Downtown’s newest beer and wine tap room, The Tap and Growler, is the first official Eugene pub to take full advantage of Oregon’s new Wine Growler Bill, also known as House Bill 2443. House Bill 2443 was passed in the spring of 2013, and it allows licensees of Oregon Liquor Control Commission to sell malt beverages, wine and cider in certain containers supplied by consumers. Those containers, commonly called growlers, can be filled and re-filled by consumers for consumption at home. Finally, wine enthusiasts can do what beer lovers have been doing for years, and the term growler no longer applies just to beer.
Located off of 5th Avenue in downtown Eugene, between Cornucopia and Lucky Noodle, Tap and Growler’s soft-opening was this past Tuesday – the same day the Local Lunch Gals and I had a stellar dinner at Soubise. After dinner, Lunch Gal Jennifer and I headed over to check out Eugene’s first tap room and growler filling station.
Exposed ceilings and wood beams throughout; along with, a combination of natural wood and metal decor, the ambiance is rustic, yet refined. There are two whole walls dedicated to taps, one for beer and one for wine; including, a selection of local ciders, meads, sake and sangria. With a focus on locally crafted beverages, The Tap and Growler may just be my new favorite establishment.
Wine enthusiasts will be surprised by the selection of wines that are offered on tap at The Tap and Growler: Chehalem, J. Scott Cellars, Winter’s Hill, Spindrift and King Estate’s NxNW are just a few of the local wineries being poured from tap to glass. Even some of my favorite Oregon Pinot Noir producers, like Sokol Blosser and Brandborg, are on the list. Also surprising, for those who appreciate drinking wine from proper stemware like I do, Tap and Growler uses Riedel wine glasses – and that makes for one happy wine gal.
After being greeted by co-owner Patric Campbell, we were introduced to wine manager Toby Harris, who gave us a behind the scenes tour of the facility. On the backside of the wall of wine taps are custom built, temperature controlled wine lockers where the kegs of wine are housed. Each holding approximately 26 bottles of wine, kegs easily cut down on waste – they are reusable and more environmentally sound than recycling bottles. Costs are cut, as well. It’s said that because the wine in a keg weighs less than the equivalent 26 bottles of wine, transportation costs are less expensive. Those reduced costs are reflected in the wholesale price of the keg, and again reflected in the price to consumers.
Aside from being ecologically sound and less expensive all-around, it’s tough to not think about the freshness quality that each tap to glass pour offers. Rest assured, the wine from the tap is fresh – it’s not coming from a bottle that may have been opened for three or more days, which gives the Tap and Growler the ability to offer such an extensive glass pour list; one that is bound to please the most discerning of palates. It’s all really quite brilliant.
The Tap and Growler is family-friendly, they’ve got some limited menu options for now, and they offer four different sized logo growlers that range in price depending on the product selected. Jennifer and I opted to take home a growler of the Brandborg Pinot Noir, equivalent to a bottle and a half of wine, for just $20 dollars. There’s a label on the back for the product contents and the date the growler was filled, and it also reads, “When filled at T&G, this grog will remain fresh for up to 3 weeks unopened.” No growler of wine will ever remain unopened for three weeks in my household, but it’s a good thing to know.
Join me for some wine, beer, or even coffee at The Tap and Growler: 207 East 5th Ave., Eugene. Like The Tap and Growler Facebook page for updates and specials: www.facebook.com/TapandGrowler