Blog Archives

April Eugene Craft Beer Stories & Eugene Beer Week 2015

For fellow fans of the latest and greatest in the Willamette Valley’s craft beer scene, the April edition of the Oregon Beer Growler has some great stories in it. There are also 2 pieces of my own:

  • “Beer Is Love” Donates More Than 120,000 Pints to West Coast Causes, p. 13
  • Crowdfunding Drives New Growth for Springfield Startup, p. 18–19

You can read the OBG online, or find it in print in various locations.

In other news, the dates for Eugene Beer Week 2015 have been announced: June 1–7. More details and this year’s events coming soon to Eugene Beer

Lots more to come over the next few months. The beer scene here just keeps heating up!

Beyond Guinness: Get Your St. Patrick’s Day on with These Irish Craft Beers

Infographic: The Best Irish Craft Beers of 2015

Too often when we think of Irish beer, we get no further than Guinness. Now, I’m all for a pint of plain, and the dry Irish stouts of Guinness, Murphy’s, and Beamish are among my favorite beers. (They also had nothing whatsoever to do—*wink*—with how I came up with the Rucksack Universe’s Galway Pradesh Stout.)

However, just as in the US, craft beer is on the rise in Ireland. In 2001 there was a handful of craft breweries in Ireland. Today, there are nearly 80. So when it comes to the latest liquid gold from the Emerald Isle, you can indeed look beyond the big breweries for the Irish craft beers you should be drinking in 2015.

In fact, the wonderful folks at HomeBrewWest, Ireland’s largest homebrew supplier, were kind enough to put together a wee beer guide just for you.

The Top Irish Craft Beers You Should Be Drinking In 2015

The Top Irish Craft Beers of 2015 - Infographic from HomeBrewWest

Here’s a copy-and-paste friendly list, with links so you can learn more about these interesting Irish craft breweries:

  1. O’Hara’s Leann Follåin, Carlow Brewing Company
  2. Rascal’s Ginger Porter, Rascal’s Brewing Company
  3. Of Foam and Fury Double IPA, Galway Bay Brewery
  4. Black Boar Imperial Oatmeal Stout, The White Hag
  5. Hairy Goat IPA, Mountain Man Brewery
  6. McGargle’s Knock Knock Ned’s IPA, Rye River Brewing Company
  7. Bru Ri Irish Craft IPA, Bru Brewery
  8. Black IPA, Blacks of Kinsale
  9. The Full Irish IPA, Eight Degrees Brewing
  10. Mescan Westporter Stout, Mescan Brewery
  11. Bristle IPA, Bo Bristle Brewing Company
  12. Scraggy Bay IPA, Kinnegar Brewing Limited

Over to you

In addition to our traditional Guinness, I will be hunting through our fab local bottle shops—The Bier Stein and 16 Tons—for any of these Irish craft beers.

What will you be drinking this St. Patrick’s Day?

Eugene Craft Beer & Cider Stories, March 2015

Tap handles from Eugene and Springfield craft breweries and brewpubs

Image: Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard

What an exciting time to be a beer lover in the Willamette Valley! There is so much going on, and I’m so happy to have been part of some recent stories:

2 Homebrew Clubs & More Craft Beer Stories

Image: Oregon Beer Growler

Image: Oregon Beer Growler

Here in Oregon, the cities of Eugene and Corvallis are known for their football-driven rivalry. During November, that comes to a head in the Civil War game. And when it comes to beer and homebrew, there’s lots going on in both cities too.

In the November 2014 edition of the Oregon Beer Growler, I’ve written the cover story of 2 homebrew clubs, one in Eugene and one in Corvallis. There’s also a big round-up of everything craft beer in both cities. So if you want to know how to get your beer (or brew) on in these areas, you are all set!

Read the Oregon Beer Growler online or find a print copy »

See more of my Craft Beer Writing & Homebrew Articles

Halloween Beer: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

McMenamins Black Widow Porter 2014

The other night, my wife and I settled down to watch Great Estates Scotland: Rosslyn Chapel on PBS. I popped a beer that had come my way recently: McMenamins Black Widow Porter.

It was a lovely companion for learning about one of the world’s most mysterious buildings.

Black Widow poured thick and dark. On the palate, a silky, rich texture gave a pillowy mouthfeel, while bringing on flavors of plum and a hint of licorice, with a nice balance of sweet and roasted malt plus a refreshing bitterness. Given the pleasant tang on the finish, I was all the happier to savor this beer.

McMenamins Black Widow Porter 2014

  • Malts: British Pale Malt, Munich, Flaked Barley, Wheat, 135/165 Crystal, Black, Roast
  • Hops: Horizon
  • Additional Ingredient: Licorice Root
  • OG: 1.074
  • TG: 1.017
  • ABV: 7.35
  • IBU: 40
  • SRM: 38

Black, roasty, smooth, and scary good, Black Widow Porter is available only during October at select McMenamins locations throughout Washington and Oregon.

News from the Universe: Book Giveaway, Craft Beer & More

Throughout May I’ve been really focused on finalizing the manuscript for Forever the Road (more on that Saturday, May 31—I’ve got a big announcement). This month I’ve hardly blogged and might as well have been a ghost on social media. I also had a few days where my wife was out of town, so it was just me and the toddler kicking it bachelor style.

Now the end of May is here, and so much is about to begin. Before we get to all that, and before Saturday’s big announcement, first I wanted to catch you up on some little things, including a new Goodreads giveaway, a new author interview, craft beer articles, and more.

Happy Birthday to The Martini of Destiny

The Martini of Destiny turns one year old in June! Here are a few things happening with the first Rucksack Universe book…

Add to GoodreadsBirthday Goodreads Giveaway

To celebrate Martini’s first birthday, starting June 1 you can enter to win one of 5 signed and numbered copies at Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Martini of Destiny by Anthony St. Clair

The Martini of Destiny

by Anthony St. Clair

Giveaway ends July 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Buy now from Books-A-MillionNow at Books-a-Million

Books-a-Million fans, you can now order the paperback edition at BAM stores. (It probably won’t be on the shelf, but if it is, please send me a photo!)

★★★★ Sweet New Amazon Review

Author Joyce Allen recently left this 4-star review:

In The Martini of Destiny Anthony St. Clair dips into the rich well of myth, adds a splash from the black bottle, and serves up a tale that has destined me to drink it down in nearly a single gulp and to look forward with delight to the next in this series. I suspect I’ll meet up with some of these characters again, and I hope I do. But if I ever find myself in a bar where the bartender is named Jake or Jade, I’m sticking with the Coffee of Perception!

Yeah, that made my day. Actually, that pretty much made my week.

Joyce Allen is the author of The Threads of Earth, Those Who Hold the Threads, and Hannah’s House. Learn more about Joyce and her books at And thank you, Joyce!

The Martini of Destiny is available in e-book and paperback at Amazon and other stores worldwide.

The Creative PennOne of The Creative Penn’s Most-Shared Blog Posts of 2014

Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn is one of the top websites for authors improving how they write, publish, and market their books. I’ve been a fan of Joanna’s blog and podcast for years. Joanna recently announced she would no longer take guest posts on her blog, but a guest post from me is one of the last ones appearing on the site.

My post, No More Excuses About Writing. Fire The Muse And Go To Work, came out on Apr. 11, 2014. It is one of The Creative Penn’s most-shared posts for 2014.

The post talks about how the notion of muses and inspiration need to be sacked, and that authors have far more success when we accept that writing is a job we get up and do, no matter what.

No More Excuses About Writing. Fire The Muse And Go To Work – The Creative Penn »

Smashwords Author InterviewNew Smashwords Author Interview

E-book editions of both The Martini of Destiny and Home Sweet Road are available at Smashwords. And, there’s a new author interview with me at Smashwords too.

I write like I travel. I’ve been to about 10 countries, and while I always have some ideas of where I’m going and what I want to see, I also leave myself open to changing course depending on the actual day and route. For me, writing is the same. I need a plan for my stories, and I outline the action, emotions and theme not just for the story, but for every single scene. At the same time, I follow the story where it takes me. The planning helps me surrender to the path.

Check out the interview, and let me know in the comments if there are other questions you’d like to see answered.

Last But Not Least, New Craft Beer Articles

Oregon Beer Growler, May 2014

Fans of Oregon beer and the Oregon Beer Growler, check out these articles in the online or print editions of the May 2014 issue:

  • Celebrations: Eugene Beer Week, Sasquatch Brewfest June 2-8, p. 7
  • Women in Beer: Change is Here and It’s Gaining Momentum, p. 8
  • Women in Beer: Marketers Still Have Much to Learn, p. 8
  • Cask Ales Get Real, p. 18

Eugene craft beer fans, be sure to check out the Register-Guard’s May 2014 print or online edition of Tastings. Local beer’s time to shine is a preview of Eugene Beer Week 2014 and the 2014 Sasquatch Brew Fest.

And that’s the news from the Rucksack Universe, where the beer is always fresh, all the locals are friendly, and the food never makes you sick.

See you Saturday, May 31, for the big announcement!

Eugene Craft Beer Roundup: Best Stouts, New Ninkasi Brewery

Mar. 20, 2014, Eugene Craft Beer Roundup

Oregon Goes Strong on List of Best Stouts

Image: Thrillist

Image: Thrillist

St. Patrick’s Day have you thirsty for more stout? If you’re like me, you can never get enough of it. But what is out there beyond the world of Guinness?

Luckily, Thrillist made this easy with their list of 11 Definitive Stouts, plus lots of honorable mentions. Wherever you are, odds are you can find a good stout to chase your Guinness on the big day.

Locally and for Oregon, I second their inclusion of Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout (part of a 6-way tie at #18). Rogue's Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, from Newport on the Oregon Coast, smacks down #9. The list is packed with other great Oregon beers including…

  • Pelican Tsunami Stout (what is it with the coast and great stout?)
  • Hopworks Survival 7-Grain Stout (Portland)
  • Laurelwood Space Stout (Portland)
  • Deschutes Obsidian Stout (Bend; always welcome at my table)
  • Ninkasi Oatis (Eugene! And now I'm thirsty…)

And more. Check out the full list »

New Ninkasi Brewery

Image: Ninkasi Brewing

Image: Ninkasi Brewing

You may have noticed all the construction around Ninkasi Brewing in the Whit. They’ve been building an expanded brewery to meet their beer production needs for the next 10 years… and everything is going online now. Grain is filling the 160,000-lb.-capacity silo. Systems are being checked. Test brews are getting run.

It is on, Eugene.

Brewing will continue at the original brewery, but the new brewery is, well, it still kinda blows my mind.

The current brewery has a 95–105 barrel capacity. Just the first phase of the new brewery adds a 550-barrel capacity (17,050 gallons) to Ninkasi’s brewing power.

There’ll be more about this in the April edition of the Oregon Beer Growler, stay tuned!

Eugene Craft Beer Roundup: Slow Food & Bottle Caps

Mar. 6, 2014, Eugene Craft Beer Roundup

Agrarian Ales’ Ben Tilley Talks Slow Food

As part of an ongoing 2nd Tuesday Lecture Series about Slow Food in the Lane County region, Ben Tilley from Agrarian Ales will be at the 16 Tons Cafe on Mar. 11. The intent of the series is to help people learn about “local options for good, clean, ethical food.”

Tilley will talk about Agrarian Ales, his craft brewery located on a farm near Coburg.

The event is sponsored by Slow Food Eugene. Lecture starts at 7 p.m., with Happy Hour prices 6-7 p.m. Entry is free, though a donation to Slow Food Eugene is recommended.

More info at the event’s Facebook page »

Ninkasi Giving Away Crown Caps to Homebrewers

You know how it is, homebrewers, you can never have enough bottle caps. And you can top up your cap stash 3-5 p.m. on Fri., Mar. 7, at Ninkasi Brewing, 1061 West 2nd Ave., Eugene.

Ninkasi recently put out the word on their Facebook page that “We’ve got some crown caps in need of good beer and loving homes…. So drop on by with your boxes, bags, dogsleds, and red flyer wagons so we can share our stash of crowns with you!”

So get out there and do your part, homebrewers, and relieve Ninkasi of all those caps!

Eugene Craft Beer Roundup: Tapped into Tech, Eugene Beer Week, Sasquatch Brewfest, Ninkasi Expansion, Wine vs. Beer

Feb. 27, 2014, Eugene Craft Beer Roundup

Tapped into Tech

Image: Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard

Image: Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard

The latest edition of Tastings from The Register-Guard is out! In addition to some drool-inducing articles on Ninkasi’s Single Hop Series, local kombucha, and Full Circle Creamery cheeses, you can also check out my latest craft beer article, Tapped into Technology. Local pubs and breweries find new ways to engage customers through social media, innovative tap-list displays and more:

Tapped into technology – Tastings – The Register-Guard »

Save the Date for Sasquatch Brewfest & Eugene Beer Week 2014

Eugene Beer Week 2014

Mark your calendar now…

e coming soon about Eugene Beer Week events, Sasquatch Homebrew Contest and more.

Ninkasi Expansion

Image: Ninkasi Brewing

The massive expansion of Ninkasi Brewing’s brewery facilities continues and is getting much closer to completion. Folks at the brewery have said the new brewery space will give them brewing capacity for the next 10 years.

The expansion will also help the popular Eugene brewery expand their offerings, such as more lagers (like their recently released Pravda Bohemian-style Pils Lager).

Wine vs. Beer at Tap & Growler

Jonathan from J. Scott Cellars takes on Matt from Oakshire Brewing at the Tap & Growler’s Wine vs. Beer food pairing event, Wed., Mar. 5, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Michael from Noisette Pastry Kitchen is supplying 3 “savory” and 3 “sweet” food items to pair with 3 carefully selected brews presented by award-winning brewmaster Matt Van Wyk of Oakshire Brewing, and wines presented by award-winning winemaker Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Cellars.

There will be a vote after every pairing to determine the winner of the Wine vs. Beer Food Pairing Challenge. The pairings are as follows:

Limited seats available, $35 per person, sign up at the Tap & Growler, 5th and Pearl, downtown Eugene. Learn more at

Eugene Craft Beer Roundup: Plank Town Brewer’s Dinner, Claim Viking, Homebrew Class, Ninkasi Northwest, Homebrew Meetup

Feb. 20, 2014, Eugene Craft Beer Roundup

Plank Town Hosts Their First Brewer’s Dinner, Feb. 23

Plank Town Brewer's Dinner. Image: Plank Town Brewing.

Plank Town Brewer’s Dinner. Image: Plank Town Brewing.

Plank Town Brewing has made quite a mark on the local craft beer scene. The most recent was the success of their recent Newton’s Pin Cask Ale Festival, featuring cask-poured beers from 11 area breweries (including Oakridge’s Brewers Union Local 180). Now the downtown Springfield brewpub has decided it was time you got to meet the brewer at their first-ever Brewer’s Dinner.

The dinner will be held at Plank Town on Sun., Feb. 23, at 6 p.m.

Described as “an informal yet decadent six-course dinner featuring beer pairings and a chance to chat with brewer Steve van Rossem,” Plank Town’s chefs planned a special menu of food and Plank Town beer:

  • Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with andouille sausage, paired with Optical Illusion – English Dark Mild ale
  • Warm shaved Brussels sprout salad with gorgonzola dolce and almonds tossed in a date balsamic glaze, paired with Foggy Scotsman Porter
  • Slow-braised rabbit tostada, paired with Reggie English-Style IPA
  • Persimmon granitas, paired with Odd Fellow Wit
  • Elk top sirloin with hunter’s sauce and parsnip puree, paired with Hobbit’s Habit Olde Ale
  • Orange blossom honey and filbert baklava, paired with the Contemplator Doppelbock

Cost: $40. Seating is limited. Call 541-746-1890 for reservations, which must be made by Fri., Feb. 21. Arrangements can be made for vegetarian options or dietary restrictions with advance notice.

Learn more at Plank Town’s Facebook page or at

Claim 52, Viking Braggot Team up for Collaboration Brew

Photo: Claim 52 Brewing

Photo: Claim 52 Brewing

While the Eugene/Springfield area is still shaking off its post-snow, post-KLCC-Brewfest bluthers, the folks at Claim 52 and Viking Braggot decided it was high time they teamed up at the brew kettle.

Weston Zaludek of Viking Braggot came over to Claim 52’s West Eugene brewery on Feb. 19 to brew up a collaboration beer. Details are hush-hush, but it’s said it’s gonna “BLOW you away.”

The beer will be available at the Claim 52 Tasting Room in a few weeks.

More at Claim 52 Brewing’s Facebook page »

Ninkasi Takes Over the Northwest

Ninkasi Great Tap Takeover. Image: Ninkasi Brewing.

Ninkasi Great Tap Takeover. Image: Ninkasi Brewing.

It was always a threat. Given the meteoric growth that Ninkasi Brewing has had since 2006, there was always a chance Eugene’s local juggernaut would one day up and take over the entire Pacific Northwest.

That day has come.

Throughout today, Thurs., Feb. 20, Ninkasi’s Great Tap Takeover conquers all taps at pubs throughout Washingon and Oregon, including Lynnwood, Everett, Lake Stevens, Stanwood, Burlington, Mill Creek, Seattle, Salem, Yakima, Richland, DuPont, Olympia, Spokane, Pullman, Renton, Tacoma, Puyallup, Lakeland, Florence, Medford and Ashland.

They claim it’s just for today. But I wonder. Today it’s the Northwest. But tomorrow? Tomorrow the planet will stopped being called “Earth” and will be called “Ninkasi” instead.

At least there’ll be plenty of good beer.

Homebrew Class, Feb. 25

Are you a homebrewer with a least a little experience but wanting to pick up some new skills?

Join Denny Conn on Tues., Feb. 25, 6-8:30 p.m., for an evening of advanced homebrewing:

The advanced home brewing class will teach experienced extract brewers to brew beers made entirely from scratch, starting from the grain. It will also show home brewers how to construct inexpensive equipment for mashing the grain. Participants should have a good understanding of the brewing process and experience in brewing beers from extract. Instructor: Denny Conn. Register in advance.

The cost is $36 in-district (ID) or $43 out-of-district (OD). The class will be held at Sprout Kitchen, 418 A St. (use west entrance), Springfield. Contact Denny or Willamalane for more info.

More information at Cascade Brewers Society and Willamalane Classes and Lectures for Adults 18+.

Register online with Willamalane or call the Willamalane Adult Activity Center, (541) 736-4444, 215 W. C St., Springfield, 97477.

Monthly Homebrew Meetup

Cascade Brewers Society, Eugene, Oregon

Cascade Brewers Society Meeting Feb. 24

The Eugene-area club for homebrewers, the Cascade Brewers Society holds their monthly meeting on the last Monday of the month. The February meeting is Mon., Feb. 24, 7 p.m., in the downstairs room at the Rogue Ales Public House, 844 Olive St., Eugene.

The meeting is open to all area homebrewers. There will be a discussion about an aspect of homebrewing, and homebrewers are welcome to bring homebrew to share.

More info at »


Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

FREE Sample

Check out this free sample of FOREVER THE ROAD

Anthony's third book, FOREVER THE ROAD, is a Best Books 2015 Fantasy pick from Library Journal's SELF-e, and a 2015 Oregon Book Award nominee.

Download your free sample to find out why Nth Degree's reviewer said this "high-stakes story, told with wit and compassion," left him "completely gobsmacked."

Rucksack Universe

Travel fantasy tales
of wit, adventure & beer

Forever the Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novel - learn more and buy now

Home Sweet Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

The Martini of Destiny by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novella - learn more and buy now

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: