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A Toast to Local, Handcrafted Ozark Beer

By August 7, 2012November 9th, 2016The Beer

We went back to the scene of our very first tonight.

We had a delicious dinner of Ozark BBQ and fried okra.  We tipped back a pint of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale (they were out of Black Walnut Wheat).

We were at Olig’s BBQ in Licking.  While Olig’s is a great little barbecue joint…in an old barn, no less…Marie and Dan Lewis were the first restaurant to put Piney River beer on tap.

We had mentioned the possibility of putting our beer on tap in Olig’s last summer, long before we even had draft beer available for restaurants.  Some of our beer in a growler had been sampled by the staff, and when they heard that they could have us on draft last winter, they were the first place to take a keg.

When we heard that we had our first tap handle (that’s brewery speak for getting on draft in a restaurant or bar), Brian, Andy and I had dinner at Olig’s that night.  McKinney Eddy Amber Ale was the first beer to find its home in the kegerator at Olig’s.   The patron’s loved it, and of course, the Lewis’ did, too.

Since putting the McKinney Eddy Amber Ale on draft, Marie has added another Piney River tap handle—Black Walnut Wheat.  Apparently the patrons are enjoying that one, too; there wasn’t a drop for us to drink tonight.

That’s alright, but we were planning to have a toast with Black Walnut Wheat.  A toast to Black Walnut Wheat.  A toast to putting another beer into a Piney Pint…only eight months after our first two Piney Pints hit the store shelves.  A toast to never letting anyone out work us.  A toast to celebrating the Ozarks with craft beer about the Ozarks.

So we had a toast with McKinney Eddy Amber Ale to all of that.  And it was good.

The really cool thing is that every table around us was drinking McKinney Eddy Amber Ale.  And it’s not because that’s all that Olig’s has on draft!  No, Dan and Marie and their staff encourage everyone to try their local beer.   Piney River beer has become the draft beer of choice for many of Olig’s customers thanks to their belief in and their support of the local craft brewery.  Let’s face it, we’re in the heart of a certain formerly St. Louis-owned, now Belgian-owned brewery territory, but there are TWO, yes, that’s one and two, tap handles from the little brewery in Bucyrus that handcrafts every beer that goes out the big barn doors.

While we filled our bellies with delicious smoked beef and pork, garden fresh veggies from the salad bar and locally handcrafted beer, I realized again that it means a lot to Dan and Marie that Brian and I—the local brewery owners—take the time to come in and enjoy some BBQ and a laugh or a story with them.  Unlike anybody else, we’ve got the corner on the local brewery market in their establishment.  How cool is that?!

And it’s because of this great love for local beer that from 6 to 11-something last night we were doing this last night:

Yes, we were doing the first can run for Black Walnut Wheat.

Big thanks to our friends and help, Jamie and Debra Smith, for hanging with us and getting all that beer canned and packaged last night.

As Brian and I rolled into bed about 1:30 a.m. this morning, Brian said, “We’ll never let anyone out work us.”

I reminded Brian, “We can sleep when we die.”

We were able to can enough beer for three of our distributors—Grellner Sales; Heart of America Beverage, and NH Scheppers.  (Beer for Arkansas is up next, we promise!)  Folks throughout much of the Ozarks will have a Piney Pint of Black Walnut Wheat in their hands, in their cooler, on their float trip very, very soon.

It was our great pleasure to send the first four-pack of Piney Pints to Rodney Edwards at Grellner.  Rodney was the first distributor willing to take a chance with us.  Rodney’s sales staff has Piney Pints stocked in little and large retail locations across the area, and they are keeping us busy filling kegs for the many draft accounts they have picked up.

Word got back that Rodney was able to enjoy those first beers at the end of the day today.  And they were good.

Two great, local retail establishments—Pit Stop Convenience and S&S Package in Houston—have invited us out to share our Black Walnut Wheat and our Old Tom Porter on Friday.  We will be providing tastings of both beers from 4 to 6 p.m. as they make their Piney Pint debut in Texas County, and Dean and Doug have promised to have lots of Piney Pints in stock and cold.

Local, handcrafted beer.  That’s what it’s all about.  Thanks to you for enjoying one with us!


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