It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Vanessa House brewery, in particular their Broken Tile Double IPA. When I first heard that they’d be opening a brewery and tap room in Midtown, I was pumped. The new tap room officially opens at 118 NW 8th St. on Saturday October 27th. We were able to check it out during a sneak peak and can confirm it’s going to be awesome.
About Vanessa House
First off, who/what is Vanessa House? The brewery was started by five friends (Justin, Andrew, Zac, Nick, and Evan) who lived together in a house on Vanessa Street while at the University of Oklahoma, hence the name. They started home-brewing together and would joke about quitting their jobs one day to start a brewery. Eventually, the joke became less of a joke and more of a goal.
In order to fund the operation and get it off the ground several of the crew that had been working full-time day jobs withdrew money from their 401k’s to put into the business. This is where the name for their first signature beer comes from, the 401k Cream Ale. Just like the company name, all their beers have a story behind them.
Before making the move to Midtown, the main Vanessa House operations were being conducted at Brewer’s Union. Brewer’s Union is essentially an incubator for brewers. It gave them a way to share costs with other up-and-coming breweries while they started to ramp up production and spread the word on their brand. Meanwhile, they had always been on the look out for the right spot to house their own facility.
Vanessa House Tap Room in Midtown
The new tap room is an industrial space with the bar in the front and the brewing equipment in the back. The focal piece is a mural painted by local Tulsa artist, Jake Beeson, a friend of the owners. The mural fits perfectly with the fun atmosphere and the owners’ affinity for comic books.
The building itself is next to Elevated Paver Systems (EPS), which owns the two adjoining buildings right off of Automobile Alley. EPS owner Adam Fink had been leaving this space open for “something we thought might be cool”. I’m not sure it gets much cooler than a local brewery, so they hit that one out of the park.
Vanessa House Beers
At the time of our visit the bar had the four main Vanessa House brews that form their core lineup:
- 401k Cream Ale – A lighter, refreshing ale with subtle citrus notes that is as they put it “highly crushable”
- Broken Tile Double IPA – Hoppy and malty with hints of pineapple, dangerously smooth for an 8% beer
- Garage Fire Pale Ale – A really nice, balanced pale ale with a little bit of fruit flavor
- 11:09 Berliner Weisse – This beer is fruity and slightly sour with notes of blackberries
There are many benefits to having a larger facility. Besides the ability to produce more beer, there’s more freedom to experiment and try out new things. When speaking with Andrew he told us that they already have a few new beers on their way and hope to debut them in the coming months. This includes an India Pale Lager (IPL), which I am very excited to try. The tap room is also kid and dog friendly, so everyone should be checking it out after they open this Saturday.
Vanessa House is the first of a wave of Oklahoma craft brewers about to enter the urban core, with Elk Valley and Angry Scotsman following with their own tap rooms in the coming months. Plus Coop Ale Works, not to be outdone, announced earlier this year that they will be starting a $20 million project to revitalize the 23rd Street National Guard Armory and transform the vacated 87,000 sq. ft. space into a manufacturing brewery, restaurant, event space and boutique hotel set to open in late 2020. Things continue to look good for the future of craft beer in OKC and we are here for it!
Stay tuned as we continue to cover the Oklahoma Craft Beer scene in depth. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!