ROOTS AND GHOSTS
Four thousand miles away and over twenty-five years ago the seeds of Oak Creek Brewery and Grill were planted in Bavaria, Germany. Our founders, Fred and Rita Kraus, awoke early and often to pursue the knowledge and experience needed for brewing world class beers and cooking excellent food. And they knew they wanted to do it in one of the most beautiful places on earth- Sedona, Arizona.
Fred knows all the winding backroads between his adopted town, Grafenwoehr, and the medieval village of Pottenstein. He drives mostly in darkness, pre-dawn before the brewing day starts or late night after it’s finished. In between, he pays rapt attention to everything his mentor, Herr Josef Wiegaertner has to say, Master brewer and owner of Pottenstein’s small craft brewery, Hufeisen (www.hufeisenbraeu.de), which is German for ‘Horseshoe’ and signifies good luck.
Fred apprenticed for over two years inside a family brewing operation spanning generations, inside a historic plaster and beam building in the village center with brick foundations built in the seventeenth century. The hops are stored down there in the oldest, coldest chambers where, perhaps, a few spirits of brewers past still wander! Maybe occasionally King Gambrinus himself, patron saint of beer brewing. Who knows…?
Fred’s final task was to design and brew his ‘Meistersud’ or Master Batch as his trial by fire. He brewed a Mai Bock (Spring Bock beer) which Josef hailed as a tasty success. The other beers they brewed together on a regular basis were unfiltered Bavarian Wheat (Hefeweizen), traditional Franconian Dark Lager (Fraenkisches Urdunkel), and a traditional south German Gold Lager.
The Gold Lager and Bavarian Wheat can be enjoyed anytime at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill, brewed with authentic ingredients including the strains of yeast used and barley malts imported from Bamberg, Germany. Our Nut Brown Ale is a close approximation to the Franconian Dark Lager.
FIRST A MICROBREWERY THEN A BREWPUB
When Fred and Rita arrived in Sedona in late 1993, they started the Oak Creek Brewing Co., Arizona’s second licensed Class 3 production craft brewery (www.oakcreekbrew.com). Located in west Sedona in what used to be a lumber warehouse, they turned it into a major production brewery sporting a beer and wine bar on the brewery floor as well as an inviting beer garden. Oak Creek’s products are sold in kegs and bottles by Hensley Distributing Company throughout the state.
TLAQUEPAQUE OR BUST!
Tlaquepaque is Sedona’s premier visitor destination. Its beautiful, authentically re-created structures right on Oak Creek, housing all manner of local arts, crafts, jewellery, and other shops, were the perfect fit for the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill. Having already seen how Fred and Rita had established such a great reputation for craft beer excellence, Tlaquepaque’s owners offered them their coveted new space for the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill. Partners Tom and Deb Kelly enthusiastically lent their financial support as well as international culinary and business expertise. In August 2001, the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill welcomed its first guests to fresh house brewed craft beers paired with excellent American grill food with a European flair.
OAK CREEK BREWERY AND GRILL
We’re not ‘fancy pants’. Don’t want to be. We want folks to come in, enjoy sitting in front of our burnished copper beer serving tanks right behind the bar, tanks that hold fresh beer brewed directly downstairs day in and day out.Tanks, by the way,and all other equipment totally designed and fabricated by American brewery craftsmen in Wilsonville, Oregon. We want folks to see our open kitchen, the flames, the steam, the wood fire all used to make our charbroiled Certified Angus burgers, beer battered fish and chips, hand tossed wood fired pizzas. Not only do we have nothing to hide, we have everything to show! Lots of the credit goes to our chef, Benny Hansen. Benny trained with Marriott Hotels where he learned to run a professional kitchen right. The end result is what we have all come to expect from Benny and his team: GOOD FOOD AND PLENTY OF IT.
Our beers may speak for themselves but we want you to know just what’s behind these award winning quaffs. Fred Kraus designed and oversaw installation of our brewery and brewed the first beers. He didn’t work alone. Partner Carl Adam had already retired to Sedona after running all U.S brewing operations for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. out of St Louis. Carl was instrumental in making sure that our beers were always ‘up to snuff’ as he often put it. The Oak Creek Brewery and Grill reminded Carl of the small craft breweries where he’d worked in his early years, both in Germany and America, after having received his diploma from the ultra-prestigious Weihenstephan Brewing University in Freising, Bavaria. Carl’s absolute love of beer made him our greatest beer advocate and harshest critic. The highest compliment Carl would pay in his deadpan, serious voice was always, ‘Now that’s a good glass of beer. Good drinkability!’ High praise from our resident brewmaster emeritus! GREAT BEER AND YOU’LL WANT ANOTHER.
Mixology 101… James Werner shakes a martini better than anybody. James and his team deliver a vibrant yet low key experience. He specializes in recommending new, interesting mixology experiences as well as great old stand-by’s whether it’s a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned. You can try to stump James with a new concoction but like as not he’s the one who will deliver what you want WITH A TWIST!