Roughtail Brewing Company
One of my favorite things about being from Oklahoma is our obligatory and never-ending promotion of what I call “Okie Points of Pride.” For most of my life, the top three items on that list generally have consisted of football, barbecue, and oil production. Now, it has come time to update the list and add brewing as one of our core competencies. Oklahoma may not have the largest craft brewing community in the country, but our line-up is rock solid.
Here in Oklahoma, we sometimes lose football recruits to big and brash Texas. Roughtail Brewing Company almost followed a similar path. In fact, the very name of Roughtail Brewing Company originates from the tiny geckos that scamper abundantly around Dallas area driveways and garages. But as the beer-gods would have it, Blaine Stansel and Tony Tielli, founders of Roughtail, would ultimately call the Oklahoma City area home and take their passion for home-brewing to the next level, officially opening Roughtail Brewing Company in 2013.
Remember when I said Oklahoma beer is rock solid? Oklahomans don’t just love beer; we love great beer (I’m looking at you, Milwaukee). We are home to some of the most nationally respected craft beers in the country, so the team at Roughtail knew they had to deliver a high quality product to make waves in our great state. And they did so with a twist in both flavor and delivery. Aside from selling craft beer in cans, which automatically makes Roughtail my go-to brew for all summer water activities, they brought the flavors of fruits and citrus, particularly great for IPAs, to Oklahomans who had been experiencing mostly coffee or chocolate inspired ales.
Located in Midwest City, the industrial building where the beer is produced is also home to the on-site taproom known as the Taphouse. And while you can find Roughtail in any liquor store worth its salt, thanks to Oklahoma’s efforts to modernize a little, you can also head straight to the brewery and purchase the growlers or cans of your choice. The Roughtail Taphouse building is most easily identified by the line of patrons trailing out of the doorway since it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon sampling beers. Over a dozen brews such as Liz Lemondrop, Strawberry Froyo, Everything Rhymes with Orange, and the Hoptometrist prove that this brew-crew cares as much about the character of the beer as they do the flavor. Head brewer, Matt Denham, is the beer-chef tasked with making sure the recipes are not only unique, but taste terrific. This quality check was a task I was happy to help with...repeatedly.
Unsurprisingly, Roughtail is growing, and not only amongst the homecourt fan base. Roughtail is quickly expanding to our neighboring states and even contemplating a move to a bigger facility to accommodate growing demand. When I spoke with Blaine, Tony, and Matt about what we can expect from Roughtail in the near future, all echoed the same message of “keeping up with demand and brewing the best beer.”
So, what is the best beer at Roughtail? That’s something I suggest visiting the Taphouse to determine. I tried several, and one of my favorites for this time of year was the Everything Rhymes with Orange. Normally, IPAs are a little too bitter for my taste but not this one. Maybe it was the summer heat or my affinity for citrusy beers, but this struck me as a brew you could either grab a can of on a hot day to sate your thirst or pair with a nice lake catch to sip slowly from a frosted mug. You will find the “Orange” refreshing without being flimsy.
If you’re not into the citrusy IPA thing, check out the Little Blue Pils(ner). Easily the most popular style of beer on the planet, pilsner is what we generally think of as a classic American beer, although it’s Czech in origin. The Little Blue Pils(ner) takes it up a notch, offering a classic but with even more of that identifiable pilsner flavor. It goes with everything and is supremely drinkable.
I can’t possibly go into the entire lineup in this article, but I have accepted the challenge to try them all. I advise you to head to the Taphouse with some friends and do some research of your own. And in a year or two, when your friends and relatives from Texas call you to tell you about the “new” beer they discovered, you can claim it as yet another Okie point of pride.
> Roughtail Brewing Company, 1279 North Air Depot Blvd, Midwest City