There's something brewing in downtown Chickasha, with optimism for the future on tap.
The Canadian River Brewing Co. held their grand opening alongside the Food Truck Championships and the Rock Island Arts Festival this weekend.
The new brewery is housed the former Marcum Motor Building at 121 W. Chickasha Ave. The building stood empty for 60 years, Weston DeHart, CMSWillobrook President, said.
The brewery kicks off a partnership between CMSWillowbrook and the Chickasha Economic Development Council to rejuvenate Chickasha's historic downtown area. DeHart said a speakeasy bar (called The Speak) a coffee shop, retail and restaurants are expected to open in the future.
On Saturday, the brewery's tap room was full of festival goers. The room seats about 100, with tables and chairs provided in addition to the bar. The brewery maintains a historic aesthetic, with exposed brick, industrial-style lighting and concrete floors. The atmosphere is relaxed and family-friendly. On Saturday, patrons were welcome to bring their food truck fare inside the brewery.
Brewmaster and owner, Nigel Dunham, describes his craft as a science and an art.
A professionally licensed engineer, Dunham said a lot goes into understanding the top to bottom build of a brewery. The Chickasha location will be the second brewery for Canadian River Brewing Co. They have another site on US81, south of Pocasset, built on a family farm. The new location downtown is automated and computerized, with many processes controlled through an iPad.
The artistic side of the craft becomes clear when Dunham describes his "Groundhog Series"—which is a trilogy through the changing of the seasons. For those in search of a fall flavor, Groundhog's Gallivant is a brown ale brewed with chocolate and coffee. It is described as being slightly bitter with evergreen notes, chocolate and coffee.
Chickasha residents may already be familiar with one of Dunham's creations. Interurban, as well as A&E Grill, keep Interurban Express on tap. This is described as an American blonde style with a caramel color, with hops that give an apricot flavor and aromatics.
Brewery tours will be held in the near future. Patrons can also look forward to live entertainment.
"We're super excited to bring this to Chickasha and it's been very well received so far," Dunham said. "Yesterday was a big day. It was elbow to elbow for about three hours."
At this time, the brewery's hours (tentative) are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.