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Mustang Brewery Company reopens its facilities after being damaged in a 2013 tornado.

Greg Horton May 28th, 2014

Mustang Brewing Company started brewing beer in Oklahoma City again on May 13. The company has spent the last year attempting to recover from the damage its brewing facility sustained during a tornado last year.

Tim Schoelen examines a large stainless steel brewing vessel after a recent late night of brewing at Mustang Brewing Company.
Photo by Mark Hancock

Co-owner and founder Tim Schoelen said that the new facility at 520 N. Meridian Ave. and a new brewing system will allow Mustang to change the direction of the company.

“The rise of craft beer awareness in Oklahoma has definitely affected session beers,” Schoelen said. “We’ll be keeping two of our session beers, but everything else we do will be craft beers.”

Mustang officially reopened on May 16 with a party. Schoelen had nine taps running and a very special cask of Sour Black Ale for attendees to sample. Included in the new beers will be an American Wild Ale called PFD (poor financial decisions). The name is Schoelen’s tongue-in-cheek reference to the trials and tribulations of the past year.

Mustang closed on the sale of the old OKCity Brewing Company mere weeks before the tornado destroyed the building, leaving Mustang, Black Mesa Brewing Company and Redbud Brewing Company without local places to brew. Schoelen contracted with an out-of-state facility for the past year and continued making beer.

“I’m proud of what we managed to do this past year,” he said. “I took a day job to help with income, and we managed to survive the year without laying anyone off.”

The commitment to OKC has always been important to Schoelen, and now brewing 100 percent of Mustang beers locally feels like a victory for his team. In addition to original brewmaster Gary Shellman, the brewery has added a new lead brewer, Ethan Buckman, who already has a Great American Beer Festival gold medal in his resume.

A new, high-efficiency electrical system will allow Shellman and Buckman to brew double the quantity of beer than before in the same amount of time. Additionally, the new system is greener; it allows Mustang to use wind power.

The new suds are an eclectic mix of styles, but because Schoelen believes “beer should taste like beer,” he said the balance is a success.

The list includes Red Rye Saison, Kilt Commando Scotch Ale, Hoplahoma and an imperial pale ale called Rocket Fuel. Schoelen is unsure of the distribution and availability of all of them right now. The two session beers Mustang is definitely keeping are Washita Wheat and Mustang Sixty-Six Lager. The original Mustang beer, Golden Ale, will be brewed as an anniversary ale rather than as a permanent beer.


 
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