The days are getting longer, the weather is (hopefully) getting warmer, and the spring season is right around the corner. I think we all know what that means: Beer festival season is also right around the corner.
And that means it’s time to mark your calendar for the annual Beer Sprocket festival put on by Old Germany.
This year’s Beer Sprocket is set for 4 to 9 p.m. April 13 at Choctaw Creek Park.
Festival organizer and Old Germany proprietor Mike Turek says this year’s Beer Sprocket will feature about 100 different beers for sample, and food from Old Germany, Turek’s Tavern and several other metro-area restaurants.
Tickets are $50 and must be purchased online prior to the event at www.oldgermany.com. As in years past, there will be no day-of ticket sales.
Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Rotary Club of East Oklahoma County and aid in efforts toward the world-wide eradication of Polio and several other charitable causes.
And let’s all remember to keep our fingers crossed for some nice weather this year. If you remember, last year’s festival was postponed and delayed by a month because of tornado forecasts.
-If you’re in Tulsa today, and you like beer, best make your way over the McNellie’s at 5 p.m. for a sample of an experimental keg from Marshall Brewing — a coffee stout made with fresh-roasted coffee beans.
-Speaking of Marshall, Friday marks the return of its spring seasonal, Revival Red Ale. A release party is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Bar 46, 107 N Boulder. The release will include a special cask-conditioned version of Revival Red Ale infused with blood oranges. Intriguing!
-Choc Beer Co. is hiring a part-time packaging assistant. For every five bottles you pack, you get to drink one on the spot.* If you are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*OK, I just made that up. But that would be a good perk.
You can see the label art at right, and here is a description of the beer provided by Mustang:
This double IPA — brewed to palette-pleasing perfection at 67 IBUs and 7.5% ABV — is a masterful blend of rich, flavorful malts and strong, aromatic hops.
This is an interesting addition to the batting order for Mustang, which previously touted its preference for session-strength beers. Perhaps the door was cracked open by the two higher-alcohol offerings — Brandy’s Imperial Sundae and Imperial Court Stout — in the brewery’s Saddlebag Series.
The beer is expected in bars and stores in early March.
-Speaking of new beers, this image is making rounds on the Internet. That would be a keg label for the first offering from Midwest City’s Roughtail Brewing — Red Republic Ale.
-The next seasonal offering from Choc — Belgian Style OPA — is popping up on liquor store shelves now.
-TapWerks is having what it calls its first ever “Random Ass Pint Night” on Thursday. Here’s a pic that shows some of the glassware that can be yours.
-Auburn University is offering a master’s certification in brewing science. Where you at Oklahoma universities?
-Wait, Budweiser waters down its beers? NOOOOOO!!!!!
House Bill 1341, the bill to allow Oklahoma’s licensed brewers to allow on-premise samples, was passed by the state House earlier today by a vote of 62-30.
Marshall Brewing Co. brewmaster Eric Marshall had this to say about the development, which is a step up over past attempts to pass similar legislation:
“HB 1341 has better momentum this year than in years past. I am encouraged with the House passing the measure and hopeful that we will have a similar vote in the Senate soon. I would ask that everyone contact their state Senator and urge them to vote Yes on HB 1341 as a pro-business, pro-commerce bill.”
The bill will now be assigned to a Senate committee. Wes Glinsmann, president of Red Earth Brewers, says the bill will likely come up in front of the Senate Public Safety Committee. If it passes out of that committee, it would proceed to a vote of the full Senate.
Then, if makes it through the Senate, it would go to the governor’s desk. Interested in having your say? You can find your legislator by clicking here, and you can see the vote totals from today by clicking here.
Will we look back one day and see this legislative session as a tipping point in the modernization of the state’s alcohol laws? Time will tell, but it’s best to make a modest start and see where you can go from there, I figure.
-It looks like dates have been set for Tulsa Craft Beer Week. That would be April 15-20.
-Looks like Boulevard is working on some great stuff. First there is this 9.3% coffee amber ale, which will be made with African coffee in conjunction with a coffee house that neighbors the brewery. Then there’s a new collaboration with Sierra Nevada that features a blend of ales aged in various mediums. Sometimes I think it really is amazing how many different directions people are taking beer these days.
-Here’s an interesting piece on the AB-InBev/DOJ dust-up that asks, “Are we in danger of a beer monopoly?” The better question — in my opinion — is are we in danger of a worse beer monopoly than we already have?
-On March 5, The Wedge Deep Deuce is having a beer/pizza party — $20 for all the local beer and pizza you care to consume. Seriously. That might be the greatest thing ever.
(Blogger’s note: I call it “craft-style” because, make no mistake, this beer falls into the category of those made by mega-brewers in an attempt to win back a share of the craft beer market. But, I digress. Maybe you’ll be in a pinch on a Sunday and the gas station will be your only option?)
The beer is Third Shift Amber Lager. It’s labeled as being created by Band of Brewers — MillerCoors brewers who dabble in craft beer outside of their normal work shifts. For the record, I was told Third Shift is brewed in Fort Worth, Texas, but I suspect it’s produced wherever MillerCoors beers are made. It rolled out on a national level on Feb. 1, and is available all over the country, including several gas stations/convenience stores in the Oklahoma City area (at 3.2 strength).
Some Internet research shows that this beer has apparently been brewed for several years under the code name Flor Hosen. Some additional research shows that a beer named Flor Hosen won a gold medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in the German-Style Marzen category. So, with all that being said, how did it taste?
For starters, I had a 5.3% version, as you can see in the picture. Would a watered-down 3.2% version taste differently? I’m sure it would.
This first thing I noticed was a lack of head/foam on the beer. It also lacked carbonation when I drank it. Perhaps an off bottle.
The color was orange/copper. It had a sweet and malty nose and a taste dominated by the malt. On the front, it had a heavy sweetness that bordered on a little too sweet for my liking. The malt flavor subsided quickly. On the back end, I got a hint of lingering bitterness that also faded quickly. Mouthfeel was average — nothing wrong with it, but nothing remarkable, either. Perhaps more carbonation would have livened it up a bit?
Overall, I would characterize this as a decent offering. Marzen-style beers are supposed to be weighted more toward the malt, per BJCP standards, and this one is. However the overly sweet character left me unsatisfied.
On a plain-speak level, I see this as a good option if you have to choose between several lite beer offerings at the gas station, but not a good replacement for the more refined craft beers you would find at the liquor store.
-Wish we could see this offering from Flying Dog in Oklahoma. Alas, it appears it will only be in the northeast.
-Did you know that AB-InBev and MillerCoors own more than 200 beer brands?
-Here’s a link to another free homebrewing tips book.
-Reminder: Tomorrow is the ancho-chile Choc Biere de Garde Firkin Friday at McNellie’s OKC.
-The first event is 6 p.m. today at S&B Burgers, 20 NW 9.
-The second — a bar crawl in the Plaza District– is slated to start at 6 p.m. Thursday. The tour will include these stops: The Mule, Saints Pub, Skinny Slims and Grandad’s. Sounds fun!
Want to know more about Milk Stout Nitro, the 6% sweet stout? Go ahead and click right here.
-You may have seen a lot of press on HB 1341 — the beer sample bill — but did you know another alcohol-industry-related measure is going through the Oklahoma Legislature right now? House Joint Resolution 1041 would allow retail liquor stores to sell bottle openers and other accessories. The measure is scheduled to be heard by a House committee this afternoon.
-Here is a label for the collaboration rustic farmhouse ale made by Prairie Artisan Ale’s and Florda’s Saint Somewhere.
-CraftBeer.com released a list of new spring seasonals to look out for — including some available in Oklahoma.
-Researchers in Europe say beer is better for post-workout rehydration than water or Gatorade.
-Looks like Boulevard will have a new offering called Mosaic Ale. I’m trying to find out what that’s all about. Other possible new beer offerings: Sam Adams Grand Slam Ale; Sierra Nevada Belgian Blond IPA; Mikkeller To Via From Holiday Ale; Labatt Shandy; Flying Dog Big Black Wit; and Flying Dog Pumpernickel IPA.
Here’s a press release issued today by Marshall Brewing Co., one of the biggest backers of the legislation:
TULSA — Oklahoma House Bill HB 1341, introduced by Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, seeks to amend Section 521 of Title 37 to permit licensed brewers of beer in Oklahoma to provide limited free samples to the visitors to the licensed brewery premises. Rep. Mulready worked with Marshall Brewing Co. founders Eric & Adam Marshall to author HB 1341, which received overwhelming bi-partisan support before the House’s Public Safety Committee on February 6th and was cleared by the House’s Calendar Committee on February 19th to be put forth for a full vote on the House floor in the near future.
HB 1341 is pro-business and pro-tourism legislation and seeks to level the playing field among Oklahoma’s beer and wine producers in that Oklahoma wineries are permitted to offer samples on their licensed premises. “We have effectively been doing our job with one hand beyond our backs. Few craft breweries have the traditional marketing methods available due to restrained resources,” explains Eric Marshall. “Visitors are typically more impassioned to support small local craft producers when they can experience the products and crafting first-hand. The opportunity to explain the business and culture of craft beer and brewing to the public while offering small limited samples will help our industry grow, offer more jobs, pay more taxes, and create a culture of craft beer tourism similar to most other states like Colorado.”
The Oklahoma House Scheduling Committee does not provide an exact date for the House vote. Eric Marshall has been advised that it could be as soon as this week. “This is good legislation for business and tourism in Oklahoma, and we need people to voice their support,” Eric says. Marshall Brewing Co. encourages Oklahoma citizens to contact their Oklahoma House representative and ask for their support on HB 1341. The public can find their Oklahoma legislative representatives at http://www.okhouse.gov/Members/Default.aspx.
If you need a refresher on what HB 1341 is all about, click here. My sources at the Capitol confirm there is indeed no sure way to predict an exact date/time a bill will be heard on the House floor. So, if you want to contact a legislator to have your say, there’s no time like the present.
-The Beer Distributors of Oklahoma shared a report recently that outlines the economic impact generated by the country’s beer distributors. They cited these Oklahoma numbers from the study:
Oklahoma beer distributors directly employ over 3,300 individuals
Oklahoma beer distributors generate nearly $171 million in total economic impacts
Oklahoma beer distributor activities contribute over $90 million to the federal, state and local tax bases. This does not include an added $113 million in federal, state and local alcohol excise and consumption taxes on beer sold in Oklahoma
Beer distributor contributions to local community activities generate $1.9 million in impacts annually
-Mustang Brewing reports today that the first load of Washita Wheat kegs brewed in Oklahoma City is now on its way out the door to distributors across the state. Is that brewmaster Gary Shellman I see driving the fork lift? Multi-talented guy!
-Did you hear the news that Anchor will open a new brewery near AT&T Park in San Fran? Pretty cool. So is this timeline of the company’s history.
-This year’s batch of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, Boulevard Smokestack Series Grainstorm Black Rye IPA and Leinenkugel Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale are hitting liquor store shelves in-state today.
-Making its first appearance in Oklahoma today is Dieu du Ciel Solstice d’hiver Barley Wine-Stlye Ale.
I mentioned on the blog on Friday that the Firkin Friday this week at McNellie’s OKC would feature a treat from Choc — an ancho-chile-infused Biere de Garde. Had a chance to hear from Choc brewmaster Michael Lalli about the process and what you can expect from the beer:
The Thirsty Beagle: Tell me a little about the ancho-chile Biere de Garde — is it especially spicy? Or more mild?
Michael Lalli: Not really a fan of beer with heat, so I was really going for more of the chile flavor, especially that earthy, dark fruit-like character. So I used dried ancho chiles, hydrated them, de-stemmed and removed some of the seeds; I then used a blend of pureed, whole and diced to age the beer on, really wanted a mix of flavors. So far I’m happy with the way its going — minimal heat, but the flavor and spice of the ancho really comes through. The (Biere de Garde) is a great base beer for projects like this and more or less it’s my go-to for experimentation.
Sounds excellent. Again, this beer will be available as the Firkin Friday offering this week at 6 p.m. at McNellie’s. I’d say move fast on this one — that firkin might not last long.
I’d also note that if you like Biere de Garde, Choc has announced the beer will be released to stores in March in 12 oz. bottles (see photo, above right). I believe this would be the first Signature Series beer from Choc to get the 12 oz. treatment.
-Big news came out over the weekend that Sam Adams will start canning its Boston Lager and Summer Ale in time for summer. Read this story to see what really was a pretty intense process to settle on a suitable can design.
-Speaking of McNellie’s, the weekly Monday pint night at McNellie’s Tulsa today features Unibroue Eau Benite. At the Abner Ale House in Norman, it’s Redhook ESB.
As a journalist who once covered the military, I can tell you firsthand that there’s nothing like a good acronym to confuse the hell out of everyone! So in that spirit, I’ve come up with my own fancy acronym: TTBFBFBF.
This one has nothing to to with the military, however. It stands for: The Thirsty Beagle Facebook Free Book Friday.
Here’s the scoop: As a long-time beer blogger, I receive several books for review each year about beer, beer tasting, beer brewing, etc. Right now, they’re all sitting in a cabinet drawer at the office, collecting dust. I thought to myself, “Why not give them away to loyal Thirsty Beagle Facebook fans?”
So that is what I’ll do. Periodically on Fridays I will post a book cover. All you have to do is like the post, and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win it.
We’ll start off this week with this:
If you’d like to win this book, head on over to my Facebook page and like the related post.
-Make a note on your calendar for Friday, Feb. 22. The Firkin Friday at McNellie’s OKC that night will feature a firkin of Ancho chili-infused Biere de Garde from Choc. Wow!
-Here’s an update to pass along from the Tulsa Craft Beer Week FB page: “Website will be up and running soon! Would you guys want T-Shirts or Glassware?” Surf over there to have your say.
-Marshall has scheduled a beer dinner next Thursday in Springfield, Mo.
-Here’s a review from The Full Pint on Sam Adams Alpine Spring.
This year’s fest is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, in its regular location, the parking lot next to TapWerks in Bricktown.
Expect this year’s fest to be the best yet — the number of Oklahoma brewers on hand will be the most ever and the beers available for sample will include the influx of new offerings we’ve gotten in the state recently.
OCBF organizer and TapWerks General Manager Greg Powell says he’s working to line up beer-related vendors — like homebrew shops — and has spoken to local brewers about providing special one-off brews for the fest.
I’ll post all the details as they become available.
-If you missed the excitement on my FB page yesterday, big news developed on the Tulsa beer scene. The BierGarten in Jenks and FOAM are combining to host the inaugural Tulsa Craft Beer Week. The week will include special pint nights and beer dinners and will culminate with a springtime outdoor beer festival. The specific dates and details are still being ironed out, but you can expect the week to be held in April, so as not to coincide with the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival.
-I’ve mentioned this a few times on the blog, but what will one more mention hurt? TapWerks is hosting a Valentine’s Day pint night today featuring two firkins of COOP DNR aged on cacao nibs. Tasty.
-Catching up with all the new beer labels released in the past couple weeks (Note: This is not to say Oklahoma will definitely get all these beers — rather I’m just highlighting new offerings from breweries that typically are available in Oklahoma): Flying Dog single-hop imperial IPA Sorachi Ace, Simcoe and Citra; Prairie Merica; Omission IPA; Ommegang Double White Ale; Shiner Premium Beer; Mikkeller 1000 IPA; Widmer Session Red Ale; Widmer X-483 IPA; Widmer X-291 IPA; Flying Dog Pumpernickel IPA; Flying Dog Big Black Wit; Pyramid Smoked Imperial Scottish Red Ale; Sierra Nevada Sleight of Hand Ale; Blue Moon Chimp Imperial Wheat Ale; Leinenkugel’s Original Chippewa Pride Beer; Rogue Class of ’88 Barleywine; and Angry Orchard Elderflower Hard Cider.
With St. Patrick’s Day a little more than a month away, I figure it’s not too early to start pinning down plans. Today, we’ll take a look at TapWerks, which has scheduled a weekend of celebration for March 16-17.
For the Saturday, TapWerks has planned an outdoor festival-type set-up featuring live music all day and a DJ in the evening.
There will be more than 20 beers on tap, including the COOP trailer with a special St. Pat’s firkin. Food trucks, including Moto Chef and S&B Burger Joint, will be on hand.
The annual Oklahoma City St. Pat’s Day parade is set for that morning, and a Bon Jovi concert is scheduled at Chesapeake Energy Arena that night, so there’s plenty going on in the Bricktown area.
Then, on St. Patrick’s Day proper, TapWerks will feature live music indoors all day.
-Marshall Brewing has a couple events slated for Valentine’s Day. First, at 5 p.m., McNellie’s Tulsa will offer up a cask of Marshall’s STELLA!, a cask-conditioned, English-style brown ale single-hopped with Stella hops. Then, for those in the Little Rock area, the Flying Saucer will offer up a cask of cherry-and-chocolate-infused Big Jamoke Porter at 6:30 p.m.
-Flying Dog has launched a series of clone kits for homebrewers.
-If you’re looking to enter your homebrew in the Bluebonnet Brew-off, the registration deadline is Sunday. As of this morning, there were only about 40 registrations left — so by Sunday it may be too late.