The Thirsty Beagle: Choc eyes possible McCurtain County venture

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Choc eyes possible McCurtain County venture

Nothing reminds you of how old you are like attending your wife's 20-year high school reunion.

Alas, this past weekend I found myself celebrating Broken Bow High School class of 1996, and simultaneously realizing I'm locked in a long, bitter fight with Father Time.

All was not doom and gloom, however. The reunion was a ton of fun, and in case you didn't know, the Broken Bow area is turning into quite the alcohol hotbed.

The latest addition to the southeast Oklahoma beverage scene -- Mountain Fork Brewery -- is set to open within a few weeks just north of the city of Broken Bow in Hochatown.

That gives the Hochatown area (adjacent to Broken Bow Lake and Beavers Bend State Park) two breweries, three wineries and a distillery. And all this within about a 1- or 2-square-mile area.

In addition, McCurtain County passed liquor-by-the-drink in 2015, and several of the restaurants in the Hochatown area -- Abendigo's, Moon Tower Bar & Grill and Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Tap Room -- offer beer selections ranging from decent to excellent.

I'll give a full recap of the Hochatown alcohol scene coming up soon on the blog. Today I'm going to talk about a little intel I scored while touring around Hochatown.

That intel involves Choc and, possibly, Prairie. When Choc President Zach Prichard announced on the Prairie blog last month that Choc had acquired Chase Healey's company, he mentioned that he would seek additional locations for Prairie pubs.

My sources in Hochatown confirm that Prichard and Healey have indeed done some leg work in McCurtain County recently, visiting the area to talk in person with officials from Mountain Fork Brewery. The sources indicate that Prichard went so far as to make an offer to acquire Mountain Fork, however the offer was rebuked as Mountain Fork seeks to carve out its own identity.

I checked in with Prichard on Monday, and he disputed the sources' account of a possible offer, but did confirm that he "would love" to open a pub in Hochatown and that he is actively seeking a development partner in the area.

Prichard said any Choc/Prairie location in McCurtain County may not carry the name of either company, however, telling me that they may attempt to develop a new brand for such a venture.

So, while Hochatown is putting itself on the map as an adult beverage destination, it may be in line for huge boost from the state's most established brewery in the not-too-distant future.

Pints and Pins

-Oak & Ore is offering a special beer tapping today. They'll tap the 2016 version of Rodenbach Alexander -- a Flanders red ale that hasn't been brewed for commercial purposes since 1999. Tickets for the beer will go on sale at 5, with special glassware featured. The beer will pour at 6 p.m.

-Pub W Memorial Road is holding an Omnipollo pint night on Thursday with complimentary glassware while supplies last.

-The Patriarch has scheduled its next Beer Cinema, this time featuring "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." The movie is set for 8 p.m. July 21 and will be paired with the excellent Founders ReDANKulous imperial IPA.

-Republic has planned its next beer dinner. The event is set for July 26, featuring beers from Rogue. More info available here.

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