Great ideas often originate at communal gathering places. That is certainly the case of Cabin Boys Brewery. The idea germinated at a cabin Jeff McIlroy and friends built on his land in Catoosa, about 15 miles east of Tulsa, Okla. From fellowship fostered at the cabin, Austin McIlroy and Ryan Arnold realized the potential of their joint homebrewing endeavors. Their passion and skills led to Austin and his wife Lisa and Ryan opening Cabin Boys as a placed “craft for community.”
Visitors to the brewery will notice the distinct Cabin Boys logo that Lisa designed as they come to the intersection of Utica Avenue and 7th Street.
There is parking immediately behind the brewery with additional parking across the street. So visitors do not enter the brewery by the beautiful artwork, but through a more nondescript door.
After entering the brewery through a door adjacent to the loading dock door, visitors see a display of merchandise on the right.
Around the corner from the merchandise area is the bar and a large, custom-built picnic-style table.
Although the picnic-style table and bar are primary seating options in the taproom, there are a few barrels distributed around the room for standing-room usage. In addition to seating in the taproom, there is additional seating on the production side of the brewery.
In addition to a set of tables the additional seating includes games like table tennis and cornhole. Due to the large space, Cabin Boys has hosted swing dance classes on this side of the brewery. Depending on when you visit the taproom, you may see someone working on the production side, which I captured while taking a few photos.
With the lay of the land established, let’s talk about beer. When I visited, Cabin Boys had six beers on tap plus kombucha and cold brew. So there was something for everyone. One would think that having only six beers on draft would make it easy to put together a flight, but that’s not quite the case. Cabin Boys offers something unique that I had never heard of nor seen before visiting their brewery. At the taproom you can have a red, hot iron inserted into your beer of choice in a German process called Gustungling. So with only four beers on a flight, my wife Katie and I had to decide which beers to put on the flight, and which two we wanted to try Gustungling style. After some input from the beertenders, we built our flight and decided which beers we’d try Gustungling.
The advice we received about Gustungling is that it works best with darker beers, so we put together out flight featuring the lighter beers on tap. So we ordered Cast-a-Line Kolsch, Cornerstone Saison, Whittier Wit, and Huntman IPA. Of those four, I enjoyed Whittier Wit the most. It was light and refreshing like a typical wheat beer. The Cornerstone Saison was also an excellent representation of its style. It was light, crisp and had a hint of pepper.
After finishing our flights, Katie and I each ordered the beer we wanted to Gustungling. Inserting the red, hot iron is supposed to caramelize the flavors of the beer. The process changes the flavors, so customers who order a Gustungling receive two pours: a 10-ounce pour with the red, hot iron inserted for the Gustungling process and a sampler of the same beer without the hot iron effect. Katie opted for Felix et Tenebris (an American stout) while I chose Bearded Theologian (a Belgian quad). If you haven’t seen the Gustungling process it is definitely a great part of the experience, unfortunately I had a difficult time capturing it on video. However, I did capture the result in a photograph.
Both beers were great after under going Gustungling. Bearded Theologian was a solid Belgian quad whether you heated it or not. I particularly enjoyed the Gustungling version because the hot iron brought out marshmallow flavors and a little bit of sweetness. Felix et Tenebris had hints of orange and chocolate, and was equally delicious whether as originally brewed or whether its flavor profile was changed through Gustungling. The beertenders at Cabin Boys will Gustungling any beer a customer orders, but I can agree that the best beers for Gustungling are the darker options.
The origins of the brewery’s name are clear-cut, and the name really carries over into the atmosphere at the taproom. The color scheme creates a cozy feeling and the bark on the edge of the bar top reinforces the cabin setting. The large picnic-style table has the same design as the bar top. The seating structure creates a place that lives up to the text on the glassware, “crafted for community.”