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Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival seeks to grow state's beer culture

Beer-tasting event will feature more than 200 beers, many made by Oklahoma brewers.
BY NICK TROUGAKOS Modified: May 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm •  Published: May 15, 2013

“Not a lot of people know us yet,” Stansel said. “With the number of people that come to the craft beer event every year, it's a huge deal. Just getting our name out right now is the biggest thing for us.

“We just need people to be familiar with us, and so when they go to a bar they can ask for us. I think the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival is going to really help us out in that aspect.”

The festival is essentially a centerpiece event for the state's craft beer movement, which has started to hit its stride in the past five years. In Oklahoma, nearly a dozen brewers have started business over the past five years — with several more in planning. In 2012, a brewing cooperative was opened in Oklahoma City. It's home to three of the state's craft beer makers.

Small batches crafted

Unlike much of the beer available in grocery stores — brewed by giant corporations in massive batches — craft beer is known for being created in small batches, and often by local brewers using high-quality ingredients. Craft beer often features distinctive flavors and more progressive use of hops, one of the main ingredients in beer. Hops can impart myriad combinations of bitterness, flavor and aroma to beer. Stansel said that flavor-forward approach and attention to quality and detail is winning fans over.

“It seems like every week there's a new craft-centric bar opening up,” he said. “They're springing up all around the city. You're seeing new bars that are focusing specifically on craft, and really specifically on local beers. It's great for us, for the local guys. I think that's only going to keep growing.”

Powell said he hopes his event helps push the movement forward even more.

“The beer culture's just a great culture,” he said. “It's good people. Having seen that grow here in Oklahoma is a lot of fun.”