OKC VeloCity | Amid changes, Anthem Brewing Co grows with OKC's craft beer scene

Amid changes, Anthem Brewing Co grows with OKC's craft beer scene

By Nate Fisher / Lifestyle / January 11, 2019

It’s tough to argue with the success and explosive growth of OKC’s craft brewing scene as of late, and don’t think we here at VeloCityOKC HQ haven’t noticed. With all the new offerings “on tap,” so to speak, we thought our readers might enjoy a look inside the goings-on of one of Oklahoma City’s most successful craft breweries. Chamber member Anthem Brewing Company not only makes some fantastic and popular “core beers” that you may already be familiar with, but also features a rotating cask cast of seasonal,  experimental and just plain “why-the-heck-not?” beers in their taproom. On your behalf, we tried some (yes, it’s a tough job and all that.) Watch the videos below for a look at Anthem’s brand, taproom and brewery, some of the small-batch beers you can only get in the taproom, future plans and more, and read on for our impressions, tasting notes and pairing suggestions.

Recently, members of the Chamber’s Marketing & Communications staff took an afternoon to visit Anthem Brewing Company's taproom, 908 SW 4th St., to test, taste, rate (on a scale of 1 to 10) the experimental and seasonal offerings available only on-site, and then do our best impression of craft beer experts by channeling our inner cicerones (AKA a beer sommelier) and putting pen to paper. Enjoy! (After all, we did. 😀)

Federal Level – rating 8.0

This unique Kentucky Common (a dark bourbon-barrel aged cream sour [yes, that’s a lot going on]) was highly rated among our tasters at no. 2 overall.

Color / Appearance

“Very dark.” “Pretty opaque in the glass, looks like a stout but tastes way different.” “Dark with a moderate amount of head, not too much, just the way I like it for darker beers.”

Nose

“Woody, some coffee, nutty, strong.” “Some resin, maybe a little blackcurrant and clove.” “Somewhat resinous, pine, but also some plum and raisin somehow.”

Mouth

“Creamy and dreamy, if you’ll permit me to say.” “This sounds crazy but it’s like some sour cream with a bit of bourbon – and it really works!” “Noticeable alcohol, moderate hop bitterness, medium finish, caramel and chocolate notes.” “Nutty, strong, stout.”  

Finish

“Long finish.” “Caramel comes through more on the finish.”

Conclusion

“Would go well with chocolate.” “Unique flavor! Sort of like sweet tarts?” “The Anthem folks tell me this beer is on a very short window. Don’t miss the opportunity to get this sour dark cream ale!”

Pairs well with

This unique beer not only stands well on its own, but it also would serve as a great after-dinner digestif, if you will, perhaps alongside some Oklahoma-made chocolate treats from Chamber members Scissortail Gifts or Exhibit C, or some favorites from Russell Stover in the OKC Outlets. 

Barrel-aged Mangose – rating 7.125

Mangose is an Anthem taproom favorite, and this time they changed it up a bit by aging it in French oak barrels, resulting in a very slight tannin along with some other nice surprises (see below).

Color / Appearance

“Pale, kind of like straw in the light.” “Hazy but not opaque.”

Nose

“Some herbal and woody notes.” “Citrus, tropical, fruity – pineapple!” “I’m getting a bit of a floral character on the nose.”

Mouth

“Soft on the palate, and again more of the floral character.” “Citrus flavor, tropical notes on the back of the tongue, some fruit, and slightly floral as well.” 

Finish

“Medium finish, the floral notes come through a bit more.” “Smooth finish.”

Conclusion

“Mangose will be every girl’s best friend! Aged beautifully. A great sour.” “Sour, strong floral notes, goes down easy.” “Floral foretaste, smooth after.”

Pairs well with

Gose is a style that supposedly goes with everything, but we think that the fruit-forward nature of the Mangose would especially pair well with something a little more on the savory side to complement the sour’s inherent salty quality. Chamber members Tucker’s Onion Burgers, Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, or Sonic should have the goods in that department – pair a burger and fries (or salty tots) with the Mangose and enjoy!


With the recent changes in Oklahoma’s alcohol laws centered around SQ 792 and accompanying legislation, Anthem Brewing Company saw a large increase in demand virtually overnight, prompting installation of a new, larger production facility and (soon) accompanying taproom expansion. In the above video, Anthem’s director of sales & marketing Derek Duty gives us a great look into the history of Anthem, the brand, entrepreneurship and the craft beer scene in OKC, and what’s in store for the future.

 

OK Oat – rating 9.375

The consensus favorite of our tasting flight, the OK Oat is a classic English oatmeal stout that’s easy to drink and easy to love.

Color / Appearance

“Black almost, very dark!” “Opaque, I’d call it very dark but not quite black.” “Dark, opaque, not too much head, medium visual carbonation, perfect for my taste.” “Moderate head with a slow carbonation.”

Nose

“Coffee really comes through on the nose.” “I’m getting chocolate, raisin, vanilla, a little smoke.” “Bread flour, coffee, a touch of smoke.”

Mouth

“Round mouthfeel, chocolate, caramel and coffee—what’s not to love?” “You can taste the alcohol but not overpowering by any means. Restrained hops with caramel and chocolate malt forward.” “Mildly coffee-ee (is that a word?)”

Finish

“Smooth finish and tasty, bold flavors.” “COFFEE!”

Conclusion

“This is a classic style that’s very well-done, cheers!” “Perfect beer for a cold Oklahoma evening!

Pairs well with

Steaks like stouts, so think of Chamber members like RED PrimeSteak, Boulevard, Mickey Mantle’s, Ranch, Cattlemen’s and more. However, the slight sweetness and inherent caramel and oatmeal character would also present a nice counterpoint to some savory seafood dishes like oysters at The Drake, Pearl’s or Hefner Grill.

Farmhouse – rating 7.8125

A traditional farmhouse ale aged in chardonnay oak barrels and fermented with brettanomyces! Our tasters loved the complex, unexpected flavors coming from the glass on this one.

Color / Appearance

“Call it a medium amber.” “Not clear but not opaque, kind of right in between.” “Carbonation looks medium, not too fizzy, just the way I like ‘em.”

Nose

“I’m getting some bread flour on the nose, somehow – very interesting – along with some green hoppiness.” “Floral and herbal notes, a little woody too.” “Citrus on the nose.”

Mouth

“Some spice, some wood, buttery somehow.” “Tart, light, smooth!” “Call me crazy but it’s got some sweetness back there in addition to the obvious chardonnay quality it got from the barrels.”

Finish

“Medium finish, with a bit of honey.” “Medium, partially sparkling carbonation.” “Apple on the finish.”

Conclusion

“Afternoon delight in this glass! Bring wine-loving friends to try! Unique and delish.” “Bready, awesome unique flavor. The hops interact with the chard barrel-aging process to create a unique flavor explosion!” “If it’s got brett, I like it.”

Pairs well with

The chardonnay-esque buttery, woodsy quality of this beer means it would pair especially well with roasted chicken dishes, but if you want to change it up a bit, maybe think of a borracho chicken burrito from Chamber members like Big Truck Tacos, or from Louie’s on the Lake, a chicken pesto sandwich.

Ogletoberfest – rating 6.875

Vienna-style lager with a touch of malty sweetness.

Color / Appearance

“Medium, a little haze but probably the clearest of the flight.” “Fairly clear, pretty deep amber color, slower carbonation.”

Nose

“Citrus, some clove, a little wood. Roasted malt.” “Smells like a traditional ‘beer.’”

Mouth

“Mild flavor, easy drinker.” “Mild, restrained level of hop bitterness, a little woody, goes down smooth – a good, straightforward representation of the style.” “The roast malt from the nose gets more caramelly in the mouth.”

Finish

“Medium on the palate, soft body, not too fizzy, medium finish.” “Caramel notes linger just a bit, nice!”

Conclusion

“Super light, very drinkable. Perfect for a poker night or catching up with friends.” “This one is a smooth criminal. Finishes very nice!” “Accessible – this is a beer to drink if you’re not sure where to start with craft.”

Pairs well with

The caramel character of this beer could find a nice counterpoint in spicy dishes, so we’re thinking of something hot like some hot wings from Chamber members like Buffalo Wild Wings on NW Expressway, a Buffalo chicken sandwich or voodoo burger from Bourbon St. Café or a chile relleno from Ted’s Café Escondido.

Rye’d or DIPA– rating 8.0

A strong rating reflects this seasonal favorite’s popularity, which blends popular prevailing east coast and west coast IPA styles nicely in a surprisingly pleasing balance right in the middle (kind of like Oklahoma, if we do say so ourselves!).

Color / Appearance

“A little chestnut, medium, hazy, looks tasty.” “A little hazy, looks like low carbonation, not a ton of head.” “Not opaque but on its way there, a nice golden chestnut color in the glass, slow carbonation.”

Nose

“You can get some citrus, tropical, floral and some ‘freshness’ character from the hops on the nose.” “The hops smell a little citrusy and resiny, some spice.” “The nose has notes of toast, blackcurrant, and a little clove.”

Mouth

“Oh baby – mild citrus / tropical at first, moderate hops, and then a really nice fruity character comes through secondarily.” “Only moderate hop flavor, kind of surprising – really nicely done.”

Finish

“Fruit comes through more at the finish, maybe just a touch of hops here as well.” “Longer finish, desireable.”

Conclusion

“To die for! I am an IPA fan and this one is going home with me.” “Awesome DIPA. Not too hoppy or bitter. This is a great IPA for people who dislike IPAs. They will believe!” “Very in-style – more citrus than some of the other DIPAs or NEIPAs (that’s a good thing). A nice counterpoint to some of the more fruit-forward options in the market.”

Pairs well with

The slight floral hop and citrus character of this beer would, if you’ll permit me to say, pair fantastically with some breakfast foods (it's never too early, amirite?). Chamber member Kitchen 324’s No. 324 omelet, with its delicately balanced herb blend, would provide a nice accompaniment to the hops on the nose and finish, or the slight spicy quality of the scrambled egg sandwich with double-smoked pastrami may be just what the DIPA doctor ordered to ride along with the overall citrusy character of the Rye’d or DIPA.

Gose – rating 6.6

Brewed with coriander and pink Himalayan sea salt, if you like sours and goses, this is a great representative of the style. If you don't, well, you're crazy.

Color / Appearance

“A little hazy, pretty light in color – almost white!” “Low carbonation in the glass, slight haze, not thick.” “Very light, a slight bit of straw, interesting color.”

Nose

“Like a seabreeze! And a touch of smoke. And I’m not sure why, but I swear I’m smelling just a bit of ham.” “You can detect the salty character on the nose, and a bit of herbs.”

Mouth

“Tart, but mildly so; moderate hop character, pickle-ish!” “Not as smooth as the Mangose, but still quite lovely.” “Sour, it’ll kick you right in the teeth or tastebuds.” “Taste > smell for me.”

Finish

“Great carbonation – tiny bubbles help impart the salty-and-herb character that’s pretty unique here.” 

Conclusion

“Very tart, but also mouth-watering.” “Super sour and wonderful!”

Pairs well with

As we said before, gose is a style that is known to "go with everything," but the unique sea salt-and-coriander flavor of this beer had us thinking one thing: pizza. Chamber members like Stone Sisters Pizza, Upper Crust, The Wedge, America’s Incredible Pizza Company, or Domino’s in Bricktown have what you need to succeed when it comes to pairing the gose.

Editor's note: The Chamber Marketing & Communications staff would like to thank Derek Duty, Shaun Wright, Jesse House and all the other great folks at Anthem for their hospitality and willingness to participate in our project. Thank you all!

 

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