Anthem Brewing Company
OK Pils - American Pilsner
Oklahoma City, OK
The name “Oklahoma” comes from the Choctaw Indian phrase “okla humma” which translates to “red people”. It was how the tribe described Native Americans as a whole and is an appropriate name for a state whose land has, at one time or another, been almost entirely made up of Indian reservations. Oklahoma was home to many different Native American societies for over 10,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. Ancestors of the Wichita, Kichai, Teyas, Escanjaques, and Caddo tribes were known to have occupied the region and the Caddoans even built a remarkable mound community called the Spiro Mounds that is still found in eastern Oklahoma and dates back as far as 850 A.D. The first European to visit the area was a Spanish conquistador named Fernando Vázquez de Coronado in 1541. Coronado’s expedition began in Mexico, went through the present-day southwestern states and traveled as far north as Kansas. The land was claimed by the French in the 1700s and stayed mostly under their control until it was acquired by the United States in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
The state of Oklahoma initially took shape in response to one of America’s ugliest events. Between 1830 and 1860, Native Americans from the Five Civilized Tribes were forcefully removed from their homes in the Southeastern U.S. during an episode commonly known as Indian Removal. Starting with the Choctaw, the forced relocation of Native Americans saw men, women and children march many hundreds of miles through difficult terrain and with little aid. Members of the Seminole, Creek, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes were also forced (sometimes violently) to move to reservations in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The phrase “Trail of Tears” refers to the trail the Cherokee Indians had to walk, a journey that resulted in the deaths of as many as 8,000 of the more than 20,000 Cherokee who were forced to relocate, but in total more than 60,000 Native Americans were relocated and as many as 15,000 died either along the trail or soon after from diseases they contracted along the way. In addition to the Native Americans, many of their African-American slaves traveled the route too, impacting Oklahoma’s future development.
The Five Civilized Tribes supported the Confederacy during the Civil War and slavery wasn’t abolished in Oklahoma until 1866. By 1890, over 30 different Indian tribes and almost every Native American east of the Mississippi River had been relocated to the area, and the territory changed from its unofficial name of Indian Territory to Oklahoma Territory. Around the same time, white settlers were beginning to make their way into the region. The Dawes Act of 1887 was intended to give specific plots of land to each Native American family but instead managed to give away half of Indian-owned land to railroad companies and white settlers. Oklahoma’s land rushes became legendary with the first one taking place on April 22, 1889. During the event, an estimated 50,000 people lined up along the Oklahoma Territory’s border and beginning with the sound of a gunshot, they literally rushed as quickly as they could to the section of the territory they wished to claim. The first person to reach each 160-acre plot was able to claim it as their own and by the end of the day nearly two million acres had been claimed. Many white settlers even occupied land before the law granted them permission and since these people were said to get to their plots sooner than they should have, they became known as “sooners”, leading to the state’s eventual nickname, the “Sooner State”. There were many attempts to make the Oklahoma Territory an exclusively Native American state but it never came to fruition. Instead, on November 16, 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th U.S. State.
African Americans thrived in Oklahoma’s early years. In addition to the Indian Removal, they also moved to the area from nearby former slave states and created many new neighborhoods and communities. They were often forcibly segregated but still managed to flourish, especially in Tulsa. The 1930s saw the state suffer from the Dust Bowl, a period in which poor farming practices and extended drought resulted in the collapse of the state’s agriculture. The Dust Bowl correlated with the Great Depression and resulted in many residents abandoning the region while others lived in extreme poverty.
Throughout their hardships, “Okies” have stayed resilient, often resting on the backs of agriculture, the oil industry and the modern fracking industry. Oklahomans have persevered to develop many impressive communities and they continually pay tribute to their diverse heritage in many ways throughout the state, like with a nice, cold OK Pils American Pilsner from Anthem Brewing Company in Oklahoma City.
From the Brewer: Have you been looking for a clean beer that you can drink day in and day out, month in and month out? Well call off the dogs because you have found it! OK Pilsner is...not the answer to all of your problems, but with a heavy dose of German pilsner malt to start and European hops to finish, it may or may not be close. ABV 5.5%, IBU 84
Alan Musser - Owner & CEO