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Lane Monthly: McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival is Filling the Festival Void

Raise a glass at the McKenzie Cider and Craft Beer Festival

New article in Lane Monthly Magazine’s November 2015 edition:

On Nov. 13–14, over 5,000 people will enjoy 190 beers and ciders at the McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival (MCCBF). Presented by the McKenzie After 5 and Springfield Rotary Clubs and held at Springfield’s Willamalane Center, MCCBF showcases regional beers and ciders to the benefit of local community organizations and Rotary Club projects…

Source: Lane Monthly | Filling the Festival Void




Willamette Valley-Inspired Beers Made By Walking, Nov. 5, Eugene

Beers Made by Walking - Eugene beers

8 Beers Inspired by the Southern Willamette Valley in Eugene

Beers Made By Walking (BMBW) invites brewers to create place-based beers inspired by plants found on nature walks. The first-ever Eugene-focused BMBW beer tapping event features 8 beers/ciders that were inspired by natural areas in the Eugene/Springfield area. The event takes place on November 5, beginning at 6pm, at the Bier Stein in Eugene.

The hike-inspired beers and cider come directly from a collaboration with the McKenzie River Trust, which sent experts to lead public, summer hikes with brewers on three conservation areas in the southern Willamette Valley. Brewers learned about private land conservation and water resources in the area, in addition to native and invasive plants. The brewers have been challenged to create a beer or cider that represents the trails they walked.

Beer list

Agrarian Ales – Close to Home
Yarrow centric with several other herbs that call the Willamette River floodplain home. Yarrow in the kettle, in the fermenter to inoculate culture, and in the keg. 8 IBU, 5% ABV

Claim 52 Brewing – Conservation Sour
Inspired by a walk through the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. While enamored with all the property had to give we drew particular interest in the fresh scent of lemon balm, the taste and flavor of mustard seed to the natural habits plethora of pollinating plants. Which in the end drew us to concoct Conservation Sour incorporating lemon balm, mustard seed, honey, and hops. 5 IBU, 5.3% ABV

Elk Horn Brewery – Twisted Wood Belgian Saison
Orange colored Belgian Saison brewed with invasive fennel. 35 IBU, 7% ABV

Falling Sky Brewing
Official Melissa Lemon Balm Pale Ale. 40 IBU, 6.1% ABV

Oakshire Brewing – Down by The River
Brett fermented farmhouse ale with Chamomile and Lemon Balm. 29 IBU, 5% ABV

Plank Town Brewing – Foggy Scotsman Porter with Chocolate & Rosemary
Scottish-style porter with complex malty aromas of dark chocolate, honey, ripe figs, coffee and a hint of smokiness, with an extra chocolate backbone that dances lovely with rosemary. 25 IBU, 5.2%

Viking Braggot Co. – Panacea
Belgian Dubbel style braggot made with additions of elderberry, elder flower, blackberry honey and bee pollen. 25 IBU, 7.5% ABV

Wildcraft Cider Works – Confluence Stingo
A collaborative project with the Hagen family of Confluence Farms. Every ingredient used in its making was harvested from the property, by the family. Whole fermented Blueberries pressed and blended with a knapp weed and pennyroyal wine added to a neutral oak barrel for a secondary fermentation with a juice pressed of Gravenstein and Macintosh apples. 6.7% ABV

Each brewery is donating their unique beer and cider for this event. The proceeds will support the McKenzie River Trust’s work to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon.

The Bier Stein is located at 1591 Willamette St, Eugene, OR 97401.




September Craft Beer & Homebrew News

Oregon Beer Growler, September 2015

Oregon Beer Growler, September 2015




July 2015 Eugene Craft Beer News

Oregon Beer Growler - July issue

Find the July issue of the Oregon Beer Growler online, all over Oregon, or by subscribing

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, and amazing beer is flowing at events are underway all over the state.

There’s also lots of news and features in Oregon’s craft beer world. The July 2015 issue of the Oregon Beer Growler shares stories of pioneers and key figures in Oregon’s beer world, from beer writer Fred Eckhardt to the ins and outs of running beer festivals. I’ve also got a few briefs and features in here:

  • Bad Backs But Good Hearts: Volunteers Make Sasquatch a Success, p. 13
  • A Craft Brewery for Junction City, p. 16-17
  • Mancave Launches Bike Delivery, p. 17 & 20
  • Long Game Leads to Year-Round Lager, p. 17

The lager piece, about how Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing has been building to offering lagers in their flagship, year-round beers, is one I’ve been especially stoked about.

In other news, the Summer 2015 edition of Eugene Magazine is out, and is packed with tips on exploring Oregon this summer, an interesting dream home, paddle-boarding, and a tree-house primer. You can also check out my feature on Agrarian Ales, a farm and brewery near Coburg: “Farm-Fresh From Plate and Pint: Agrarian Ales offers seasonal food and ales.”

Now that you’ve got some reading material, here’s to curling up with a good beer too.




Summer Beer Picks

Wunderbier Kolsch. Image: Ninkasi Brewing Company

Wunderbier Kolsch. Image: Ninkasi Brewing Company

A cold beer during the hot summer satisfies in ways no wine or cocktail ever could. And here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, our beery summer has already kicked off with lots of events, such as our recent Eugene Beer Week and Sasquatch Beer Fest, both held during the first week of June.

With summer and all the amazing beers out there, there’s no time to waste.

Here are some of the beers that’ll be keeping me cool:

Heater Allen Pils: In McMinnville in the heart of Oregon wine country, there’s a wee brewery that does something uncommon: brew nothing but craft lager. Lagers take longer to make than ales, so breweries don’t do them as often—if at all. And that makes Heater Allen so wonderful. They focus solely on lagers and refining that craft. Pils is crisp, malty, and refreshing, like the Czech beers it is based on.

Ninkasi Brewing Wünderbier: This kolsch-style beer from Eugene’s largest brewery combines the best of both worlds: fermented like an ale, conditioned like a lager. This golden, German-style beer is a great summer tipple.

Full Sail Session Premium Lager: For starters, I am a sucker for stubby bottles. And this slightly bitter easy, low-alcohol summer sipper is perfect for hot days.

What are you drinking this summer?




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.




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!




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:




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.

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