It’s the night before a winter storm is expected to hit Oklahoma City and the wind hacks and slashes at anyone or anything in its path.
But inside a slice of the Paramount Building, the taproom at Core 4, 7 N. Lee Ave., is packed. It’s board game night, so the regular crowd is there for that. But, about a week prior, a chili cook-off was announced, prompting 17 entries to be judged and awarded that night by their peers.
“We're very small. We're very community focused. We are your neighborhood brewery,” co-owner Buck Buchanan said.
- Berlin Green
- Chili night at Core4
A simple and small bar setup with tables inside, picnic tables and games outside where live music is often performed, the brewery is taproom-forward and lends its space to gatherings and fundraisers. The hall leading to the bathroom is adorned with art for sale. And while the ideas have evolved over the past two years since they’ve opened, the spirit remains the same.
“The second Friday of every month, we do what we call “Pints of Pride” and it's a nonprofit fundraiser night. And so when we first started out, it was very LGBTQ-influenced, so all of our nonprofits were some sort of LGBTQ nonprofit organization,” Buchanan said.
In addition to cash donations and an art auction, the brewery donates 10 percent of its sales back to the cause.
“So now, it's not so LGBTQ-forward anymore, not that we don't want that or we don't push that, but we've just kind of looked outside of the LGBTQ community as far as our nonprofits go. We really just wanted to let everybody know that we are a safe space, that we're open. We're nonjudgmental. Anybody can come here and hang out and that was kind of our plan,” Buchanan said.
While they do batches on tap and in bottle releases, the brewery remains dedicated to the roots of craft brewing.
“Core 4 is based off the four main ingredients in beer. That's where it comes from. Yeast, water, barley, and hops. But then there are four of us that are involved too. We were talking about what we're going to name the brewery, we were wanting to know what our core four beers are going to be and then it just became a name that we just started seeing a whole bunch,” Buchanan said.
It stuck. They claimed the name on all the social media platforms and moved forward, with the second anniversary party kicking off at noon on March 12.
While the diversity of local craft beer is great, he said, sometimes you just want to get back to your roots. Your core.
“Our mantra is just bringing back beer to the basics,” Buchanan said.