Thanks to its wide array of microbreweries, brewpubs, and taverns, discerning beer drinkers are heading to the Tulsa area to sample some of Green Country’s best brews.
In 2012, according to the Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of the beer market was controlled by two companies: Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. While their reign probably hasn’t changed much, one trend today is hammering hard at these two beer kings’ crowns — the emergence of neighborhood breweries, taprooms and brewpubs.
Micro-breweries have been hopping up all over the country for years, producing some of the best craft beers in the world. But it’s the taproom that’s making the most impact in the neighborhood setting. Here in Tulsa, we enjoy a surprisingly large number of breweries and taprooms. And it doesn’t look like it’s a trend ending anytime soon. Long live the revolution.
While it’s easy to toss back a six-pack at home, there’s nothing better than seeing where your beer was born with your own eyes and grabbing a fresh pint from the taproom bar.
What is a taproom? It’s a place where a brewery can serve its beer directly to customers, for the sole purpose of sampling and drinking the product. Taprooms serve beer directly from a tapped-in line to a brewery at the same location. Brewpubs typically do that too, but they also sell other trendy, specialty beers from around the world, as well as food. Bars certainly sell beer, but they do not have a direct tap to an on-site brewery. They also serve other liquors, wines, and food — the opposite of a taproom.
Brewers pouring, selling cans or filling growlers at their own taprooms make 40 to 50 percent more than they would if they sold their beer wholesale to a distributor. They’ve cut out the middleman.
From goses and stouts, altbiers and saisons, to the APAs, IPAs, biere de gardes and kölshes, Tulsa’s taprooms have any style of craft beer you could think of trying and more. The taproom is also a great place to meet new friends, reconnect with old ones, to share stories, to celebrate, to propose, to commiserate, to communicate.
There are more worthwhile spots than we can fit on this list, but drinking your way through the ones included here will give you a crash course in what Tulsa’s beer scene has to offer. Keep in mind that beer lineups and availability change frequently at most taprooms.
1801 S. 49th W. Ave. | Tulsa
108 E. 18th St. | Tulsa
These guys keep things interesting. Like most innovative breweries, it’s silly to make a list of beers the American West location is brewing at this time, because they’re always trying new things. That being said, American Solera specializes in the oak barrel aging process for their beer that would normally be used for wine or other spirits, thus producing some of the best sours and specialty beer you can find in these parts. Bring your growler and enjoy some beer on tap, or pick a bottle or two of their latest wine-influenced brews. The beers are flavorful and pillowy, with wave after wave of cascading flavor. And for you dog people, man’s best friend is allowed outside on the patios at both locations.
Must Try: Purple Dreamz and Magic Beanz (6%), L’Internationale (6%), and Movement and Color (9%)
Broken Arrow Brewing Co.
333 W. Dallas St. | Broken Arrow
Tucked away just off the Rose District’s iconic Main Street in Broken Arrow is the rustic, inviting Broken Arrow Brewing Co. It’s one of the few Native American owned and operated microbreweries in the country, making you a part of something special when you step through their doors. There’s plenty of casual outdoor and indoor seating that you can enjoy with pals as you taste test what they have on tap — including a nitrogen-poured Irish stout, a tart citrus sour, an American IPA and others.
Must Try: No Coast (7.1%), Mount Saint Melons (5%), and Father Dominic (9%)
Cabin Boys Brewery
1717 E. 7th St. | Tulsa
What started in a cabin in the woods is now a full-on brewery at Seventh Street and Utica Avenue. Founders Lisa, Austin and Jeff McIlroy and Ryan Arnold are all passionate about the beer they serve and the people they serve it to. Check out the Saturday morning beer yoga, Thursday night trivia night or any of the live music events, and you’ll see that these folks know how to make good beer and have fun drinking it. Also, check their website’s calendar for when the next food truck pulls up, and let the party begin. Ale, yeah!
Must Try: Felix et Tenebris (8.7%), Bearded Theologian (8.4%), and Cast-a-Line (4.8%)
Dead Armadillo Brewery
1004 E. 4th St. | Tulsa
If it’s hoppy and malty you’re craving, you’ll want to try everything this taproom has to offer. And you can at least get a good start at it by ordering their sampler flights. This is made-in-Tulsa beer at its finest. Plus, the atmosphere is laid-back and informative. The servers are happy to answer any question you have about the beer, and they may just give you an impromptu tour if you’re the exploring type. For an ‘ale’ of a good time, look no further than Dead Armadillo.
Must Try: Tulsa Flag (5.5%), Black Hop (6.7%), and Amber (6.3%)
Heirloom Rustic Ales
2113 E. Admiral Blvd. | Tulsa
Different taprooms have different atmospheres, and Heirloom Rustic Ales is a great example of the unexpected. Walk in, and you’ll find an attractive, minimalist, modern look coupled with relaxing couches and tables — a comfy, boho, artistic feel that sets it apart. It’s a great place to visit while you’re in the Kendall-Whittier District for their second Thursday art crawls or a film at Circle Cinema. Spend a few hours there with friends, catching up over some truly fabulous craft brews like their bright witbier and smooth milk stout, among others.
Must Try: Moon Catacomb (10.2%), Chapel Visitor (6.3%), and Velocity Coma (6.2%)
Marshall Brewing Company
618 S. Wheeling Ave. | Tulsa
Thanks to Eric Marshall and the rest of the crew over at Marshall Brewing, Oklahoma’s Prohibition-era laws that prevented taprooms are a thing of the past. It took a while to make it legal, but taprooms are here and they’re bringing the community together. The resurging Kendall-Whittier neighborhood of Tulsa is booming, in part because of the taprooms it supports. Again, thank Marshall for that. They’ve been leading the way in Tulsa brewing, and certainly their taproom is right up there. It’s taprooms like Marshall’s that are redefining the neighborhood bar.
Must Try: This Land Lager (4.8%), Sundown Wheat (4.7%), and This Machine (7.8%)
New Era: Fine Fermentations
321 S. Frankfort Ave. | Tulsa
All gluten-free beer and food is what you are guaranteed to enjoy at this East Village brew pub. Next to The Boxyard, New Era: Fine Fermentations is showing the rest of Tulsa’s taprooms what’s up. They set themselves apart by making their own crafted beer, using non-gluten grains like millet, buckwheat and quinoa. Don’t worry though, gluten-free beer is not flavor-free. Since their grand opening in December 2018, people have been raving about the exceptional tasting beer, as well as the food and friendly atmosphere. We can’t wait to see how the brand evolves.
Must Try: Pineapple Pen (7.6%), Stouty McStoutface (9.6%), and Apollo Blonde (5.1%)
Nine Band Brewing Co.
951 W. 36th St. N. | Tulsa
If you’re someone who enjoys a trip to the casino along with your beer wanderings, then Nine Band Brewing Co. in the heart of the Osage Casino is for you. As you approach the bar, you’ll pass the brewhouse, which is right off the casino floor, and viewable through windows. Guests at Nine Band can enjoy six regular beers on tap, as well as a rotating “visitor’s tap,” which showcases specialty beers and local beers from other brewers. Sit at the tall tables, sip your beer, and listen to the cha-ching of slot machines. Order a snack off the menu to fuel up. Then go play some games and see what you can win.
Must Try: 28th State Stout (5.6%), Blue Lacy (6.1%), and The Badge (4.9%)
Nothing's Left Brewing Co.
1502 E. 6th St. | Tulsa
Upon arrival, you’ll probably wonder why it’s taken you so long to get here. As you leave, you’ll likely be planning your next visit. In the heart of the Pearl District, the taproom of Nothing’s Left Brewery Company was once a Texaco built in the 1920s. Today, it’s serving up a different fuel Tulsans love. For starters, their Galaxy Pale Ale is a great anytime beer, perfect for revving up any evening of fun and frivolity. Next, try the taproom’s celebrated strawberry blonde for a delightful exploration into the world of wheat beer. It sends taste buds tiptoeing through a wonderful strawberry puree fermentation. Check them out anytime, and you’ll discover a new brew they’re aiming to perfect.
Must Try: Galaxy (5.5%), Strawberry Blonde (6.5%), and Deez Nuts (8%)
Pippin's Taproom at High Gravity
6808 S. Memorial Dr., Ste. 144 | Tulsa
For years, the first choice of Tulsa area beer-making enthusiasts for homebrewing and winemaking supplies has been High Gravity at 6808 S. Memorial Drive. It’s like a visit to heaven for anyone wishing to add to their brewing knowledge and/or equipment. Now, High Gravity has a taproom that connects directly to the beer made there. Pippin’s Taproom is the perfect place to sample excellent beer, as well as wine, and then buy the equipment to make it. Not too many taprooms can say that.
Must Try: Thin Mint Girl (9.7%), Black Catseye (7%) and High Gravitus XII (11.5%)
223 N. Main St. | Tulsa
Visit the Tulsa Arts District, and you’ll no doubt see Prairie Brewpub as you make your way to and from Cain’s Ballroom, Caz’s Chowhouse, Mexicali, Sisserou’s and other classic stops. Don’t just walk by — stop in to taste the artisan beers on tap. These beers are brewed on-site by Prairie Artisan Ales, then served in the pub area along with great food. The sturdy wooden seating will remind you of a rustic log cabin. The beer will remind you you’re living in a city with taste and class. What’s not to love about both?
Must Try: Prairie Bomb! (13%), Phantasmagoria (8%) and Consider Yourself Hugged (11.9%)
Renaissance Brewing Company
1147 S. Lewis Ave. | Tulsa
On the corner of 11th Street and Lewis Avenue sits an attractive brick building that you might easily take for office space or boutique apartments. Take a closer look, because that’s actually the inviting, laid-back Renaissance Brewing Company. Enter from the back to walk through the brewery section into the taproom area. Don’t be surprised if the owner’s friendly dog is present. This is a neighborhood spot that makes you feel right at home. If you’re feeling brave, try the peppery Dragon’s Breath — it’ll linger hot at the back of your throat, unlike most brews you’ve had.
Must Try: Gamma Ray IPA (7%), Renaissance Gold (5.5%) and Black Gold (5%)
114 W. Archer St. | Tulsa
Welltown’s taproom is an extension of the brewery. It’s smart and community-minded. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy all the tasty brews, as well as a killer rooftop patio. You can tell the Welltown crew are the kind of people who stay awake all night, thinking of new beers to begin working on. When it comes to brew-making, they have the energy and creativity of geniuses and the chutzpah to believe they just might change the world, one pint at a time.
Must Try: Berry Bliss Blackberry Sour (5.4%), Fuzzy Sweater Saison (7%) and Caribbean Queen Stout (7.5%)
Willows Family Ales
418 S. Peoria Ave. | Tulsa
Next time you’re in the Pearl District, be sure to stop in at this friendly taproom and sit down at the ample bar or one of the high-top tables. Enjoy the crisp, easy feel of the room as you peruse the menu and order from a variety of homebrews you’re likely to fall in love with. Visitors rave over the choice of savory sour beers available, as well as the rye beer, the cider, and the Kentucky Fried Common, made with corn and barley, and rarely offered commercially. They also do a nonalcoholic kombucha and offer a rotating wine list for your pal who “doesn’t do beer.”
Must Try: When Doves Rye (7%), I’m Sour Ms. Jackson (7.2%), and Brooks and Dunkel (5.2%)
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