The Thirsty Beagle: January 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stone to arrive in Oklahoma this week

If you've been holding your breath since mid-December when it was announced that Stone and New Belgium would be shipping to Oklahoma, you can exhale this week.

According to the Stone Brewing in Oklahoma FB page, packaged offerings of Stone IPA, Delicious IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale will hit the shelves at state stores this Thursday, followed by draft releases across the state starting Monday.

And as a bonus, moderators on the page revealed that Oklahoma will indeed get offerings from Stone's Enjoy By lineup, starting with Enjoy By 4.20.17, which is expected to be available on April 1.

Those beers were not included in the list of initial offerings provided by Stone's in-state distributor, Oklahoma Beer Imports.

So, where can you venture out next week to try the beer on draft?

Here's a working list of Stone release parties:

-5 p.m. Feb. 6 at R-Bar (Tulsa)

-7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Roosevelt's (Tulsa)

-7 p.m. Feb. 8 at The Patriarch (Edmond)

-5 p.m. Feb. 8 at McNellie's-South (Tulsa)

Rather short list, no? I've scoured the events pages for most reputable craft beer establishments, and have not been able to find additional listings. I've got a message out to Stone reps, but please chime in in the comments if you know any other official events going on. I fear I may be missing something.

UPDATE! Huge shout-out to blog reader Bryan Grigsby, who alerted me to the fact that a special addition of the Plaza Beer Walk is scheduled for Monday to welcome Stone to Oklahoma. Frankly, I'm not sure how I missed that! Anyway, here is the rundown:

-Stone IPA at 5 p.m. at Empire Slice

-Ruination Double IPA at 6 p.m. at The Mule

-Arrogant Bastard at 7 p.m. at Oak & Ore

-Delicious IPA at 8 p.m. at Saints

I am mucho embarrassed about not spotting that -- so thanks again, Bryan!

As far as New Belgium is concerned, I've got a message out to Oklahoma Beer Imports to see about the release for that brand, but I've not seen any chatter about specific events.

So, what else is going on?

-Big news from American Solera. Chase Healey's brewery on Monday was named No. 2 in the world (and No. 1 in the United States) on RateBeer's annual list of Best New Brewers. Naturally, American Solera was also recognized as the Best New Brewer in Oklahoma. What's more, the Tulsa World reported that Healey will open an additional AS taproom in Tulsa at 18th and Boston.

-Meanwhile, Prairie Artisan Ales, which is owned and brewed by Krebs Brewing, also cleaned up in the RateBeer awards, being named the Top Brewer in Oklahoma and one of the top 100 Brewers in the World. Prairie's Apple Brandy Barrel Noir was named top beer in Oklahoma and also made the list of Top 100 Beers in the World, along with Bomb! and Pirate Bomb! 

-Twisted Spike has a pair of events set for this week. They are hosting their first bottle release -- featuring Twisted Spike IPA and Twisted Stache -- at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The next night, Your Pie Del City is hosting a Twisted Spike Tap Takeover. That is set for 5 p.m. Thursday.

-Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails in Norman is hosting a 405 Brewing Tap Takeover at 5 p.m. Thursday featuring FDR, Trae PA, Brown and Hybrid.

-Anthem has a brewery-only release set for noon to 9 p.m. Thursday. The beer is Blackberry Farmhouse, a bourbon-barrel-aged dark sour aged on blackberries.

-Oak & Ore is hosting the launch for Vanessa House 5th Keg Brown Ale at 6 p.m. Thursday.

-Marshall is hosting it's weekly Firkin Friday at the brewery from noon to 7 p.m. Friday. This week's offering is Chocolate Rain, a cask-conditioned Munich-style Dunkel infused with Irish whiskey and cocoa nibs.

-COOP is launching 2017 Alpha Hive at noon this Saturday at the brewery and then in Tulsa at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at Fassler Hall.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I don't normally go to Tulsa, but when I do, I prefer to drink rare beers

Defining what's trendy in craft beer is getting more and more tricky.

We've seen several fads over the past few years -- IPAs, double IPAs, dry-hopped stouts, oak-aged beers, bourbon-oak-aged beers, sours, wild sours, blends and so on.

What will 2017 bring? If recent releases are any indication, this may be the year of the liquor-barrel-aged sour beer also aged on fruit. (There's got to be an easier way to say that!)

What's clear is that brewers are continually pushing the envelope and driving to find that next combination of variables to make a unique beer.

Next month, there's an event that will highlight that pursuit.

The Oklahoma Rare Beer Invitational is set for 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at The Bond Tulsa events center, 608 E 3rd St.

The event will bring together an impressive list of local and national brewers offering a selection of beer ranging from hard-to-find to ultra-rare. Tickets are $75 and provide the attendee with four hours of beer, food catered by the McNellie's Group and custom stemware to take home.

(If somehow that wasn't enough beer for you, there's also a pre-party at the Fur Shop, and an after-party at Chimera.)

The night is being organized by Craft & Barrel's Freddy Lamport, who said consumers are looking for opportunities to sample rare and complex beers, adding that the Oklahoma Rare Beer Invitational is a great opportunity to educate consumers on what brewers are doing creatively.

"Beer has become more than just your average six-pack," Lamport said. "It is complex, sought-after and at times confusing. Festivals such as these allow consumers the chance to experience the top of the tier without the worry of being committed to only one beer or style."

While the beer list for the ORBI is still rounding into form, what's already confirmed is certainly a stout line-up (not to be confused with a line-up of stouts) of offerings. You can see the list below, and find more information and updates at the event's FB page.

18th Street Brewing 
-TBD

Evil Twin Brewing
-Michigan Maple Jesus
-Maple Barrel Imperial Biscotti Break (tentative)
-Double Barrel Jesus (tentative)

Clown Shoes
-Cognac Vanilla Billionaire
-LA Piguina En Fuego
-TBD

Destihl Brewing
-Vanilla Rye Dosvadonya
-Tequila Barrel Gose
-TBD

Omnipollo
-Yellow Belly Draft
-TBD

Propolis
-Apricot Ostara
-Whiskey Sour Bourbon Barrel Flemish Golden
-Crane
-Festiweiss
-Noel de Crane
-Nostalgia (new farmhouse)
-Cascade
-Barrel Aged Kentucky Peach w/Vanilla
-TBD

Paradox
-Trois Ans
-Vanilla Peaches
-Ginger Pear Sour
-TBD

Nebraska
-TBD

Tilquin
-Mure
-TBD

Prairie
-Barrel Aged Christmas Bomb
-Pirate Paradise
-TBD

American Solera
-TBD

Roughtail
-TBD

Marshall
-Eagle Rye 10 Year Barleywine (Or other base beer)
-TBD

Stonecloud
-TBD

COOP
-Brandy Barrel Cherry DNR
-DNR
-Territorial Reserve
-TBD

Avery
-Expletus (Tequila barrel sour w/cherries)
-Tangerine Quad

405
-Barrel Aged Barleywine
-TBD

Willows
-Dragon Fruit/Passion Fruit Family Ale
-When Doves Rye Amarena w/Cherries
-Topeca Stout

Elk Valley
-Black Berry Bruin
-Coconut Rum Barrel
-TBD

Sixpoint
-Barrel Aged Maple Brown Ale
-Old Ale
-Hi-Res

Against The Grain
-Barrel Aged Bo & Luke
-London Balling (barrel aged barleywine)

Dead Armadillo
-Tropical DIPA (Simcoe, Pacific Jade, Comet)
-Bourbon Vanilla Porter

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Twisted Spike stepping out on the town

Exciting times are on the horizon for Oklahoma City's newest brewery.

Twisted Spike, already winning over fans with its railroad-influenced Automobile Alley taproom, is taking its show on the road for an exciting event this week.

Twisted Spike will be the featured brewery for the January edition of the Plaza Beer Walk, which is set for this Wednesday.

The lineup goes like this:

10th Street Pale Ale at Empire Slice
Crew Kolsch at The Mule
Dirty Blonde at Saints
Golden Spike and Holy Beer at Oak & Ore

Bonus reminder: A portion of Twisted Spike purchases that night will be donated to Gatewood Elementary School, and donation boxes for school supplies will be set up at participating venues. More details are available here.

What else is in the news...

-There's a new brewery on its way to Ponca City, of all places! Vortex Alley Brewing is in the early licensing and permitting phase, and is working on brewery construction. They have a GoFundMe page set up right here.

-Sierra Nevada announced a recall of some of its bottled beers, included some distributed in Oklahoma. More details here, but they said there was a flaw in bottling that could have caused small chips of glass to fall into the bottles.

-Oak & Ore is hosting a Destihl night today (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. featuring six different beers. Details available on the O&O FB page.

-The Root is hosting a Tallgrass Brewing pint night Thursday evening featuring the latest addition to the Buffalo Sweat lineup. The headliner is King Buffalo (10.5% ABV imperial stout with notes of coffee, chocolate and booze). Buffalo Sweat and Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat will also be available. There will be special co-branded glassware and representatives from Tallgrass on hand, plus live music and food trucks.

-Reminder that this Saturday is the second of two straight Elk Valley weekend beer releases. This time, it's Rum Barrel Coconut Coffee Nemesis. The beer will be available in four-packs of cans. Plans to also release Blanc, a Belgian wit-style beer, on Saturday have been pushed back now following the announcement that Elk Valley will remain in Mustang's Meridian Avenue brewery until March.

-Next Monday's McNellie's pint nights are Sierra Nevada Sidecar at OKC; Lagunitas Brown Shugga at Norman; Roughtail Little Blue Pils at Tulsa; and Elgin Park Oatmeal Stout at Tulsa-South.

-Vanessa House is getting ready to release its second beer -- 5th Keg Imperial Milk Brown Ale. The release is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at Oak & Ore.

-Anthem is releasing a new brewery-only beer from noon to 9 Feb. 2. Blackberry Farmhouse is a bourbon-barrel-aged dark sour beer aged on blackberries for a month. It will be available for on-premise consumption and growler fills only.

-TapWerks is promising some kind of Founders Brewing event on Feb. 2, although it's not clear at this time what the beer lineup entails.

-COOP is hosting a pair of Alpha Hive release parties -- one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa. This year's Alpha Hive will debut at noon Feb. 4 at the OKC brewery, and they will follow up with an event at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at Fassler Hall-Tulsa.

-The Patriarch will host a Founders Frootwood (cherry ale aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels) release at 6 p.m. Feb. 7.

-Iron Monk is hosting a brewery painting session from Wine & Palette on Feb. 12 that will feature a painting class, brewery tour, pint glass and flight of beer. The cost is $50 and as of this writing there were still about 30 seats left. Iron Monk has also introduced a new beer (I believe brewery- and draft-only) called Kinda Pretty Sour (spiced Berliner weisse).

But wait, there's more! While I'm sharing all kinds of beer news, how about passing along some beer labels submitted by local brewers recently to the federal government?

(Disclaimer: These labels are public documents but their posting by federal regulators does not guarantee they will ever be created and/or distributed. They are often, however, a good indication of what brewers may be planning.)

First, we have the brother (cousin? Nephew?) of Roughtail's Polar Night Stout -- Polar Eclipse Imperial Stout:


Here's something from Iron Monk -- a wheat IPA in cans:


Looks like we have the first packaged offering from Nothing' Left:


And lastly, take this one with a grain of salt -- I can't keep track of all the Prairie beers coming out of Krebs this days, so this may or may not have already been released and shared:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

State responds to lawsuit against SQ 792

There have been some interesting developments recently in the lawsuit where the trade group representing the state's liquor stores sued to have State Question 792 thrown out.

Most recently, court records show that the case is being transferred from Oklahoma County District Court to federal court. More important to note is that attorneys for the state ABLE Commission earlier this month filed their response to the complaints laid out in the lawsuit.

ABLE is asking a judge to deny the plaintiffs' request for an injunction and to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs actually have no valid grounds for relief from the courts.

The defendant (ABLE) laid out several compelling counterarguments, several of which have been made in this space and also in many of the social media fights that have broken out in relation to SQ 792.

First and foremost is the key claim by liquor store owners that Oklahoma's constitutional amendment violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, leading them to be unlawfully treated differently than those with licenses to sell only wine and beer. The defendants call this claim "a flawed premise."

As the response states: "But the Equal Protection Clause demands only that 'all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.' Yet plaintiffs are not similarly situated as those who do not possess licenses to sell spirits because -- unlike all others -- Plaintiffs have been given the privilege by the State to sell spirits."

In another section, you find this:

"Plaintiffs' ... complaint is that the lack of limits on grocery stores will cause a 'rapid influx of retail wine and beer license holders' that will 'threaten the viability of retail spirit licensees,' who must now compete with others to sell wine and beer. But too much competition is not an Equal Protection violation, and plaintiffs retain a key competitive advantage over grocery stores: the privilege of selling spirits. If they truly believe that they will no longer be able to survive because of the license restrictions, they are free to give up their spirits license and obtain as many wine and beer licenses as they please to compete with the rest of the market."

Ouch!

Some other high points from the court filing:

-The plaintiffs used the lawsuit to protest at least one idea they had actually included in their own initiative petition. To wit, the plaintiffs argued that capping sales of non-alcohol items to 20 percent of a store's monthly sales is irrational, even though they suggested such a cap (at 30 percent) in their own initiative petition.

-The 20 percent cap is necessary to stop grocery stores from becoming liquor stores and vice versa, and that provision actually protects retail spirits license holders.

-Plaintiffs challenged regulations on wholesalers and manufacturers included in the amendment, but lack the standing to challenge such regulations because they are neither wholesalers nor manufacturers and are not regulated by those sections of the law.

-The system Oklahoma will employ -- using different regulations for liquor compared to wine and beer -- is already used by nearly half of all states.

-Issuing an injunction is not proper because even if the case were to be litigated, the amendment and related statutes don't go into effect until October 2018, and the plaintiffs would not suffer any harm in the interim status quo situation.

-This: "All of plaintiffs' specific claims of harm lack any evidentiary support. Plaintiffs claim that Article 28A 'threaten(s) the viability of retail spirits licensees such as plaintiffs,' but offer no evidence -- much less clear and convincing evidence -- supporting this bald allegation."

You can read the entire document here -- scroll to the bottom and look for the file titled "Defendant's combined motion to dismiss and response." It's actually a pretty compelling read if you have a few free minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

News, news, news!

Good day everyone! Hope everyone had a good weekend, and if you had a MLK Day off like me, a good long weekend!

Time to check in on some local beer news and notes...

-The Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma last week had to make the call to postpone the second annual Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit -- it had been scheduled all day Saturday at various venues in the Plaza District. With poor weather looming, that was really the proper call, although everyone -- yours included -- I'm sure was disappointed. Organizers said they are looking at alternative dates, but announced that they would refund all tickets due to the general uncertainty of when the event might be rescheduled.

-405 Brewing, as reported by the Norman Transcript, has eyes on opening it's own tap room by the end of February, thanks to local ordinance and zoning changes approved by the city council. Meanwhile, the same article announces a new Norman start-up brewery, Lazy Circles Brewing, which is just barely getting off the ground and working on licensing requirements.

-Prairie announced recently that they have broken ground on the Oklahoma City brewery in Automobile Alley.

-In case you hadn't noticed, COOP is doing some big things in Texas. The OKC brewery just announced distribution in Abilene, Amarillo and Lubbock. They're expecting package and draft offerings to be available in the new markets by Jan. 25.

-This one sort of snuck up on me, but Learn to Brew has now opened a new location -- this time in Edmond, at 14300 N Lincoln Blvd., Suite 102. This is a relocation of the former May Avenue store. (Blogger's note: An earlier version of this blog incorrectly stated this was a third location for LTB. H/T to reader Corbett Brown for pointing out that discrepancy)

-Renaissance reports they are looking to have their brewery and taproom open by the summer.

-The Root is hosting a Northcoast Brewing Pranqster pint night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, featuring special glassware (but "NO SHAKER PINTS" as they point out on their FB page. Ha!).

-Oak & Ore is hosting a Paradox pint night at 6 p.m. Thursday, featuring Blood Rooted, Osa Frambuesa and Future Knowledge.

-Anthem is hosting a brewery tap room pint night this Thursday at 5 p.m. featuring OK Pils, and a Pappy Burleson (bourbon barrel aged wheat wine ale) bottle release at noon on Saturday.

-Get ready to head to Midwest City on Friday as Roughtail releases Adaptation No. 7 at 4 p.m. This edition of the popular beer includes a blend of Comet, Citra and Mosaic hops along with an addition of Mosaic Lupulin powder.

-Elk Valley has a pair of nifty brewery-only bottle releases coming up. This Saturday, John Elkins will release Blackberry Bruin (a brown ale aged in oak barrels for several months and then aged further with blackberries added) and Plum Le Ferme (the Le Ferme you know and love aged in Chardonnay barrels and Brett-bottle-conditioned). Then, on Jan. 28, Elk Valley will release Coffee Nemesis aged in rum barrels with coconut added and Blanc, a Belgian-wit style beer refermented with wild cultures. Both days are set for noon and both will likely require lining up. Be sure to check the EV FB page for details. Also, both of these releases of course are leading up to Elk Valley's exit (and Mustang's exit, too) from the Meridian Avenue brewery. More details to come on future locales for both companies.

-Nothing's Left will be the featured beer at The Patriarch's pint night this Thursday, with Galaxy Pale Ale and Strawberry Blonde on tap.

-Marshall is hosting a Firkin Friday from noon to 7 p.m. this week featuring Big Jamoke S'Mores -- the classic Big Jamoke porter cask-conditioned and flavored with marshmallows and chocolate.

-McNellie's OKC is hosting another installment of Beer University of Jan. 24. This one features West Coast styles, and promises a wide array of offerings -- not just IPAs. Email nettie@mcnellies.com to save your spot.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Grading my 2016 predictions for Oklahoma craft beer

A year ago -- almost to the day -- I posted my predictions for Oklahoma craft beer in 2016.

The headline for the blog post was "2016 promises to be a big year for Oklahoma beer."

Clearly, that was a good headline. So, now that we've got the past year in the rear-view mirror, how about we grade how I did on those predictions?

Prediction No. 1: Voters will approve a state question bringing alcohol reform.

"Everyone in the industry -- from macro to micro -- agrees that it's time for changes to our alcohol laws. (Well, everyone apparently except for the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma, which in 2015 argued for and against reform, seemingly switching positions depending on the tone of the latest public policy study released.) Of course the real trick of the matter is everyone agreeing on something else: What will the ballot language look like for the state question? A battle between Anheuser-Busch and the Beer Distributors of Oklahoma is already -- wait for it -- brewing on that point. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)"

The verdict: A+. Nailed that one on all counts.

Prediction No. 2: Oklahoma's craft brewers won't have to pick sides in the fight.

"Sort of. Both options -- aligning with either AB or BDO -- cause problems for craft brewers. If you pick the wrong side in the skirmish over distribution rules, you could end up compromising your small business if your side loses. So what will craft brewers do? We already know the answer -- they start up their own side. More than one brewer has told me over the years that a key to growing the influence of Oklahoma's craft brewers is simply having more craft brewers. A collaboration of seven or eight Oklahoma craft brewers wasn't even possible a few years ago, so it'll be interesting to see what influence they can ply at the state Capitol."

The verdict: B. I did miss out on predicting that craft brewers would actually end up on the opposite side of the liquor lobby, resulting in the unfortunate "bottom shelf" situation.

Prediction No. 3: Someone will sell out, someone will close up shop.

"Not to be a Debbie Downer here, but this is what happens in the craft beer business. It's what's happened since the first craft beer boom of the 1980s. In Oklahoma, we've been insulated to a degree from the volatility of the craft beer business because starting and operating a craft beer business in this state is extremely difficult. Those who have the fortitude to even get one off the ground are pretty dedicated and serious about what they're doing. Once things like point-of-production sales are on the up-and-up (and hopefully they will be as part of alcohol reform), there's no doubt that many fly-by-night and less serious operations will spring up. Plus, many more legitimately serious and talented brewers will get into the game. All of that will undoubtedly crowd the market and put pressure on the existing brewers. Most will come through just fine because the quality of what they're doing will win out, but don't be surprised if one or more brewers bows out of the game as the dynamics of Oklahoma's beer landscape change."

The verdict: C+. While Mustang founder Tim Schoelen sold off majority ownership of his brewery, there was actually a lot less downward volatility in the market than I predicted.

Prediction No. 4: Once the boom arrives, it'll really arrive.

"This may be more of a prediction for 2017 and beyond, but the passage of reform will send us down a path that I believe will boggle people's minds. I don't think it's unrealistic that by the end of 2020, Oklahoma would have between 30 and 40 brick-and-mortar breweries and/or true brewpubs. The state has a strong homebrew tradition -- some of the best beer I've tasted has been made by hobby brewers here in Oklahoma -- and I know the lure of making a career out of their hobby will make a lot more sense for a lot more people after reform."

The verdict: A. We've already seen several homebrewers announce pro plans, so this prediction seems to be on track.

Prediction No. 5: Get ready for corporate craft, too.

"We're already starting to see an influx of traveling, out-of-state beer festivals make their way into Oklahoma. Often they actually have very little local craft beer. And, organizers of such events typically try to get small, local brewers to donate the beer on the brewer's own dime. We should all resolve to choose first to patronize local events, where proceeds stay in the state, and that are supported by the local craft brewers."

The verdict: D. Not a lot of evidence in 2016 that corporate had a pervasive influence in Oklahoma craft beer, although Krebs Brewing did act more corporate than any other Oklahoma brewer had ever acted. Still, kinda missed on that one.

Prediction No. 6: Oklahoma craft beer will gain more of a foothold in Oklahoma's bar and restaurants.

"Raise your hand if you're tired of seeing Stella, Blue Moon, Bud Light and Sam Adams Seasonal on tap at every restaurant. I know I am. As people choose more and more to patronize places with a good, local beer selection, I think we'll see more businesses come on line. Heck, not too long ago, I had a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at Thai Kitchen in downtown Oklahoma City. If Thai Kitchen can have Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, there's no reason every restaurant in the city can't resolve to do better."

The verdict: B. It seems most trendy, new restaurants that opened in 2016 opted to make local craft beer a focal point.

Prediction No.7: The consumer will win.

"Maybe I'm just a dreamer. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic. Hey, I realize that big business is all up in our plans for alcohol reform, and knowing that, if you were a betting man, you'd probably feel obligated to bet on big business. But there's just so much about reform that equates to instant wins for the consumer: Point-of-production sales (good for quality and tourism). Refrigerated strong beer (good for quality and convenience). Sunday sales (good for convenience). Being able to pick up strong beer like any other grocery item (great for convenience). Sure, the issue of distribution rules looms, and people will make counterarguments ranging from potential higher beer prices to public safety concerns. Regardless, I think what's clear is that from the perspective of the craft consumer, things are looking up in a way they haven't before. It'll be fascinating to see how 2016 plays out."

The verdict: A. I'm going with a high grade for this one -- seems like I accurately predicted several of the key themes of 2016, and I think it's clear that with point-of-production sales, the local craft beer consumer won in a big way.

So, that means grades of A+, B, C+, A, D, B and A. Probably a B+ average overall, give or take. Not too shabby.

And what about predictions for 2017? I'm going to ponder those over the weekend and post 'em up next week.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit sets ambitious course

About this time last year, Oklahoma's craft beer community gathered at Oak & Ore for the first Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit.

The event was billed as a way to bring craft beer and the state's alcohol laws into the spotlight ahead of what promised to be an interesting legislative session.

You know how it went from there -- we packed enough legislative drama into one year to keep any political junkie entertained, got an alcohol law reform state question passed and enacted legislation to boost the viability of the craft beer business.

So naturally this is a perfect time to reprise last year's summit, and organizers are going big this go round.

The second annual Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit is set for 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 at various venues in Oklahoma City's Plaza District.

You can see the full schedule of events here, but it's easy to say that an impressive line-up of speakers, breakout sessions and beer tastings has been lined up.

The summit will include a keynote address from Bernardo Alatorre, head production manager at Avery Brewing, and the State of the Brewnion address featuring leading players on the Oklahoma craft beer scene.

Several interesting breakouts are planned, including one that yours truly will moderate (Grains & Hops, 10 a.m. at the District House, featuring reps from COOP, Roughtail, Marshall and Forty Six Grain Co.).

The event will also feature a tour of Stonecloud Brewing; tastings of sours, saisons, stouts and hoppy beers; and a glassware and bottle trading session.

You might be cautious of sticker shock if you're looking to register. The fee for the day is $75, although that price is all-inclusive and you get access to all the tastings, tours and breakouts, a T-shirt, glassware and lunch provided by Hideaway Pizza.

It's actually a solid value, in my opinion, and if it makes you feel better, the summit is the chief annual fundraiser for the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma.

It promises to be an informative day, and will offer you the chance to rub elbows with some of your favorite state beermakers while learning a thing or two (or three!) about our craft beer industry.

You can learn more about the summit by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016: No. 1

Hope you've enjoyed the countdown of top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016. Today, we've made it to the top of the heap, and really, there was little doubt in my mind what the top story was.

First, let's review how we got here. You can also scroll back through the blog to read the blurbs on each story.

No. 10: Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival expands to two days
No. 9: Homebrewers announce plans to go pro
No. 8: COOP Ale Works wins Metro 50 Award
No. 7: Renaissance, Vanessa House and Nothing's Left launch
No. 6: Mustang changes ownership; Mustang and Elk Valley seek new homes
No. 5: Stone, New Belgium announce Oklahoma distribution
No. 4: American Solera, Twisted Spike, Mountain Fork, Beavers Bend open doors
No. 3: Voters pass State Question 792
No. 2: Krebs Brewing Co. acquires Prairie, announces series of expansion plans

And now, it's time for...

No. 1

The news: Senate Bill 424 is passed, goes into effect

What happened: The legislature passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 424, which gives Oklahoma brewers the right to conduct on-premise sales of their full-strength beer directly to consumers. There was a small hiccup just before the bill was to go into effect in August as the ABLE Commission debated whether or not the bill allowed on-premise consumption. The state Attorney General's Office stepped in and ruled that on-premise consumption was indeed allowed, and SB 424 went into effect on Aug. 26, 2016, with numerous local brewers holding special events.

Why it mattered: It's easy to go over the top in explaining the importance of SB 424 for craft beer in Oklahoma. Maybe the simplest way to describe it is transformational. It has allowed local brewers to take advantage of the most lucrative way to sell beer -- by the glass -- and has opened the door for a lot of the developments already listed in this top 10. Krebs president Zach Prichard said the Prairie OKC brewery and taproom would not happen without SB 424. Ross Harper would not try and turn the Angry Scotsman into a commercial brewery without SB 424. Those are just two examples, but it's safe to say the legislation has had an immediate impact and will have a continuing impact over the next few years. In fact, it's not a stretch to describe SB 424 as the leading factor in future development of Oklahoma as a beer tourism destination. And I could go on. The passage and enactment of SB 424 was not only the biggest craft beer story for Oklahoma in 2016, you can make an argument it is one of the biggest stories for craft beer in the history of the state -- that's how important it was.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories of 2016: No. 2

Happy New Year! After a slight holiday break in our countdown of top 10 Oklahoma craft beer stories for 2016, it's time to get back on the horse and finish off our list.

Today, we've made it all the way to...

No. 2

The news: Krebs Brewing Co. acquires Prairie, embarks on aggressive growth

What happened: In a deal that had been rumored for some time, Krebs Brewing Co. acquired Prairie Artisan Ales from founder Chase Healey. Krebs also struck a deal to acquire a sprawling production facility in McAlester, and declared it would move the bulk of its production there once the building goes online. In addition, Krebs announced the opening of a Prairie brewery/taproom in 2017 in Oklahoma City's Automobile Alley district. To run the new bar, Krebs hired away former TapWerks general manager and Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival founder Greg Powell.

(Blogger's note: Historically I have referred to Krebs Brewing Co. as Choc, or Choc Beer Co., but I will refer to the company as Krebs Brewing Co. moving forward for accuracy and consistency.)

Why it mattered: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that when Oklahoma's most famous and internationally successful beer label is sold, that's a big deal. That move by Krebs alone would have been one of the most significant developments in 2016, but the godfather of Oklahoma craft beer was not content to stop there. The Oklahoma City brewery announcement sets up the potential for a major beer tourism destination -- just look how successful the Tulsa Prairie pub has been. And the McAlester move gives Krebs room to really stretch its footprint. Lastly, hiring Powell away from TapWerks was a deft move that has the potential so send ripples through the local craft community. And I didn't even mention how locals reported Krebs leadership was scouting McCurtain County for a potential brewery/pub in that area of the state. Clearly, Krebs really shook things up in 2016 and laid the groundwork for what could be an even more transformative 2017.