eugene beer

16 Tons Celebrates 4 Years During Their Wild Ale Festival Today!

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From noon to 10 pm today, May 3, 16 Tons Wild Ale Fest and celebration of their 4th Anniversary will take place at the Tap House at 265 E 13th Avenue.  Entry is free, and it’s a cash only bar.

They will be pouring 70 different Wild Ales ranging from Farmhouse to Funky, from Tart to Tooth-Achingly-Acidic.  Rustic, Sour, Barrel Aged, Spontaneously Fermented, and simply Wild ales.

16 tons 2 beers for press release

Each year they have teamed up with a brewery to brew a special anniversary beer as part of their “Phantom Limb Series” that pays homage to a famous author who lost an arm or leg as a result of their adventures.  This year they are very excited to work with Breakside Brewery to create “A Saison in Hell,” a Wallonian-Style Wild Rye Saison that pays homage to Arthur Rimbaud, who is from the Ardennes Region where this working class beer originated.

A few notable beers at the festival: Oakshire Frederic C. Noir, Upright El Coloquio Cervantes, The Commons Fishing with Hallet, Block 15 Wild Chardonnay Ale, Block 15 Kriek, Crux Better off Red, Logsdon / Solera Half Naakte Paasvankantie, BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien, Double Mountain Devils Kriek, Deschutes Green Monster, and Russian River Consecration.

Some of the featured breweries include: Breakside, The Commons, Oakshire, Upright, Block 15, Cascade, Deschutes, Hair of the Dog, Flat Tail, Logsdon, Hanssens, Mikkeller, Jolly Pumpkin, Goose Island, The Bruery, Crux, Anchorage, Russian River, Stillwater, New Belgium, Evil Twin, Propolis, Rodenbach, and more!

Local Lunch Gals Solo: Laughing Planet Café

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Although the other Local Lunch Gals weren’t able join me on this lunch outing, I was glad to finally be able to check out Laughing Planet Cafe, even if it meant going solo.

Laughing Planet has two locations in Eugene: one in the Whit on Blair Boulevard in the same strip mall where the new Falling Sky Deli is, and the other on 29th and Willamette just a few doors down from Market of Choice.

Menu specials at Laughing Planet Cafe
Menu specials at Laughing Planet Cafe

Choosing the Whiteaker location because it’s closer to home, I arrived during lunch hour and found that it was pretty busy, but the line leading up to the counter where orders are placed was moving along quite rapidly.  As I waited, I looked around the naturally lit cafe that’s one big room with a an entire wall of windows. There’s table-top seating; as well as, bar seating that runs along the order counter.  I took note of the toy dinosaurs that were randomly placed on tables and shelves throughout, and the orange and green painted walls; along with, brightly colored framed chalkboard menus gave the ambiance a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Not having a clue what to order from their relatively distinctive and unique menu, I asked the gentleman behind the counter to help me choose something.  Eager to help, he suggested I try the Seasonal special called the Cascadia Bowl: Roasted Pork shoulder (or I could have had baked surata tempeh), puréed maple roasted butternut squash, yams, carrots, herb roasted brussel sprouts, sauteed kale and a side of cranberry-apple chutney.  Intrigued, I took his advice and went with the Cascadia Bowl.

Local brews abound at Laughing Planet
Local brews abound at Laughing Planet

Scanning their list of locally crafted beers from Eugene breweries like Viking Braggot, Oakshire, Hop Valley and Claim 52 (to name a few), I was tempted to have lunch with a pint.  But, since I was going to be picking up my kids at school right after lunch, I decided on a glass of fresh brewed berry iced tea.

After being given an order number and my iced tea, I took a seat at the bar with a bunch of interesting and amusing toy creatures that were enclosed in glass.  From a purple bobblehead poodle to a variety of aliens and alien-like dinosaurs, I think it’s safe to assume kids probably love going to Laughing Planet.

My creature companions
My creature companions

My Cascadia Bowl arrived not long after ordering, and the spice-filled aromas instantly made my mouth water.  The shredded pork shoulder was piled high atop all of the other ingredients, and the gentleman who had taken my order suggested that I pour the cranberry-apple chutney on top and mix it all together – so I did.  The flavors were savory and ambrosial, and I especially loved the herb roasted brussel sprouts.  I was amazed that so many different flavors and textures were able to tie-in so perfectly – each bite was delicious.  Surprisingly, I even enjoyed the kale, which is a vegetable I tend to avoid, regardless of its health benefits.

While I ate, I looked over their menu which is really quite extensive.  From Cuban and Thai Bowls, Lebanese Burritos and BBQ Chicken Quesadillas to homemade soups, salads, smoothies and zappetizers (non GMO tortilla chips and house made salsa), they’ve got dishes for vegetarians and vegans as well as meals prepared without gluten.  Their approach to the food they serve is to get the food from farm to plate as quickly as possible. Whether it’s grass-fed beef from Carman Ranch in Wallowa, Oregon, or vegetables from farms on Sauvie Island along Oregon’s Columbia River, they support the local economy by sourcing foods from local farmers.

The Cascadia Bowl
The Cascadia Bowl

Based out of Portland, with eight restaurants in various Portland neighborhoods, two in Eugene and one in Corvallis, Laughing Planet Cafe’s are considered quick-service restaurants with an approach to sustainability that offer nutritious, affordable and delicious fare, and I can’t argue with that.

I’m looking forward to returning and trying the Lebanese Delight Burrito: Lemon-spiced lentils, grilled veggies, brown rice, cucumber salad with tomatoes and Kalamata olives, romaine lettuce and tahini garlic sauce.  And this time, I’ll bring my two young boys with me – they’ll dig the dinosaurs.

There's no lack of dinosaurs at Laughing Planet Cafe
There’s no shortage of dinosaurs at Laughing Planet Cafe

Learn more about Laughing Planet Cafe at laughingplanetcafe.com.

 

Hopped Up Eugene

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Hopped Up Eugene November 20-26

New Website Helps Beer Lovers Plan Their Ultimate Tasting Trip

We’re taking a break from the Gorgeous Series to let you know about the latest website to help you plan your ultimate beer tasting trip!

BrewTrail.com: Maps and Details of Every Brewery in the Country

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photo: Brew Trail Facebook page

New Haven, CT – November 13, 2013 – Beer lovers, your prayers have been answered – visiting breweries just got easier.  Brew Trail (www.BrewTrail.com), the ultimate compilation of brewery information, has gone online and promises to make beer tourism a one-stop planning experience.  According to the Brewer’s Association, there are 2,538 breweries and brewpubs operating in the country (the most since the 1880s) and only one website – Brew Trail – has tracked them all along with the meticulous key details like their brewery tour and tasting room schedules.  Never before has so much detailed brewery data been available on one site.  With Brew Trail’s Trip Planner, aficionados can plot out a multi-state tour or simply check out some new breweries in town, easily incorporating each brewery’s schedule to cover ground most efficiently.  It’s all free, and it’s optimized for mobile devices.  From pilsners in Portland to stouts in St. Louis, Brew Trail will help plan a fantastic expedition along America’s beer trail.

“It’s been a true labor of love.  A very, very detailed labor of love,” said Brew Trail co-founder Chris Margonis.  “Why did we start the site?  My buddy and I love beer, it’s as simple as that.  And when we realized there weren’t any sites like this – a one-stop spot for all the brewery details along with brewery tour and tasting room times, we devoted ourselves even more to our hobby.  We want Brew Trail to be seen as a promotional asset for all craft breweries – to help them level the playing field and gain recognition among the big boys.  And we think Brew Trail also has the potential to become an excellent tool for state and local tourism boards as more and more localities launch their own beer trails.”

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Photo: Brew Trail Facebook page

The US craft beer movement has been exploding, with an astounding 10% annual growth – even while overall beer consumption has been declining slightly in favor of wine and spirits.  Although it makes sense given that craft beers have similar complexities and food pairings as wine.  Five out of ten fastest growing beer brands are craft (Dale’s Pale Ale, Lagunitas, Ranger, Torpedo, Shiner) and several of them  have been seeing a mind-boggling 45% growth in sales.  With this new, overwhelming beer awareness, Brew Trail arrives at the perfect time to make a potential mark on the scene and establish itself within the craft beer culture.

About Brew Trail (www.BrewTrail.com)

Visiting breweries just got easier.  Brew Trail compiles every brewery and brewpub in the country – over 2,500 – allowing beer lovers to quickly and seamlessly plan their ultimate tasting trip.  Tour schedules, tasting room hours, fees and other info is all available on one site for the first time ever.

Sources:

Brewers Association (http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/business-tools/craft-brewing-statistics/number-of-breweries)

Demeter Group (http://www.demetergroup.net/docs/perspective/Craft_Beer.pdf)

 Have you tried Brew Trail?  What do you think so far?

I’m really looking forward to planning my brewery tour through San Francisco with this website for the holidays.  I’ve heard they have a few breweries missing, but I’m sure they will be added as users mention them.

Hopped Up Eugene

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What's a Zwickel?  It is a valve on the side of a tank used to taste-test during fermentation.
What’s a Zwickel? It is a valve on the side of a tank used to taste-test during fermentation

Zwickelmania.  The word may seem better suited to a sci-fi convention than a beer event, but every February, Oregon Breweries celebrate the day with undisputed appreciation.  The unusual event name is in reference to the “zwickel” – or spigot on a the side of the fermentation tank where brewers taste the beer during the brewing process.  This allows the brewers to monitor the beer for quality control.  The beer sampled out of the zwickel is unfiltered and will display different flavors and aromas than the finished product.  Zwickelmania is a chance for the public to act like a brew master and get a taste in before the beer goes to market.  Across Oregon events are held with special tastes, beer releases and plenty of craft beer to satisfy even the thirstiest fan.

Here in Eugene events were held at each of the breweries from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, February 16th.  I was only able to visit Oakshire Brewing, Hop Valley and Ninaksi- but don’t worry.  I tasted enough beers to feel 100% okay with saying the word “zwickle” aloud.

Hop Valley's new facilities in the Whiteaker gives the Brewery plenty of room to expand.
Hop Valley’s new facilities in the Whiteaker gives the Brewery plenty of room to expand.

Hop Valley Brewing opened their doors to the public for the launch of their new location on 990 W 1st (formally Scharpf’s Building Specialties).  The spacious warehouse offers plenty of room to grow. Even the cooler is bigger than my entire house I rent with roommates.  Their classic Springfield location on 980 Kruse Way will still remain open, and the brewery is hoping to brew more smaller batch beers there.  The new place will focus on brewing and canning their classic best-selling beers like the Double D Blonde.  After touring Hop Valley it’s just a short block to the front door of Ninkasi.  I didn’t participate in any of Ninaksi’s Zwickelmania events and instead chose to simply appreciate my pints.  I’ve really enjoyed the offerings that Ninaksi has brought to the table this winter.  Every single-batch beer seems to be right on spot, with the perfect balance of flavor and hops.

Oakshire Brewing was the hit among beer fans and newcomers alike.  At opening a line of devoted enthusiasts anxiously waited the release of Hellshire 3. This Hellshire, third in special releases from Oakshire, is a barrel-aged stout with vanilla, cocoa nibs, and a strong bourbon flavor.

Mat Blair, brewer at Big Sky Brewing MT and former co-worker at Oakshire, made his way to Oregon to celebrate the Hellshire 3 Release.
Mat Blair, brewer at Big Sky Brewing MT and former co-worker at Oakshire, made his way to Oregon to celebrate the Hellshire 3 Release.

Other beers on tap and to buy in bottles included Hellshire 1, a Framboise, and the Sixth Anniversary Barley Wine.  While the later may be hard to find in stores, I highly recommend adding a bottle of Hellshire 3 to your personal cellar.  After aging for a few months to a year or two, this beer will mature nicely.  Overall, the Zwickelmania events across Oregon hopefully drew a few more craft beer lovers into the fold.  If you missed out, you can always visit the breweries on your own time.  Often brewers at the smaller places are happy to give you a taste off the zwickel if you buy them a round or two. 

After the Zwickelmania events, I traveled north to Seattle the following weekend for even more beer “research”.  This time I was on other side of the bar, helping serve beer at the event Hops and Props.  This annual event at the Boeing Museum of Flight draws a crowd of over 2,500.  Located in a hanger with vintage airplanes, live music and unlimited beer samplings, this night was one I will not forget.  It was honestly one of the coolest beer events I have ever been to.  In Oregon, events are often limited by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).  And while I don’t want to nag about the OLCC, let’s just say Washington State is the cool uncle that passes you shots under the table at the family reunion. At this event, the beer flowed and the 40 breweries serving within the museum had a great time.

Kevin, from Oakshire, serves up Watershed IPA at Hops and Props in Seattle.
Kevin, from Oakshire, serves up Watershed IPA at Hops and Props in Seattle.

While I missed Plank Town’s opening on Sunday as I recovered from Hops and Props in Seattle, I can’t wait to visit this week. The newest brewery to hit Springfield is already making waves in the local beer scene and helping to transform Springfield’s downtown.  Plus, I wouldn’t expect anything but awesome from the owner who also is apart of Sam Bond’s Garage and Axe and Fiddle; two local spots that are legendary for great beer drinking.  I hear Plank Town was already packed over the weekend and serving up delicious beer and fries. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the place becomes an awesome spot for emerging bands.  The floor manager, Dan Schmid, was the bassist from the local rock band The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. I’m excited to see what beer styles they will have on tap out of what looks to be a really cool tap set-up and bar. Have any questions about this new brewery that you would like me to ask the brewers or staff when I visit this week? 

Cheers,
Lana

Hopped Up Eugene

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Hopped Up Eugene February 20-26

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Enjoying the KLCC Fest with friends

The Zwickelmania events from the weekend are a blur. I sampled quite a few specialty beers from Oakshire, Ninkasi, and Hop Valley (which included a tour of Hop Valley’s new facilities in the Whiteaker).  But, for my first column of Hopped Up, I have to start with the biggest beer event in Eugene: The KLCC Microbrew Festival.

I love the KLCC Microbrew Festival, and you should too. Not because there are over 50 breweries with hundreds of beers. Not because local bands provide entertainment after you’ve filled your belly with endless tastes. And, not because it goes to the worthy cause of public radio. I love the KLCC Microbrew Festival because it kicks off beer season. The days are getting longer, the first flowers have arrived, and soon every weekend will be filled with craft beer. The two-day event from February 8th to 9th featured a wide array a breweries, meaderies and ciderhouses from Oregon to Vermont. The Lane Events center was packed, and over 50,000 tastes of beer were given to a thirsty crowd.

The list of beers I was looking forward to trying kept me busy the whole weekend. The usual favorites were on hand; including, local specialty beers from Ninkasi, Hop Valley, and Oakshire. Portland was well represented with standouts from Bridgeport, Burnside, and Hopworks Urban Brewery. The collaboration beers, an annual KLCC tradition for the past 18 or 19 years, is always a highlight of the weekend. This year, 10 local breweries took a tour of the British Isles, with brewing styles such as an English IPA and Dry Irish Stout. Each beer was required to have a base malt of at least 50% Maris Otter – Maris Otter is a traditional English malt that gives beer a nutty character and full body. My personal favorite from the compilation was from Brewers Union, located in Oakridge, Oregon. Their Local 180 served on Cask was a best bitter with light carbonation that perfectly fits the traditional style.

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The delicious Brewer’s Union, Local 180

The best part of the weekend was tasting the many new breweries that made their first appearance at the festival. From right here in Eugene, Agrarian Ales and Claim 52 proved that the Willamette Valley is the place to be for craft beer. Agrarian Ales, located off of Coburg Road on 25 acres north of Eugene, has already made an impact on the Eugene beer landscape. They’re unique, in that they exclusively use hops grown right on their own farm. One of their standout beers is the Belgene Green. The brewers describe the beer as “a fusion of Belgian Saison boldness and Pacific Northwest hop-driven dankness” and I really couldn’t describe it any other way. It’s a good beer. Claim 52 is the newest brewery to hit town, and I expect good things from this 3 1/2 barrel small-batch craft brewery in the future.

Crux Fermentation Project, Base Camp Brewery Co., and Crazy Mountain Brewery have also all jumped on the scene in the last 12 months. Crux, another up and coming brewery out of Bend, Oregon, featured their balanced, but high in alcohol at 8%, IPA: Outcast. Base Camp, from Portland, Oregon, was crowd pleaser serving out their flagship beers, In-Tents IPL and S’more Stout. The Lava Lake Wit out of Vail, Colorado’s Crazy Mountain Brewery was one of my top beers from the weekend. It’s a low in bitterness beer (only 15 IBUS), and I came back to The Lava Lake Wit at the end of each night. This earthy Belgian witbier, with spices like coriander, chamomile, and a hint of orange peel, delights the senses.

Rusty Truck from Lincoln City, Oregon, made a big first impression, winning the second place People’s Choice Award for their Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter, coming in only behind Two Town’s Ciderhouse. The Baltic porter found the perfect balance between the decadence of chocolate and cherries. I think I’ll definitely be making a trip to visit this brewery that has only been around for just over two years.

Can you imagine a better way to kick-off beer season?

Cheers,
Lana

Beer Shops and Breweries

[WineDown-Shops]

16Tons (Cafe): Wed. 7-10 pm, Trivia Night; Thu. 7-9 pm, Ninkasi’s Allies and Aliens – Mini Tap Takeover with Jeff Long. Jeff will be pouring samples of Allies and Aliens and more! El Dorado and other beers also on tap; Fri. 5-8 pm, Claim 52 Tap Takeover and Tasting. Meet the brewers and taste the beer. Every Fri. 6 pm, free live music; Every Sun. and Mon. 4-10 pm deals on growler and mason jar fills. 2864 Willamette St., Eugene.

16Tons (Taphouse): Wed. 5 pm, Mysterious, Unexplainable and Intriguing Beer Event!; Sun.-Wed. noon – 10 pm, Thu.-Sat. noon – 12 am (except New Year’s Eve). Great selection of beer and wine. 265 East 13th Ave., Eugene.

Agrarian Ales: Open Fri. 3-7pm. Tastes, growlers and dock sales. 31115 West Crossroads Lane, Eugene.

The Bier Stein: Wed. 7-9 pm, Green Flash Brewing Draft Night and Free Tasting. 345 E. 11 Ave., Eugene.

Claim 52: 1st and 3rd Fri. every month, 4-6 pm. Tastes and growlers; call for corn fills. 1030 Tyinn Street, Suite 1, Eugene.

Eugene City Brewery; Rogue Ales Public House/Track Town Ales: Open daily, Mon. 12-10pm; Tues.-Thurs. 12-11pm; Fri.-Sat. 12pm-12am; Sun. 12-9pm. 844 Olive St., Eugene.

Falling Sky Brewing: Open daily, Sun.-Wed. 11 am-12 am; Thu.-Sat. 11 am-1 am. 1334 Oak Alley, Eugene.

Fe-BREW-ary at the Springfield Museum: Exhibit focusing on Springfield’s brewing past.  Open Daily.  590 Main St., Springfield.

Hop Valley Brewing: Open daily, Mon.-Thu. 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat. 11am-1am; Sun. 11am-10pm. 980 Kruse Way, Springfield.

McMenamins High Street Brewery and Cafe: Open daily, Mon.-Sat. 11am-1am, Sun. 12pm-12am. 1243 High St., Eugene.

Ninkasi Brewing: Tasting room hours: Sun.-Wed. 12-9 pm, Thu.-Sat. 12-10 pm. Indoor and outdoor seating, food available for purchase from varying food carts. 1055 Madera St., Eugene. Brewery Tours: 1:30, 4 and 7pm Tues.-Fri. 5pm. Sat. Events: Feb. 22, Last Art Walk. Feb. 25, Pints For A Cause- Long Tom Watershed.

Oakshire Brewing: Tasting room and dock sales (Pints on Fri. and Sat. only): Mon.-Thur. 3-6 pm. Fri. 3-7 pm. Sat. 12-5 pm. Indoor and outdoor seating, food available for purchase from varying food carts. 272 Van Buren St., Eugene. Brewery Tours: Every Saturday. Events: Live music 4:30 pm. Friday (Dirty Spoon) and 1:30 pm. Saturday (Spencer Creek Ramblers).  

Plank Town Brewing Company: Opening Soon! 346 Main Street, Springfield.

Steelhead/McKenzie Brewing Company:  Open daily. 199 E. 5th, Eugene.

– Did we miss something in Hopped Up? An event, a destination, a brewer? Let us know so it doesn’t happen again!

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