Cross Timbers joins Brewers Union

Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019
by Molly M. Fleming

Cross Timbers Brewing Co. co-owners Matt Starbuck and Brenton Johnson had operating at the Brewers Union in their business plans.

In October, the home-based brewers started Cross Timbers. They immediately reached out to Brewers Union operator Brad Stumph to see what they needed to get into the cooperative. Stumph sent them a list and they started checking things off of it.

On Saturday, people can get Cross Timbers’ beer at its launch party, which beings at noon at the union, 520 N. Meridian Ave.

Cross Timbers is the fourth brewing company to join the latest Brewers Union class. Elk Valley, Angry Scotsman and Vanessa House breweries were in the first class and all have breweries now in downtown Oklahoma City.

But those brewers already had their downtown location planned or were in the market before they came to the Brewers Union.

This new class has more traditional startup brewers, Stumph said.

“We’re just now doing what this place was designed to do, which is to allow true startups to get going,” he said.

With Cross Timbers opening, this will be the final addition to the union for the foreseeable future, Stumph said.

At the Brewers Union, the brewers share equipment to make their beer. The facility has a canning line as well.

Starbuck and Johnson said that while being at the Brewers Union is a better idea financially than immediately buying their own equipment, it also gives them a place to learn more about brewery operations.

They said they’re hoping Brewers Union head brewer Mike Noonan will teach them a lot.

The Shattuck natives have known each other since elementary school, though they live in Edmond now. They’ve been making beer since 2010.

“We’re not just trying to jump into the commercial atmosphere,” said Johnson. “By coming here, we’ll get help from the others.”

The other Brewers Union tenants are Crossed Cannons, Skydance Brewing Co. and Madhopper Brewing.

Johnson said he hadn’t tried craft beer until he tasted an India pale ale from Starbuck. He said he hasn’t returned to the bland world of domestic beers.

Cross Timbers will have six beers on tap Saturday. Those styles are an IPA, a blonde ale, a milk stout, a gose, a Berliner weisse, and an English pale ale, known as an extra special bitter beer.

The gose is the brewer’s flagship beer called Greenage. The light, tart beer includes cilantro and lime flavors. Johnson zested all the limes on Monday.

Greenage will be the brewer’s first product in cans. It’s being distributed by Republic National Distributing Co. Oklahoma.

“Greenage is a beer that I have high hopes for,” Stumph said. “It’s really refreshing, a little tart, and easy to drink. I think it will open a lot of doors for them.”

Cross Timbers plans to be at the Brewers Union for about a year-and-a-half. Johnson and Starbuck are still working full-time at their other jobs.

While Johnson and Starbuck are seasoned festival veterans, they said they’re still nervous about Saturday and having their beers available to people.

“Any time you put your beer out there, it’s nerve-wracking,” he said. “It’s 80 percent excitement and 20 percent apprehension. (Being at the Brewers Union) has been our short-term goal. Then, we’ll get to our own place.”

Starbuck said he and Johnson are focused on scaling up their beer recipes, so they’re not looking for investors.

Getting the Brewers Union full again took only a few months, and Stumph said he has turned people away to find the four brewers he has.

“The demand is out there,” Stumph said. “There are a lot of people wanting to start breweries now.”

Cross Timbers Brewing Co.’s launch party at the Brewers Union is Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. The Oh My Gogi food truck will be there at noon. Jo-Bawb’s Championship BBQ starts serving at 7 p.m.

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