Oklahoma: A Budding Brew State


Oklahoma: A Budding Brew State

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(Image source: Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival)

Red dirt, BBQ and the OKC Thunder aren’t the only thing worth visiting Oklahoma for nowadays. With the ever-expanding craft brew scene across the United States, states like Oklahoma are stepping up to the plate. Everyone knows the beers that come out of state’s like Michigan and Colorado or cities like Chicago and Portland, but what about the the states that are lesser known? Everyone has to start somewhere.

We decided to take on 12 beers from 8 different breweries across Oklahoma. These beers and breweries represent a nice range of what the state has to offer. Our team consisted of a group of beer experts and enthusiasts that look better on paper than they do in person.

Moderator
Adam Palmer – bearded Texan, cream liqueur digital marketer, beer traveler

Team
Jesse Valenciana – Man of the world, beer aficionado, God(father) of ManBQue
Allison Yates – Certified cicerone, tequila expert, skis the bunny slopes
Ryan Ford – Ginger, Food and beer enthusiast, likes weird gifts sent to his office
Jessica Palmer – Also ginger, expert buffalo wing eater, keeps Adam in his place

Beers are arranged in no particular order.

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1. Prairie Artisan Ales: Prairie Bomb, Imperial Stout

Considered by many to be Prairie’s flagship beer (and as you will see later in the article, the base for other beers), Prairie Bomb! is a stout that is meant to be savored. When first poured, the nose smelled heavily of the coffee and a dab of cocoa. A few in the group were able to smell the chili, but it was very light. The beer itself had a very nice cocoa taste with hints of vanilla and a clean finish. It was much lighter than what you would expect from a beer labeled an Imperial Stout, but it would be perfect to drink by a fire on a snowy day.

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2. COOP Ale Works: Native Amber, American Amber/Red Ale

This beer was very interesting and a lot of fun to taste. It came across way more as an amber ale than a red ale. The nose smelled of caramel and hops and that’s essentially all we tasted at first. When it hits your tongue, you get a strong hit of caramel, almost like butterscotch. However, as it breathes the hopes break through the sweetness. This isn’t surprising though, the IBUs resemble an IPA more than an Amber ale. Suggestion: wait 3-5 minutes after pouring to let breathe.

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3. COOP Ale Works: Elevator Wheat, Hefeweizen

The nose gave off banana and clove with a beautiful cloudy color. The taste sits in the back of your mouth and lingers nicely. It’s a great blend of the traditional German style and an American style wheat with very little carbonation and a strong banana and clove taste. If you are a wheat beer fan, this one is not to be missed.

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4. Choc Beer Company: Double Oklahoma Pale Ale, American Pale Ale

Choc Beer has a long history in Oklahoma. First brewed in the early 1900’s by members of the Choctaw Nation, it was a combination of Native American and Italian recipes. While Choc is known to be made by Pete Pritchard of Pete’s Place (one of the most famous restaurants in Oklahoma) there is evidence to show it was homebrewed throughout southwest Oklahoma as early as the late 19th century, however Pete’s made it famous. The Choc Beer Company has operated off and on in OK since its statehood in 1907, a state that was dry until 1932, and Choc Beer was the jumping off point for many craft breweries in Oklahoma as a place to learn or rent space to brew. The Double OPA poured with a beautiful, cloudy color and a nice head. The nose presented a very hoppy beer. When drinking, you notice those hops right off the bat – it uses an earthy hops that gives a very light after-taste. But, while drinking, you can definitely taste the 8.5% ABV. One very nice point for many IPA enthusiasts is that it is highly carbonated (obviously) but the hops don’t stay with you. An excellent representation of the Oklahoma brewing scene.

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5. COOP Ale Works: DNR, Belgian Strong Dark Ale

When poured, the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) had a nice color, but little nose (maybe we needed to let it sit longer), but we were half way through the beers and we weren’t going to slow down! At first taste, you can tell that it’s a Trappist style ale. Despite being sweeter than we expected, the DNR had a clean finish and presented almost no lingering after-taste. At 10% ABV, you’ll want to enjoy responsibly.

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6. Hanson Brothers Beer Company: Mmmhops, APA

Yes. You are reading this correctly. It’s a beer from the guys that brought us “Mmmbop! Diggitop… bow doooobops!” (Now it’s stuck in your head. Haha!) When poured, the Mmmhops has a nice color and good head to it, but very little nose. Overall, the beer presented a malty, caramel taste with a low hop presence. It’s definitely worth the experience. Plus, if you scan the QR code on the bottle, you get a free Hanson song! WIN!

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7. Marshall Brewing Company: El Cucuy, India-Style Black Ale

Arguable, one of the more popular of the new breweries in Oklahoma, Marshall Brewing gives us a very dark ale with a beautiful hoppy & citrus nose. At first taste, you get a light sweetness that gives way to a nice earthy hops on the back of your tongue. However, the hops aren’t overpowering thanks to being balanced nicely with the malts which lessens the perceived bitterness.

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8. Anthem Brewing Company: Uroboros Stout, American Stout

We poured this stout and immediately noticed that it poured like motor oil. A beautiful, dark and viscous consistency that gave us a nose of chocolate and sugar. As we drank the Uroboros (slowly thanks to the 8.5% ABV), we kept getting more and more chocolate as it warmed. It was incredibly balanced and not overly bitter due to the sugar.

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9. Elk Valley Brewing Company: Nemesis Imperial Stout

This beer poured nicely with a very dark color and a malty, boozy nose. Despite that, it was very light. Definitely lighter than one would expect from an Imperial Stout. It tasted of chocolate and a light coffee on the back end that was a nice surprise.

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10. Prairie Artisan Ales: Christmas Bomb, American Double / Imperial Stout

Hailing the base to the previously mentioned Prairie Bomb, this stout gives us the beauty of that beer plus all of those Christmas spices you love. Pouring with a rich, dark color, you can smell the spices, chilies and chocolate. And when you drink it, you taste all of the same notes, but with a dryer finished than the aforementioned Prairie Bomb. This is a nice alternative to the numerous Christmas stouts running around the craft beer industry.

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11. Roughtail Brewing Company: Coffee Tsar, Russian Imperial Stout

This was another one that poured like motor oil with a nice nose that lends to its namesake. However, when you taste it, it’s not balanced by sugar as many are, so you get more of the bitterness of the coffee and less carbonation than one might expect from an Imperial Stout.

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12. Prairie Artisan Ales / Evil Twin Brewing: Bible Belt, American Double / Imperial Stout

This beer was probably the favorite of the group, which isn’t surprising since it is the top ranked beer to come out of Oklahoma. This beer is the combination of the Prairie Bomb base and Evil Twin’s Even More Jesus Stout. As we poured this beer, we immediately noticed the beautiful, thick viscosity, a robust chili (but not spicy) nose and a good head to it. We let this sit and breathe for a few minutes and started to notice a creamy nose with hints of earthiness and a green chili (possibly poblano & ancho?) that came through nicely as you drank it. The full body taste as well gives you a hint that you should drink this slowly. And when you realize that it’s sitting at a 13% ABV, you know this is a beer that means business.