It’s the Sunday after the 2017 Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival, which means a relaxing morning with water and caffeine for a lot of us. This year’s festival was fantastic and we had an absolute blast. OCBF was nice enough to allow Barrels and Mash to take over their Instagram account for the Saturday night session, which we had a great time with. We got to awkwardly talk about beer on some video stories, take some selfies, and record a few brewers talking about their beer (or in the case of Vanessa House, they just danced). It was a really cool opportunity and something I hope we will get to do again. We worked hard to keep it clean.
In keeping with the tradition we started last year, we thought it would be fun to present another round of Barrels and Mash Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival Awards to document some of our favorite things and give a shout out to those most deserving of what will surely become the most prestigious award that any human has ever received.
As I was writing last year’s award thing I had the thought that we should whip up some trophies or something for next time. Well crap. I forgot. Hopefully 2018 Kris remembers this moment.
So, without further ado, let’s give out some non-existent trophies!
Best Overall Beers: Vanessa House Broken Tile, Stonecloud Journey Home, and Prairie Barrel-Aged Christmas Bomb!
This was WAY harder than last year and it became impossible to pick a single beer between the 3 of us, so a 3-way tie it is! Broken Tile Double IPA from Vanessa House was in the top 2 in each of our lists, with it being Kate’s overall favorite of the festival. The same is true for Stonecloud’s Journey Home Apricot Sour, which was my favorite of the weekend. For Justin, the Barrel Aged Christmas Bomb! reigned supreme.
I also love the way this worked out. 3 totally different beers from 3 totally different breweries all in different stages of their careers. Prairie is a well established brand with international distribution, Vanessa House is a young brewery with a couple packaged beers still looking for a place to set up shop in the city, and Stonecloud is run by a brewer with years of professional brewing experience just months away from opening his own brewery in OKC.
I also have to mention Stonecloud’s Fruit Basket, which is a blend of the Journey Home Apricot Sour and Hala Mama Kahki, their Pineapple Tart. Apparently this blend came about because a patron of the festival requested it and after tasting how brilliant it was Stonecloud added it to their board. Long live Fruit Basket.
(edit: It’s been revealed that local genius Mike Byrne was the patron who invented Fruit Basket. Well done sir)
Best Homebrew: Joe Quinlin’s Dark Chocolate Coconut
This was also a very tough call as there were two homebrews that really stood out above the rest. One was Joe Quinlin’s Bourbon Baby Beer, a 12% abv Imperial Stout aged with Bourbon soaked oak chips, and the other was Charlie Sheldon’s Yet Another Damn IPA, a juicy NE style IPA made with London III yeast.
Then, as we were about to leave we swung by the Big Friendly Beer Bus and talked to Joe one last time. He poured us his Dark Chocolate Coconut Stout, a VIP only beer, and it blew us away. Rich and creamy with some perfect dark chocolate bitterness and bright, sweet coconut.
The moral of this story is if you see Joe Quinlin or Charlie Sheldon pouring their beers, go drink them.
Best Brewery in Planning: Angry Scotsman Brewing
With last year’s winner, Stonecloud, now very close to opening, that makes room for a new champ. With offerings like La Chimere, a French Saison fermented with white grape musks resulting in a delicious blend of complex saison and white wine, and Pints of Persia, a unique and complex hibiscus and saffron Witbier, Angry Scotsman Brewing took the gold. There was some good competition from Cabin Boys and Lazy Circles, but Ross the Angry Scot came out on top. We can’t wait for these guys to open up in OKC.
Best Nicest Man: John Elkins
For any of you that have met the man behind Elk Valley Brewing, this should come as no surprise. Not only does John’s brewery produce the most consistently delicious beers in the state, he’s just a damn nice man. We very much enjoyed talking to him at this year’s festival and will be watching his progress as he builds his new brewery in Midtown.
Best Refreshing Beer – Brandon Jones’ #lakelife
Another stand out among the home brewers was Brandon Jones. He told a story of being at the lake with his buddies, a bunch of craft beer, and one big box of macro brewed lime beer. Towards the end of the weekend when everyone was hot, tired and just needed something light to drink, the lime beer hit the spot. He wanted to recreate this situation but by making it himself, so that he did. The result was a super refreshing sip full of lime aroma coming from both lime juice and lime zest used in the brew. At around 3% abv I could slam that stuff all day during the summer. Cheers, Brandon.
Best Beer Not From Here: Propolis Beltane
Craft & Barrel came strong this year with their mega booth pouring things from Evil Twin, Destihl, Cascade, and Sixpoint, just to name a few. The star of the show for us was Beltane from Propolis, a super complex Saison with Brett and Elderflower from Washington State. I’ll be looking for some of this stuff this week, you should too.
Best Tent That Shouldn’t Exist: Twisted Tea
During the Friday session Kate, in an effort to be hilarious, filled my little cup up with Twisted Tea Lemonade while I was in the restroom. She shouldn’t have had that option.
Best Dance Moves: Vanessa House Beer Co.
Like there could be anyone else that could top THIS
Bonus Award – Best Bathroom That Should Be Immediately Destroyed: The Far Left Porta Potty
Seriously, bad things happened there. Burn it to the ground and don’t look back.
Well there you go. Another OCBF is in the books. I’ll try to remember some kind of actual trophy thing next year. We hope you all had as much fun as we did at this year’s festival and we’ll see you next year!