Monday, June 2, 2014

Beer Tasting in Eugene Oregon

Over Memorial Day weekend, Wes and I drove up to Eugene for a little get-away and beer tasting jaunt. Although we did more than just taste beer, beer is what this post is about.

We stopped in Ashland to do a little shopping and then it was lunch time, which meant our first stop, Standing Stone Brewery and Restaurant. I had had their sampler before. They make it very cute and appealing with the tall little cylindrical glasses in the wood tray. But I’d had it before, and decided to chose a glass. I was torn between the saison and the abbey style, so the waitress brought me a taste of each. I’m always pleased when the staff can do that without having to charge extra for a little cup! I chose the “Dear Abbey,” which was moderate enough to be a delightful accompaniment to the food. The food was good, except for the quite horrid sweet potato soup. If I had to describe it, I'd say grayish milk gravy with glistening beads of fat on the surface, indeterminate flavor, and a prize in every spoonful- vegetable shreds that were eerily similar to fingernail clippings. (probably ginger root?) She took it away and didn't charge me. 

When we got to our hotel, we made the lovely discovery that a local brewpub and restaurant was directly next door! Hop Valley Brewing is an exciting and popular place in town. They had a large sampler available. My favorite was the Proxima IPA, similar to the Alpha Centauri Imperial IPA, but less “over the top.”  

The next day, we had planned on visiting Ninkasi, but decided to go elsewhere, since it was lunchtime and they did not serve food. We chose the High Street Brewery and Café, located in a renovated old house near downtown. The sampler was limited to their choice (including a berry one), so I chose their Jam Session IPA (FYI- Malts: Golden Promise, Vienna, Flaked Barley, Crystal C15 Hops: Chinook, Centennial, Mosaic, Falconer’s Flight  OG: 1.047  TG: 1.010  ABV: 4.77  IBU: 51  SRM: 4) which was very nice and well suited to a mid-day lunch. We had an unplanned and somewhat disturbing floor show, as we relaxed over our meal in the front yard patio. It quickly became apparent that the woman seated nearby was mentally ill, possibly schizophrenic. After she verbally abused the waitstaff, they asked her to leave. She kept trying to get someone to take her order, but they declined. The police didn't show up until she had screamed at the crowd, cussed the waiter, threw the table centerpiece containing salt shakers, menus etc. out into the street, and slapped the waitress as she was walking up the steps with a loaded tray. 

That evening it was back to Hop Valley for dinner. This time I ordered a pint of Proxima, and Wes ordered a glass of their pub-brewed root beer. And this was about where the Great  Sriracha Event happened. 

We had our food, our drinks, our ketchup cups, and by request, a full pint-sized jug of sriracha sauce sat in the middle of the little table. I reached for it, but the plastic was slippery and it popped out of my hand. All I could see in my mind was the jug rolling around the table bowling over our drinks, so I started grabbing. But the jug was still slippery, and the plastic was so flexible that every time I got a grip it would squirt streams of red hot sauce in wild arcs across the table, across our food, and finally in a big puddle on the carpet beside the table. The rolling bottle had caught one ketchup cup, flinging its contents all along Wes’ white long-sleeve shirt. It all took place in about 1.5  seconds. I hardly knew what to say. But I was happy to see that the drinks were still standing. (sorry I don't have a picture of that, though I could take a picture of the small pink stain that was left on his shirt after I laundered it.)

We left for home Monday morning, scouting for a likely pub when noon approached. Here is where an ipad is very handy. You can do a search, then check the reviews, even get a virtual tour sometimes. We discovered the 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford Oregon. 

Located downtown, this is an awesome pub in an old brick building with two stories, full bar top and bottom, a mixture of tables and chairs, couches, coffee tables, parlor chairs and electric fireplaces. Tasteful and interesting Irish memorabilia and decorations are everywhere. 

I was tempted by Smithwicks, but when I found out they had an ale on tap brewed by them, I had to order that, a brown. It was the best brown I’d had in a while, just a touch of roast, and crisp enough to keep up with the food (Shepherds pie, and Bubbles and Squeak). 

Then home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Next time... Bend, OR!


  1. The story of the siracha sauce made me laugh hard enough to make up slightly for the fact that you went on this jaunt instead of spending the weekend with us.

  2. It was even funnier in person.