Wine and beer festival surprises and surpasses hopes

Oklahoma Wine Walk and Brew Fest’s fifth annual event was held in Norman on Oct. 21, with over 20 different wineries, breweries and distilleries from across the state participating.

Local wine and beer enthusiasts flocked to the event to taste new brews and wines, perhaps finding their new sorite drink. The event was free to all, but if a guest was over 21 and chose to participate in the tasting the ticket price was $25, which provided 15 tasting vouchers.

The crowd had already started to line up at 2 p.m. when the event was opened to the public, VIP guests had according to the events webpage had 30 minutes in the area before the crowd arrived. Some confusion arose about the different lines forming, as no signage had been placed at the entryway but was quickly resolved by a staff member.

Upon entering the area our attendees  were greeted by a live performance of selected songs from “Little Shop of Horror” by local children. The area was clearly divided between the breweries and the wineries, so participants could quickly find what interested them the most.

Ryan Palmer, a self-proclaimed beer enthusiast, came to this event to experience the different local brews.

“My impression is that the festival is aimed more towards wine lovers than beer lovers due to the different sizes in venues [allocated for breweries and wineries]. I was expecting an equal number of wine and beer vendors due to craft beer popularity rising and wine being rather stable,” Palmer said.

Despite the slight disappointment in the small number of breweries, Palmer was pleased that his favorite local brewery participated in the event — (405) Brewing Co.

Trae Carson, co-owner of (405) Brewing Co. attended the festival, where the company had set up a stand. The brewery, which opened in January 2015, has participated in the festival since it first opened up to breweries in 2016.

(405) is a Norman based brewery which keeps all its products in Oklahoma. Carson believes that the festival was a “good fit” for the company as “it is important to stay connected to the Norman community” and the festival offers a good platform to reach out to the local community.

When asked about the merging of the wine and beer cultures with the festival Carson replies on a positive note. “I have never been to an event that merges then two, I believes it is good for the attendees.”

Carson and Palmer had a common favorite beer, the FPR brewed by (405). It is a strong coffee stout brewed from coffee from Mariposa Coffee Roastery, a roastery located in Norman. According to Carson the beer is never brewed the same as Mariposa Coffee employees make a different coffee blend for each batch of beer, keeping the beer different each time it is produced. Keeping the sample tasted at the festival different from the (405) FPR you might buy in a month’s time.

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