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English-style Real Ale in Oregon

A Visit to Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge

Confession: my wife’s birthday was crap. She was sick and it was a rough, rough week. So we made up for it with a really, really good Mother’s Day of hiking in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades, followed by a late lunch and a pint of English-style cask ale at the Brewers Union Local 180 in the wee town of Oakridge, about an hour’s drive southeast of Eugene. (The BUL is also part of the Eugene Ale Trail.)

Founder Ted Sobel learned the craft of cask ale from brewers in England. He brought it back Stateside and decided to set up shop in the downtown of Oakridge, a town once bustling with logging and now known more for mountain biking and outdoor recreation. It’s an unlikely spot for some unlikely beers, and we had a brilliant time.

True cask ale is a wonderful beer experience. I’ll leave it to Britain’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to describe it:

Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.

In other words, instead of forced CO2 and a chilled keg, real ale is typically served between 50-55ºF, and the carbonation comes from continuing fermentation in the cask. The beers change over time, and are complex in flavor and aroma, while also smooth and fun to drink.

The BUL is very family-friendly, and is made with traditional view of a pub in mind: it’s a place for the public to gather and be together.

In addition to the regular pool table, there is also a kid-size one. Books and games are everywhere. Live music is common. There are LED lights and bright colors, and wood paneling and dark corners. If this place were near my house, it would be a second home.

We feasted on fish-n-chips, steak-n-chips, and pints of light rye mild and Young Harry Porter—quite possibly my new favorite beer name.

So, for a truly unique Oregon beer experience that hails from across the continent and across the pond to England itself, take any chance you can to get to the Brewers Union Local 180. And if I can’t be there, have a pint for me.




3 May Eugene Craft Beer Articles

May has been a fun month for craft beer writing! Here are 3 big features about the Eugene, Oregon craft beer scene:




May Craft Beer Articles for Eugene & Lane County

May’s craft beer articles for the Eugene/Springfield area include one of my favorite topics to write about for the Oregon Beer Growler: women in the brewing industry. This year I had the privilege of interviewing Kate Price, who along with her husband Ben founded newcomer Hard Knocks Brewing in Cottage Grove. Our talk is on page 14 of the May Oregon Beer Growler, which you can read online or find in print all over the state.

Also, new for this month is an article for a new publication, Lane Monthly Magazine. Lane Monthly is highlighting the news, events, and lifestyle in the rest of Lane County. It was fun to talk up all the amazing craft beer happening in the rural areas outside Eugene/Springfield. Enjoy, cheers, and slainte!

And now I’d better get back to work. Deadlines ahead.




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 Week.org.

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




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.




Sept. 22: Reading & Book Signing at The Bier Stein, Eugene

Mon., Sept. 22, 6 p.m.

Events at The Bier Stein, Eugene

Beer and books!

See you at The Bier Stein!

See you at The Bier Stein!

Travel. Destiny. Beer. Join local author Anthony St. Clair in the back room of The Bier Stein for an evening of wit, adventure, and beer as he reads from Forever the Road, his newly released third Rucksack Universe travel fantasy novel. Audience Q&A, book/travel/beer chat, books sales and signings of all 3 Rucksack books too. Sláinte!

FREE admission.

More events & interviews




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 www.joyceallenwords.com. 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!




Hi.

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

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