Craft beer enthusiasts who don’t mind putting in a little footwork can visit their favorite Oklahoma City and Tulsa haunts in a unique way – by pedaling through areas close to the cities’ downtowns.
Meanwhile, folks in Oklahoma’s capital city who prefer a more comfortable, relaxing option can embark on a 3 ½-hour tour of craft brewpubs by taking a chartered coach.
Since making its debut six years ago, Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Brew Bike has been offering a different way of exploring the area’s pubs and craft breweries – a 16-passenger, 10-pedal bike bar. Owned by Bike Bar Tours LLC of Denver, Colo., the Bricktown Brew Bike is now joined by a similarly pedal-powered bike bar in Tulsa, with the Tulsa Bike Bar offering regular visits to pubs in Tulsa’s Arts and Blue Dome districts. Tours are booked in advance and range in price from $295 per group during the week to $320 weekends.
Operations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City were halted in March when bars were closed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed in June. Nick Oxford, operations manager at Bricktown Brew Bike, says bike drivers wear masks and that everything is wiped down before each tour. Temperature checks are also administered before the brew bike pedals toward the closest watering hole.
The bike bar generally makes two to three stops during its two-hour excursion, says Oxford, and groups can set their own itinerary in advance. Riders are free to bring their own coolers on board to imbibe while pedaling.
Meanwhile, those preferring a more luxurious mode of transportation have another option – OKC Brew Tours, which offers a 12-passenger coach, available for what its operators tout as a fun, unforgettable brewery tour.
Brian Spomer, owner-operator of OKC Brew Tours, says the company began in 2018, seeking to provide a high-quality experience sampling fresh hand-crafted beer, while also educating guests about the brewing process, “all without having to worry about the driving.”
OKC Brew Tours are booked in advance and visit breweries clustered in and close to downtown, with time reserved for sampling at each stop.
“We are always open to special requests by our customers,” says Spomer. Each tour includes a behind-the-scenes look at one of the locations.
Tours resumed in mid-June and slots filled up quickly. Spomer says safety precautions entail sanitizing the tour bus after each tour and limiting group sizes to six.
He says the tour guides are fun, knowledgeable and passionate about craft beer, and are focused on “making sure everyone has a good time.” Often, customers and guides develop a fun camaraderie during the 3 ½-hour event.
“One [guide] was even invited to family dinner later that night,” says Spomer with a laugh.
As for the pedal-powered tours around Oklahoma, the company’s websites state that drivers are prepared to deal with unruly or seriously intoxicated participants: “Our drivers have an ejector seat button for passengers, and we have all been deemed trigger happy!”
With that admonition, Oxford says, riders generally are well-behaved, but intent on having a good time on their outing.
“Occasionally,” he says, “dance parties break out.”