Earlier this week, Justin and I visited Anthem Brewing Company, located in downtown Oklahoma City, to drink some beer, talk about beer, drink some more beer, and talk about Anthem. We hung out with Patrick, President and Brewmaster, and Ben, Anthem’s Brand Ambassador. I had been on a couple of tours of their facilities and obviously have really been digging their releases, so the opportunity for a private discussion was super cool. I went into it thinking about doing a formal-style Q and A, but after that first beer I lost interest in that and decided it would just be more fun to talk about the brewery, how it started, where it’s going, and take some notes. Maybe some day I’ll learn how to do a formal Q and A post, but probably not anytime there is alcohol present.
Anthem has been around in one form or another since May of 2012, making its public-pour debut at the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival with Golden One, a belgian-style blonde ale. Golden One was also Anthem’s first production beer and was released that fall. It was brewed at OKCity Brewing, a brew cooperative, along side Redbud, Mustang and Black Mesa. Then, with Oklahoma weather being the fickle bitch that it is, OKCity Brewing was destroyed by a tornado in May of 2013.
In April of 2014 Anthem returned in its current location, basically a 2-man shop producing kegs of Golden One. In July of that year they released Golden One in cans and introduced Arjuna, a belgian-style white ale, and Uroburos, Anthem’s stout. By December of 2014 Anthem had produced around 930 barrels of beer, with around 600 of those being produced in the last 3 months of the year.
The brewery’s production continues to grow exponentially as they produced more than 900 barrels, their entire 2014 production, in January through April of this year. Anthem just produced its 1,800th barrel of 2015 on July 12 (it was their delicious IPA…mmm…IPA). It’s also worth noting this is all being done with a 6-man shop. Tanner, the Head Brewer, along with Rich and Reed handle the floor production while Ben, Patrick and Nick run the office side of things (and of course help out on the production floor when needed).
Talking to these guys it’s obvious they are shooting for the moon, which is great to see. Their passion and enthusiasm is contagious. While running projections for next year they stated that they want to hit an annual production of around 7,200 barrels. After making under 1,000 in their 9 months of production last year that’s crazy, and awesome. They are also currently pursuing breaking into the Texas market by way of Dallas as a first stop, then expanding through the rest of the state. I can’t wait to see Anthem on the shelves down there while stocking up on an out-of-state trip.
This a brewery to watch. They are getting more and more into the barrel-aged game which is fantastic by me. While we were talking we were surrounded by barrels full of a Sour Brown aged in Opus One red wine barrels (brewed for TapWerk’s 20th anniversary), a Brett Saison aged in Chardonnay barrels, and a Quad aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels, all currently slated for release this fall and winter. Also sitting around were the next batches of Festivus, a bourbon barrel aged holiday ale, Pappy Burleson, a wheat wine ale aged in Jack Daniels White Rabbit barrels and Uroburos sitting in both brandy and bourbon barrels. Babalon, a sour ale aged in oak with cherries, is also scheduled for its next release in the next month or two (this one should be a full 100 case release as opposed to the super limited 20 case release last year).
I’m really looking forward to trying the upcoming releases from Anthem and highly recommend taking a tour and visiting their taproom. While on our visit Justin picked up a growler of their new Upper 90 Pale Ale (Anthem’s co-branded brew with the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club) and reviewed it in conjunction with this post, check it out here!
Thanks to the Anthem dudes for having us out. Now check out this sweet slide show!