The evolution of beer is absolutely fascinating. Not just how beer has changed over time and the myriad styles that have traveled across countries and oceans and ended up in Oklahoma of all places, which is also incredible, but I’m talking about the evolution of what we enjoy.
When did you first have a beer? Maybe a sip of your dad’s can of Coors when you were a kid or at a field party in high school? I’m extremely lame, so mine was in college, at a party, and I remember thinking, “This is terrible.”
Was it a can of Keystone Light? Perhaps some Busch, which my dear friend Mat often reminded us is “part of the Budweiser family”? Whatever it was, I wasn’t particularly impressed. It tasted like sour wheat water, but, you know, you get used to it. (I feel the same way about LaCroix, frankly.)
After beer gets normalized, you start to taste the difference between one sour wheat water and another. Then somebody tells you the beer you’ve been drinking is crap and you really need to try this other sour wheat water and you do and it’s different, but is it better? Who can say?
Now, I assume that most people reading this have a fairly decent working knowledge of what beers they do and do not like. For instance, my parents (hi mom and dad!) are not fans of any beers or alcohols or the fact that my brother and I occasionally drink them.
But beer is not a discipline in which one can easily become a master, which is why Oak & Ore, which recently celebrated four years in business, is starting a new beer education series called Brew U. Each quarterly class will be a deep dive into the history of brewing, different techniques and ingredients and how they create different styles of beer.
Oak & Ore owner Micah Andrews said the new series is the culmination of years of discussions, but the time is finally right.
“There’s so much beer being made in Oklahoma City right now,” he said. “When we first thought of the event years ago, there wasn’t a quality control specialist anywhere in the state. Now we have enough breweries that we can tap a different one for each class.”
The first class, “What Exactly Is This Beer Thing, Anyway?” is 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30, led by COOP Ale Works quality control specialist Shawn Savuto. It includes snacks, an 8 oz. pour of COOP’s Saturday Siren and five 4 oz. pours of beers for tasting as Savuto walks participants through the basics of craft beer and how they affect flavor, texture and more.
It might seem like craft beer is everywhere these days, but it still makes up a pretty small chunk of the beer most Oklahomans drink, Andrews said. Brew U will, he hopes, bring more people into a world that can seem intimidating from the outside looking in.
Tickets are $30. Click here to reserve your spot.