Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beering in Tulsa

I'm still awaiting some pics from Oktoberfest to wrap up those posts, but whatever. This weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in a couple of workshops for NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). Sadly it was on my favorite holiday (Halloween), but why not mix it up a little and spend All Hollow's Eve in Oklahoma. But seriously, I am really going to have to have a heart-to-heart with the NSBE leadership, they love having all these conferences on holiday weekends: Halloween, Memorial Day, MLK Day, Spring Break. I wouldn't be surprised if the next one was on Superbowl night.

Anyway, I looked forward to doing some new beering out in Oklahoma, a place I'd never been before. Friday night NSBE set us up at this sophisticated like dive bar called Lola's. The bar was downtown in the Brady District. It was all of 10 miles from our hotel and took us about 30 minutes to get there with all the construction blocking off so many of the onramps to the freeway. Anyway, the Brady District is a funky rustic looking couple of blocks with a few dives. Very historic looking. My kinda place.

I had some Dewars scotch and just couldn't get it down, so I switched to beer and fortunately they had DNR on tap.

DNR (Do Not Resucitate) is brewed in Oklahoma City. Although the bar was a little busy, the bartender let me sample it, and told me a little about it's roots in Oklahoma. The taste had a nice brown sugar sweetness, fruitiness, and some cinnamon spice, though not much of a scent. The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a nice dryness. The slight sourness and bret bacteria effect told me it was definetly a Belgian, and I pegged it as a Belgian Dubbel, bottle conditioned, but a little low on the carbonation. And I had no hint of the 10% ABV, as I had about 3 of them.

In fact, the only things that clued me in to the high alcohol content was my dancing to crappy Autotune music, a slight hangover the next morning, and then the guy at Joe Mamma's telling me the actual ABV. 3 Stars. PS: Turns out this is a Belgian Golden Ale. But with that dark ruby color and tan head, they may want to consider calling it a Belgian Dark Ale or even a Belg Red Ale.

The next night (Saturday) most people were worn out after the late night and the long day at the conference, so I went with one of my colleagues to scare up some food and brews and check out the OK State game. There was not much promise on 71st street where we were staying, so I found a way onto the freeway and we hit downtown again. But this time we asked around as I was looking for McNellies. We made our way to another rustic looking cluster of bars downtown circa 2nd & Elgin, and found McNellies and Joe Momma's.

First we hit McNellies and noticed the lack of large screen TVs. Unless I'm in a small hotel room in a small country town (like I am right now), I just can't watching football on TVs like that. So we vowed to come back and hit Joe Momma's for some pizza.

You want talk about a kick ass pizza place. The Mamma's Bread was enough for a meal, the hot wings were very well done, and the BBQ Pork pizza was excellent. But they also had the lineup of Marshall Beer all on tap. It helped that the waiter was a real cool dude and really knew his beer. We ended up trying them all.

I started out with the Marshall Old Pavilion Pilsner and found it HEAVY on the saaz and noble hops. Great high carbo but maybe a little too American for the style. Low 3 Star. The waiter brought us the samples of their Atlas IPA and Pub Ale. The Pub Ale had a lot fruitiness too it with a touch of sour. But it never really came together well for me.

The waiter was big on the IPA claiming the brewer tried to make it a quintessential style of IPA. I asked if that meant American or English, but it turned out to be right in the middle on the hop strength. I would lean it toward a strong English IPA, as I think of Widmer's Broken Halo as a base level American IPA. I actually say the Pilsner was a little more hoppy. Otherwise it was PERFECTLY balanced and had the just right amount of malt, and a strong enough carbonation to get that flavor right back off your tongue. 3 Stars.

But our favorite was Marshall's Sundown Wheat. Brewed with orange rinds and whatnot, it had a fantastic medium body and strong orange flavor that even peaked through the hot wings. There was a touch of some coriander but it was much heavier on the orange. Just had a great... poofiness to it. We both ordered more of Sundown. 4 Stars.

Joe Momma's had a local swing band playing as well and I love that kind of stuff. I loved their old school pizza place ambiance with maybe 47" screen TVs. OK State was blowing it against Texas so we eventually broke out as the Swing Band was started to rev up and we just overate.

No energy to sit around at McNellies and I felt bad as I had my colleagues rental car. He's not as married as I am, so at about 10 PM is figured to get the car back to him. I had half a mind of to steer everyone to McN's should we all go back out again, but EVERYONE clocked out. Just no energy to hit the streets.

For a while back in the day, Tulsa was a big deal in the Oil & Gas world, though much of that is now in Dallas and Houston. But, like Houston is now, people from the area tell me how there used to be strip clubs on every corner. Turns out you also cannot store a beer over like 3.2 ABV in a fridge, it has to stay at room temp in the liquor store, or it has to be on draft, something like that. Though in Texas we just keep you from making decent money.

Anyway, as a wrap up, nice little town. Good people, very proud of their beer. A few good hangout spots. We just gotta get that Black Wall Street back up, and we're good to go.

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