By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2018, The Oklahoman
There is a lot of science that goes into making beer, wine, and spirits. There is also plenty of experimentation, creativity and just plain fun.
Oklahomans can get an insider’s view of Oklahoma’s emerging libations industry at the 2018 OKBio Brewfest, coming up Nov. 8 on the concourse of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Tickets are on sale at www.okbio/brewfest and there is a $10 off military discount.
About 35 Oklahoma brewers and wine- and cider-makers from throughout the state will be pouring samples at this year’s event, including Oklahoma’s first legal moonshine from Okie Shine distillery. The Henryetta-based company’s spirits are promoted as “fourth generation quality and first generation legal.”
Brewfest is designed to give ticket holders ample opportunity to talk to the companies and to enjoy established favorites as well as experimental wines, ciders and beers that haven’t reached the market yet.
It’s an opportunity to meet Cider Theory founder Christine Dowd, chef and co-owner of Aunt Pittypat’s Catering, who got into hard cider brewing in a roundabout way.
“One day a lady pulled up at our catering business in an old pickup that was filled with apples,” Dowd said. “They were the ugliest apples I’d ever seen, but I wanted to help her out at least a little, so I started thinking about all the things I could do with apples — apple strudel, apple pie, apple butter.”
Turns out the woman was so eager to get rid of the apples, that she gave them to Dowd, who after two days of dealing with garbage cans filled with ripening fruit, decided to juice the apples and make hard cider, and that’s how Cider Theory was born.
“We attend a few events that are fun and fit with who we are,” said Dowd. “We love Brewfest. It’s downtown, at a fun venue, and gives us the opportunity to showcase our ciders and give something back to the community.”
Cider Theory will be featuring Pumpkin Pi and Unicorn Tears (made of mashed cherries and aptly named by Dowd’s eight-year-old daughter who clearly recognizes the connection between science and fiction.)
MadHopper Brewing will be appearing at Brewfest for the first time. Todd O’Daniel and his business partners founded the company with the philosophy of being different and brewing differently by mixing and matching flavor profiles, such as barley, vanilla bourbon and cocoa nibs.
MadHopper will be tapping a brew titled O’Beast, a vanilla bourbon English barley wine, and Huritcane, a saison style beer based on passion fruit that is named after O’Daniel’s son’s childhood word for hurricanes.
“We really want to talk to people who come to see us at Brewfest,” O’Daniel said. “We appreciate that they come. We love to talk beer, and we love honest feedback.”
OKBio Brewfest raises awareness of Oklahoma’s diverse bioscience industry by showcasing many of the state’s breweries, wineries, and distilleries. This is a lighthearted, social event, but the companies and entrepreneurs that donate their products and time are serious about building and growing successful Oklahoma-based businesses and about giving back to the community.
That’s about as Oklahoma as it gets.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.