Oklahoma is fast becoming a craft beer destination, thanks to an overhaul of state alcohol laws and some ground-breaking brewers.
The new laws, known as State Question 792, relaxed how alcohol could be bought and sold in the state. Previously, grocery stores could only sell low-strength beer and liquor stores had to serve beer warm.
That made it expensive to start and run small craft breweries. Once the laws were changed, beer businesses boomed and Oklahoma now produces exceptional craft beers with greater complexity, strength and variety than anywhere else in the USA.
In July, the Oklahoma Craft Brewers Association and Oklahoma Agritourism launched a Craft Beer Trail to help tourists discover the state’s unique breweries.
The new trail boasts 60 craft breweries spread right across the State – all of which are featured in the newly published Oklahoma Craft Beer Trail map.
If you love beer, it’s worth putting this on your must-do travel list.
Nowhere else will you find so many new and innovative breweries, created by Oklahomans with a passion for the diversity of the amber ale, or stout, or larger.
The best Oklahoma breweries
Most of the breweries on the Oklahoma beer trail can be found near Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
They make for a great stopover during a Route 66 adventure.
These are the top five Oklahoma breweries that you can not miss.
Marshall Brewing, Tulsa
German-trained brewer Eric Marshall opened Tulsa’s first brewery, Marshall Brewing, in 2008.
Its signature brew is “This Land” lager, a tribute to both the European-inspired lager it’s based on, and the lasting influence of Oklahoma musical legend and champion of the working class, Woody Guthrie.
If the brew inspires you, Marshall Brewing is just a few blocks from the incredible Woody Guthrie Centre where you can learn more about one of Oklahoma’s favourite sons and his timeless song with which the brew shares its name, “This Land Is Your Land”.
Don’t know that classic Oklahoma song? Press play below.
Jonathan Neff and his dad opened this microbrewery and pub with a purpose: to push the boundaries of brewing and culinary science.
In 2012, Jonathon was diagnosed with celiac disease and was told he could no longer drink “regular” beer. Rather than give up the amber completely, he began a quest to find quality craft gluten-free beer.
The search was fairly fruitless. So they turned to chemistry and engineering to brew their own. After years of research and testing, NEFF Brewing formed and opened in 2018 creating beers that are “Brewed for Everyone.”
While the name suggests American brews, American Solera is actually a Tulsa craft brewery focused on engaging beer drinkers with diverse flavours from around the world.
Visitors come for the bright, fun, and often quirky labels. But they stay for the hoppy, crisp, funky, and barrel-aged goodness from the brewery’s globally-inspired selections.
In 2016, fresh after opening, RateBeer named American Solera the Best New Brewery in the United States and 2nd Best New Brewery in the World.
This unique all-female owned brewery opened in Norman, Oklahoma in June 2021. It’s quickly cemented itself as a must-stop destination due to its unique flavours, and the welcoming tap room which also features a bookstore.
This innovative brewery collaborates with brewers across the globe to bring innovative beer styles to Oklahoma.
But Equity does more than just brew beer. The women also work with local businesses to eliminate barriers and help make workplaces more accessible to all.
When Jacob Keyes launched Skydance Brewery in 2018, his goal was to use the beer and the venue to tell stories that represent indigenous people.
Skydance creates some of Oklahoma’s most popular brews and distributes them exclusively through Oklahoma City’s Brewers Union. The company creates new opportunities for many of the region’s Native American youth through education and employment.
Skydance Brewery’s taproom is on Automobile Alley in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma is much easier to get to than many Australians think. It sits just above Texas, close to Dallas Fort Worth, where direct flights from Sydney arrive daily in non-pandemic times.
It takes less than one hour from the airport to the Oklahoma state border.
So if you love craft beer and you’re planning a trip to the USA, the Oklahoma craft beer trail could be the diversion you’re looking for.