On a recent trip to Boulder, CO my wife and I met up with some good friends of ours to FATE Brewing Company for some eats and general imbibing. Great beers and dining. During conversation with one of the servers we were asked if we were from the area. Jessica (my beautiful wife) and I said we were from Oklahoma. To which the server responded,
“Isn’t that a beer desert?!”
No fault of his own…I suppose. He explained he has a friend who lives in Bartlesville, and that is where he got the description from. He didn’t ask about the beer scene, instead he had a predetermined opinion from a local that is not in touch with the local beer culture.
I proudly informed my good man that we had great breweries such as Prairie Artisan Ales that may be invading his area soon. How great would it be to have people from other states be introduced to Oklahoma brew with Prairie Bomb? Oh, you thought this was a beer desert? That beer is a 100 on Ratebeer and a 99 on Beeradvocate. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
There are two things we must have in order to change our image. First, we need to educate ourselves as beer citizens. Study beer. In this case, studying involves drinking (Yay), reading (with a beer), and discussing (not slurring).
Drinking is a pretty obvious method, but be sure you try new beers. Instead of the same big beer six pack, venture out with a mix-a-six. Try something you have had before and maybe did not particularly like.
Your taste buds change over time. Remember broccoli, you hated it as a kid, now, well more than likely that has changed. You may have not liked the Marshall Atlas IPA when you first tried it, but upon further review it’s delicious. There are going to be beers you like and others you despise, but it is all in getting out of your comfort zone. We have not been drinking beer as long as we have been eating food, so we have a lot
to learn…and drink.
Reading is fundamental! Read books like Ultimate Beer by Michael Jackson or Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher. Learn about the history of beer, the various styles, the region’s they come from, and each of their characteristics. Unearthing the mysteries of beer will give you a better appreciation and enhance your enjoyment ten fold. As a bonus, you can impress your friends with this beer knowledge because even stuff in the first couple of chapters is not common knowledge. It is also a good excuse to read and drink beer (as if you needed an excuse). Don’t be satisfied with drinking a Stella because it sounds fancy. If you read up you will know Stella is actually the Belgian PBR. It is sold for just $1.10 per pint in Belgium. They just have a great marketing campaign to make it look prestigious. Knowledge bomb!
Reading and drinking leads to the best part; talking about beer. This is why I started writing about beer. Tell your buddies about great beers you have enjoyed, fun times about hunting for one offs, home brewing, beer festivals and so much more.
The whole idea is about sharing. They still learn. You will learn. Go to local beer festivals. The Harvest Festival hosted by Mcnellies (http://mcnellies.com) is a great festival. They also host Beer Universities about once per quarter. Follow Mcnellie’s on Facebook for info. If you have read my first post you’ll know that Biergarten hosts beer tastings. Tap Werks also hosts the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival. Wild Brew is a festival that celebrates Oklahoma craft beer and raises money for the Sutton Avian Research Center.
We have a good beer scene budding in Oklahoma, but you have to go out see people, try beer, and talk about it for it to grow.
Don’t think I forgot about the second part! We have to have good beer to enjoy! However, we cannot settle for the same ole same ole. Brewers like Chase Healey are doing some amazing things with beer right here in our great state. Personally, I like to see breweries get wicked with their brews. Don’t come out to the beer festival with the same lineup time after time. Bring out the firkins! Experiment. This is where the beer imbiber and brewer really come together. There are going to be beers that the people love and some that they don’t, but if you bring out a small batch of something that is great, you’re a hero at the festival. If people don’t like it, hey you only did a small batch.
That is why the Prairie Artisan tent is always busy at the festivals. That is why I love the Saddlebag series by Mustang Brewing. I recently had the Dragon’s Breath, which is a chili pepper infused IPA. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Let’s get out and Cultivate the Craft Oklahoma. We’ve armed you with knowledge, now go learn and spread the good word of Oklahoma craft beer.