Midtown Tulsa brewery says thank you to firefighters 2 years after massive fire

TULA, Okla. — A midtown Tulsa brewery is saying thank you to the firefighters who put out a massive fire at their taproom two years ago.

Marshall Brewing Company Tap Room, near East 6th Street and South Utica Avenue, held a benefit Thursday night with a portion of proceeds going to the Tulsa Fire Department.

About 60 firefighters were at the brewery on Feb. 16, 2021, putting out a fire in dangerously cold temperatures, after a building connected to the brewery caught fire. Off-duty firefighters were even called in to help.

Wes Alexander, director of marketing and sales for Marshall Brewing, remembers that temperatures that day were well below freezing and snow and ice were still on the ground.

“One of the things we’re doing is celebrating our survival, but really the men and women of the Tulsa Fire Department that worked so gallantly through terrible, brutal cold conditions to protect our business,” said Alexander.

The brewery released a rauchbier for Thursday’s occasion, which Alexander explained is a traditional smoked beer from Bamberg, Germany, with a familiar back story.

“The story goes that hundreds of years ago, there was a fire at a brewery, if you can believe this, and one of the things they were able to salvage from the fire was their malted barley,” said Alexander. “As they brewed the beer, they noticed it had a light, sweet, smoky flavor and aroma.”

Alexander said their rauchbier is a callback to when the taproom was shuttered for five months, most of the time spent getting rid of the smoke smell left from the fire.

Alexander said people immediately started reaching out after the fire to ask how they could help, and Thursday’s benefit was also a celebration of the community support they received.

“When you go through a tragic instance, it’s shocking to your system, and people reach out instinctively,” said Alexander. “I really could never come up with the words to tell people how heart warming, how comforting, how positive it makes the whole situation feel.”

“Two years later, it’s still hard to come up with the words, but it’s easy to sit down and share a beer together, and look people in the eye and let them know how much they mean to you.”