By Sam Wheeler
For the Oregon Beer Growler
There is going to be something extra special about the Oregon State-Oregon football game this year … one of the home teams is going to walk away with a win, and hopefully you’ll have a belly full of delicious craft beer when it happens. That’s where we come in.
Lets face it folks, if it weren’t for the NCAA’s “no-tie” rule, this Civil War may well end up like the infamous 1983 Toilet Bowl, where the teams combined for 11 fumbles, five interceptions and four missed field goals, resulting in a 0-0 draw. It’s been a tough year of rooting for Beaver and Duck fans alike. Oregon, plagued by injuries for much of the season, and Oregon State, struggling to find its identity — and coach — while facing the toughest schedule in the Pac-12 North.
Here’s a guide to drinking good beer and watching the game in Corvallis for you beer-loving college football fans. And for those of you non-fans forced into watching the 121st edition of one of the oldest college football rivalries in the country, may this guide be your salvation.
1835 SE Third St.
Located in Southtown Corvallis, Beer:30 is a great place to watch any sporting event while enjoying one of the best craft beer selections around. The tap wall is immense and flows with beer from breweries from multiple regions. What makes this place even better? Burrito Heaven is a few doors down and its food is welcomed at Beer:30. The tasting room will sometimes have a short food menu that includes a delicious Crock-Pot concoction and regularly features specials on weekends. If you’re looking to take your brew to go, Beer:30’s PEGAS CrafTap C02 countertop pressure filler is, bar none, the best way to get a growler filled in town. Because seating is limited, it’s best to get here early. The place is popular and short on seating.
Beer:30 is a bit out of the way in relation to the rest of Corvallis’ watering holes, but it would make a good jumping off point and can be accessed via Corvallis Transit System’s Route 6.
Sky High Brewing and Pub
160 NW Jackson Ave.
While the popular rooftop bar is now closed for the season, Sky High is still a top choice for game-day viewing in Corvallis with its cozy bar and abundance of TVs. There is a robust menu with six different burgers, a nacho plate that boasts it is four stories and three-quarters of a pound of Pacific Northwest mussels. If there’s any Mighty Beavs Fresh Hop Pale left on tap in November, be sure to try a pint. Sky High will no doubt be packed for the Civil War, so get there early to score a seat.
100 SW Second St.
This stop is just a block away from Sky High and it’s been around for more than 40 years. One of the first things you’ll notice about Squirrels is the sheer amount, and quality, of regalia occupying the walls of the tried-and-true tavern. Squirrels will have at least a half-dozen quality beers on tap, but their TV coverage is limited. There are a few pool tables upstairs and a few semi-private cozy alcoves for small groups. You’ll find typical, but exquisitely prepared, bar food. Try the Squirrel Burger, which comes with a fried egg, or Regular Dog with sauerkraut. The Salmon and Sun Burgers (the latter is all veggie) are also top notch. Squirrels is cash-only, so come prepared.
Block 15 Brewing Co.
300 SW Jefferson Ave.
Block 15 is just a few blocks from Squirrels and another great place to watch a Beavers game. Exceptionally brewed beer and a unique pub-style menu makes Block 15 one of the most enjoyable dining experiences in Corvallis. Although TV coverage is limited, patrons who want to watch the game shouldn’t have trouble finding or requesting a seat with a good view. Don’t be surprised if there is a short wait to get in. The appetizers alone are worth the delay: Thai Shrimp Cakes, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Jalapeno Strips are highlights. As far as beer is concerned, everything Block 15 offers is well done, but you must try Sticky Hands. It’s famous.
Flat Tail Brewing
202 SW First St.
Also located in beautiful downtown Corvallis, this is another go-to for locals looking for quality beer and food. Flat Tail has plenty of seating, tons of TVs, lots of Oregon State memorabilia, and a great atmosphere. It’ll be packed for the game, but any seat is a good seat. There will be yelling, and depending on the score, it could be good-natured. Food-wise, the Fresh-Baked Pretzel Sticks with beer cheese are way too good, and the Tots get a unique base in the sweet potato. If you like variety in your menu, Flat Tail has that covered. The house-made Tamale, Jambalaya, Meatloaf and Loco Moco are all options in addition to traditional burgers and wings.
McMenamins always delivers a solid experience when it comes to atmosphere and unique-to-each-location brews. The Monroe site is a bit of a trek from other establishments on this list, but it’s also surrounded by bars popular among students. The McMenamins pub bordering downtown might offer the most relaxed atmosphere available to watch the game and it’s well within walking distance.
By Sam Wheeler
For Oregon Beer Growler
On the banks of the Alsea River, Duane Miller is growing Siuslaw Brewing from the ground up.
Miller, the owner and brewmaster of the 1-barrel operation, also grows 50 acres of barley for malting and harvests several varieties of hops to supply his own brewing endeavors — as well as those of surrounding breweries in the future.
About 7 miles west of Alsea along Highway 34 — approximately a 42 minute drive southwest of Corvallis — the barn-inspired brewery building is nestled in a picturesque property between the road and river. Currently, interested drinkers can get growlers filled there or find a rotating selection of Siuslaw’s beers on tap at Deb’s Cafe in Alsea. A favorite among drinkers is the Grass Clippings Cream Ale, said Miller, whose son Jesse developed the recipe.
“My son is a wizard at the recipes, he is just remarkable,” Miller said.
Jesse also develops many of Siuslaw’s other concoctions and is a regular homebrewer. In a way, Jesse inspired his dad to open the brewery, Miller said. It wasn’t until Jesse tossed around the idea of starting a brewery in Eugene that Miller began to consider it. When Jesse dropped the plan, Miller decided to quit his road building and excavation business, sell his equipment and launch Siuslaw.
Miller always had aspirations of growing his own ingredients for Siuslaw’s beer. This year’s crop includes 3 acres of barley on the property, another leased 20-acre field down the road — both of which Miller tends — and a 25-acre plot outside Corvallis, where Miller hires a farmer to grow, harvest and clean the barley. The Corvallis field could grow as large at 100 acres by next year, Miller said.
All the barley Siuslaw grows comes from the Full Pint seed developed by Oregon State University’s Barley Project. Additionally, Miller has purchased a combine and seed cleaner to harvest and prepare the barley for malting, and he is currently building a custom barley malter.
“You can’t buy a small-batch malter. They just don’t exist, so we’re actually just building the malter itself,” he said. “It’s been great.”
Once things get rolling, Miller is considering spinning off the malting and hops portion of Siuslaw into its own company.
“I am hoping that [the malting] takes off and gets bigger than the brewery. That’s what I am actually shooting for,” Miller said. “I have already had four other breweries really showing interest. … The way they’re looking at it: ‘The more local, the better.’”
To turn the barley into usable malt, the grain must be sized, cleaned, steeped in water under controlled conditions, air dried, induced to germinate, dried again to a specific moisture content and cleaned for sale. Miller hopes to do 3,000 to 4,000-pound batches once the malter is complete.
Miller also tends 90 hop plants growing on the brewery property, favoring the Cascade and Centennial varieties, but growing several others. Although the barley is harvested using a combine, all of the hops are hand-picked.
Nothing special to the farming, Miller said. The hops and barley grow great out in Alsea. “You plant just as early as you can in the spring, as soon as it’s dry enough to get out on the fields, and there it goes.”
16558 Alsea Hwy, Alsea
541-740-1606 (Miller recommends visitors call ahead to ensure brewery is open)
By Sam Wheeler
For Oregon Beer Growler
Riding 1,000 miles in one day on a motorcycle is no easy feat.
It wasn’t supposed to be easy, said 29-year-old Dave Marliave, who rode that distance to raise $8,260 for the National Brain Tumor Society. The co-owner and brewmaster at Corvallis’ Flat Tail Brewing was inspired to push himself through the journey by a member of Oregon’s craft beer community. Angelo De Ieso, founder of the beer blog Brewpublic, was diagnosed with a rare and — for now — incurable brain tumor in 2013.
“It was a weird wakeup call for everybody because Angelo knows everybody, and everybody knows Angelo. It just hit so close to home,” said Marliave, who met De Ieso more than six years ago when Flat Tail was a young 7-barrel operation.
“He gave us some love on his blog and helped spread the word about us when we were just this tiny little brewery that no one had ever heard of. We just kind of kept in touch from that point on,” Marliave said. “Angelo is one of those guys that is just a staple in the [craft beer] community.”
And it’s not just De Ieso’s battle; Marliave has other friends who are living with brain tumors, and there are more than 688,000 throughout the U. S. who face the same challenges, according to the National Brain Tumor Society.
“It’s almost hard to find people who don’t know someone who has been affected by a malignant or benign brain tumor,” Marliave said. “It’s not only one of the fastest-growing types of cancer, but one of the least understood. No one knows what’s causing it. I think it’s really important that we figure it out.”
So on March 29, Marliave took off from Corvallis on his BMW R1200GS to ride as far as he could. With help from the National Brain Tumor Society’s Portland chapter, which created a “Highway to Health” webpage to accept donations, Marliave garnered flat-rate donations and pledges ranging from 10 cents to $1-per-mile for the ride.
Averaging about 56 miles per hour, 18 hours later, he was in San Diego.
“The outpouring of support was incredible, and it was almost all small Oregon breweries and related businesses,” he said. There is a list of donors, including the Flat Tail kitchen staff, which can be found at braintumorcommunity.org.
The trip went rather smoothly, said Marliave, who also received a $500 donation, a set of tires and free technical support from Hansen’s BMW Motorcycles of Medford.
“Doing a long endurance touring-style ride wasn’t new, but the 1,000 miles in a day I had only really done one other time,” Marliave said. “One of the biggest things about doing a ride like this is staying safe. And when you’re getting tired on that 15th, 16th hour — things can get really unsafe, really fast.”
It’s wasn’t until the day after the 1,000-mile ride, on a 500-mile route between San Diego and Petaluma, Calif., that Marliave’s bike started acting up. It was just a little brake noise — something that was determined to be a non-issue after he sent a few cell phone videos to Hansen’s BMW mechanics.
The fundraiser was an enormous success, Marliave said, and he continued to receive donations three-to-four weeks after concluding the ride, which helped Highway to Health surpass its goal of $5,000.
“Not only are we going to do it again, but next year we are setting the goal at $15,000 and hope to clear $20,000. This is definitely something we’re going to keep doing every year, and we’re going to stick with the NBTS,” which will continue to receive 100 percent of the donations.
Anyone who would like to be a part of next year’s fundraiser can contact Marliave at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, Flat Tail footed the bill for the entire ride, but Marliave said donations specified for ride expenses will also be accepted in the future.
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 Sam Wheeler
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Is there a better setting to drink Oregon craft beer than at a live college football game? There’s certainly an argument for it, and The Terrace at Reser Stadium in Corvallis is making a pretty good case.
Built as a part of an ongoing expansion and renovation of the Valley Football Center at Oregon State University, The Terrace offers fans a taste of Oregon’s vibrant craft beer, wine and culinary scenes.
The 13,000-square-foot space is about 50 feet behind and above the north end zone, making it the optimal location to watch OSU running back Ryan Nall ripping off a 54-yard touchdown against the Ducks at the end of November. Just don’t spill that $9 IPA.
“It’s authentic Oregon,” said Zack Lassiter, deputy athletic director for external operations at OSU. “We think it’s a fun way for people to experience Oregon State football. The vibe in the space is so different than anything you’ve ever seen before, but it’s such a huge part of who we are. People are really, really digging it.”
While you can buy membership and single-game VIP tickets for The Terrace, of which there are 600 available, about 1,000 Orange Passes are handed out — for free — to each game. An Orange Pass along with a game ticket allows patrons access to The Terrace. In addition to distributing the Passes at games, they’re going to be given away in the summer leading up to the season through social media channels and at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market.
“A lot of times in sports stadiums it’s all about maximizing revenue and other pieces, but we never really try to create an experience that’s unique to our community,” Lassiter said. “We’ve really wrapped ourselves around this whole authentic Oregon story, and the craft beer scene is a huge part of that. It’s one of those things that makes this state so cool.”
Nineteen breweries and 13 vintners are registered vendors at The Terrace, Lassiter said, and the list is growing.
“You need to be based in Oregon, you need to have ties to Oregon State, and then you also have to be good, because you can’t sacrifice quality of product,” Lassiter rattled off as guidelines for interested vendors.
A few of the businesses you’ll find on tap at The Terrace include: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., BridgePort Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewing, Hop Valley Brewing Co., Rogue Ales, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Worthy Brewing Co. There are several Corvallis staples in the lineup as well: 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Block 15 Brewing Co., Flat Tail Brewing and Sky High Brewing.
“We really allow each vendor to showcase what’s great for them,” Lassiter said. “A lot of them (vendors) went to school at Oregon State, or grew up going to games, and now they’ve graduated, went on to create their own business. Now they’re getting a chance to not only enjoy an Oregon State football game, but they’re able to showcase their business.”
Tickets in the VIP section of the The Terrace include in-seat food and merchandise service and complimentary tastings during the game.
The September grand opening of The Terrace coincided with the Beavers drubbing Idaho State 37-7, and I foresee a lot of happy Beav fans dancing above the north end zone come Nov. 26. It’d be the first Civil War win for the orange men since a double-overtime 38-31 victory in 2007 at Autzen Stadium.
How sweet that sounds.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.