event graphic:


Seating is limited, so best to act quickly if you want to scoop up one of the remaining spots.

On a side note, any event that pulls together El Cucuy (one of my all-time favorite Oklahoma beers), This Machine and Big Jamoke is an event worth attending. And while I may not rate Sundown Wheat as one of my top beers, it does sound like an excellent choice to partner up with pumpkin soup.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

International Stout Day activities abound in OKC

The annual International Stout Day is on Thursday, and some of our local bars are delivering with some stout beer lineups. (See what I did there?)


Let's start off with TapWerks, which has planned a fairly jaw-droppingly good series of flights and pints. Like IPA Day in August, TapWerks is rolling out hourly flights, at $12/flight. Here they are:

5 p.m.
-Roughtail Bait and Switch
-Mustang Udderly Awesome Peanut Butter Milk Stout
-(405) LHB, Batch 1
-Iron Monk Somethin' Pumpkin
-Anthem Sour Small

6 p.m.
-COOP 2014 Coconut TROAIS
-COOP 2014 Cherry Coconot TROAIS
-Roughtail Shore Leave
-Anthem Imperial Stout
-Anthem Coffee Coconut Uroboros

7 p.m.
-COOP 2014 Coffee TROAIS
-Elk Valley Coffee Nemesis
-Black Mesa Los Naranjos
-Roughtail Midwatch
-(405) FDR, Batch 1

8 p.m.
-COOP 2014 Tequila TROAIS
-COOP 2015 TROAIS (non barrel-aged)
-Prairie Vanilla Noir
-Marshall 2014 Black Dolphin Stout
-Goose Island 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout

Some of those beers will not be familiar, so how about a little primer on a few of the one-offs?

-Roughtail Bait and Switch: A white stout; a stout disguised as a light beer (8% ABV)
-Iron Monk Somethin' Pumpkin: Pumpkin pie butterscotch stout (7.3%)
-Roughtail Shore Leave: Tropical stout with rum, oak, Scotch bonnet and vanilla (7.6%)
-Anthem Sour Small: Session sour stout (4.5%)
-Anthem Imperial Stout: With vanilla, strawberry, coriander and cocoa nibs (9.5%)
-Black Mesa Los Naranjos: This year's coffee stout collaboration with Elemental Coffee (8%)
-Roughtail Midwatch: Imperal stout with coffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak and chocolate (10%)
-COOP 2014 Tequila TROAIS: Whiskey barrel-aged imperial stout aged one year in tequila barrels (13.1%)
-COOP 2015 TROAIS: This year's yet-to-be-released TROAIS, prior to barrel aging (13.1%)

TapWerks is also offering up a selection of starters, entrees and desserts featuring stout-infused recipes. Really, you can't go wrong.

But let's say you can't make it to TapWerks. Fear not, others are joining in the fun.

-The Patriarch is getting in on the festivities with a variety of stouts promised to be on tap, including a special offerings from Roughtail. Also, the first 24 people to order a stout after 6 p.m. will receive a special glass. The full list of beers is expected to be released on the TapHunter app today (Wednesday).

-Pub W in Oklahoma City and Norman will celebrate Stout Day by featuring a number of brews, including Evil Twin Biscotti Break.

Bonus side note: McNellie's OKC is hosting a Lagunitas Beer Dinner at 7 p.m. Nov. 10. Email jenny.price@mcnellies.com for more info or to reserve a spot.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Annual OKBIO BrewFest set for Thursday

One of the better beer events in the state is coming up on Thursday as the OKBIO Brewfest is set for 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.


This is the fourth year for OKBIO BrewFest, and the event continues to grow with each edition. Check out the lineup of beer, wine and liquor vendors set to participate:



Just about the full contingent of Oklahoma brewers will take part in the event, which was launched as a way to showcase Oklahoma breweries, raise funds for the Oklahoma Bioscience Association and increase the public profile of biosciences across the state.

After spending two years at the Harn Homestead, the event was moved last year to the Bricktown Ballpark, in order to accommodate its growing attendance.

Tickets are $30 and are available here. Walk-up tickets will also be sold, for $40. The first 300 to register will get a BrewFest T-shirt.

If you're feeling lucky, head over to The Thirsty Beagle Facebook page for a chance to win a free pair of tix to the event.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marshall, TapWerks offer Bound for Glory duet

Fans of Marshall Brewing's Bound for Glory should plan to head on down to TapWerks this Thursday.

That's the night TapWerks is offering up a duet featuring the 2014 and 2015 vintages of Marshall's barrel-aged Belgian IPA.


Here's more from Marshall sales and marketing director Wes Alexander:

"2015 Bound for Glory is the same recipe as 2014. However, as barrel-aging is affected by temperature and climate, variances can be found in each year’s release. The base for Bound for Glory is This Machine IPA, our Belgian-style IPA featuring the complexity created during fermentation using a Belgian yeast strain, and the light citrus aroma and flavor of the Nelson Sauvin hop. 

"This Machine IPA is added to whiskey barrels previously containing Black Dolphin Stout and aged for a period of six months. The result is a complex ale with the nose of sweet whiskey, caramel, and vanilla following a flavor on the palate of soft oak and hop in harmony over a smooth malty base. 2015 Bound for Glory is topped with dark green wax."

So that sounds pretty good, right?

One other thing to note: If you know anything about music and Woody Guthrie, you'll know the name This Machine IPA, with its guitar label, is a tribute to Woody Guthrie. Alexander added this about Marshall's hat tip to the Oklahoma musician:

"Just as This Machine IPA pays homage to Oklahoma son Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory echoes the sentiment as 'Bound for Glory' is the title of Woody’s partly fictionalized autobiography.

"Marshall Brewing is proud to be able to share the story of Woody Guthrie to new generations of Oklahomans and enjoys a partnership with the Woody Guthrie Center."

The Woody Guthrie Center is located at 102 E Brady St., in Tulsa. More info can be had at www.woodyguthriecenter.org.

#StillwaterStrong

Moving on, I got up to Stillwater over the weekend for the Homecoming game against Kansas. I want to extend sympathy to all OSU alums and students, but especially all those directly impacted by the parade crash.

I was an assistant sports editor at the O'Colly during the men's basketball plane crash, and although I was out of school for some time before the women's basketball plane crash, I had known coach Kurt Budke for several years, dating back to my time going to school in Texas when he coached there.

Point being, the OSU community and family really knows how to rally to hold each other up. We've done it before. But just like a lot of people I talked to, we wish we didn't have to keep coming together this way.

So best wishes for healing and recovery to everyone in the OSU family. And here's hoping people like me can stop writing about OSU tragedies.

Tap room open

I was able to stop by Iron Monk Brewing prior to Saturday's football game to check out their new tap room, which officially opened on Thursday.

If you're in Stillwater, be sure to get over to 5th and Husband and check it out for yourself. They've paid a lot of attention to detail and have created a pretty nice spot.


The coolest feature is probably the huge windows that let you look from the bar top straight through to the brewhouse. They have several low-point beers on tap, including from COOP and Roughtail, in addition to their own, and also offer flights featuring samples of their high-point beers -- Payne County Imperial IPA and Milk Stout.

There's a good atmosphere there and everyone was super-friendly and welcoming, so cheers to another Oklahoma brewery making its way up in the world.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Brew Shop primed for grand-opening celebration

During the summer I was part of a team of helpers assisting The Brew Shop owner Gail White move her shop from her old location on north Penn to her new location on north Penn (just a couple miles down the road).

Now White is ready to celebrate the move; she's hosting a combo grand-opening/20th anniversary party for the new location on Sunday at the store, 2916 N Pennsylvania Ave.

Festivities will kick off at 1 p.m. and run through 4 p.m., with food, music and homebrewed beer, wine, cider and mead to sample.

If you haven't checked out the new Brew Shop, you owe it to yourself to get by there. It's a huge upgrade in space, and that allows White to really display her products in a way not possible in the old shop.


If you can't make it by The Brew Shop on Sunday, but you're still looking to get your beer fix, fear not. There are plenty of other events coming up on the local beer calendar.

For starters, if you're in Stillwater today or tomorrow, Iron Monk announced their new tap room is now open for business.


Doors officially opened on Thursday, and they'll welcome guests at 1 p.m. today (Friday) and bright and early at 10 a.m. Saturday ahead of OSU's homecoming game against Kansas, which is set for a 2:30 p..m. kick-off.

Also happening today, Marshall Brewing will be open from noon to 7 p.m. for growler fills, pints and flights. Creole Food Truck will be there for lunch and dinner.

If you're looking for something located a little more in Oklahoma City, consider swinging by COOP Ale Works on Saturday. They're planning a Halloween Party at 1 p.m., featuring a special fundraiser by the group Made Possible By Us. You can learn more here.

Looking ahead a little bit, mark Thursday, Oct. 29 on your calendar. That's the day Pub W-Memorial Road will host an Omnipollo Fatamorgana Release Party, set to begin at 6 p.m. And on that same night, The Patriarch will host a Founders Pint Night at Tap Takeover, also at 6 p.m. 

You can also head over to The Patriarch the night before, Wednesday, Oct. 28, for a Black Mesa Kolsch Pint Night. Interesting story about Black Mesa Kolsch -- the beer is the same recipe as Black Mesa's Blonde Ale. When Black Mesa first unveiled the beer, they feared calling it by its true name, Kolsch, may have deterred some less-craft-aware fans from drinking the beer. Fast forward a few years, and they feel confident Oklahoma's beer palate has expanded enough to accept the beer for what it really is. Thus the rebranding to Black Mesa Kolsch.

Pints and Pins

-The most excellent Beer Yoga, Brooke Larson, will teach a yoga class at The Patriarch tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. They're calling it "Detox so you can Retox."

-The Mustang Brewing taproom is open from 4 to 7 p.m. tonight for pints, growler fills and shuffleboard.

-Anthem has bottled its newest beer, Domestique, and it should be on shelves in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can score some of the Belgian quad on draft at TapWerks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pat's Backcountry Beverages a novel addition to camping trip

Pat, I'm sorry.

Sometimes all you can do is ask for forgiveness. That's what I'm doing when it comes to Pat Tatera, the creator and founder of Pat's Backcountry Beverages.

The company sells make-your-own beer kits targeted to hikers and campers who are in the backcountry and don't want to carry several cans or bottles of beer with them.

Tatera's system features a special carbonator bottle and cap, beer concentrate packets and pouches of citric acid and potassium bicarbonate used to carbonate the beer.

I know this because Tatera sent all of this to me. Last year. But up until this weekend, I hadn't put any of it to use. Yikes.

So that's why I'm sorry. I honestly did intend to take all the gear out and give it a test run right when Tatera sent it to me. But I forgot to pack it for a camping trip, and then just kept putting it off. Well, I feel pretty lousy about that.

This past weekend, with a trip to Red Rock Canyon State Park on the slate, I made sure to add the kit to my packing list and finally put it to the test.

So, it's much delayed, but here is my better-late-than-never review of Pat's Backcountry Beverages.


The kit is simple enough, and the advantages for hiking or backpacking are easy enough to see. If you can provide the water -- either through carrying your own water or sourcing and filtering water you find on the trail -- then you have very little that will weigh you down.

Your first step is to add a little water to the bottle, screw on the cap, flip the bottle upside down and prime the cap to bring water into the chamber. 

Then you add your beer concentrate and top the bottle off to the 16 oz. mark.


Next, you add your carbonation powders to the small carbonation chamber, screw it into the bottom of the lid and attach both back to the bottle.


You then prime the lid again to add water to the small chamber to activate the carbonation powders, shake the bottle back and forth for two minutes, and then let it sit for another two minutes.


And when you're done with that, you pop the lid and the beer is ready to drink:


The whole process took no more than five or so minutes -- it was really simple to execute. All that is fine and dandy, but of course you're asking the main question: Is the beer any good?

I found the carbonation to be spot on, which was impressive considering I just fired it up in like five minutes. I tried two flavors -- Pale Rail and Black Hops. I found a common theme with both was that the beers lacked a little bit in the body/mouthfeel department, but in the all-important flavor category, these actually came off pretty well -- and my concentrate packs had been sitting at room temperature for about a year, so there's no telling how much better fresh product would taste.

The beers were quite drinkable, and while they may have lacked the pizazz of a freshly canned IPA, they certainly were better than some beers you could pick up at your local liquor store.

And of course they were just kind of fun to do -- it really was pretty novel to fire up a beer from scratch in five minutes at the campsite.

So, thanks Pat, even though I'm way late.

You can find more info, including how to order, at the Pat's Backcountry Beverages website.

Friday, October 9, 2015

It's Beer Label Friday, Vol. 5

Happy Friday y'all!

Let's take a look at some of the latest Oklahoma beer labels approved by the feds.

First, we have a pair of new labels from Prairie Artisan Ales.

Prairie Flare is a 7% ABV Gose brewed with orange and coriander:


Then there is this interesting offering: Prairie Abracadabra, a 9% ABV dark wild ale aged in sherry barrels:


Next, we have a beer I've mentioned before on the blog, Iron Monk's Stilly Wheat:


This low-point offering is available on draft in several locations around Stillwater, and it looks like Iron Monk is now rolling out 12 oz. bottles. I was able to sample some of this beer fresh at the brewery, and it's a good one.

And lastly we have another new offering from Beavers Bend Brewery in the Broken Bow/Idabel area, Red Slough Amber Ale:


This is the second low-point, bomber-sized label approved for Beavers Bend, which has been brewing low-point beer on draft only for at least a couple years. I'll be camping down at Beavers Bend State Park this month, and I'm going to try and seek out a few bottles if they're available.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Twisted Spike Brewing unveils new logo

Work is moving ahead on Oklahoma City's newest craft brewery, Twisted Spike Brewing, located on NW 10 near Broadway in Automobile Alley.

Brewery founder and brewmaster Bruce Sanchez reports that permits for the building were approved by the Oklahoma City council on Sept. 29, and his lease went into effect on Oct. 1.

Shortly after that, it was time to begin demolition on the inside of the building:

Photo provided by Bruce Sanchez
Sanchez reports that demolition will take quite some time. It's a process being carried out primarily by Sanchez himself, along with friends, family and investors.

While all that is going on, some other work is being done as well, particularly in branding for the new brewery.

This week, Twisted Spike unveiled its new logo and color scheme:


And also an alternate, text-centric version:

Sanchez earlier explaind on this blog the idea behing the railroad-spike theme. You can read about that here.

I'll keep you up to date as Twisted Spike moves forward in the development process, but as of right now, it appears things are full steam ahead for the Oklahoma City business.

Pints and Pins

-A couple new local Oktoberfest celebrations are planned for the metro area. The first is Hair of the Dog Oktoberfest, set for this Friday night in Norman. The event is set to benefit the Bella Foundation, a pet rescue charity. Participating breweries are (405), Anthem, Coach's, COOP, Elk Valley, Iron Monk and Mustang. Festivities are due to kick off at 6 p.m. at Stash, 412 E Main St. The fest is open to dogs that are comfortable among large crowds. For more details or ticket info, check the event page on FB.

Then next week we have a new Oktoberfest celebration set for the Midtown area of Oklahoma City. Saintoberfest is set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 at the corner of NW 9 and Walker at St. Anthony Hospital's Midtown campus. The event will benefit patient care at St. Anthony. This 21-and-up outdoor event will feature beer samples, food trucks, live music and games like cornhole and oversized Jenga. No specific list of participating breweries is a available at this point, but more info about the fest can be found at the St. Anthony Foundation website.

-TapWerks concludes its four-day 20th anniversary celebration this week with a series of special cellar beer releases and visits from the COOP and Marshall teams. More details on that here.

-The first Roughtoberfest celebration set to kick off tomorrow and run through Sunday at the Roughtail Taphouse in Midwest City. Here's a blurb from their FB page:

"ROUGHTOBERFEST IS COMING! October 9-11, we celebrate Roughtail style! Special Release brews like Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Stout, Hefeweizen, Pilsner, and more! Growler fills all weekend, Stein hoisting contest on Saturday and did we mention a costume contest! Get that lederhosen out and see you at Roughtoberfest 2015!!!"

More details right here.

-A scheduling note for your drinking adventures: The Patriarch is now closed on Sundays, but has extended hours until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

-The next Beer University at McNelle's OKC is set for Oct. 20 and will feature wheat beers. The cost to participate is $20 and you need to email jenny.price@mcnellies.com to reserve a spot.

Monday, October 5, 2015

TapWerks rolls out red carpet for 20-year annivesary

It's kinda hard to believe, but TapWerks -- the place where my conversion to craft beer was initiated more than a decade ago thanks to a simple Belgian witbier -- is turning 20 years old.

To mark the occasion, TapWerks has planned a four-day birthday celebration, starting tonight.
The specifics: TapWerks is pulling special beers out of the cellar each night and will also feature a different local brewery each night. The local guys will bring special glassware. That schedule goes like this:

-Monday: Anthem
-Tuesday: Prairie
-Wednesday: Roughtail
-Thursday: COOP and Marshall

So how about the cellar specials? Here's that list:

-Monday: Anthem Babalon, Avery Samaels (2014), Boulevard Rye on Rye (2012, 2013), COOP Territorial Reserve Wild Wheat Wine (2012), Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, Prairie Apple Brandy Noir, Prairie Bomb (gold wax), Unibroue 17th (2011).

-Tuesday: Avery Beast (2014), Avery/Russian River Collaboration Not Litigation (2013), Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad (2013), Choc Whiskey Barrel Quad (2014), Prairie Bomb (blue wax), Prairie Vanilla Noir (silver wax), Rodenbach 2011 vintage Oak Aged Ale Barrel No. 95, Timmerman's Oud Gueze.

-Wednesday: Avery Uncle Jacob's Stout (2014), Boulevard Love Child No. 4, Boulevard/Sierra Nevada Terra Incognita (2013), COOP Barleywine (2012), Prairie Bomb (green wax), Prairie Okie (2015), Prairie/Omnipollo Potlatch, Roughtail Rock Tsar (first bottling).

-Thursday: Avery Mephistopheles (2014), Boulevard Saison Brett (2013-15), COOP DNR (2011, first bottling), Laughing Dog Barrel-Aged Dogfather (2013), Marshall 5, Mikkeller/Prairie American Style IPA, Prairie Noir (maroon wax), Prairie OK-Si, Prairie Wine Barrel Noir (2014).

That, my friends, is an impressive list. I think you will likely find me there on Thursday to scoop up some of that 2011 COOP DNR. I'm super-curious to see how that beer has aged. But really, you can't go wrong on any of the nights. Looks like this will be one heck of a party.

Happy birthday TapWerks!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nebraska Brewing rolls out in Oklahoma

The last couple years it's seemed like we've had a pretty steady stream of new beers arriving in Oklahoma.

That trend continued recently with the addition of the core line of beers from Nebraska Brewing Co.


I was able to sample all these beers -- Brunette Nut Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, Cardinal Pale Ale and EOS Hefeweizen -- at Friday's ZooBrew.

So how about a mini-review-recap-analysis-type thing?

-India Pale Ale (6.9% ABV, 72 IBU): This is a solid beer. It is described as West Coast-inspired, but I really feel it is best identified as a Midwest-style IPA, if that makes sense. To me, I just didn't get any of the typical piney, citrus or dank hop notes we're seeing from today's West Coast IPAs. This is despite the use of Citra hops. Maybe I just had an off can? Again, not a bad beer, but I don't know that the hop character I tasted matched what the beer promised.

-EOS Hefeweizen (5.2%ABV, 13 IBU): I don't have a lot to say about this beer, other than that I really enjoyed it. I thought it hit the nail absolutely on the head for the style. In fact, it won a bronze medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival for South German-Style Hefeweizen. If you like a classical hefeweizen, you should definitely go pick this up.

-Brunette Nut Brown Ale (4.7% ABV, 20 IBU): I would rank this as the least-inspiring of the four beers. It wasn't off style and didn't really display any major flaws, but I just found it to be an average example of the style. Sometimes I wonder if my over-reliance on hoppy beers has skewed my ability to enjoy other non-hoppy styles?

-Cardinal Pale Ale (6% ABV, 42 IBU): This was my favorite beer of the bunch. It was bright and accessible, delivered just the right amount of hop aroma and flavor and delivered a perfect amount of bitterness to match up to the malt profile, which at 6% ABV is pretty malty for a pale ale. This is a highly drinkable pale ale and a great choice if you want to dive into the Nebraska line.

(Not pictured/described is Nebraska Ale Storm, an American blonde ale checking in at 5.2% ABV and 11 IBU.)

And speaking of ZooBrew, props to the event organizers for a great evening, and to all the brewers and brokers who took time to chat. A tip of the hat especially to the guys from Paragon Brands for their hospitality when I took extra time chatting them up about Nebraska Brewing. In terms of the rest of the event, the lines for beer were not too long at all and the selection of drinks was good. I wouldn't mind seeing some more substantial food options for the Pre-Brew event -- you don't really have time to stop for a good dinner with a 5:30 p.m. start -- but I guess that's just nitpicking. Overall, it was a great night.

Pints and Pins

-The Brewers Association announced recently that they now have more than 4,000 breweries in their database, and they expect that number to climb rather quickly above the record of 4,131 breweries established in 1873.

-The Prairie tap room is hosting live music and food trucks at 7 p.m. Monday, featuring Mikaela Davis, Lauren Shera and Rachel La Vonne.

-Something to watch: Green Flash's award-winning brewmaster of 11 years, Chuck Silva, has resigned in order to start his own craft brewery.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Roughtail pushes envelope with Monkey Shines

The seventh annual ZooBrew beer tasting event is set for tonight, with tickets sold out and attendance pegged at more than 1,000 at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

One of the highlights of the night will be a special offering from Roughtail Brewing:


A couple years back, Roughtail produced a special beer for ZooBrew. The idea was to create a beer based in some way on plants or food consumed by animals at the zoo. The result was Bamboo IPA, a beer brewed using huge amounts of bamboo tea leaves.

Roughtail is revisiting the idea this year with a special IPA -- Monkey Shines IPA -- that features bananas.

So what is the beer all about? I checked in with Roughtail to get the scoop.

"We brewed a German Hefeweizen base beer with a large percentage of wheat malt, and hop-bursted it in the whirlpool with Citra and El Dorado hops," said Tony Tielli, Roughtail brewmaster. "(We) fermented it with a classic German Hefeweizen yeast strain to bring strong notes of banana and milder notes of cloves to the tropical fruit/citrus flavor and aroma of the hops. We finished it with a large dry hop of Citra and El Dorado."

And to really drive home the banana flavor, "We threw a bunch of bananas in after fermentation to really ramp up the banana-ness," Tielli said.

The beer will check in with a medium body and about 6% ABV, and I would expect it to go fast tonight.

It's hard to say in beer that someone's doing something that no one has done before, but I can say that this is an approach that I've not seen before. I'm curious to see how this beer turned out.

Moving on, how about a look at a whole bunch of new beer labels for our Oklahoma brewers?

September has seen several label approvals from federal regulators. Let's start with Elk Valley, where you will probably soon have a few options to look for at your local bar, including Pumpion Pumpkin Spiced Ale, low-point Oatmeal Stout and Sunset Saison:




Next, (405) Brewing of Norman is continuing to expand its line-up of packaged offerings. They are approved for labels for (405) Brown, described as a southern brown ale, and FDR imperial coffee stout:



Next is another offering from The Willows Family Ales, Heath Sweat Gose:


This next one is near and dear to my heart. Several years ago, I blogged about Beavers Bend Brewery, which is located in the Broken Bow area in McCurtain County. So far, Beavers Bend has been available only on tap at a few locations in the county, but it appears they are branching out some. They've just been approved for their first bottled offering, the low-point Fleucy Creek Pale Ale:


And lastly, looks like Mustang will re-introduce its winter seasonal, Winter Ale:


That's it for today. I'll be at ZooBrew tonight, so say hello if you spot me.