Ah, summer. Here again to oppress us with it's heat waves and droughts. Luckily we have a multitude of beers and places to enjoy beer to beat the heat. Until Oklahoma breweries can serve up free samples here are some neighboring breweries you can visit for a mini vacation.
Not long ago I made a trek with some friends up to Missouri along I-44 to visit a few breweries in a day. We started at Public House Brewing Company in Rolla. Driving past the city so many times I never thought it would actually have a brew pub in it'd downtown area. This great brew pub has a nice lounge area and large seating capacity. While they don't serve much food you can bring your own in. We sampled 6 beers they currently had on tap from Rod's Cream Ale to Revelations Stout. Their Bird and Baby Mild was my favorite and rightly so as it won the 2011 GABF bronze medal for English Mild.
After we picked up some imprinted discus and bumper stickers from Public House we made our way south to Bucyrus, MO. A small community an hour south of Rolla, pretty much the middle of nowhere, there's a big red barn located near the Piney River. Just so happens that is the name of the brewery as well. Piney was developed by Brian and Jolene Durham who took their love of craft beer and transformed their barn into a brewery/canning facility/bar and lounge. We had a rather informal tour from one of the brewers which are always the best where we viewed their 7-barrel brew house and canning machine. Their beers reflect the Ozark community as easy drinking beers that you can take in a can on float trips. Their Firefly Ale now called Float Trip Ale is a 4.5% Blonde Ale is perfect for such an occasion. They have live music on Saturdays and plenty of merch and beer to take back with you.
We had to tear ourselves away from the beautiful countryside to venture into the big city of Springfield, MO and Mother's Brewing Company. Marked by the large white silo we were a little close to closing time but able to get about 20 samples in a dish washing rack.We took it out to their lawn area where people were playing bocce ball and gearing up for a night out. Mother's offers some very sought after, flavorful year round beers as well as seasonal releases. They recently released a farmhouse ale called Spring Batch for their spring seasonal and MILF, a wonderful Imperial Stout. What put me over the top was their Black Cherry Sherry Thang which prompted me to buy a stainless steel growler of it. Check them out soon as they are a three hour drive from Tulsa and will be celebrating Springfield Craft Beer Week starting July 14th.
You'd think we were done by then but ohhhh no. For dinner we made our way to Springfield Brewing Company. They offer great American cuisine and several year round beers as well as seasonals and special one-offs. A great end to a great day of beer in our neighbor state of Missouri. And that was just the southeast corner! It's a great way to take a mini-vacation and stock up on great local craft beer.Add a comment
By D'Wain Carthen
On a recent visit to one of the Hideaway Pizza locations here in Tulsa I had an epiphany. Oklahoma restaurants that serve beer should be working to put our local beers on a pedestal. Think about it. As people who love beer, any time we travel out of state, our sights are set on trying local brews. In fact, many of those trips are probably made with the purpose of finding new beers indigenous to where we are traveling. We could also be eager to revisiting an old hometown location and taking a drink down memory lane with a nice pint of an old favorite. Oklahoma has beer lovers. We have great beers like Coop DNR, Marshall Pub Ale and Anthem Golden One that we can share with those who travel to our red dirt nation.
Don’t get me wrong. There are places where you can get great local beers in Oklahoma. Specifically in Tulsa, it goes without saying that you can go to McNellie’s (Downtown), R Bar (Brookside), or Main Street Tavern (Broken Arrow) and get an excellent selection of local drafts and equally outstanding food to enjoy with them. Unfortunately, the Hideaway location I patronized only had 2 of 7 Oklahoma draughts available and the same amount could be ordered in a bottle.
I will be the first to tell you that I know nothing about the back-office operations of running a restaurant. Like millions of Americans, I watch Food Network (love Chopped) and I thoroughly enjoy finding local eateries via Yelp, but by no means can I run a restaurant. However, those that do know how to run a restaurant should stay aware of the beers available in the area.
I remember the first time I visited the beautiful city of Boulder, CO. My best friend, Jeremy, lives there and I headed out there with a couple of buddies to visit him in the hospital after he had been in an accident. After busting Jeremy’s chops for a while we decided to give him some rest and explore the city. We stumbled upon Pearl St. If you have been there, you know this area is awesome. There are tons of shops and places to eat up and down the street. After finding some food, I was on the hunt for coffee. However, as we walked by one particular store I heard a band playing inside and a guy sitting outside on a bar stool says to us, “You guys like t-shirts?” I’m thinking, “Yeah…what dude doesn't?” He then follows up with “ We've got t-shirts, live music, and free beer.” WHOA! You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention! There was no catch. My buddies and I ventured in, enjoyed some Boulder Beer with our live music and each bought a t-shirt. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the shop, but they have an awesome approach to business. Could this happen at Boomtown Tees? Let’s make it happen!
Oklahoma should be doing things like this for beer…for our state! 405,918…where ya at?! If we are going build our craft beer culture we need our beers readily available to thirsty patrons eating in local stablishments. Convenience is king and everyone should know more about the beer around them. When I first moved to Tulsa, I knew nothing about beer. In fact, I didn't like beer at the time. All I knew were the standard commercial beers that we all see ads for during sporting events. A great friend of mine said, “Dude, we have to go to McNellie’s.” I am the adventurous type, so when I saw all of the brews available I went nuts. I tried random beers, asked the servers about the beers, asked those with me about beers they liked, researched them, etc.
That was 6 years ago.
Oklahoma’s craft beer scene as evolved tremendously since that time. We have great places like BierGarten, McNellie’s, R Bar in Tulsa, and Tap Werks in OKC providing us with a fantastic selection of beer daily and hosting beer events, but we have to get involved. Tap Werks is presenting the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival at their location in Bricktown on May 18th. If you have not bought your tickets do so NOW! This is a great way to try a variety of beers and meet great beer folks. I have my ticket. Let’s have a beer!
-Cheers, D’Wain.Add a comment
We had several events throughout the week including several at the awesome R-Bar on Brookside. Of the eleven beer gatherings, R-Bar hosted five of them. Not to be outdone, the Tulsa craft beer veteran, McNellie’s, had just as many events. Each establishment had an event just about every night. We had beer dinners, tap takeovers, firkin nights, pint nights, OH MY! More beer, please! Any fan of craft beer that was within 100 miles of Tulsa had no excuse to be anywhere else in the state.
I almost missed out on the beer-tasting finale, myself. I waited too long and the event actually sold out before I was able to get tickets. I was bummed! So, on Friday I headed to BierGarten to grab some beer and heal my bruised soul. Freddy asked if I was coming to Saturday’s event, to which I had to regretfully respond that I was not due to my procrastination. This is when Freddy came through in the clutch and asked if I would be willing to work at the festival. Uhhh…yeah, dude! Who would turn down this opportunity?
BierGarten’s finale was scheduled from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday. It featured some of our awesome local breweries such as Coop Ale Works (Oklahoma City), Marshall Brewing (Tulsa), Choc Beer Co. (Krebs), and the exciting newcomer Prairie Artisan Ales (Krebs). I had the chance to try some great beers and discuss the event with fellow beer nerds. One of my favorite offerings was the Habanero Wheat (#15) from the Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers (FOAM) tent. It started with a smoky nose, quickly transformed into an apple cider middle, and finished with a hint of habanero. If this beer were landscape, it would be a cabin in the woods. Many of my buddies and other attendees had high-praise for #15, but there was one naysayer, THE BREWER! I had the pleasure of discussing this great creation with home brew wizard, Shelly. She wanted there to be more smoke and more spice from the habanero. Unfortunately, Shelly did not get what she wanted, but we all enjoyed the insane journey her beer took us on. I also had the opportunity to try Prairie’s “Bomb!” This M80 is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Tulsa’s own Nordaggio’s coffee. If you’re like me and love craft beer and a great cup of coffee, this brew will wake you up! With beers like Shelly’s Habanero concoction and Prairie’s Bomb!, this is an event that Tulsa must keep alive!
Cheers to BierGarten, Shelly, and all the good folks who attended!
An unexpected Christmas present from my youngest brother turned into a book I will refer to through the rest of my beer snob career. Randy Mosher is a well known author for book, 'Radical Brewing' and digging deep into the history and revealing why so many are passionate for this liquid libation. 'Tasting Beer' takes you on a journey of beer's inception and it's rise to fame through the centuries. Randy breaks down the anatomy of beer to style, color, taste, history for you to have a more memorable experience with your beer and appreciate the art form of crafting a good beer. As a member of the AHA and Chicago Beer Society, Randy is the ultimate enthusiast that can inspire and bring out the true beer lover in anybody.
I really couldn't put this book down and almost found myself drinking a beer each time I picked it up to try and deconstruct what was in it and solve the mysteries of craft beer along with Randy. You will learn more than you can retain and I have a feeling I will be reading this again and using the dictionary provided as well or the multitude of charts for SRM (Standard Reference Method), IBU's, proper glassware, food and cheese pairings and so much more.
Probably the most enticing reading lies in chapters 9 and beyond where Randy breaks down every beer style with complete history, profile and suggested beers to try from British ales to lagers to American craft beer. Recently I went back to reference Belgian strong dark ales while drinking a Dogfish Head Raison D'etre and gained a better appreciation for the complexity of the malts and rich finish of the beer. Now if that doesn't scream beer geek...
I encourage you to put this book on your reading list if you ever wanted to gain a fuller appreciation for the beer you drink or if you are an avid cook and want to start pairing with beer. Randy breaks it all down in simple language and great layout for you to go back and reference with ease. You can find it online for sale almost anywhere and as I write this there is a copy sitting in Martin Regional Library in Tulsa, OK.
So what are you waiting for, go grab a copy, crack open an Oklahoma craft beer and enjoy!Add a comment