#133 – Roughtail Brewing in Midwest City, OK

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(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE

Immediately after leaving COOP Ale Works back in mid-May, we drove across town to meet with the guys at Roughtail brewing. When we arrived, co-owner Blaine Stansel greeted us before having to commit to a 12th Round challenge that involved their 12th Round Strong Ale and 12 minutes of time. It was quite entertaining, so we were all in a good mood the rest of the time. While chatting with him and the other co-owner, Tony Tielli, we learned all about Roughtail’s business model, beers, and history. There are many attributes about the brewery and beers that are quite unique, so we can assure you that Roughtail Brewing will satisfy your thirst whether you’re trying them offsite or at the brewery. A new taproom was opened quickly after laws changed to allow breweries to pour samples, so stop by and tell them hi for us when you’re in town!

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#132 – COOP Ale Works in Oklahoma City, OK

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(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE

After taking a short break back in our home town of Dallas, TX, we started off our second leg of the trip by heading north into Oklahoma to visit COOP Ale Works in Oklahoma City. While there, we spoke with co-founder JD Merryweather about the brewery; he told us that COOP had just celebrated their 5 year anniversary about a week and a half before our visit. To celebrate the occasion, they held an event that included live local music, food trucks, and over 20 beers on tap. We were also informed that the brewery has six year-round flagship beers – F5 IPA, Elevator Wheat, Horny Toad Blonde, Native Amber, Gran Sport Porter, and DNR Belgian-style Dark Ale – but they also do a lot of small batch recipes and firkins. Later on, JD (who is also President of the Oklahoma Craft Brewers Guild) gave us insight into beer and breweries in Oklahoma before we had to head to our next stop!

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#94 – Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia, PA

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The day before my 30th birthday was a rainy (yet awesome) Saturday that started at Yards Brewing Company during their public hours on 3/29/14. As soon as we walked in the door, we were given a free sample of their IPA as well as a wooden chip which was to be redeemed later for a tour of the brewery; the color of the chip determined what time our tour was. Rather than join that tour, we purchased a $5 flight of their beer and met up with brewer Andrew Rutherford who first sat with us to go over a few facts about Yards before taking us through the brewery on a private tour.

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Michael’s Thoughts – 3/24/14 Part 3

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It ended up only being a 20 minute drive over to our friend Teddy’s place, who is a guy I have known almost my entire life. We grew up in the same neighborhood and used to ride the same school bus as kids. It had been about 12 years since I last saw him, so we spent that first night catching up on things and talking to his girlfriend Kelsey as the snow continued to come down outside. By the time we woke up the next morning, there was over 6 inches of snow outside, so Bluejacket got in touch with us to reschedule our visit to Wednesday (it was Monday). Because of that, we spent the whole day with Teddy and Kelsey working on our laptops, hanging out, playing bananagrams, watching jeopardy, and of course trying out some good beers. We did the same thing there with them the next day, then said our goodbyes Wednesday morning.

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[Haggis, Teddy, Me]

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[Teddy’s Balcony]

Our trip to Bluejacket in DC was pretty sweet, and afterwards we drove up to Frederick, MD to visit with Flying Dog. That night we stayed with Caroline, a woman we got in touch with through Couchsurfing, and her boyfriend Richard. She was super quirky and fun, so we had a good time watching TV and talking about all kinds of things (including the Simpsons, hell yea). In the morning, she fed and caffeinated us and then we took off to head into Baltimore. In Baltimore, we went to an awesome library known as the George Peabody library to get some writing done, and then went to two breweries. The first of which, The Brewer’s Art, offered us tickets to go see the premiere of Brewmore that night, which is a documentary about brewing in Maryland. We went to see it that night and absolutely loved the film which gave us insights into the area that we otherwise would not have got, and after the film they actually announced that we were in the theater, so people came up to us afterwards to ask about our trip.

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We spent some time in the lobby drinking local craft beer and talking with people, who told us that a lot of them were going over to Liam Flynn’s to keep the night going. We joined them for about an hour, and then made our way to Jason’s apartment, who is a friend of Sarah, the girl we stayed with in Savannah that is a friend of our friend Alex. So yea, he was the friend of a friend of a friend and opened up his apartment to us. We watched The Wizard that night with him and his roommate, which is such a God awful movie that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. I passed out before it ended, and the next morning we went to Max’s Taphouse to try a few good beers, and then made our way to Heavy Seas Beer/ Clipper City Brewing, and then drove across the bridge that connects the western part of Maryland to the Eastern Shore.

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[Max’s Taphouse]

Haggis’ dad’s friend Tom and his wife Linda live over in the Eastern Shore, and that is where we spent 2 nights getting caught up on writing. Haggis and Tom are both huge KU fans, so I sat there awkwardly as they watched their team lose to Stanford. Ouch. But on a good note, I finally got completely caught up for the first time since we left, and Brandon almost did as well. We also spent a night hanging out with Kevin, who is going to open up Chester River Brewing Company soon, so he took us over to his future site and we talked about his endeavor. Tom and Linda were overwhelmingly kind to us while we were there and it was hard to leave, but we needed to make our way south to visit 2 breweries that day!

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[Me, Tom, Haggis]

Our first visit that day was to Evolution Craft (which was pretty damn awesome) and then we drove over to Burley Oak in Berlin, MD. We spent most of the night there chillin’ with their staff and listening to live music while a charity event was going on. Our couchsurfing hosts, Sarah and Andrew, met us there as well, so we followed them to their place, stayed the night with them, and they made us coffee the next morning while we got to know them. Once we left, we went back to Burley Oak to help them mash-in a batch of their beer called ‘Merica and then made our way out to see the Atlantic Ocean. It was cold as hell, so we took pictures of the ocean, promptly got back in the van, and crossed the border into Delaware.

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[Me, Andrew, Haggis, Sarah]

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[Mashing in at Burley Oak]

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[Atlantic Ocean!]

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[We’re in… Delaware]

Dogfish Head’s brewpub was our first visit of the day, then we went to the production facility where we went on a small, 5-person tour of their impressive facilities. It was not snowing when we got there, but by the time the tour was done there was a solid amount of snow that had fallen, so rather than sleep in the van as we had planned, we camped up in a Hampton Inn last night. That’s where we are now and we’re going to Mispillion River Brewing today! Until next time…

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[MORE PHOTOS!]
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[Dogfish – Before tour]

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[Dogfish – After tour]

Michael’s Thoughts 3/24/2014 – Part 2

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Continued from Part 1

From there we drove up to Jamestown and went on an archeologist-lead tour about the area, which was quite interesting. Afterwards, we stuck around so that Haggis could ask the guy about beer, and he said that Jamestown might be the first place that beer was brewed in America. That is not confirmed, but we’re going with it – we visited the site of America’s first brewery – hell yea. He suggested that we go to AleWorks in Williamsburg, so we picked that up on a whim. After that, we made our way to Hardywood Park Craft, and then spent the night at Capital Ale House in Richmond. That night was pretty sweet, because Capital Ale House knew we were coming and had blasted it through their social media, so we got to meet with and talk to a few fans. One of them was a guy we had met back in Dallas at our going away party, Tony Crawford, and he hung out with us most of the night. The next day we went to Strangeways and then got to check out Mekong which has been voted as the best beer bar in America. While there, Tony met up with us and so did Shannon, a girl we had met the night before. We all ate, drank, and had good times, before Tony headed off for the night and Haggis, Shannon, and I went back to our hotel where we spoiled ourselves by hanging out in the hot tub.

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[Jamestown]

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[Me, Shannon, Tony, Haggis]

The next morning Haggis and I ate more than we needed for breakfast, and then we made our way to Midnight Brewery at 9am, followed by Licking Hole Creek at 1130am where I got to ride around the land on an ATV. It was the earliest day we had so far, so afterwards we had time to go to Monticello where I ninja kicked Thomas Jefferson respectfully, and Haggis made out with him lovingly. We weren’t sure of what to do that night, so we drove into Charlottesville, NC and hung out at Three Notch’d Brewing. We were originally just going to be there unofficially to hang out, but after liking what they have going on and feeling it was perfectly in-line with what we’re doing, we picked them up as an official stop. Afterwards, we slept in the van again in a parking lot nearby.

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[Me ninja kicking Thomas Jefferson with respect]

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[Haggis kissing Thomas Jefferson with love]

We awoke in the van and drove a short distance to Subway for breakfast (again), then had a busy day going to Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, the Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington, and the Devil’s Backbone brewpub in Roseland. All three had amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all three places were very fun to hang out at – the people that work at all of these breweries are badass. Rather than stay the night in that area, we drove all the way up to Dumfries, south of DC. We stayed the night with my sister’s father in-law, Chuck, who talked with us about fascinating subjects. He is incredibly intelligent and had a lot of interesting stories to tell us – both Haggis and I wish we had more time there to really pick his brain about some things. Most of the next day was spent writing and then we drove up to Alexandria to meet with another friend of ours.

Amber is a friend of ours from the Dallas beer scene and she just moved up to Alexandria for a job, but her husband Eric, another friend of ours, is still back in Dallas. The three of us went out to dinner that night and then went back to her place. I got a kick out of being able to tell Eric I slept in his wife’s bed that night, even though she was two stories up on a couch. The next day was Haggis’ 29th birthday (WHAT WHAT) so we went to DC Brau Brewery off the record and indulged in some good beers. After that, we met back up with Amber at her place, popped a bottle of Cigar City Amplitude that we had been holding on to, and then went to Port City also off the record to enjoy even more beers. She then drove us (yay, a DD!) over to eat some Korean BBQ with some of her friends before the five of us went back to Amber’s and proceeded to drink the night away. Again, it was Haggis’ birthday, and he had a good one.

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[Amber!]

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The next day, Amber, Haggis, and I drove into DC to try out a rare cask of Cantillon Iris Grand Cru up at ChurchKey and ended up staying for a while to try quite a few more crazy beers – that place has such a ridiculous selection! Our drive up there was madness, though, as a lot of the streets in DC were blocked off for some marathon, so it took us about 3 times as long as it should have. After ChurchKey we walked over to Shake Shack and got a cheeseburger and a peanut butter shake, then made our way back to the car and Amber drove us back to her place. We chatted for a little longer over a bottle of Bruery Bois and then said our goodbyes, since it was time to make our way to another friend’s place in Maryland just east of DC. When we went back outside to go to our van, though, it had started snowing flakes that were larger than I’ve ever seen in my life (but that’s not saying much).

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[Amber again!]

To be continued…

Michael’s Thoughts 3/24/2014 – Part 1

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Yet again I’m a little behind on this, so I’m going to split this up into 3 parts and post them throughout the day. Last I updated we were back in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with Chase and Nicole from Foothills and we had a blast hanging out with them. We ended up trekking over to Greensboro where we met up with our friend Nick and his partner in crime Audrey. Nick used to be a brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing back in Dallas, which is where we met him, but he has since moved back to his home state of NC to be the brewer for Haw River Farmhouse Ales in Saxapahaw. The night we stayed there, it ended up snowing pretty hard, so we just stayed in and hung out while eating cookies that their neighbor made for us. It was a great time and definitely comforting to be around some Dallas people.

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[Haggis, Nicole, Chase, Me]

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[Me, Nick, Audrey, Haggis]

From there, we made our way over to Raleigh, NC where we ended up going to 5 breweries in one day, including Trophy Brewing. It was Mardis Gras, so we had an excuse for once haha. That night we stayed with one of Nick’s friends, but unfortunately we showed up late, so we passed out pretty quickly, and left early the next morning. Before we left, they gave us a breakfast suggestion, so we made our way to Wimpy’s Grill and ate some of the best biscuits either of us have had in our lives. Haggis got the last sausage gravy biscuit which was about the size of my head and completely smothered in gravy. Later on, we went to Fullsteam to get our quota in for the day, which ended up being the same day that Brew Dogs was filming the first episode for their second season. We even got to indulge in the beer they made, which was the most calorific beer coming in at over 600 calories – an imperial stout made with syrup and bacon, then the beer was used to make an ice cream, then that ice cream was added back to the beer to make a float, and more bacon was put on top. Freaking delicious. Cameras and crew were all over the place so be sure to watch that episode and let us know if you see us!

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[Brew Dogs at Fullsteam]

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[Most Calorific Beer Ever]

That night we ended up staying in a super awesome house with Barry & Michele, an incredibly kind couple we had met back at Highland in Asheville. They fed us dinner that night and breakfast the next morning, as we talked with them about the trip, politics, their family, and many other things. From there we shot down to Kinston, went to Mother Earth, and then spent the night at Boiler Room trying out their hot dogs and beer. We talked with quite a few people there, including the bartender, Jamie Cash, who was the only person to laugh at the fact we had visited our 69th brewery that night; she was cool in my book. We slept in our van down by the river that night, then made our way up to Farmville to visit Duck-Rabbit after grabbing some NC BBQ for lunch at Jack Cobb and Son. After Duck-Rabbit, we drove all the way out to the Outer Banks where we parked our van and slept right next to the shore in an RV camping lot where it had flooded earlier in the day. We were able to do so because the lady who works there left a key to get into the park in a mailbox, since she knew it would be closed by the time we got there. The next morning we met her and enjoyed some coffee before heading out.

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[Haggis, Barry, Michele, Me]

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Breakfast that day was at the Digger’s Diner, which is surrounded by paraphernalia related to the monster truck, Grave Digger, as well as farm animals. Odd assortment for sure, but the food was great! We then spent most of the afternoon at Weeping Radish drinking beer, eating sausages, and hanging out with the brewers. We talked with them for quite a while as we sobered up, then made our way north across the border into Norfolk, Virginia.

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We hadn’t planned a place to stay that night, so we jumped on Couchsurfing.org for the first time in hopes that someone would quickly get back to us. Just in case nobody did, we went ahead and found a Wal-Mart parking lot to sleep in, and then our couch surfing request was answered! Amber and Gabriel invited us into their home in Norfolk last minute around 8pm, so we hung out with them for a little, passed out on their floor, then enjoyed some breakfast Amber made for us the next morning. After breakfast, we spent about 5 hours with the brewer of Smartmouth, just talking and laughing over a few good beers of theirs, and then made our way to another couch surfers place also in Norfolk, Amanda and John. They are both doctors at a hospital so had to get up early in the morning (like 4am early), but after getting a much needed hand drum session in with John as he played the guitar, they let us leisurely wake up the next morning and leave after they had already gone to work.

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To be continued…

#38 – Bold City Brewery in Jacksonville, FL

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While staying in Jacksonville, FL, we made our way over to Bold City Brewery on Monday, 2/3/14. This was the first craft brewery in Jacksonville in recent times and, as of now, their beers can be found in Jacksonville, Fernandina, St Augustine, Gainesville, Tampa, St Pete, Sarasota, and some of Lake City. The family who runs Bold City feels extremely privileged to be the first craft brewery in Jacksonville, and since they don’t really do any marketing, they owe much gratitude to the people of Jacksonville who have helped grow their brand.

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