Beer festival will go on, rain or shine

Scores of people flock the 2018 Real Okie Craft Beer Festival. This year's festival needed a larger hangar because it has grown.

A record number of breweries offer a multitude of flavors Friday at Real Okie Beer Fest.

"We're estimating to have over 100 different beers to sample," said organizer Jonathan Hawke. "We've got everything from your basic lager to fruited sour beers. There's one that's bringing a fudge brownie stout. There's going to be something for everyone." 

The fifth annual festival will be at 6 p.m. Friday at Hatbox Hangar. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate and feature a taster cup. VIP tickets are available at $40 in advance, and feature 30-minute early arrival, live music and a VIP lounge with free finger food.

Hawke said the festival keeps growing.

"We moved the venue again to a bigger hangar," he said. "This hangar's got better circulation. It's a lot bigger. It's a rain or shine event this way."

This year also boasts the most brewers ever — 23 confirmed so far, he said.

Muskogee Brewing Company plans to bring at least four varieties of beer, said brewer Gary Page.

"I know we're going to bring a double IPA, a shandy, the blueberry beer we brought last year and another one," Page said. "We're going to bring four kegs, then we're going to bring some cans of different things."

Page said a shandy is kind of a lemonade beer.

An IPA beer is bitter and hoppy, Page said, adding that their double IPA is "a brick in the head."

"It's really strong," he said. "It's the best part of a green persimmon. They're pretty bitter.

He said people's beer tastes vary. For example, many like light, yellow beers such as Budweiser.

"People who go for the light, yellow beers wouldn't go for the shandy or the IPA," he said. 

Page said Muskogee Brewing Company seeks to please festival-goers.

"It's in our hometown, so we go loaded for bear," he said. "We'll bring more. We try harder at this one."

Other Oklahoma brewers coming to Real Okie include Anthem Brewing, Elk Valley, Marshall, Bricktown, Frenzy, Choc, New Era Fine Fermentations, Coop, Rougtail, Pearl Beach, 405, Dead Armadillo, Cabin Boys, Nothing's Left, Prairie Artisan Ales, High Gravity, Twisted Spike and Iron Monk.   

Hawke said New Era offers gluten-free beer.

People also can buy food. Food trucks include KillerWail Barbecue, Linam Up Grill and My Baby Can Cook. Hawke said Linam Up Grill serves hamburgers and grilled cheese, and My Baby Can Cook offers southern fare including Nashville hot chicken, succotash and bologna sandwiches.

Although the beer section is for adults only, the festival will feature a free area for the family, Hawke said. The area will feature the food trucks, picnic tables, live music by the Micheal Rappe Quartet and yard games, such as corn hole. 

"If someone wants to bring their kids and take turns with the spouse going in and out of the beer area, then the kids can hang out, listen to music," Hawke said.

If you go

WHAT: Real Okie Craft Beer Festival.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Hatbox Hangar, Hatbox Field.

TICKETS: $25 in advance; $30 at the gate. VIP tickets, $40 in advance, $45 at the gate, if still available. Advance tickets are available online at www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-real-okie-craft-beer-festival-tickets, or at The Rail Taproom, 120 S. Fourth St. or Muskogee Brewing Co., 121 S. Second St.

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