The Tap and Growler

Wine Down Eugene

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Wine Down Eugene March 5-11

As I prepare myself for yet another necessary major surgery (sigh), I just can’t help accepting every invitation with glee to events and stellar opportunities that have been tossed my way.

“Want to fill a position on the judging panel in Cannon Beach for the SavorNW Wine Awards?” I’d be honored.  “Would you like to attend the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium at the beautiful Stoller Family Estate and savor Chardonnays from 40 Oregon wineries?”  Wouldn’t miss it for the world!  “How about joining us for a live tasting of the wines of Uruguay?”  Indeed, I’d be delighted.  “Want to join us for our first Wine vs Beer Food Pairing Event at the Tap and Growler?”  You betcha.

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The line-up of J. Scott Cellars wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah

Without a doubt, I am going to get in as much fun as I possibly can before going under the knife and being laid up for a couple months.  Enjoy. Every. Minute.

As I wrote in last week’s Wine Down Eugene, being a part of the esteemed wine judging team of the impressive SavorNW Wine Awards will undoubtedly be the ultimate highlight of the year for me.  The Savor Cannon Beach Wine & Culinary Festival is taking place right now, and the folks attending are in for some amazing, award-winning wines.

The Wine vs Beer Food Pairing Event at The Tap and Growler was incredible and featured three of some of my favorite local producers of fine wine, creative brews and mouthwatering foods: winemaker Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Cellars, Oakshire’s Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk, and Michael Landsberg of Noisette Pastry Kitchen – quite the trio of talent.

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Oakshire’s PTO Pale Ale, 7th Anniversary Ale and Overcast Espresso Stout

Taking place in the Tap & Growler’s Barrel Room, located behind what I like to call, “the great wall of wine taps,” the event was sold out – all twelve seats were taken by like-minded people with palates that were just waiting to be tantalized by some really outstanding wines, brews and handcrafted small bites.

With Jonathan of J. Scott Cellars, Matt of Oakshire and Michael of Noisette each explaining what they had brought to the table, we were excited to start tasting and finding our favorite matches between the food, wine and beer.  There were three brews and three wines alongside a plate of six different mouthwatering savory and sweet bites.

The Oakshire brews:

  • PTO Pale Ale (standing for Paid Time Off – a great story to ask about when visiting Oakshire’s Public House) – full bodied, citrus-centric hop monster. Loved it!
  • Brewer’s Reserve 7th Anniversary Ale – quite possibly my favorite beer of all time. Baltic Porter, barrel aged in both bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels and matured on tart cherries.
  • Overcast Espresso Stout – year round, rich smooth, oatmeal stout.
  • A bonus sample of the Funk d’Farmhouse (aged in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels for a year, need I say more?)

The J. Scott Cellars wines (all from wine kegs):

  • Chardonnay – classic Chardonnay with an excellent depth of character and smooth, silky, creamy mouthfeel
  • Pinot Noir – light bodied, yet full of character with aromas and flavors of cherries, cranberries, earth and spice.
  • Syrah – black and red fruit aromas with a touch of smokiness and a zippy black pepper finish.
  • a bonus sample of the ’12 Zinfandel (read my review here)

Noisette small-bites:

  • Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding
  • Chicken Liver with Pepper Jelly
  • Savory Spiced Corn Puff Honeycomb
  • Curry Nut Meringue
  • French Macaroon
  • Chocolate Sesame Pokey Stick
Clockwise from bottom right corner: Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding, chicken Liver, Corn Puff Honeycomb, Meringue, Macaroon and Pokey Stick
Clockwise from bottom right corner: Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding, Chicken Liver, Corn Puff Honeycomb, Meringue, Macaroon and Pokey Stick

I would love to go into great deal about all of the incredible flavors in everything that was involved (indeed, each beer, wine and small bite was delicious), but with limited space and time, I’ll share three pairings that were totally unforgettable and simply stunning together:

Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding with Chardonnay: Although the saltiness of the ham was super nice with the hoppiness of the PTO Ale, there was something really palate pleasing about the creaminess of the bread pudding that went amazingly well with the creamy texture of the Chardonnay. The flavors, and in particular the textures, sang in harmony.

Savory Spiced Corn Puff Honeycomb with the Syrah and the Overcast Espresso Stout: This was a perfect tie.  The super savory honeycomb had loads of flavors, both sweet and spicy. the Syrah toned down the spiciness while popping the sweet qualities, while the Stout did the exact opposite. The honeycomb was light and airy, contrasting the heaviness of both the wine and beer – the contrast is what made it distinctively delicious.

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The delicious Ham and Cheese Bread Pudding with J. Scott Cellars Chardonnay – a beautiful marriage of textures

French Macaroon with the 7th Anniversary Ale: Wow. This pairing was unbelievably perfect in every single way, shape and form.  Go, no run, to Noisette and pick up a French Macaroon (with chocolate inside), take it to the Tap and Growler and get a pint of the 7th Anniversary Ale before it’s all gone. Now.

Kudos to the Tap and Growler’s General Manager, Toby Harris, for putting together a stellar event that included three of Eugene’s rock stars in their own fields.  For being among some of the first special events to take place at the recently opened Tap and Growler, I’m more than impressed with Toby’s collaboration of food, drink and good cheer – I can’t wait to see what other events he’s got up his sleeve.

Keep up with what’s going on at the Tap and Growler on Facebook: facebook.com/TapandGrowler.

A bonus sample of Oakshire's Funk d'Farmhouse - a must-try brew
A bonus sample of Oakshire’s Funk d’Farmhouse – a must-try brew

Follow me over to my award-winning website WineJulia.com to read more about my evening at the Tap and Growler – it didn’t end with the completion of the event.  Some new found friends and I were having way too much fun, so we decided to check out a flight of brews and wines from the Tap and Growler’s expansive tap list, discovering some excellent beverages.

 

 

 

Tap & Growler Valentine’s Day Event: A History of Oregon Wine

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The Tap & Growler, Eugene’s latest craft beer and wine bar will hold a Valentine’s Day event, “A History of Oregon Wine” slideshow presentation, in their Barrel Room with their surprise presenter, a forefather of Oregon Wine.  The slide show presentation will show how he and his friends (the brave early few) initiated and evolved Oregon wine into a world renowned industry.

Tap & Growler's Barrel Room
Tap & Growler’s Barrel Room | photo: T&G Facebook page

Taste six Oregon wines, three reds and three whites, as well as two Valentine’s special brews from Three Creeks Brewing out of Sisters, Oregon.

Learn how it all happened.  Experience how Oregon has come from no vines to some of the best fruit in the world – served not only from a bottle, but from a tap.

  • Flight of six select wines (three red and three white wines).
  • Two Valentine’s Day Special Three Creeks Brewing Brews: 10 Pine Double Chocolate Porter and Sex Panther Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Stout
  • Fine cheeses & olives along with Fresh Bread
  • Handmade local chocolates

16 Spots available, $35 dollars per person.  Sign up at the Tap & Growler Taproom.

The Tap and Growler | photo: T&G Facebook page
The Tap and Growler | photo: T&G Facebook page

For more info on The Tap & Growler and this event, please visit: www.TapandGrowler.com.

Friday, February 14, 5:30PM
The Tap & Growler, 5th and Pearl, Downtown Eugene

The New Tap and Growler Takes Advantage of Oregon’s Wine Growler Bill

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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.

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Wine taps at The Tap and Growler

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.

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A flight of Oregon reds from tap to glass

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.

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Custom built wine lockers at the Tap and Growler

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.

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Riedel stemware at The Tap and Growler makes me very happy

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