An Interview with Tuck Oden
An Interview with Tuck Oden

Associate Creative Director & Craft Beer Enthusiast

Tuck grew up around Ackerman McQueen and its offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Dallas, and put in a few high school years working in Traffic and Golden Voice. Since coming on full time in 2009, Tuck has worked on award-winning campaigns for INTEGRIS, the OKC Thunder, WinStar World Casino and Resort, Riverwind Casino, Remington Park, Dolese, Taco Mayo, Lone Star Park, Oklahoma State Fair and many others. He is also a casual craft beer drinker.

AM: How did you get into drinking craft beer?

TUCK: I’m not a beer snob or a brewing geek or anything like that. Honestly, in a state where our craft supply is so limited (Oklahoma), it’d virtually be impossible to act like I know all that much about craft beer. Just a person who likes beer and likes to try different things. I have consumed a lot of beer, but never brewed any. I think that makes me a bad beer citizen.

My first real experience with beer was as a 15-year-old sneaking Budweisers at a family Christmas. To me, they tasted strong. Times change. Tastes change. In my twenties I started experimenting with other brands – stuff you wouldn’t really consider “craft”, but not quite your standard domestic lineup. These are the gateway drugs of the dark craft beer underbelly: Shiner. Blue Moon. Stella Artois.

Of course I had friends who were farther gone. They introduced me to steadfast fundamental craft styles like porters, pilsners, wheats, whites, wits and IPAs. My first IPA was a Sierra Nevada – one most would consider fairly mild. It was DISGUSTING. Bitter and piney and soapy and just revolting. My second IPA (on a different day) was just as bad. But by the fifth or sixth, I was hooked. That was about eight years ago and I still drink primarily IPAs. Everything else tastes dead, flat, syrupy, heavy and disappointing.


AM: Can you tell us about the craft beer you drink?

TUCK: I’m a craft beer drinker, but I’m also a cheapskate. I mostly drink beer I buy at the store (not much out at bars, because I’m a dad and homebody), and I don’t like spending more than $10 for a six-pack. I tend to buy variety packs from brewers like Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada and others. I buy almost nothing but cans. It’s interesting how bottles have gone almost completely out of style. I think it’s because beer tends to get skunky when it’s exposed to sunlight, and many stores like to put their beer on display in a hot, south-facing window.


AM: What does the word “craft” when it comes to beer?

TUCK: To me it means that a brewer doesn’t delude themselves into thinking they’ve already perfected beer. I think that’s what Bud, Coors, Pabst et al have done. “This is our beer. It’s the best. We’re not changing it.”

Craft brewers seem to have a more experimental type spirit. They’re always screwing with new flavors, different hops, oaking a beer in port casks or whisky barrels, etc. Like you said, for them it’s a journey you’re invited on instead of a destination you’re invited to (Bud light yeehaw).


AM: What media, brands or breweries are leading the way in talking to craft beer drinkers?

TUCK: I couldn’t tell you. It's very possible to spend all day on a computer, drink a lot at night, play games, watch movies and tv shows and completely miss all of the beer/liquor marketing that's out there. So really the only place you can talk to me is on the shelf or via word of mouth.


AM: If you’ve never experienced a specific beer before, what attracts you to trying something new?

TUCK: First, it has to be a style I know I like. If it’s a stout or porter, I’m just not going to buy it. Beyond that, so much is said with packaging. The competition for hipness on the outside of a beer seems almost as ferocious as that of the inside. Some of the coolest art out there appears on beer cans. Isn’t that an interesting departure from even 10-20 years ago?


AM: Tell a story of a memorable craft beer experience.

TUCK: Forgetting is the point. Okay, fine.

I went to Coop’s annual birthday party earlier this year. As you can imagine, my memories of the details are a little fuzzy, but the gist is this: You pay admission, get a small tasting glass and then get unlimited pours at like six different stations, each with multiple types of beer. Better yet, every half-hour or so, they all switch to a new set of selections. So you get to try dozens of new beers, scarf a food truck burrito and wonder if they’ll bring enough port-a-potties next year. It was a blast and I don’t remember what any of it tasted like.


AM: What is something you think is missing in the craft beer market?

TUCK: So, we never know anything regarding the nutritional content of a beer. I’m curious about how many calories are in each, how much they differ, if there’s a bunch of sugar left over, or if any happen to be fortified with iron and folic acid. I think it’s illegal to label beers with that information, but I think it’d be valuable. Everything else we ever consume offers that information.

Get YDP in your email as soon as it's published.