By the time we made it to Eugene, OR my liver was screaming for mercy! Six days of breweries and beer and I still had two days to go…my God. Well, as the famous saying goes “the liver is evil and must be punished.” So off I went.
Eugene is the largest of the cities I visited on my beercation. There are plenty of breweries and beer taverns to go around. I stayed in a lovely hotel, The Inn at the 5th, which provided free shuttle service within the city limits. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than showing up to a brewery in a Mercedes S Class with my own driver!
My driver dropped me off at a little lesser-known brewery: Falling Sky Brewing. This very casual brewery and gastropub offers really good food and even better beers! Ever had pickled cherries? Really tasty stuff. But back to the beer. 42 Dry Hopped Ale is a malty, sweet, well-balanced ale with a nice hop finish. Skipping Stones Kolsch is a lovely buttery beer. Caramel and malty with a sweet finish. Bare Hands NW Bitter is very balanced and very yummy! Nice Belgian lace, malty, toasty and a slightly hoppy finish. And for my little “hop heads” there’s the Reckless Abandon IPA. This beer is a true hop beast! Unfiltered, high hop aroma, with a thick and sticky mouth-feel. Very complex for an IPA.
Next stop on our Eugene jaunt was to Hop Valley Brewing Company. Another nice brew pub with some pretty tasty food and brew. Pollination Honey Ale was very crisp and clean. The flavor was comparable to a pale ale but with a touch of honey and flowers. Czech Your Head Pilsner was another gem. Light golden color. Malty, sweet, wheat characters with a buttery/honey body and a lightly sweet finish.
A little ways outside from downtown Eugene is Oakshire Brewing. I took what was probably one of the best brewery tours I have ever experienced. And the beer is not too shabby either! Watershed IPA has a lovely hop flower aroma. Nicely hopped body with a light hoppy finish. Next up was Oakshire Amber. This nutty, toasty gem is perfect for the autumn season. Malty body and caramel finish. Overcast Espresso Stout is really something special. Imagine chocolate covered espresso beans and you have this beer. Lovely, malty, thick, and just the right amount of dark chocolate bitterness. Try it on nitro for a real treat! Another one of my favorites was the Line Dry Rye. Brewed with Oregon blackberry honey, this well-balanced beauty has the bitterness of the rye in perfect harmony with the honey. Quite nice. If you are looking for a different type of IPA then look no further than Goatshed IPA. This interesting beer is aged with coffee giving this hoppy beer a little something extra. Very interesting beer.
Another stop I made was not to a brewery but to an awesome beer store/restaurant. The Bier Stein is more than just a beer store, it’s a beer Valhalla! Twelve beers on tap and over 1,000 bottled beer from all over the world are cooling against the wall for your pleasure. Just grab one, sit down and enjoy! The beer selection is one of, if not the best, I have ever seen. Just make sure you check the price before grabbing one, there is nothing worse than beer sticker shock!
Last but not least, the last brewery on my Beercation 2012 was the ever popular and most beloved Ninkasi Brewing. A pretty brewery inside and out, Ninkasi staffs itself with folks that know their beer! Everyone was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. And the beer, well if you have never had a Ninkasi beer you are missing out! Taster trays are available so I loaded up on a few beers that aren’t readily available in my neck of the woods. Quantum Pale is a very well-balanced ale with honey characteristics. Malty and crisp with a touch of honey sweetness. Radiant Ale is a Northwest style pale ale. The taste is like drinking flowers. Malty with citrus notes round out the floral characters. Believer Double Red Ale is a great autumn beer. Dark red color and toasty aroma. Nice malty body with notes of caramel and hazelnuts. Great beer to enjoy next to a fire on those crisp autumn nights.
Oregon is one of the best destinations for anyone from the beer novice to the connoisseur. Each brewery has its own personality and there are so many to choose from. The countryside is some of the most stunning I have ever seen and the people are very friendly. Book a vacation and see what I mean. You will fall in love with Oregon, trust me!