Our featured partner this week is Roughtail Brewing Co.’s co-founder and owner, Blaine Stansel. A native of Norman, Stansel’s passion for local craft brewing was inspired by a trip to Germany and a desire to create great local beer for Oklahoma.
How did you become passionate about craft beer?
I had two pivotal moments in my journey towards great beer. The first was a trip to Munich where I discovered Shiner Bock was not in fact a bock, and that there was a whole world of beers I was missing out on. The funny part is that I could have found most of those beers I had in Munich in local liquor stores at the time, but I thought that I had to start home brewing for some reason. I actually always had a desire to home brew. I even had one of those Mr. Beer gadgets during college. I never made anything that was decent though. My next big revelation was going to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. I never was big into IPA’s, but after attending and touring some of the Colorado breweries I really wanted to open one while I continued to home brew. You’ve got to remember at the time in 2010 COOP had just started, I don’t think F5 was out yet, and there was a whole lot of west coast breweries shipping beer out here.
Roughtail hosts lots of events, including those in partnership with other local businesses such as Coffee Slingers Roasters. Do you have any favorite upcoming events?
The Craft Brewer’s Association of Oklahoma hosted the 1st Annual Strong Ale Fest on March 10th, and they had lots of one-off beers you are not able to get anywhere else. All beers are over 8% at the event, but we don’t strictly limit them to ales, and we welcome lagers as well. It was held adjacent to Anthem Brewing and included food trucks.
Our 5th Anniversary Party is coming up on April 7th. We’re doing a different release each hour starting at 12PM and ending at 8PM. It’s free to get in, there will be live music and a food truck or two.
You’ve mentioned that your favorite beer style is the Double IPA. Can you tell us about your brew “HOPTOMETRIST?”
I wouldn’t say my favorite style is a double IPA necessarily. Maybe in my younger years it was, but right now I’m really digging Hazy IPA’s. They are not near as bitter and have a some oats and wheat that round the beer out and tons of aroma hops. I still love Hoptometrist though. It’s a west coast double IPA. We’ve tweaked this recipe a little over the years too, depending on what new hops we can get our hands on, so we can keep it up-to-date date and in line with what our customers prefer.
Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?
OKCityCard is a great way for us to get our name out there and support an organization that does such fantastic things around the city. Also with all the great business that are already on there we wouldn’t want to be left off!
In your experience, how is brewing both a science and an art? Why do you think locally-crafted beer is important for our community?
There’s a bunch of both involved, especially in a small operation such as ourselves. On the science-end there is a lot of biology used, since the yeast is a living organism, and has dietary requirements and living condition requirements. Also we have to make sure we keep bacteria out of the beer so we have specific sanitation procedures. We also use a lot of chemistry, especially during the brewing process and the cleaning and sanitation as well. The larger you grow the more you lean towards the science end of the spectrum and away from art end. So a Budweiser is going to be almost all science at this point.
Where you get more into art is creating new recipes and trying new techniques. We tend to do a lot of that as well. We are constantly doing new batches. We just started releasing barrel aged beers and we have some new sour beers that should be ready in the near future. Those beers specifically are art-heavy and you aren’t sure when they will be ready to sell, but you’ll know it when you taste it.
Roughtail Brewing Co. is located at 1279 N Air Depot Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73110. You can reach them at 405.771.6517 and on their website at www.roughtailbeer.com. Roughtail offers 10% off non-alcoholic items for purchase with your OKCityCard.