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!