Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finding Treasure in Tulsa & Springfield

A homebrew competition in Tulsa set us out on the road again this weekend. The Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers (FOAM) held their 19th annual homebrew competition at Marshall Brewing Company, Tulsa's first production brewery since before WWII. The master brewer, Eric Marshall, studied in Germany for a couple of years and worked at Victory Brewing before returning home to Tulsa to open up shop.

Tanks @ Marshall Brewing
And his experience shows. They had a Best Bitter, a Robust Porter, an American Wheat with orange peel and coriander, and an India Black Ale on tap there at the brewery for us to sample. All four were fantastic, but the porter & black ale really stood out. The black ale is the first in their "El Cucuy" series and is a great take on this recently-popular style, with notable roasted malt character and both floral & citrus American hop flavor & aroma. Delicious and hard to resist.

Unfortunately, you won't find their brews in KS or MO since they don't yet distribute outside Oklahoma. However, they're working on changing that; keep your eye out for these guys.

In the meantime, if you find yourself in Tulsa, their beers are on tap all over town. We had a bad experience with the bitter & IPA on beer engine at McNellie's, but that shouldn't stop you from ordering a Marshall beer on tap. Or from buying it in the bottle.

As a side note, OK has one of the stranger liquor laws I've come across. Like KS, grocery stores cannot sell beer over 3.2% ABW. Liquor stores can, of course, sell beer over 3.2% ABW - but this is where it gets weird: it must be sold at room temperature. So much for proper storage of IPAs.

Public photo from TripAdvisor
On our way home, we took a detour to Springfield, MO for a visit to Springfield Brewing Company. It wasn't too far out of the way, and its master brewer is Ashton Lewis - also known as Mr Wizard to BYO readers. We each got a sampler, which contained an American Wheat, German Helles, Marzen (their seasonal), Pale ale, Stout (their black sheep offering), and IPA.

Sampler Tray at Springfield Brewing Co
All were enjoyable, but the Wheat & Helles (which they simply called "lager") really stood out. The wheat was hoppier than is typical with American wheats around here, and Mr Wort Hog suspected it was lagered due to a light sulphuric aroma. You'd be missing out on a great American Wheat if you passed this one up.

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