Nick Trougakos

It’s the latest example of the growing sophistication of Oklahoma City’s burgeoning craft beer scene and it’s the focus of Oak & Ore founder and owner Micah Andrews.
They won’t serve ice-cold beer in standard pint glasses at Oak & Ore.

Instead, patrons at the soon-to-open Plaza District craft beer bar should expect sculpted stemware, and beer served at varying temperatures and carbonation levels.

It’s the latest example of the growing sophistication of Oklahoma City’s burgeoning craft beer scene and it’s the focus of Oak & Ore founder and owner Micah Andrews.

For Andrews, pouring beer the way a brewer intended it to be served will be a top priority.

“I believe that craft beer should be served with the same passion and care the brewers take in creating it,” Andrews said. “Many a craft beer is misrepresented by poor service, whether it is served at an improper temperature, improperly stored, too old, served in improper glassware ... just to mention a few.

“We will take special care to get these things right.”

Temperature just right

Andrews, who eyes an early December opening for the bar, 1732 NW 16, has installed a high-end system including 36 stainless steel taps. Servers will be able to pour beer at four different temperatures and will have the ability to adjust the carbonation level of certain beers.

A Belgian-style farmhouse ale, for example, should be served at a warmer temperature than a light American lager. And such a beer is best enjoyed in a rounder, specialty glass as opposed to the traditional pint glass.

Andrews said servers will receive “extensive training on craft beer and proper service.”

He said his employees will be certified as beer servers through the Cicerone Certification Program — the beer lover’s answer to wine sommelier certification.

Greg Powell, the general manager at TapWerks Ale House in Bricktown, employs certified beer servers and said patrons do appreciate the extra level of attention to proper beer presentation.

“Those are the people that Oak & Ore will be trying to attract,” Powell said. “The more knowledgeable the staff, the more likely they are to suggest the right beer to make guests happy.”

Attention to detail

Brandon Jones, president of the Oklahoma City-based Red Earth Brewers homebrew club, said beer consumers are becoming more educated about their selections and are demanding more attention to detail. Jones said there should be more places like Oak & Ore in the metro.

“I absolutely think there is an audience, myself included, who would appreciate such a place,” Jones said. “I also believe that audience is growing much faster than people may think. The great thing about a place like Oak & Ore is that you don’t have to be a beer expert to have a pint there. Once you try a beer that has been cared for and presented properly, you will see the difference. They will be helping to create even more sophisticated beer consumers.”

Andrews, a 30-year-old homebrewer and longtime beer enthusiast, said the inspiration for his bar was solidified during a fact-finding trip to Chicago in 2010.

“At every craft beer bar we went to, they engaged us in conversation about the product, were excited that we had traveled all the way from Oklahoma to Chicago for craft beer,” said Andrews, who cut his chops in the food-service business for several years as a Starbucks store manager.

One Chicago bar manager even offered Andrews a bottle to take back to the hotel, “for homework,” and asked that he return later in the week to try a fresher version of the beer on tap.

“This has stuck with me and was instrumental in creating a philosophy of how we would design the tap system,” Andrews said.

The end game, he said, is providing customers with beer they will enjoy.

“Don’t get me wrong, beer should be enjoyed, not just analyzed,” Andrews said. “We take care of the detail work for our patrons, so they can sit back, relax and truly appreciate these beers.”