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Spring-activated


To keep their brands fresh, Oklahoma brewers pour a bevy of new beers into the market to appeal to shifting palates.

Charles Martin March 23rd, 2011

There’s nothing like Oklahoma spring storms to wash away the dust left over from the waning days of winter. For beer drinkers, this means switching up their selection by cycling out the seasonal porters and stouts.



above Mustang beer at McNellie’s

A new batch of beers from Oklahoma brewers is hitting liquor stores and restaurant taps with drinks form-fitted for spring sensibilities.

According to Battered Boar Brewing Company’s Mike Sandefur, introducing a new beer is one of brewing’s most challenging aspects. His newest offering is Ultimo Hombre, an unfiltered American wheat beer that he believes eventually will be a year-round addition to the Battered Boar lineup. It will be introduced in 22-ounce bomber bottles instead of six-packs, to give the brewery a sense of how the public will respond before a year-round rollout.

Tulsa’s Marshall Brewing Company recently expanded its production facilities to offer its first spring seasonal, according to Wes Alexander, director of sales. The beer, Revival Red, will be available in sixpack bottles and on draft.

“The inspiration for Revival Red is the Oklahoma spring evenings when there is a nip in the air and even some rather fun weather,” Alexander said. “The ‘revival’ refers to the hops we are using in the beer, both Cascade and Chinook, which have citrusy tastes.”

He added the Centennial dry hops give the beer a well-balanced, but slightly bitter taste. The bottle features the original Oklahoma state flag, which was a white star with “46” in the middle, on a red background. The flag was shelved after communist scares led some to believe it was too “red.”

Choc Beer Company, located in Krebs, will complete its first full round of seasonals with Spring Ale, an American-style India pale ale available in six-pack bottles or on draft. Zach Prichard, Choc’s sales and marketing director, said if the seasonals are considered one brand, then they were the second top-selling beer last year amid an expansive lineup featuring up to 12 varieties available on shelves at any one time. Choc chose the IPA as a seasonal because it guarantees a short shelf life for the beer.

“It is really important to have an IPA fresh,” Prichard said. “The main ingredient for those beers are the hops. Over time, the aroma of the hops fades, so it is important to get the IPA as fresh as possible. Doing an IPA as a seasonal, we can ensure that the beer is, at most, 3 months old when someone takes a drink of it.”

Mustang Brewing Company is introducing Pawnee Pale this spring, but it will be a year-round beer. President Tim Schoelen said that its first attempt at a seasonal was the Washita Wheat, but after winning a silver medal in the 2010 World Beer Championships, demand was so significant that the brewery shifted it to a year-round.

He considered moving the Amber Lager to a winter seasonal, but had sales spike for that beer, too. He said the Harvest Lager will remain a fall seasonal, but Mustang will expand its year-round portfolio with the Pawnee Pale.

“Our fans have been asking us for pale ale for a long time,” he said. “We felt that a lot of the pale ales and IPAs on the market were too hoppy. They’d worked so hard on adding hops that they’d forgotten about making a beer that is smooth and easy to drink.”

 
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