Loyal and Brew
Monday, January 9, 2023
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It’s game day in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys are winning 9-0 at the half and the smell of fresh stadium food is in the air. The Cowboy Marching Band is playing, and a sea of orange fills Boone Pickens Stadium. The only thing missing is a beer in your hand.
You make your way to the concession stand and notice the distinct orange and white can with Pistol Pete on it on display in the refrigerator. “Ah, 1890 Original,” you think to yourself the missing link to the perfect Oklahoma State University game day experience.
Iron Monk founders Dave Monks and Jared Millirons and Trenton Inselman, a 2016 agricultural economics alumnus, said they had Cowboy fans in mind when they created 1890 Original, the new official craft beer of OSU.
“We wanted everything to be intentional,” said Inselman, head brewer at IronMonk, “in everything from the name on the can, the colors, the way we showcase Pistol Pete and the way we use OSU logos.”
1890 Original was named for the year Oklahoma A&M College was established. The alcohol by volume level, or ABV, which is based on the amount of grain used, has a special meaning behind the number, Inselman said.
The beer has an ABV of 5.2%, which is an acknowledgment to the 52 NCAA titles OSU has won.
The Iron Monk team even went as far as to match the number of IBUs, international bitterness units, to the 11 national championships the OSU Golf Team has won, said Clayton Howze, an agricultural leadership senior and production assistant at Iron Monk.
After Iron Monk was asked to be the official craft beer of OSU, Inselman and Howze created two blonde ales at the same time.
“Iron Monk has a small batch or a pilot system here, and we can try and make different beers,” Inselman said.
“I’d always wanted to make a blonde ale, and I knew Iron Monk could make a great one,” he added.
The main difference was in the brews’ grain bills.
“I had a little more of two base malts,” Inselman said. “Howze had a little bit more variety of grains that were malted different.”
In his version of the 1890 Original, Inselman “dry hopped” his ale. In this technique, the brewer adds the hops after the beer is finished fermenting to help enhance the aroma.
Howze and Inselman tried their 1890 Original versions side by side, took what they liked from each brew and combined them using the traits they liked from each.
The brewers knew they were close, and with minor tweaks from Monks and Millirons, the beer was ready to scale up. Thus, the 1890 Original was born.
“You won’t find two better guys or two better workers,” Millirons said. “Their work ethic is amazing and completely unmatched.”
Inselman has brewed every batch of 1890 Original to date, Millirons said. Inselman took the reins, but they still collaborate on projects, he continued.
Millirons and Monks give advice when needed but Inselman deserves the credit.
Since the release of the 1890 Original on Aug. 20, 2022, Inselman has brewed more than 1,000 barrels of the new brew.
“Stilly Wheat was No. 1 in beer sales and was responsible for more than half of our production,” Inselman said. “The 1890 Original has surpassed Stilly Wheat in barrels produced.”
Inselman wants an 1890 Original available wherever large quantities of OSU Cowboys gather.
“We can go a lot of places with just this beer,” Inselman said.
The future is bright for Iron Monk, Inselman said.
“We didn’t think anybody would ever be able to fill our previous head brewer’s shoes, but Inselman has filled his shoes and then some,” Millirons said. “I don’t know if we would have had the 1890 Original or the rights to even do that if it wasn’t for Inselman. He played a role in getting the partnership in place with OSU.”
Unknown to most OSU fans, Iron Monk, along with six to eight other breweries, had the opportunity to become the official craft beer of OSU.
Iron Monk owners pitched themselves as a brewery and focused on how their team was comprised of alumni or current OSU students. They spoke to who they were and let the beer speak for itself.
Being chosen as the official craft beer of OSU gave Iron Monk a greater sense of pride because they were, according to OSU, the best brewery for the job.
“It’s quite crazy to think one beer changed the trajectory of this whole brewery,” Inselman said, “but it did, and it’s the 1890 Original.”
Alcohol By Volume or ABV: A measurement of the alcohol content of a solution in terms of the percentage volume of alcohol per volume of beer.
Aroma: Smells present at levels greater than twice their threshold level. These include fruit, floral, sulfur-based compounds, volatile hop aromatics and fusel alcohols.
Blonde Ale: Usually has honey, spices and fruit added and may be fermented with lager or ale yeast. It has no particularly dominating malt or hop characteristics.
Cellar Man: Responsible for cleaning and sanitizing fermentation and conditioning tanks as well as transferring beer from tank to tank, ensuring the beer is transferred slowly and in an aseptic manner.
Dry Hopping: The addition of hops late in the brewing process to increase the hop aroma of a finished beer without significantly affecting its bitterness.
Fermenting: The chemical conversion of fermentable sugars into approximately equal parts of ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas through the action of yeast.
Grain Bill: A list of all the grain malts and adjuncts used in a specific beer recipe.
International Bitterness Units or IBU: The measure of the bittering substances in beer. Analytically assessed as milligrams of isomerized alpha acid per liter of beer in ppm.
Malt: Grain specially prepared for brewing beer.
Story By: Natalie Battaglia | Cowboy Journal