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This has been on my radar for some time now and I have to say I am rather excited about it. Ever since I took the plunge on this venture/journey/insert buzzword, I have always had the intent on praising the quality of craft beer created in Oklahoma. Now, as I am risking a lot going full time as an entrepreneur, I decided it is time to branch out and educate others about our grand state. Enter the Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference taking place this August 3-6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Loaded down with speakers, beer education classes, tastings and of course several brewery tours; Milwaukee will have a tremendous amount to offer this summer as I expand my knowledge of the beer world.

My 'Beerlosophy' of All Who Wander Are Looking For Beer fits right in as I aim to learn more about the industry, try some rare beers and connect with other bloggers. The goal is to become an all around improved reporter and journalist and provide you the readers more quality content. Our state is growing and more imbibers must be informed of our hard working breweries and delectable beverages they craft. 

Stay tuned as I report each day from the conference and how YOU can win a swag bag full of Wisconsin brewery gear. 

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By: Lauren Klansek

Well hey there! I’m back with more words! 

I wrote last time about how I love the craft beer community. I’m learning I don’t just love the craft beer; I love the mindset of progression and collaboration, and I keep finding evidence of it all over the city!

So let’s talk about Beer Yoga. I first encountered beer yoga working at Sun King Brewery in Indiana. I thought it was a fun, weird idea and nothing more; now I am convinced this kind of collaboration can influence the quality and direction of our community. “Golly Lauren how is that going to happen?” Well, hitch a ride on the information train where you’ll learn about a vision straight from the mind of someone helping form the backbone of Oklahoma City’s unique community. 

Meet Hialee:

“Step out of your comfort zone, a lot of people get stuck in their yoga habits as well as their beer habits.” – Hialee Howard

Hialee Howard and Lisa Laughlin Taylor are Co-owners of the Yoga Box in Oklahoma City and visionaries not only for their studio, but for the city’s community. Now, I am not flexible, nor does my upper body strength allow me to execute the pose pictured above. I, however, felt I should have the full yoga experience before trying to convince you to put on your stretchy pants and go get yourself a beer. The puddle of sweat on my mat was full of conviction to do cardio more often, and the conversation after class was full of insight and dreams for the future. First, some background on Hialee. 

Hialee moved to Edmond from Ada to attend college when she was 18. Her love for learning about the body and its biochemistry led her to study dietetics and to foster a passion for prepping and cooking meals. At the Yoga Box, Hialee utilizes a full kitchen to make balanced meals using only fresh and unprocessed ingredients. Having minimal knowledge and infinite curiosity about food, I am stoked that Hialee found a way to combine her love for body mechanics, health, and now beer. Friends, this woman is the real deal, she peels and roasts her own red peppers, which may qualify her for sainthood. 

SO what does the Yoga Box and Hialee and a roasted red pepper have to do with craft beer? 

Well, when Hialee and her business partner Lisa opened Yoga Box, Lisa had this wild idea to do a class series called “Basics and Beer.” I’m crazy about this idea because anyone can learn in a judgment-free zone, and their reward for trying something new? Quality beer.

Initially, they partnered with Belle Isle Brewery and eventually expanded their partnership to several Oklahoma breweries such as Black Mesa Brewing Company, COOP Ale Works, Anthem Brewing Company, and Prairie Artisan Ales. The Yoga Box has teamed up with almost every local brewery that has donated beer and promoted the event. Then, they take it a step further, bringing Vinyasa and brews together through monthly classes at COOP Ale Works! 

And there it is, the reason I’m crazy about craft breweries, and why I think you should be too. It’s not just willingness to support something new, but something completely outside their scope. In New Zealand, Founders Brewery supports events like family fun days and the food truck community. I see breweries fearlessly supporting corners of their community they would never be expected to support, they’re just that cool. 

Hialee and I also talked about the future of the Craft Beer-Yoga relationship, “I really like where we’re going... having a community of fellowship where we can hang out, have a beer, talk, I hope the craft beer community continues to support that and participate in it.” This is exactly what happens at beer yoga on Saturdays. People come together, practice their bending, breathing, and then their beering. The crowd hangs out after the class just to chat and drink quality brews. As the person serving the beer, I have the privilege of observing the interactions, “We’re all about community here, we like to build a strong community, everybody knows each other here, everybody talks to each other, it’s not like you just come to yoga and then leave, you have friends beside you and it’s amazing.” Hialee’s own words describe the scene best. People interact as friends rather than strangers, and I watch the building blocks of a strong community stack up, one yogi at a time. 

You don’t have to love yoga to love the bonds being formed all over Oklahoma City. 
You don’t have to love craft beer to love what craft beer is bringing to Oklahoma City.
You just have to be willing to step out of your habits and let yourself be surprised. 
Whether you go for the beer or the stretch, you’ll be happy you went.

For more about Hialee, and The Yoga Box check out: http://www.theyogaboxokc.com OR Facebook

More Fun Info:

Hialee paid high compliments to the local food scene, and the strides taken to bring quality food to several parts of town! Specifically Empire Slice House, Hialee names pizza as her favorite food, which I think we can all relate with on some level. 

When I asked about her favorite beer: “My favorite beer since I can remember drinking craft beer is F5.”

And as always you can find me on 

Facebook: @LaurenKlansek

Instagram: @lcmklansek

And Blogger: Lcmklansek.blogspot.com

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This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time. After an interview with Blake Jarolim at COOP I met Lauren Klansek at the taproom prepping for a special event that evening. I saw this spark in her just by talking about beer and before I knew it I had heard her history and was fascinated by this jet setter who gave herself the moniker "Queen of the Keg Wash" which you'll learn why as you read. 

Photo courtesy of Bernie Wire Photography

Lauren dictates her journeys in her personal blog about her travels and the breweries she has worked for over the past few years. I've been wanting to share more stories and hers is well worth the read. Please welcome Lauren as I hope to have her write from time to time and find others stories that help proliferate the culture of Oklahoma craft beer.


I’m going to tell you a story about me, but I think you’ll find it is really a story about craft beer. Actually, not about the beer so much as the people involved in making it. 

Let me explain:

I was 22, holding a plane ticket to an adventure 6 months away, and graduating from nursing school with no intention of using my degree. I knew I needed money, I knew of Sun King Brewery, I knew they were hiring in the tap room, and I knew I didn’t like beer. 

These humble and unlikely beginnings paved the road for a life my wildest scenarios hadn’t even touched.  They took me from googling “Beer slang” to working alongside the bearded and creative minds who form the backbone of the craft beer community. My story includes three breweries, spans almost two years, and has one common denominator, amazing people.

When I realised Sun King was just looking for someone to pour a beer and fill a growler, I was ecstatic. I knew nothing about beer, I didn’t know how to talk about it, how it was made, or what a growler was. I would listen to the other tasting room employees talk about the beers, I would copy their words, verbatim, to our customers. I would ask visitors what they thought of our brews so the next time I was talking about that beer I would have more insight. I built up my beer vernacular swiftly and still knew nothing of the process. I was full of so much energy and excitement I started asking for more jobs to do; I found myself learning how to run the keg washer and racing to be the first to answer requests for help on the canning line. Slowly I learned. I asked questions, I asked the same questions to different people, and I found myself talking, to anyone who would listen, about how much I loved my job.

Why? Why does someone who so recently held $1 Coors Light night at Howl at the Moon in high regard suddenly find herself discussing hop characteristics and aroma? I couldn’t answer this question with anything other than, “The people, I don’t know why, but I am addicted to the people.”

Fast forward 3 months. I’m working for accommodation in a hostel in Nelson, New Zealand, I’ve either called or e-mailed every single brewery in the country (this is not an exaggeration), and I am watching my bank account dwindle slowly away in to my school loan payments. I know they don’t remember denying me, but 3 times Founders Brewery said no to my plea for work, and for good reason; who wants to hire a traveler, who lives in a hostel, and must borrow a bike to get to work? I e-mailed, “No”. I called, “No”. I visited, “Probably no”. And then providence smiled upon me and they asked me to come in for a trial. Immediately I knew I wanted to work there, immediately I offered to clean kegs, and immediately the people won my heart.

Founders Nelson NZ

Four months after returning to the states I found myself in Washington, living on the generosity of family, once again without an income. Despite my degree, despite my experience, despite my willingness to almost beg for work, no one hired me. I had no job, I had no prospects of a job, I had no connections, and I had to buy a plane ticket for a wedding- in Oklahoma. Not exactly a place I considered a land of opportunity. 

When discussing my flight options, my cousin made the convincing argument, “You’re not paying rent, and you don’t have a job, just come do the same thing here for a while.” How could I argue with that? So, I left the return ticket on the back burner. 

I don’t know what possessed me, maybe too much caffeine, or perhaps it was raining that day and I was stir crazy, but I decided to look up some Oklahoma breweries. I found COOP and Anthem, I decided to send them a silly e-mail asking about open positions. I won’t share the entire e-mail, but the subject line was, “Queen of the Keg Wash” and I promised that I’d do whatever work no one else wanted to do. To my great surprise, Blake Jarolim e-mailed me back the next day. Then to my delight, he called me, and I believe his words were something along the lines of “So what’s your deal?” A little-known fact is, after that phone call I quite literally pumped my fists in the air and danced around saying “YES, YES, YES!” Maybe the sheer weirdness of the whole thing inspired him to have me come in for a working interview, maybe he just wanted to find out if I was a crazy person, either way, here I am.

Two months later, and once again I love my job. Once again, I love the people I work with. 

So, what is it about craft beer? I like beer, but I don’t drink it every day, I don’t even drink it every week. Cleaning kegs, and off-packing the canning line aren’t glamorous, or fun. I am an introvert, so serving in the tap room can be overwhelming after too many days in a row, and there is nothing exciting about taking bags of mushy hops, peaches, raspberries, or cacao nibs out of an old souring keg. Why do I look forward to 8am on Monday mornings? Why does standing on the receiving end of the canning line for a few hours or wrapping pallets on pallets of newly cleaned kegs entice me?

Easy. The people. 

COOP staff

I get to work with people who are following their own ambitions, they could have been fazed when craft beer in Oklahoma was only a budding idea, but the persistence of a few has allowed us all to watch a community connect over a fresh pint of their creation. I get to work alongside people with a great sense of humor and an even greater sense of generosity. 

I realized recently, this is the 9th job I’ve ever had, and I like to think I know what hard work looks like. I have never seen anyone work harder than those who really care about the outcome of their work. Every single person I work with inspires me to be better, to learn more, to keep living a life I’m proud of. Strangely, I wouldn’t be the person I am without the influence of these crafters, innovators, and dreamers. Have I convinced you yet? Are you sold by my words? If not, check them out for yourself, try to find what I have found in our budding craft beer community.

You won’t have to look far.

Written By: Lauren Klansek
Check out my personal blog at Lcmklansek.blogspot.com OR Connect with me on Facebook!

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In an effort to reach out more to the Tulsa community I stumbled upon JustTulsa.com. Tyler and his sister Jenna bring you sights, sounds and flavors of Tulsa on their website and video blog. After a brief introduction we met up for a collaborative video at Roosevelt's in Tulsa. Jenna was the "test subject" and we ordered a flight of 4 local beers to break her out of her Macro beer habit. Jokes aside it was a fun time exploring beer with someone outside their norm and giving them some pointers on how to approach beer. Beer isn't to be taken too seriously, just when it is made so we can enjoy a unique offerings from local craft beer from Oklahoma and enjoy with new found friends. Beer brings people together. This is one of those instances.

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Wait, it's already February? Ugh, and I'm another year older and time is rushing by. However, it's not without accomplishing some more podcasts and nailing down a new gig. As of January I will be the Oklahoma correspondent for Southwest Brewing News, a bi-monthly newspaper covering brewery, home brew and regional craft beer news. Established in 1992, they have 6 other publications that cover the rest of the U.S. and 3 provinces in Canada. It's a grand network of writers that appreciate craft beer and promote their regions. I first learned about them after picking up a FREE issue at High Gravity home brew supplies. I've also seen copies at Mustang/Elk Valley tap room. It is a great publication for sponsors and a resource for those traveling through the southwest with a full map and directory.

My goal is to bring more eyes and most importantly more bodies to this fine state to enjoy the taprooms and quality beer bars that have sprung up these past few years. We are all crafting a community of educated and responsible imbibers of quality craft beer and while I will do my best to bring light to the latest news I am always in need of your intel. Below are some links where you will be able to read my upcoming articles and how you may contact me with news, beer releases, events and anything else we need to broadcast to the craft beer community. Thanks as always for your continued support and Crafting a Community.

Brewing News

Southwest Brewing News

Contact me: brewingnewsoklahoma@gmail.com

 

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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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