One of the best uses of Oklahoma City’s new streetcar is the emergence of an “ale trail” around the downtown districts. Ready for a beer after a day of meetings? No need to grab a half dozen Lyfts as you move around downtown; just three dollars gets you a 24-hour pass, and you can board at more than twenty stops around the districts. Note: You need the downtown loop, not the Bricktown route to visit the breweries.
If you’re staying in a Bricktown hotel, you have a few choices, but you might just pop into Tapwerks, our city’s oldest pub to sample beers from the breweries outside the loop. With more than 100 taps and 300 plus beers, Tapwerks carries a dizzying selection of domestics, imports, and our favorite locals. While you’re there, try the Lively Beerworks IPA or Lager, and for sure don’t miss out on Roughtail’s Everything Rhymes With Orange—a citrus IPA with very little bitterness, and one of the city’s top beers. Stonecloud Brewing is just off downtown, so it’s easier to try the Havana Affair Pilsner at Tapwerks.
Board the streetcar at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. If you don’t mind a short, three-block walk and it’s a weekend, get off at the Myriad Gardens stop and walk three blocks west to Angry Scotsman Brewing. Construction isn’t complete yet, but pop-up taprooms happen every weekend. The brewery features several different styles, mostly the favorites of owner Ross Harper that he experienced traveling the world. A local favorite is the Gateway to Helles, a light, sessionable German-style lager.
From the Myriad Gardens stop, the next breweries in order will be Vanessa House, Prairie Artisan Ales, and Twisted Spike. All three are a short one- or two-block walk from the Automobile Alley stop at NW 8th and Broadway. Vanessa House has a well-appointed taproom, and their blackberry Berliner ale, called 11:09, is worth one of the most unique year-round beers in the city. Prairie Artisan Ales is known locally for their Bomb, an Imperial stout aged on coffee, chocolate, vanilla beans and ancho chiles. Be sure to try their seasonals and limited releases, too, though. Twisted Spike is located next to the railroad tracks—thus the name—and they focus on very traditional styles, with a bit of a twist.
Back on at the Automobile Alley stop, and you’re headed to Elk Valley Brewing. John Elkins just finished his taproom this year, and the rooftop patio has a nice view of the downtown skyline. The Coffee Nemesis and Cucumber Saison are local favorites, but don’t sleep on his core beers. The Magic Juice is a super juicy northeast-style IPA, and the Tenkiller Pilsner is another sign that good Pilsner is finally getting the love it deserves.
The next stop is Midtown, and while you’ve already visited the breweries, you can finish off the night at McNellie’s, another popular pub with a great selection of locals. The old dogs around OKC are COOP and Anthem, and they lived to be old because they’re very good at what they do. The COOP DNR is an excellent—and high-alcohol—dark ale of the Belgian-quad variety. Anthem’s Golden One is a local favorite, but the Uroboros Stout gets a lot of love locally too.
The only thing about the route that changes is the direction you need to go depending on where you’re staying. If you’re in Midtown at the Ambassador, hit Elk Valley first, and then get on the streetcar after a stop at McNellie’s. You’ll end the night at Tapwerks, and then catch the car back to Midtown. If you’re in the Central Business District—Colcord, Skirvin, Renaissance, etc.—board at the Century Center stop, and head into Bricktown. You’ll end at McNellie’s, and then catch the car back downtown.