Barrels and Mash Field Trip: 405 Brewing

You know normally these fields trips are pretty easy to write. We go to the brewery, I feel kind of awkward because I’m there in some kind of a weird journalistic capacity like I know what I’m doing (I don’t), then I go home and know exactly what I’m going to say when I sit down to type it up. This one, however, I don’t really have a clue. It’s hard because normally I ask a bunch of questions about the history of the brewery and those that work there, their beers, what’s coming soon, then type it up with decent structure and move on to the next thing. Our visit with Trae and Jonathan, however, didn’t go that way because it was just a ton of fun and I kind of sucked it up at asking specific questions and taking notes. So, I’ll try my best to recount some of our conversations and piece together details from the sparse notes I took. Hooray, journalism!

Kate and I went down to Norman before our meeting with Forward Foods regarding the cheese pairing event we did with them a couple of weeks ago. We started out the 405 visit by hanging out with Trae and cracking a Willows Funk in the Trunk while waiting for Jonathan to make it through traffic. Justin (selfishly) had to do something regarding the child he and his wife have on the way so he couldn’t make it. Anyways, our conversation with Trae quickly turned to Cheetos and Doritos and he dropped some trivia on us regarding brewer’s yeast being used to help adhere the cheesy dust to those treats. I have no idea if that’s true, and refuse to look it up because I want to believe it.

We were sitting in the front room of the brewery with a small Balcones whiskey barrel on the table in front of us and a towel-covered carboy on the floor which contained a test batch of 405’s collaboration with Vanessa House. The beer will most likely be called LBJ (Lumberjack Beer), and is an Amber brewed with Magnum hops using Chico yeast, and will be fermented on Spanish Cedar and will be aged in that Balcones barrel with maple syrup. This beer sounds kind of crazy, and we can’t wait to try it once they scale it up.

Once Jonathan arrived we took to the brewery and chatted a bit about how they got started. The pair first started home brewing in 2008 and immediately knew they wanted to fire up a legit brewery. In 2013 they moved into their current spot and stocked up on equipment. It’s a pretty fun set up since most of the pieces are repurposed dairy equipment which was converted by a guy up north (Wisconsin or Minnesota or something, man we failed at taking notes), and the fermenters were originally used for wine. We then went off on a huge tangent and talked about their epic road trip in 2007 to buy beer for Trae’s wedding, and random booze-inspired trips that Kate and I have taken (pretty much all of our trips are booze-inspired).

We then headed over to the barrels and started drinking things, which really is the best way to wrap up any visit to any place whatsoever. 405 is currently aging their GFS (Grapefruit Sour), ESP (a farmhouse with peaches), and Manley (a barleywine). We immediately realized we lost track of time and were supposed to meet Justin at Forward Foods, but we went ahead and tried the ESP and GFS anyways and both were pretty great. the ESP tasted pretty ready to me, and the GFS still had a bit to go, but was developing nicely. Both beers should be ready for release around Oklahoma Craft Beer Week in June, and we’ll definitely be keeping our eye on these releases so we can jump on them as soon as they hit.

Thanks to Trae and Jonathan for having us down to hang out and try some beer. We obviously had a great time which resulted in this super casual, not super informational post, but hey, it’s beer!

Now, it’s time to go drink some FDR. Cheers!


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