For my latest segment in the Five Questions With… series, I talk with Mike Turek, owner/operator of Old Germany restaurant in Choctaw and the organizer of central Oklahoma’s new spring beer festival/tasting, Beer Sprocket. If you haven’t heard, Beer Sprocket is set for this Saturday, April 17, at Choctaw Creek Park — site of the annual Choctaw Oktoberfest. A mere $45 gets you an Old Germany dinner, live entertainment and a chance to sample more than 90 beers from around the world, including all the local favorites. Only catch: you have to reserve tickets by end-of-day Wednesday. And the event benefits charity. But I’ll let Mike handle the job of filling you in on the details:
1. The Thirsty Beagle: Talk about Beer Sprocket; Is the festival your idea? What is the inspiration for the event?
Mike Turek: The (Eastern Oklahoma County) Rotary Club asked me to come up with a new fundraiser in part to help with the Bill Gates Challenge to Rotary to wipe out polio from the planet. I believe he pledged $1 billion in matching funds. I have heard of similar events but we really didn’t have one with international flair here in Central OK.
2. TTB: Could you elaborate a little more on the charity aspect of the event?
MT: I pledged $2500 to the Rotary Club of EOC whether the event makes money or not, so I am hoping we’ll have a great attendance. It just takes a lot of money to stage an event like this. So many fixed costs no matter if anyone shows up. In the end the city of Choctaw benefits as well by bringing new people to this great community.
3. TTB: Have you and your customers noticed an upswing in the beer scene in Oklahoma, in terms of the amount of local beers now available?
MT: Definitely! COOP is a prime example. The best part is that these new breweries are not just doing the same old thing, they are patterning after traditional European varieties, whether wheat beers, pilsners, amber Oktoberfest, lagers etc. Also there has been an increase in the availability of a wider variety of international beers. I think this years St. Patrick’s Day festivals were larger than ever before. I see more and more beer dinners advertised, so yes I would say there has been an overall upswing of beer interest … certainly on the local level.
4. TTB: What should people who attend Beer Sprocket expect in terms of food and drink offerings?
MT: The food will be prepared by Old Germany Restaurant; the EOC Rotary Club engaged us as the caterer for the event. Smoked pork chops (Rippchen), variety of bratwursts, German potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut and pretzel sticks. Everyone who registers for this event will get a plate with this variety. Water and soft drinks will be available for the designated drivers. Now 90+ beers will be poured for people to sample, it’s just awesome!
5. TTB: What do people need to do if they want to attend Beer Sprocket?
MT: They need to register online at www.oldgermany.com; click on Beer Sprocket. The only thing is they need to do it by Wednesday midnight. It’s only $45 and includes commemorative cup, a dinner ticket, live music and the ability to sample 90+ beers.
So, do you like an amazing selection of beer? Do you like good food? Do you hate polio? Then you gotta attend Beer Sprocket!