I’ve been lucky to try a selection of Oklahoma-based brews lately after a friend hauled a collection back to NC from her home state. Among those was a six-pack lineup from Marshall Brewing out of Tulsa.
You can read all about the brewery on their website and try to catch their beers with distribution across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri. It appears to be a growing enterprise, although I’m not entirely sold on their offerings.
I will say this – their bottle artwork is pretty nice, from a Flying Dog-inspired drawing for a black IPA to simple color schemes. But let’s push that aside and jump into what you can expect from their beers.
Note: These beers faced a tough trip to NC, facing fluctuating temperatures throughout their trek. I admit this may have impacted the beers, but some came out alright, others, not so much.
Brewed with Columbus, Amarillo, and Cascade hops, this sounds like it’d be a nice hop bomb. It smelled like a dirty diaper.
Sidenote: Can anyone comment on this hop pairing? If I remember correctly, I’ve heard Columbus is not an easy hop to pair. It’s earthbound profile (floral/vegetative) seems to strike an opposite chord with that of Amarillo and Cascade, two very citrusy hops.
Arrowhead pale ale
While I admit the trip across country may have destroyed Atlas IPA, this hop-forward pale ale came out sparkling, confusing me somewhat. It’s clear the brewers paid careful attention to making this an American pale ale, with tropical smells of papaya with peach and grapefruit, too. It’s very heavy on citrus aromas and smells like it comes straight from the West Coast.
Those characteristics are duplicated in the flavor, which has a strong malt base to balance out the aroma with a slightly bitter, but not taxing, taste.
Revival red ale
Another stinker. Literally. Smelled of rotten apple, moldy, wet malt and gym socks.
The best way I could think of describing the taste was “brown.” I’m not saying it had flavor of a brown ale, but the word “brown” just kept coming to mind. This tasted of tons of not-quite sweet malt and was almost like a baby barleywine.
McNellie’s Pub Ale
From Marshall’s website: “Inspired by the house ales found in the pubs of Great Britain and Ireland, McNellie’s Pub Ale is a traditional ale brewed in the style of a Best Bitter.”
Honestly, I’d say that’s spot on.
It’s mild and malty and very easy to drink. At 5 percent ABV it’s perhaps higher than a “traditional” session beer and certainly heavier in malt taste, but very good all the same.
The yeast used do this beer a favor, offering up a fruit-like ester profile – grape? – that adds to the beer’s nutty/toffee/caramel flavors.
An American wheat beer brewed in the style of a witbier with coriander and dried sweet orange peel, this brew poured flat as an Oklahoma landscape but with immense citrus aroma and flavor. The smell stayed heavy on the side of lemon.
Sterling hops give this one a little bit of herbal spice, but this beer tasted like a straight-forward summertime brew with lots of orange and lemon characteristics.
Sidenote: This was frighteningly clear for a “wheat beer” and bordered a much brighter version of a pilsner. Might have been the first time I’ve seen that from this style.
Old Pavilion Pilsner
Marshall notes this beer is “brewed in the North German “Pils” style,” although they use an unlisted combination of American and German hops. I’d be curious what American varieties were used because this pilsner was easy drinking and crisp that sits closer to an herbal/floral flavor profile. Think green tea and flowers.
The malt flavor is light, but sweet, and it finishes with just a touch of bitterness.
In all honesty, this was a pretty solid pilsner and a beer I would’ve expected to get destroyed by the trip to NC.
Planning a trip to the Midwest? Keep an eye out for Marshall’s beers and let me know how fresh and tasty they are compared to my experience.
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac