One of Black Mesa Brewing Company’s guiding principles is to recognize and celebrate the character and authenticity of Oklahoma, which can be seen in every beer they brew. While their roster isn’t as extensive as some, operators Brad Stumph and Chris Sanders have shown their strong brewing skills and their desire to make a unique contribution to Oklahoma craft beer culture. As far as brewing philosophy goes, it’s all about the malts at Black Mesa. Hops are used for balance of flavor, never as the primary focus. The Black Mesa American Blond Ale is a great example of this approach. With a hearty malt backbone and an understated nectar aroma that gives way to a clean, dry finish, this beer is smooth and subtle. They also brew an excellent ESB. Traditionally standing for “Extra Special Bitter,” this style comes from the English bitter or pub ale. However, this being Oklahoma, the brewers couldn’t avoid using a Woody Guthrie line and called it the Endless Skyway Bitter. This well-balanced beer features a blend of nutty malts offset with the subtle grapefruit note of Pacific hops. If you just can’t get enough malt, try their double ESB for a stronger, deliciously indulgent experience. They also have a couple of stouts making the festival rounds, so keep an eye out for those as well.