By Sam Wheeler
For Oregon Beer Growler
That Civil War atmosphere that engulfs Eugene in the odd years and Corvallis in the evens is hard to beat as a football fan. And beer fans who’ll be in Corvallis for this year’s 120th contest of the fifth-most played NCAA college football rivalry, you’re in luck. Corvallis boasts a healthy craft beer scene, and you’ll find good brew anywhere from the city’s outskirts to the heart of downtown.
The Beavers have lost the last eight Civil War meetings. Here is a guide to tailgating at Reser Stadium and where in Corvallis you can watch the battle, whether the Oregon Ducks make it nine in a row or the Oregon State Beavers win at home.
Tailgating Outside Reser
Check the forecast and come prepared to tailgate at Reser Stadium, where rain has been known to fall. If you’re looking to set up camp, parking passes for passenger cars, RVs and buses are available at osubeaver.com.
Rules for tailgating include: no kegs or bulk dispensing of alcohol without prior approval and registration with Oregon State University, barbecues are to be attended at all times and pick up your trash and ash.
If you find yourself in need of a cooler restock, there are a few options within walking distance (all hours are for Saturdays).
Western Market, 2875 SW Western Blvd., 541-752-3647, 10 a.m. to midnight
This is the closest option to Reser. It’s located across the parking lot behind the old grandstand on the southwest side of the stadium. You’ll find a modest craft beer and wine selection and typical mini-mart food.
Washington St. Liquor Store/Deb’s Mixers, 575 SW Washington Ave., 541-753-7998, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While this is a few blocks from the eastern edge of campus, it offers spirits along with craft beer.
If you don’t have a parking space, there are other locations around the stadium to enjoy an Oregon beer.
Adjacent to the stadium, you’ll find the Merrit Truax Indoor Practice Facility, which opens free of admission to tailgaters three hours prior to kickoff. Food and beer are served inside.
Deschutes Brewery is featured at a beer garden at Hilton Garden Inn Corvallis, which is a three-minute walk from Reser. There is also a small beer garden with craft on tap in a courtyard between the CH2M Hill Alumni Center and LaSells Stewart Center just across the street from the stadium.
If you’re looking to avoid the stadium crowd and slip into a bar to watch the game, you'll find plenty of fine craft beer around town.
Sky High Brewing, 160 NW Jackson Ave., 541 207-3277, 11 a.m. to midnight
Heated rooftop seating makes Sky High stand out, but there is also a pleasant bar with TV screens so that you don’t miss any of the action on the field. The menu is a nod to traditional pub food, and the venue will no doubt be packed for 120th Civil War, so get there early if you’re looking for a seat.
Block 15 Brewing Co., 300 SW Jefferson Ave., 541-758-2077, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Great craft beer and a unique pub-style menu makes Block 15 one of the most enjoyable craft beer/food experiences in Corvallis. TV coverage is limited, so get there early if you want a good view.
Flat Tail Brewing, 202 SW First St., 541- 758-2229, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Plenty of seating, tons of TVs and lots of Oregon State memorabilia make Flat Tail a favorite for Beaver fans. The food is hearty and there’s a variety of beer styles to wash it down. It’s sure to be packed for the game, but any seat is a good seat.
McMenamins Corvallis Pub, 420 NW Third St., 541-758-6044, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
McMenamins on Monroe, 2001 NW Monroe Ave., 541-758-0080, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
McMenamins always delivers a solid experience, food and craft beer-wise. The Monroe location will have plenty of students inside, and the pub bordering downtown might offer the most relaxed atmosphere available to watch the game at a bar around town.
Squirrels Tavern, 100 SW Second St., 541-753-8057, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
It’s a local establishment that’s been around more than 40 years. You’ll find pool tables upstairs and head to the ATM before you visit because it’s cash only. Squirrels will have at least a half-dozen quality craft beers on tap, but the TV coverage is limited. If you want a seat with a good view, get there early. Typical bar food comes out of the kitchen, but for some reason it tastes better at Squirrels. Be sure to try the burgers.
Mazama Brewing Co., 33930 SE Eastgate Circle, 541-230-1810, noon to 9 p.m.
Located on the eastern outskirts of Corvallis, Mazama is an outstanding craft brewery that specializes in true-style Belgian and American beers, making the drive worth it. A simple pub menu includes fries, salads and sandwiches.
By Erica Tiffany-Brown
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
I am secure enough in myself to admit I used to watch this show on Bravo called “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” In said show, the matchmaker, Patti Stanger, tells the couples they need to follow a two-drink maximum rule on their dates. While that’s probably a good idea in theory, I believe rules were made to be broken. I also believe there are far too many delicious Oregon beers out there to limit yourself to only sharing two with your significant other.
But before we get into what beer you’ll be drinking on your date, there is one important question to answer: Do you go out or do you stay in? Fortunately for you, I’ve provided options for both!
— If you’re feeling extra indulgent, pamper yourselves with a romantic trip to Bend’s Anjou Spa. For over a year now, Anjou has collaborated with GoodLife Brewing for a special “Spa Hoppiness” menu of services. It turns out the ingredients in beer are actually really beneficial for your skin. Your taste buds will take pleasure in the experience as well with some complimentary draft beer. Treat yourselves to the Ale-ing Foot Remedy, Brew & Renew Body Polish or the Stout Scalp Treatment. Or spoil yourselves to all three treatments and you’ll receive a beer-infused natural LeCol soap to keep the fun going back at home. Good luck keeping your hands off one another!
— For a fun night out, OMSI After Dark’s 21-and-over monthly event lets adults channel their nerdy side. This month, the museum will feature two events — OMSI After Dark: Gaming on Feb. 24 and OMSI After Dark: Sex & Love on Feb. 13. Formal wear is encouraged at the latter event, so it’s a good excuse to get dressed up. According to OMSI, be prepared to “get down and dirty as we explore the science of attraction.” Rumor has it Rogue will be on hand selling their beers.
Pro Tip: Stop at nearby Hair of the Dog Brewing before the event to get a little warmed up for all the dirty talk.
A night in can be very underrated when it comes to dating. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to be boring — get creative! But if you’re not the imaginative type, don’t worry; I’ve done the hard work for you. First, let’s focus on what beer you should have on hand. This is one third wheel you’ll actually want tagging along with you!
Depending on your current relationship status, there’s an Oregon beer for that.
My recommendations are as follows:
— Crux Tough Love [Banished] 2015 (11.5% ABV, 70 IBUs): a barrel-aged imperial stout that has been “banished” for nine months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. According to Crux, “Tough Love is big, but smooth with tender strokes of vanilla.”
— Alameda Love Squirts (6% ABV): a chocolate strawberry stout. Too lazy to make your own chocolate-covered strawberries from scratch? Never fear, beer is here! And a hilariously named one at that. They say laughter is carbonated love, right?
— Ex Novo Friends With Benefits (10% ABV, 23 IBUs): a peated scotch ale aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. If you consider yourselves a little more than just FWB, try the brewery’s Dynamic Duo IIPA (8% ABV, 70 IBUs) instead. Or, if you’re happy to be flying solo this year, you’ll get a kick out of their Psycho Ex Triple IPA (10.5% ABV, 92 IBUs).
Runners-Up: Upright Brewing Oyster Stout (6.25% ABV) a British-style stout brewed with both oyster liquor and whole oysters (an aphrodisiac!), Mazama White Wedding IPA (5.2% ABV, 55 IBUs) a marriage of Belgian wit and Northwest IPA — proof that opposites can attract — and Southern Oregon Brewing Black Heart (8.5% ABV) an imperial stout with chocolaty malt aromas, “Black Heart is full of body and not for the faint of heart.”
Now that we have the most important part of the evening figured out, let’s move on to the actual date ideas to go along with the drinks!
— When two people love each other very much, they get together and make … a beer! Even if you two have never brewed a batch before, Rogue makes it a little bit easier by allowing you to produce clones of their popular beers with homebrew kits you can buy online — just add yeast. I recommend the Shakespeare Stout, and not just because of the writer’s inspiring romantic poetry — his plays are also full of allusions to his love of ale.
— Cook with beer. You can even put it in the food! Collaborate together and make a unique beer-themed meal. Check out our Brew Bites column online for inspiration, like a beer-brined rack of lamb with mint pesto for dinner and some Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis Stout ding dongs for dessert. Or, considering you were too lazy to even make the aforementioned chocolate-covered strawberries, you could get extra cheesy and order a heart-shaped pie from Pizza Hut (see what I did there?).
— If you prefer to compete rather than collaborate, this idea is for you. After ordering a pizza, crack open your bottles and battle one another in a board game made for beer lovers. Beer Smarts Game 2.0 is an “intoxicating question and answer game for beer lovers everywhere.” The game includes a scorepad so you can make sure the loser does whatever the winner desires. Another fun game is Brew-opoly, which is very similar to Monopoly, although you purchase brews and taphouses instead of houses and hotels. There are fun twists, where you might have to put on beer goggles and kiss your neighbor or stand and sing “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall.” The game even features some beloved Oregon breweries like Full Sail and Deschutes.
Whether you go out or stay in this Valentine’s Day, there’s no excuse to not invite Oregon beer along for your date. But beware of imbibing too far beyond the two-beer maximum, as it was in Macbeth that Shakespeare wrote, “It provokes the desire but takes away the performance.”
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe
Seeking out breweries while traveling was already a lifelong hobby for Bobby Marcum. But while being a consumer is an important role, Marcum felt that he had more to contribute to the local beer industry. An avid bicyclist, Marcum originally wanted to own a pub cycle but he quickly realized that many of the brewery locations in the Willamette Valley are too spread out for that to be feasible. After seeing a Brewvana bus in Portland and developing a rapport with owner Ashley Rose Salvitti, Marcum was convinced that mode of transport was the perfect solution. “I essentially took the bus tour concept and tried to mold it around the demographic of the valley,” Marcum says. He gave his first tours during this year’s Zwickelmania in February.
Now just over eight months old, Ale Ways offers a variety of tours to suit all tastes. Operating on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with pick-ups available at various locations in Salem and Albany, the all-inclusive tours offer transportation, beverage tastings, pub food, brewer talks and brewery tours, and a commemorative mug. One fun opportunity to explore several types of beverages is the “Pub Crawlvallis Tour,” which visits 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Mazama Brewing, and Nectar Creek, a meadery. Alternatively, the “Eugene Brews Cruze” is all about beer, with stops at Ninkasi, Hop Valley, and Agrarian Ales.
Marcum doesn’t assume tour participants are homebrewers or that they know how beer is made. Therefore, he structures his tours so that the first stop provides the background on making beer. At the next two stops, the brewers talk less about how beer is made in general and more about their personal background and why they make their beer a particular way. As Marcum observes, “When the group sits down in the pub to sample some beers afterward, they feel like part of a private club because they’ve had the unique experience of having met the person who made the beer they’re drinking as well as touring the facility where it was made.”
Tours are offered year-round with the aid of Gus and Frank, a 14-seat short bus and a Hummer, respectively. The bus has been configured to offer maximum comfort for tour participants. It has the look and feel of a mobile pub with the added bonus of customers being able to drink while riding, so the fun never stops. As Marcum says, “You can drink flights of beer all day and you’re going to feel pretty good. But my tours also give you the insider scoop.”
Marcum continues to establish good relationships with local brewers and business owners and is doing his part to attract more tourism to the Willamette Valley, especially Salem. “Part of my whole business model was to make it a destination,” he says. He also enjoys delivering a great experience to his guests. “It’s all about connecting with people and sharing the love of beer!”
Ale Ways Brewery Tours
Owner/Operator: Bobby Marcum
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.