Hopped Up Eugene May 22-28

As the three day weekend better known as Memorial Day Holiday comes upon us, people begin pulling out dusty smokers and contemplating what they will drink and eat over the long weekend.  It is both a time of remembrance, honoring those who have died protecting our country, and a nod to the upcoming summer months, which can only mean grilling and beating the heat with a frosty beverage.  To that end, I give you Salem’s Gilgamesh Brewing Mamba Beer and a Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich.

Photo: www.madeinoregon.com

Gilgamesh Brewing’s website describes this beer as “a unique malt beverage defined by black tea, bergamot, tangerine peel and rye.”  As a person who enjoys a very hoppy IPA, this is a serious departure from my beer drinking norm.  I was not too sure about it at first.  However, it is filled with scents and flavors of summer and it pulls a person in fast.  The beer paired perfectly with the open faced smoked meatloaf sandwiches I made, and was quickly dubbed a perfect summer unison.

I have never in my life smoked anything.  I BBQ year round, but smoking? I talked about wanting to do it, but never made the time.  It took a free smoker from a neighbor, some serious blog reading, and a bunch of advise from the people on the Eugene Foodies! Facebook page to get it done.  I am now addicted. meatloaf

Smoked Meatloaf:

2 lbs 85/15 hamburger

1 lbs Italian sausage

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup diced sun dried tomatoes in oil (drained)

1 Tbsp pesto

3 Tbsp horseradish

4 cloves black garlic (you can find it at Trader Joes)

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 cup ketchup

2 eggs

For topping:

1/2 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce (or other)

1 Tbsp lightly crushed rock sea salt

Get your smoker ready before you mix the ingredients up.   Here is a great website/recipe to start with if you are new to the process, or need guidelines for the process, please review it.  Thoroughly combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, except for the last two.  Take out a small pan and form the meat into a loaf.  I used a 9×12 cookie sheet that I made sure fit down in the smoker.  Or form hamburger patties – this would make an exceptional burger as well.  When the meat is smoked to the correct temperature (165 degrees), coat the top with the BBQ sauce and sprinkle salt over the top.  All in all, I smoked the thing about 3 1/2 hours at 225ish degrees. mambomeatloaf

The beer with the food.  How did it fair together?  Meatloaf sandwich on a slice of thick white bread with mayonnaise and mustard, topped with salad fixings tossed in a black cherry balsamic.  Black garlic for rich sweetness.  Horseradish and  hot paprika for a kick.  The BBQ sauced and salted outside for a caramelized crunch.  Sips of a sweet black tea with slices of orange in it, just like grandma used to make in the summer, but in beer form.  This hopless ale offers a fruity nose with hints of rye, a very intriguing sweet black tea and orange flavor at first sip, finishing dry with a citrus rind tang at the end.  This pairing  is both complex and simple at the same time.  It offers flavor dimensions of unusual meatloaf ingredients and nontraditional beer.  Simplicity in that people have been eating meatloaf sandwiches and drinking beer for forever, the pairing just upped the ante a bit.

Gilgamesh Brewing is a family owned business, operated by three Radtke brothers and their father. When it came time to name their operation, they were inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the worlds oldest written story. The tale chronicles epic battles, camaraderie, and feasts full of food and beer. Head Brewer Mike Radtke says “These elements of their life really resonated with us…Our Emblem is an ancient Sumerian cuneiform which is the original written word for beer.”

Gilgamesh takes the word “camaraderie” seriously. In addition to a large food and beer offering, their brewery campus in Salem is very active in the community, with offerings such as Armed Forces Day this past May 17th with bands, BBQ and discounts for all military members, Salsa 101 lessons, and Science Night with the next topic being Weather, Climate and Meteorology on June 19th.  Check out their facebook page and website for more details, and watch this short and funny video about the family made by Portland Loves Pints.

Photo: www.gilgameshbrewing.com


As a purveyor of fine foods and excellent beers, I seek out both in my travels. From scoping out breweries in tiny little Utah towns, to charming cheese shops in Paris, I find morsels of goodness in all parts of the world. However, the Pacific Northwest will always be my home, and I love nothing more than spending an hour here and there sampling what this amazing corner of the earth has to offer.

My husband and I like to say we have a mini farm, and are wannabe urban farmers. Two cats, two dogs, four chickens, a seven year old girl, a stack of rain boots and a garden plot or four. If I could, I’d have an enormous green house, a cow and pig, so that I can really get down to literally making my food for dinner. Until then, we do what we can. We also like to think we are raising our kid right. On Star Wars, rock music and a huge appreciation for good quality food.

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