The Hop Jam is growing as a showcase of craft beer scene in Tulsa and beyond

By | May 20, 2017

Tulsa World

Four years into throwing The Hop Jam, Taylor Hanson isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“We want people to get excited about coming to The Hop Jam before they know who is going to be here,” Hanson said. “We want to create a pattern for a great experience.”

This year, the fourth for the festival that features beer tastings and concerts, close to 70 breweries will fill downtown’s Brady Arts District starting at noon Sunday.

Music headliners include Hanson, Kongos, Mayer Hawthorne, John Fullbright and more.

When Taylor Hanson and his brothers first came up with the idea for The Hop Jam, they knew they wanted to serve as a megaphone for Tulsa and Oklahoma breweries.

“The Hop Jam is one of many things helping to spread the news that craft beer has a home in Tulsa,” Hanson said. “Tulsa has a chance for craft beer to be part of its brand and part of its identity.”

More breweries have opened in the Tulsa area since that first year and many more are expected to open in the near future.

Cabin Boys Brewing is one of a handful of new breweries coming to Tulsa soon that will be setting up a tent during The Hop Jam. The brewers participated in the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival last weekend in Oklahoma City and are ready to pour in their hometown.

“We had a great response (at Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival), they were really loving our beers,” said Ryan Arnolds, one of the co-founders of Cabin Boys Brewing. “We realized that word-of-mouth was spreading about our Belgian quad, and people kept coming back for more.”

Cabin Boys will bring four ales to the festival, a blackberry saison, a citrus IPA, a stout and that Belgian quad the previous festivalgoers enjoyed so much. It’s a small introduction to the many kinds of beers Cabin Boys Brewery plans to brew when the brewery and taproom opens on Seventh Street and Utica Avenue later this year.

Arnolds, who founded the company with his best friend Austin McIlroy, said they started planning the brewery four years ago before any of the current changes in regulations overseeing breweries. But within the past year and a half, they’ve starting sprinting toward the finish line.

“We started brewing as a passion, that turned into an obsession and then a realization that we could turn it into a business because there are so few breweries in the state,” he said. “It’s so cool to be on the new wave of craft brewing coming to Oklahoma. We’re really riding the front part of that wave.”

Cabin Boys Brewing recently was approved by the city to begin retrofitting its new space for the brewery. Arnolds said they’ll start as soon as Monday after The Hop Jam and estimated an opening as soon as this fall, if all goes according to plan.

The brewery is in good company with established breweries in the Pearl District, including Marshall Brewing Co. and Dead Armadillo.

Tulsa’s continuing growth in the industry, via breweries opening and changes in regulations, is well worth celebrating, Hanson added.

“There’s still a long way to go as a community to figure out Tulsa’s future — we can’t be known for oil and gas forever,” he said. “We’re embracing it. It’s interesting to our community and the culture is thriving. The food scene is an example of that, it’s an environment that can support that.”

The gates for the The Hop Jam’s beer side of the festival will open at 2 p.m. for the Hop Snob VIP ticket holders and 3 p.m. for others.

The free concert portion of the festival will start at the same time as the beer festival, 3 p.m., and is free to attend.

Hanson will headline the festival, which will also kick off a 25th anniversary tour. Before its performance, the Tulsa trio will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Other performers include Mayer Hawthorne, Kongos, John Fullbright, Castro and Johnny Polygon. Count Tutu is this year’s Tulsa World opening band contest winner, and runners-up in the opening band contest were Sam Westhoff, The Lonelys, Jesse Joice and The Young Vines.

“We’re a couple of years off from turning this into a multiple-day event,” Hanson said. “It’s continually growing, and we’re refining the experience for everyone — the brewers, their fans and the festivalgoers.”

Participating local brewers
405 Brewing Co.

Elgin Park Brewery

Anthem Brewing Company

Bitter Sisters Brewing Company

El Valley Brewing Company

COOP Ale Works

Marshall Brewing Co.

Nothing’s Left Brewing Co.

Dead Armadillo Craft Brewing

Renaissance Brewing Co.

Roughtail Brewing Co.

American Solera

Kolibri Ale Works

Twisted Spike Brewing Co.

Bricktown Brewery

Cabin Boys Brewery

The Willow Family Ales

Black Mesa Brewing Co.

Hanson Brothers Beer Co.

Iron Monk Brewing Co.

Participating National & International Brewers

Crazy Mountain Brewing Company

Nobel Rey Brewing Co.

Against the Grain Brewery

Alpine Beer Co.

Destihl Brewery

North Coast Brewing Co.

Evil Twin Brewing

Almanac Beer Co.

Anchor Brewing

Founders Brewing Co.

Oskar Blues Brewery

Brewery Ommegang

Flying Dog

Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Angry Orchard Hard Cider

Full Sail Brewing Co.

Great Divide Brewing Co.

Paradox Beer Co.

Propolis Brewing

Austin East Ciders

Green Flash

Avery Brewering

Rahr & Sons


Big Sky Brewing Co.

Bold Rock Hard Cider

Lagunitas Brewing

Sam Adams Brewery

Santa Fe Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada

J. Wakefield Brewing

Lakewood Brewing Co.

Cascade Brewing

Boulevard Brewing Co.

Lazy Magnolia

Clown Shoes

Core Brewing Co.

Crane Brewing

Left Hand Brewing Co.

Sixpoint Brewery

Stone Brewing Co.

Luncky Bucket Handcrafted

Tallgrass Brewing Co.

Mad River Brewing