Lauren posed with the Big Friendly Beer Bus

By: Lauren Klansek

I have made a very important decision; I have decided the very best way to attend a craft beer festival is to work the craft beer festival. From behind the pitcher you get to watch, pour, listen, explain, learn, and drink with enthusiasts of all types. 

Of course, the best part of working a beer event is the opportunity to taste what everyone else is proud to pour. I must warn you, I make no claim to hold a refined pallet. I still hang out in the beginning stages of craft brew enthusiasm, any words I use to describe what I like about something is strictly an opinion of a novice. Also, I don’t even have a pretzel necklace, so I’m not half as qualified as most of the people who were there. 

Let me tell you some of what I tried:

Kona Brewing Co - Lemongrass Luau

Analysis: I’d drink this beer all summer long, I had to try it, because the lemon/ginger combo sounded too interesting to pass up. Also, because my travels recently took me to Kona, and if their beer is 1/8 as nice as their sunsets then I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Santa Fe Brewing Co - State Pen Porter

Abita Brewing Co - Bourbon Street Chocolate Stout | Bourbon Street Old Fashion

Avery Brewing - Uncle Jacobs

Left Hand - A Blessing and a Curse Double IPA

Analysis: I’m currently trying to decipher my flavor preference when it comes to IPA’s and this one is one of the more solid DIPA’s I have had the pleasure of experiencing. If someone wants to point me to where I can find this in OKC so I can try it again I’d be pretty stoked. 

Bricktown Brewery - Single String Stout

COOP Ale Works - Well, all of them. My drinks of choice: Pilot Batch 2 | Cask-it DNR

If you saw me on Saturday, and you tried the Pilot Batch 2 then you probably heard my description of the deliciously smooth lactose, coffee, vanilla, and cocoa. It’s like the milk left in the bowl after you eat your favorite cereal- in beer form. Sounds weird and intriguing? 

Yum yum yum. 

Cabin Boys Brewery - The Bearded Theologian Belgian Quad (Coming soon to Tulsa if you're near there!)

Tallgrass Brewing Co - Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout

Stonecloud Brewing Co - Turtlehead Imperial Coffee Stout

Vanessa House Beer Co - R&D Imperial Stout

The Big Friendly - Dark Chocolate Coconut Imperial Stout

Analysis: So Maybe I was a little partial to the Imperial Stout game last weekend. My clear and decisive favorite? The Big Friendly. I want to drink that dark chocolate wonderland every day just to remind myself of all the good in life. I’d say they went above and beyond just “OK”

Crazy Mountain Brewing Co - Rum Barrel Aged Dark with Ginger & Lime

Angry Scotsman Brewing - Night Terror Black IPA | Industry Standard Double IPA | Prince of Persia- Hibiscus & Saffron Witbier

Analysis: I was absolutely not expecting the flavor I got from Prince of Persia. I must say, I am a fan. I don’t like the idea of a liquid flower, and so I tried it in an attempt to be polite but man, this is not the floral mouth bomb I anticipated. All of his brews were inspired by flavors from all over the world, I’m excited to see him in OKC in the next year!  

Sean McCanne - Passive Aggressive Pilsner | Aye Laddie Scottish Export | Nor-easter Sunrise. 

Analysis: I discovered all too late the home brewer’s section of the festival, but talking to Sean made up for what I’d been missing. This guy is stoked about making beer, and excited about the way it’s transitioning in OKC. His Passive Aggressive Pilsner was not only my favorite beer name of the festival, but it was extremely drinkable and full of flavor. 

I love seeing all these crafters take pride in their brews. Talking to people who are excited about what they do is what gets me excited about this budding industry! Between the patrons, brewers, and pretzel-necklace-wearing enthusiasts the Oklahoma Craft Beer culture was very much alive on Saturday. What an excellent way to kick off a summer of great beer and great community. 

Don’t miss next month’s blog, I’ll be gracing you with an appearance from the ones who started it all (for me). My delightful parents will be in town and, as it happens, neither of them have an enthusiasm for beer. What better to do than make them try what OKC’s beer scene has to offer and record the experience? I’m very sure the commentary will not disappoint. 

As always, find me on:

Instagram @Lcmklansek

Facebook @Laurenklansek

My Personal Blog

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Hanson toasts their new Redland Amber Ale

Mmm boy, a new summer season and a new beer. I just had the pleasure of meeting the Hanson, not the hockey players, but Tulsa's own rock band that released their summer beer Redland, an amber ale. The beer is a great amber with caramel malts up front that lead to a refreshing taste and slight bitter finish to balance the beer out. It keeps inviting you back in with a moderate alcohol level so don't feel guilty downing a few of these. McNellie's South hosted a pint night to a packed house overflowing to the outdoor beer garden.

It didn't take long to sell out this pint night but you can still grab the beer which no doubt will be flowing at the upcoming Hop Jam May 21st. Hanson Bros Beer Co. is known for their Mmm Hops pale ale out for a few years now, Inland Porter, a collaboration with Dead Armadillo and most recently a spiced farmhouse saison aptly named Festive Ale. The Hop Jam will feature a beer festival with over 200 beers and 65+ breweries you're bound to find something you'll like. In conjunction with Tulsa Mayfest and Blue Dome Arts Festival this weekend will be boppin'!

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The Patriarch Edmond, OK

I must confess, I loathe painting. Let me narrow that down, painting my house is such a pain. Inside and even worse outside with the elements. So much cleanup, trimming, the blue tape of death (has to be worse than government red tape). It is just a pain and I can't stand it. Now, that being said, if you're renovating an entire house with the implications of adding a 60 tap craft beer bar then show me where to sign up.

It's all about motivation and the end goal I suppose. These pioneers have done something that has gone on in other major cities of transforming older, sometimes condemned homes and revitalizing a neighborhood. I'm talking of course about the Patriarch in Edmond, OK. A glorious victorian style home that was remodeled into a bar focusing on craft beer, more importantly Oklahoma craft beers. You won't find macro beers here as they serve you locally sourced beer in appropriate glassware when possible.

As you enter you'll see local art scattered amongst the walls and a rustic wooden bar greets you in the main room. About 50 taps await you with intricately designed chalk slats indicating the number, brewery and name of the beer with the ABV and serving size. All done so there is no confusion, just a lot of choices. You can sip and savor your choice outdoors at a wealth of wooden tables and benches in the beer garden adorned with lights. On their outdoor stage most weekends you'll find live music pairs well with the warming weather, randall infused beers and lawn games. Speaking of games, you can bring your own board game and set up in one of the many rooms upstairs. (I've witnessed a pretty intense Settlers of Catan game once.)

Back to painting. As much of pain in the rear that is, there are worse things to deal with in this life. One of those is being diagnosed with Lupus, a disease that affects the immune system and makes you prone to more illnesses. Someone may look healthy at a glance but inside they are constantly in pain.

This Saturday, May 6th, Vanessa House Brewing Co and COOP will be at the Patriarch raising money for awareness that goes to a local Lupus Chapter. COOP will be releasing their Saturday Siren sessionable hoppy lager at the noon whistle and VHBC Broken Tile DIPA will be on tap wrapping up the week long OK craft beer celebration. I'm tagging along as well and be interviewing Brad the GM about Patriarch's history, setting up my booth and donating a portion of sales that day. 

So come out and support a worthy cause with a sporting game of cornhole, drink some special release beers and enjoy life to it's fullest!

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Tulsa Airport Dead Armadillo taproom

If you happen to travel a bit for business or have some summer vacation plans this year you'll notice quite a large makeover happening at Tulsa International airport starting today. The food management has changed hands and a new 10 year contract has brought in a new firm and offering quite a few local favorites to the airport terminals. Gone is Starbucks and Quiznos and enter Topeca/Java Daves and Einstein Bros. Also welcome in Fat Guys burger bar, I can't think of a better way to start my vacation with a double cheese and sriracha ketchup and taking a nap soon after. 

By far the most glamorous makeover will be the transformation of the sports bar into the Dead Armadillo taproom and restaurant. A trend catching on throughout the U.S. as places like Denver and Portland have microbreweries/taprooms promoting their local flavor, now Tulsa can offer the same. "We're certainly going to have to ramp up production as they will have all of our flagship beers in half barrels. We never had to do that with the exception of our Amber," explained co-founder Tony Peck. It's a deal that has been in the works for roughly 9-10 months and after several presentations, FAA approval and being selected as finalists they were granted the taproom. According to Tony the layout will roughly resemble the taproom that is located at 4th and Madison with the black and athletic gold color motif, pipe taps and concrete bar counter. This is part 1 of 3 phases and should see an opening around the first week of August if all goes according to plan. So next time you have friends/family coming to Tulsa you won't have far to go to relax and catch up over a pint.

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Beer is OK Flight Paddle

Also known as Tulsa Craft Beer Week which extends to more like 10 days because let's face it, a week is too short. For a full list visit Tulsa Craft Beer Week.

If you don't travel or follow beer lifestyle regularly then A). How did you find this blog and B). Craft beer weeks/months have been around for several years now. These celebrations typically bring together the best the local market has to offer. Most times the region celebrates local breweries, distributors tap limited release beers and beer dinners normally fill out the schedule. 

Tulsa's scene is growing exponentially since they started a "Week" with the passing of new legislation and new breweries like Renaissance and American Solera adding to the fanfare. While we don't have enough breweries like San Diego where there are over 100 in the city alone, we enjoy national/regional beers that our local distributors bring in. These include beers from breweries like Lagunitas, Avery, Evil Twin, Destihl and Clown Shoes. 

So don't be discouraged that everything is purely from Oklahoma, Tulsa is making strides in a market where Bud Light and Coors are dominating consumer choices. Places like Rbar, Roosevelt's and Growler USA are making strides to transition them over to flavor country. Just yesterday I witnessed an interaction at Roosevelt's where a gentleman only drinks Miller Lite and was offered a Sierra Nevada Nooner, a light and crisp pilsner built for sessionable drinking. This is encouraging that a staff cares for their client and people are brave enough to venture outside of their comfort zone. 

If you find yourself to be a predictable drinker, get out and explore, see what this town has to offer. You'll probably surprise yourself.

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About Us

Ever since I moved to Tulsa from St. Louis in 2008, Oklahoma's brewing industry left me wanting more. So I went out to find the people behind the breweries, the community behind it and documenting the culture of craft beer. Since then it has evolved nicely and here with this podcast I delve deeper to show how much craft beer improves the people and local economies that create it.  


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