Friday, February 26, 2016

Beer Friday: Brewery Tour in Eugene, Oregon

In this special edition of #BeerFriday, we're talking about one of Oregon's lesser-known brewery destinations: Eugene!

Eugene, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Z and I drove down to Eugene (about a 2-hour, 10-minute [mostly scenic] drive from Portland) on President's Day. We both had the day off, and the weather was beautiful - sunny and 60+ degrees. We had heard great things about Eugene's beer scene, so it seemed like the perfect day to wander around and check it out.

Immediately upon arriving to Eugene's quaint downtown (it's a college town, so it may not be the quietest), we found public parking - which was free, thanks to the holiday! We parked and walked one block to the hopping shop and restaurant area, and found some familiar Portland haunts: Sizzle Pie and Voodoo Doughnut. Other various local shops and businesses graced the well-kept downtown as well, and although it was small, it was still nice to walk around and explore.

From there, we scouted out our must-visit breweries, which were all a short walk from downtown. Here's where we went, in chronological order:

Falling Sky Brewing

Falling Sky Brewery | A Hoppy Medium

A long, open brewery with plenty of communal picnic tables - inside AND outside - with board games to boot. Playing Connect 4 outside here while drinking an Alpha Acid Rain IPA was my ideal way to kick off our time in Eugene. (Falling Sky also serves food, but we just came for the beer).

Ninkasi Brewing Company

Ninkasi Brewing Company | A Hoppy Medium

Any brewery with a decor focused on teal, black, and gray (and pulls it off) gets my nod of approval. We spent little time inside, as the large, sunny deck - with a fire pit to boot - had our immediate attention. I'm actually not a huge fan of Ninkasi's widely available brews, but I did really enjoy the Gingersnap Brown Ale. It was definitely reminiscent of a gingersnap cookie, without being overly sweet.

Hop Valley Brewing Co.

Hop Valley Brewing Co. | A Hoppy Medium

Another sunny outdoor patio? Sure, why not? We settled in this spot for another brew and dinner, and I'm glad we did. The Redside Prophet red ale was tasty, especially paired with dangerously delicious Stuffed Garlic Knots and the Mediterranean Panini with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, grilled onions, Feta cheese, basil pesto, and hummus, all on grilled Italian bread. The sandwich was served with housemade chips, and it was the perfect amount of food - along with the knots - to split between the two of us.

Oakshire Public House

Oakshire Public House | A Hoppy Medium

The final stop on our self-guided brewery tour was Oakshire Public House. Here, there were so many tap choices that both Z and I decided to go with a flight (inside this time, as the sun was going down and we were getting cold). My sampler consisted of: Citrafonix IPA, Watershed IPA, The Perfect Storm Double IPA, and their Barleywine, from 2014. (Oakshire has more than just IPAs on tap - I'm just on an IPA kick these days!). In all honesty, none of these beers blew me away, but I did enjoy the Barleywine the most (go figure!). Still, this was a fun spot to check out, and I love being able to sample a few different beers when I visit a new-to-me brewery.

Overall, our day in Eugene, Oregon was absolutely delightful (and filling...). Being an easy day trip to Portland, I highly recommend checking it out!

What's your favorite town/city for self-guided brewery tours? In Oregon, or anywhere?

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