Renaissance Brewing Brings Oklahoma The Timeless Taste Of The Ages

Author: CL Harmon
Category: People | Tulsa | Uniquelahoma
Date Published: April 5, 2018

Renais­sance Brew­ing Brings Okla­homa The Time­less Taste Of The Ages


APRIL, 2018


It’s Beer Thir­ty! Yes, it is time to soak up the suds, open up the taps, and let the gold­en elixir flow. It is a potion of old dat­ing back over 5,000 years to Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Chi­na.  It was history’s first keg­ger which began with the world’s first civ­i­liza­tions.  Inter­est­ing, don’t you think…as soon as man real­izes he can use fire for some­thing else oth­er than stay­ing warm…he brews a beer with it? Beer is one of those man-made cre­ations that appear to just keep get­ting bet­ter with time, nev­er los­ing its lus­ter.  It’s a recipe that tran­scends bor­ders and beliefs with its ingre­di­ents that draw peo­ples togeth­er into a toast to cel­e­brate a taste for life…and the occa­sion­al buzz of course.

Thanks, in part, to some new alco­hol-relat­ed laws in Okla­homa and the con­tin­ued desire to brew and toast, the state has seen an enthu­si­as­tic jump­start to what could become a thriv­ing indus­try. Beer brew­ing is heat­ing up. Although it has been legal to home brew beer since 2010, sell­ing to the pub­lic on a brew­ery site has not been a legal option since August of 2016. With these and oth­er legal changes, the oppor­tu­ni­ties for brew­eries to make income out­side the whole­sale mar­ket have cre­at­ed quite a buzz them­selves amongst wannabe brew­ers in the state.

The tap­room at Renais­sance Brewery.

C.L. Har­mon

One of those beer enthu­si­asts is a real Renais­sance man by the name of Glenn Hall. The def­i­n­i­tion, accord­ing to the dic­tio­nary, is a man who has exper­tise in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sub­ject mat­ters. Hall def­i­nite­ly fits into this cat­e­go­ry when it comes to build­ing Oklahoma’s first brew­ery from the ground up.  The project began six years ago when he and his wife Sarah began look­ing for indus­tri­al zoned prop­er­ty to build what is now Renais­sance Brew­ing Com­pa­ny locat­ed in the heart of mid-town Tulsa.

This loca­tion was orig­i­nal­ly three sep­a­rate lots with dilap­i­dat­ed homes on them and zoned for com­mer­cial use.  He spent 2011-12 acquir­ing the prop­er­ties and then the fol­low­ing year he spent doing intern­ships at dif­fer­ent brew­eries and acquir­ing his for­mal edu­ca­tion in the beer brew­ing sci­ences. He also attend­ed the World Brew­ing Acad­e­my achiev­ing his Mas­ters in Brew­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and spent time in, Munich, Ger­many for his appren­tice­ship in 2013. He then spent the entire year of 2014 get­ting his new prop­er­ties zoned for indus­tri­al use.  It was an ardu­ous endeav­or, but suc­cess for the cou­ple and paving the way for oth­ers to get prop­er­ties zoned indus­tri­al much eas­i­er was the result.

“We were the first brew­ery to ever chal­lenge any of the zon­ing laws in Tul­sa and the first and only brew­ery in Okla­homa to build from the ground up”.

“We were the first brew­ery to ever chal­lenge any of the zon­ing laws in Tul­sa and the first and only brew­ery in Okla­homa to build from the ground up,” Hall said. He also helped city lead­ers under­stand what brew­eries are real­ly about. Although the city did have some expe­ri­ence work­ing with Marshall’s Brew­ing, also in Tul­sa, that brew­ery had been zoned indus­tri­al from the begin­ning. So Renais­sance Brew­ery and the City of Tul­sa became class­mates of sort of Build­ing a brew­ery 101.

After nine months of wait­ing on per­mits, the Halls began build­ing in Decem­ber of 2015. The con­struc­tion would take two years to com­plete. The colos­sal effort of build­ing as opposed to tak­ing a much eas­i­er job work­ing for an exist­ing brew­ery boils down to a sim­ple phi­los­o­phy; “I just like my own stuff,” he quipped. In actu­al­i­ty, he is one of those peo­ple who believe in invest­ing in his own ideas over those of others.

“I had a real­ly good job in IT for 16 years with a good salary. I basi­cal­ly let that go to move back­ward,” he quipped. “I have been brew­ing since 1994 and so I have always loved the brew­ing aspect. I like the engi­neer­ing side of brew­ing and the equip­ment even more than the beer. I have want­ed to do it pro­fes­sion­al­ly for a long time. This has actu­al­ly been a 20-year plan or vision if you will.  When Hall com­plet­ed his appren­tice­ship in Munich, Ger­many, he knew it was time to fol­low the teach­ing of philoso­pher Pla­to who said, “He is a wise man who invent­ed beer”.  The time had come to become a real Renais­sance man and apply his new knowl­edge to the art of craft beer. In his efforts, he became the gen­er­al con­trac­tor for the con­struc­tion, along with han­dling many oth­er aspects of design­ing, financ­ing and build­ing a brew­ery from the ground up.

Hall explained that the brew­ery itself is debt free, leav­ing only the con­struc­tion loan and oper­a­tions costs. In essence, the cou­ple already has over 50 per­cent equi­ty in the enter­prise.  The brew­ery paid for itself with­in two months of its pub­lic open­ing on Jan­u­ary 11. In addi­tion, he and his wife are proud of the fact that they have made the neigh­bor­hood a bet­ter place and increased prop­er­ty val­ues by remov­ing decay­ing struc­tures and build­ing an asset with­in the community.

“The busi­ness is real­ly doing what we believed it could. Of course, we have to grow it more to get where we want to be. One of those future visions is com­plet­ing two bed and break­fast type apart­ments on the sec­ond floor where ‘beer trav­el­ers’ can stop in Tul­sa and spend a cou­ple of nights”.  The vision begin­ning to bring peo­ple into the brew­ery and allow them to expe­ri­ence some of the craft beers Renais­sance has to offer. They believe the idea of peo­ple being able to stay in a brew­ery and be exposed to the oper­a­tion will be very entic­ing to beer enthusiasts.

“Our main focus is here at the brew­ery,” Hall said. He explained that it is not their intent to sat­u­rate the mar­ket and push the beer into the main­stream.  He and Sarah want to use the brew­ery as some­what of a social gath­er­ing. A place for tasters in the tap room, occa­sion­al beer din­ners where din­ers can try new beers and have meals pre­pared by chefs, have short order foods and even become a place to host events.

“We are not going to beg and plead to get our taps every­where. We want those places that like our beer to car­ry us. We want to estab­lish rela­tion­ships with var­i­ous estab­lish­ments that we real­ly like and who like us,” Hall said. Renais­sance actu­al­ly got start­ed and was able to get into the whole­sale mar­ket by using its own equip­ment to brew at the Dead Armadil­lo brew­ery loca­tion. While there, they were able to get their four flag­ship beers per­fect­ed and avail­able to the whole­sale market.

Since the open­ing of the brew­ery, the main focus has been to get the tap­room open. Now that this is com­plet­ed and patrons are stop­ping by to try their beers, they have begun to work on brew­ing new ones. They pride them­selves on hav­ing a vari­ety of spe­cial­ty beers every week, along with their sea­son­al line-up for the year.  Every Wednes­day they release a new beer list which always sells out with­in that week.

“We now have peo­ple show­ing up ear­ly in the week to try some of our new spe­cial­ty beers.” Thus far, the brew­ery has pro­duced 40 dif­fer­ent beers that are “proven recipes,” Hall said. The tap room is vital to the exper­i­men­ta­tion process, he explained. As they pro­duce these spe­cial­ty beers, the cus­tomer demands them allow them to see which ones are pop­u­lar and could even­tu­al­ly become flag­ship brews. Cur­rent­ly, there is Renais­sance Gold, Indi­an Wheat, Gam­ma Ray IPA and Black Gold as flag­ships.  Renais­sance Gold and Indi­an Wheat are light beers, Gam­ma Ray IPA is more of a hop­py beer and Black Gold is a dark beer.

“We are sell­ing every­thing we can make right now,” Hall said.  This is with nine cur­rent part-time employs and a few tanks. Renais­sance has built in the capac­i­ty for sev­er­al more tank oper­a­tions, but Hall said that grow­ing slow­ly and using earned cash flow to move for­ward is much more of a pri­or­i­ty than quick expansion.

“I am a Renais­sance man because I like to do so many of the things myself,” Hall said about his involve­ment with the day to day oper­a­tions of the brew­ery. Although he calls him­self own­er and brew­er, he is also the book­keep­er, jan­i­tor, recipe mak­er and pack­ager as well.  With his renais­sance men­tal­i­ty, and the neigh­bor­hood being known as the Renais­sance area, it seemed as though the name was meant to be.

Still 5,000 years lat­er that crisp and often bit­ter drink we call beer is still as pop­u­lar as it has been through the ages. Hall has now joined the ranks of many before him who have tak­en what nature pro­vides to quench a thirst that seems nev­er-end­ing. Although it is dis­put­ed that Ben Franklin ever said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be hap­py,” some­one cer­tain­ly said it. And who­ev­er it was, I bet that man was a Renais­sance man just like Glenn Hall.

The Renais­sance area is in the heart of Tul­sa’s his­toric mid­town, bor­der­ing streets are East 11th to 15th and from South Har­vard to Lewis with the brew­ery locat­ed at 1147 S Lewis Ave. Hours are Wednes­day-Fri­day from 4–9 pm, 12–9 pm on Sat­ur­day and 12–6 pm on Sun­day.  For more infor­ma­tion about their flag­ship beers, vis­it To try one of their spe­cial­ty beers, stop by and bel­ly up to the bar.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is Uniquelahoma?

You’re a Uniquelahoman when you love Oklahoma, maybe because you were born here or because you love what Oklahoma has to offer. There’s just one thing standing between you and have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the state you love so much: finding those hidden gems of stories and tucked away places. That’s where we come in. The hearts and minds behind Uniquelahoma are brimming with that appreciation and are always looking for new ways to share it with you. We will bring you those stories and find those places that you always wanted to know about you just had no idea. Stick around. Find something unique.

Recent Stories