Eugene Ale Trail
Move over, Beervana. Eugene is embracing its newish identity as Brew-gene! While no other city in the world can compete with Portland’s saturation of suds, what’s bubbling up in the Eugene area is worth raising a glass to. No beer enthusiast’s trip to this fine city would be complete without a stop in the Whiteaker neighborhood, to the trio of Eugene’s flagship breweries: Ninkasi Brewing, Oakshire Brewing and Hop Valley Brewing Company. Here and beyond, there’s an exciting lineup of newcomers to the scene to suit every beer-lovers’ taste.
Before you head out, make sure to get your passport to all the breweries on the Eugene Ale Trail (now 14 and counting). Venture forth and enjoy!
Agrarian Ales Brewing Company, located on a 25-acre hop farm just north of Coburg (20 minutes north of Eugene) is a family- and dog-friendly beer haven, with a play structure and outdoor games on their 3-acre beer garden. They grow 15 varieties of hops here, which are handpicked and brewed with historic Belgian-style methods, focusing on sustainability. Kick back on the grounds of the covered tasting room, a converted 1940s dairy barn, and check out their hop harvest weekends this fall, when you can help strip the hop buds off the vine on site. Their food menu changes weekly, focusing on farm-direct sourcing and simple fare like pizza from their wood-fired cobb oven. Try: Blazing Wildfire smoked chipotle porter aged in bourbon barrels
Brewers Union Local 180 is the only brewpub in Oakridge (45 minutes southeast of Eugene in the Umpqua National Forest), known as the mountain bike capital of the Northwest. That makes it a perfect spot to unwind after a day on the singletrack trail or the slopes. It’s also a favorite local hangout, with its laid-back British public house vibe. Cozy up with some mushroom poutine and a cask-conditioned ale from one of their six beer engines. A comfy tea parlor, wall maps and a music room may just keep you here all day. Try: Frost on the Bumpkin winter stout
Coldfire Brewing Company opened its taproom 2015 just a stone’s throw from the Willamette River in downtown Eugene. Two brothers who’ve been longtime homebrewers, with medical science backgrounds, wanted to create a European-style pub with an emphasis on community gathering. A collection of children’s toys welcome families. Most beers they produce on their 10-barrel system are custom single batches, seasonals or experimentals. A food cart offers tasty fare; check for hours. Try: St. James India Red Ale
Falling Sky Pizzeria & Public House just opened their third location, on the University of Oregon campus in the newly remodeled Erb Memorial Union. It’s also a pizza joint, so the students need not travel far for good beer. With a menu of scratch-made artisan pizza, pasta, wings, soups, salads and sandwiches to go along with handcrafted beer and homemade Italian sodas, they brew mostly small batches of fascinating beers. Try: Big Ripple Belgian Triple
Viking Braggot Company makes beer a different way: by using local honey as their sugar to feed the yeast. The combination of mead, organic grain and ancient herbs makes it a braggot — one of the world’s oldest fermented drinks. Learn all about this unique braggot-style of ales at the tap room, opened in 2012 by two enterprising UO business school graduates. A food cart provides food on site Fridays and Saturdays (on Thursday, bring your own). Try: Battle Axe dry-hopped IPA
about author Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.
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