Standing Stone Brewing Company

Author: huntleyr

Brewing Up Big Plans for American Craft Beer Week 5/16-22

American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) is slated for May 16-22 and we’re ready to help you celebrate! ACBW is organized by the Brewer’s Association to highlight everything America loves about craft beer and recognizes how craft breweries support our economy and communities.

We put our heads together at Standing Stone Brewing to whip up a menu of great ways for you savor this festival. Please join us for a week of beer-centered specials, pairings, events and more.

Beer Tastings: We’re shining the spotlight on a specialty beer every day. Every night during the dinner hour we’ll be passing around free samples of our beer of the day, along with a small bite to entice the palate. If another beer on the list strikes your fancy, remember we offer free tastes of our beers on tap, so feel free to try another!

Food Pairings: On the menu, we’ll feature special items that we think perfectly pair with our beer of the day. Can you say Oatmeal Stout and fresh oysters? Try one of our suggested pairings or get creative and make one of your own. Let us know how it is!

5/16, 5 pm, Kickoff and Milk & Honey specialty beer tapping: It all starts with a kick-off party and keg tapping. Ashland Mayor John Stromberg will read the Proclamation of Beer Independence (to be passed officially at the 5/3 Council meeting). We’ll follow this with a ceremonial tapping of our specialty beer, Milk and Honey, to commemorate this week. Read the mayoral speech from last year’s celebration.

5/16, 2-3 PM and 6-7 PM Women’s Tour with the Brewer. We’re partnering with Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) to offer free brewery tours for women. Ginger Johnson of WEB and our Brewmaster, Larry Chase, will enlighten you about the process of craft beer making. Sign up on WEB’s events page.

5/19 and 5/21 Guest Beers: We’ll feature a few guest beers to celebrate other passionate members of the brewing community. Corey from Klamath Basin Brewing will be here on 5/19 and Scott from Southern Oregon Brewing will join us on 5/21 to tap their microbrews. Be sure to try these handcrafted beers as well.

5/21 Bike Ride: Throw on your biking gear and join us for a 6-mile round trip bike ride to Alpha Beta Hop Farm to tour the beautiful vines that flavor our favorite beverage. Afterwards, relax with us outside on the patio back at Standing Stone for snacks, beer and socializing (weather permitting).

5/22 Women’s-only Ingredients & Tasting Seminar: On Sunday, Standing Stone once again with Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) to present a women-only event! Brewmaster Larry Chase, and WEB founder and dynamic beer enthusiast, Ginger Johnson, will co-host this session, highlighting flavors in varieties of beer. Participants will receive the program, beer samples and a tasting glass. Women can sign up at WEB’s website.

Stay in touch with us for more details as the week of May 16th-22nd gets closer. If you won’t be around Ashland, OR, check out the Brewer’s Association’s ACBW website to see what other beer makers and lovers around the country are brewing up to join in the fun. Cheers!

By in Ashland Oregon 0

Standing Stone’s Building Remodel Moving to a Head

In the spirit of spring in Ashland, new things are brewing at Standing Stone Brewing Co. Our remodeling work on our building at 95 Oak Street, which began last fall, is still underway with some big progress happening in the last few weeks.

Standing Stone co-owner, Alex Amarotico, and his hard working team are taking out the old and rebuilding the new. We’re creating  new storefronts and office spaces where the Book Exchange was (they’re just across the way on Pioneer Street). Since the space is an historic building, we’re ensuring that we maintain the building’s historic integrity while giving it a much-needed upgrade.

Recently, the biggest project has been rebuilding the roof with new beams. Those who were out on Oak St early last week may have seen the crane lifting heavy metal supports and setting them on top of cement towers along the building’s brick walls. The next step will be filling it in with a solid cement roof.

As soon as the roof is finished, the rest of construction is expected to move along quickly. Later this spring, Emz Blendz will return to their storefront, Hanson Howard Gallery will move into the new front space, while Standing Stone’s behind-the-scenes staff will happily move to new offices in the back.

Our microbrewery’s photographer, George Rubaloff, is capturing the progress on film and we’ve included a series of pictures for you to enjoy. There’s lots more posted on our website photo gallery, so check back often for updated albums as construction progress continues.

By in Ashland Oregon, Events, Food 0

Indulge Your Senses at A Taste of Ashland

Spring is in full swing in Ashland, Oregon and this season brings a flurry of great events. The Oregon Chocolate Festival and the Ashland Independent Film Festival are fresh in our memories as we look forward to the next fiesta: A Taste of Ashland.

A Taste of Ashland is a two-day extravaganza of art paired with local, artisan food and beverages – wine, beer and other spirits, and a little music. It benefits the non-profit Ashland Gallery Association, which is essential in helping maintain a vibrant arts scene and supporting artists in our community.

This year the festival is held April 30-May 1. It features 17 galleries with food and beverage samples. Check out the tantalizing lineup!

Standing Stone Brewing Co always participates in this annual favorite, sharing tastes of  food from our restaurant. With past culinary creations like Goat Cheese and Artichoke Fondue, and Lamb Kafta, we’re excited to see what surprises Chef Bell will whip up for this year’s presentation. We’ll be paired with Plaisance Ranch from Williams, pouring their wines to complement Standing Stone’s samples.

You can find us at Art & Soul Gallery on Main St. on Sunday, May 1st.  Art & Soul Gallery exhibits the fine art of artists from Oregon and Northern California, many of them award winning. The artwork reflects a variety of mediums including watercolors, oils, pastels and mixed media for all tastes to enjoy.

The participating galleries are clustered around Ashland’s downtown core, making for a wonderful stroll to balance out all that food and drink. Check out a map. There’s also a shuttle for those who need to rest their legs. Or, stop by Standing Stone to kick back and enjoy a full meal and fresh beer in between galleries.

We encourage you to come out and indulge your senses. This event typically sells out early, so reserve your tickets today. Hope to see you there!

Behind the Scenes: Tips and Favorites from Our Bartenders

Our bartenders are a valued part of the team at Standing Stone Brewing Co. They make sure our beer, wine and special libations get from the taps and bottles to you, efficiently and beautifully. Our mix masters take care to make sure every beverage is served with quality (and sometimes even a little entertainment). Their efforts make for happy customers. In the Sneak Preview’s 2010 Best of Ashland, our own Mike DuBois was among the top “Favorite Bartenders” and we received mention for “Friendliest Bar Staff.”

We asked two of our bartenders, Gina Velando and Mike, to share some of their suggestions for crafting and serving great drinks. As always, these experts were happy to pour it on.

What is your favorite specialty drink to make?

Gina– Our SSBC Chai Toddy (Standing Stone Black Chai Tea, Spiced Rum, and Tuaca liqueur), since it awakens the palate, and senses, fully. Research tells us that “70-75% of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell.” Any time I’m mixing up a Chai Toddy several noses up and down the bar can be heard echoing… “mmmm, that smells good!”

Do you have a favorite beer to suggest to customers?

Mike– My favorite beer to drink and serve is the Double IPA. This beer offers medium-high hop bitterness with a crisp citrus finish. It’s great to enjoy on its own or paired with the rich flavors in a burger or pizza. It’s everything I love in a beer!

What are some seasonal ingredients people can use when making their own cocktails at home?

Gina- It’s hot toddy season! I’m a fan of the classic winter warmer with whiskey, honey and lemon in hot water. Numerous Oregon distillers are turning out some great whiskeys, like Hood River and Pendleton Canadian Blend Whiskey. Let your closest liquor store know you would like to see these Oregon products made available! Throw in a lemon wedge and add some sweetness, taking advantage of the taste and health benefits of local honey. Then, top with hot water. This drink will soothe an aching throat and warm cold bones!

Do you have a favorite food and beer pairing from our menu?

Mike– Beer pairs so well with food, it can be hard for me to choose a favorite duo. A classic match is a hoppy beer with a hearty burger. The hops have an astringent quality that cleanses the palate of the rich flavors, helping every bite taste like the first. I suggest trying a pint of our Amber with our Black and Blue Burger. The Amber, which won a bronze award at last year’s Brain of Brewer’s competition in Colorado, boasts medium hop bitterness and a medium-light refreshing body. The caramel characteristics from the roasted malt pair well with the Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese that tops our Valley View beef patty. All in all, a local and delicious choice for anyone interested in food and beer pairings.

Thanks Mike and Gina for offering your suggestions! We hope our customers enjoy our favorite beverages as much as we do.  Please let us in on your preferred drink or food and beer pairing  by sharing with us online or face to face with our bartenders.  We always appreciate the input and new ideas!

Behind the Scenes: Chef Eric Bell’s Seasonal & Globally-Infused Inspirations

Standing Stone Brewing Co.’s chef, Eric Bell, is busy in the kitchen year round with seasonally inspired dishes to please our customers. We asked him a few questions about seasonal cooking and where he finds his inspiration for our tasty specials.

What seasonal ingredients can we expect to see coming soon on the specials board?

Now is the time when oysters and mussels are really nice. We are also seeing local jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), shallots and root vegetables. Occasionally, we’ll feature nettles from Northern California that we use on our Nettle, Goat Cheese and Italian Sausage pizza. On the flip side, the weather has been really hard on limes and grapes.

Any tips for people cooking at home in the winter?

For home cooking, I suggest using the oven often. In the winter, it’s nice to heat up the kitchen and house with something slow. I’ve got my oven filled with high temp bricks which I preheat for a while. Then, I have a thermal mass that can create a great crust on whatever I put in there. To offset the extra energy I use, I’ll cook several meals at once and I’ll do at least one soup at the same time, too. The soup I freeze in small containers to try to keep my wife, Sophie (she’s pregnant), well fed.

The SSBC specials span a wide range of cultural dishes. Where and how did you learn about some of these traditional meals?

Some recipes of mine I learned from my Chinese and Vietnamese grandmothers. When I was learning Pho I would take a bowl to be analyzed, and for the first month every bowl was handed back to me with a “No”. It was rough. Little by little I learned until finally the bowl was not given back until the next day, clean and empty.

Often in Italy, kitchen workers are young and do not know as much as the community grandmothers. Usually, it is a matriarch guiding the others. Many people cook to make money, and there is plenty of “tourist” food all over Italy. But, there are also those who will never compromise tradition because their interests lie in beauty, living a full life and maintaining quality. It is those people, that I search out.

When I wanted to learn about Thai food, I studied history, tradition and recipes, but I also attribute my knowledge to Thai friends like Wilat and Pom (owner and chef of Sawadee), and my favorite Chinese Realtor, Mony Ty. It was Mony who told me about the Barranco from Monterosso, and the “Insalata di Frutty di Mare” in Cinque Terre.

Vicente Cardenes taught me Chili Verde, but Vicente’s wife, Susanna, makes one of the best Moles I’ve ever had. A dishwasher in SLC taught me carnitas. There is no chef who makes better carnitas than Ricardo. He learned from his grandfather.

In each case, I tried to learn from artists who value what they do. I like to cook from scratch, using the best and healthiest local ingredients I can find.

Thanks Eric! We love the dishes Chef Bell brings to SSBC and hope you come in soon to enjoy them as well!

By in Ashland Oregon, Events 0

The Lincoln Project Rocks Standing Stone

We believe cold winter nights offer good reasons to bring festivities indoors and celebrate with food, friends with live music.

To help you on that front, we’ve lined up several musical performances with The Lincoln Project at Standing Stone Brewing.

This up and coming group joined us to ring in the New Year, playing a well-received session, and we’re looking forward to bringing them back. The Lincoln Project offers a bit of everything, with a mix inspiring the crowd to dance, and that’s exactly what they delivered. Boasting a description as a 60’s and 70’s dance band, they cover several genres including rock, soul, funk, R&B, disco, pop and Motown.

The group features five local artists, who have combined their musical talents to bring a diverse sound that’s been a welcome addition to our lineup over the last two months. Band members include Donny “Funk Monk” Yance on bass, Merritt “The Truth” Johnson on guitar, Scott “Maestro” Soltermann on piano, Scott “Drumster” Smith on the drums and Lincoln “Sweet Lips” Zeve on sax and harp.

For their January show, the band invited local vocal phenomenon Calysta to bring some flare to the stage.  Expect to keep seeing new music and material from the group as they continue to play at Standing Stone over the coming months.  Mark your calendars with The Lincoln Project’s spring schedule:

Friday, February 4th

Saturday, March 12th

Saturday, April 16th

The music begins at 9 pm and plays until midnight. Stop at the bar and grab a pint before heading back to dance or revel in the music as you’re moved! Afterall, we can’t think of a better way to stay warm.

New Wine on Tap: Stuckagain Heights Pinot Noir

We love putting drinks on tap, as the tradition delivers both great quality and environmental benefits. In addition to our line of craft beers, we tap our housemade lemonades and root beer, Wandering Aengus Hard Cider and three local house wines from Wooldridge Creek Winery.

This winter, we’re building on this tradition with our newest wine on tap: Misty Oaks Stuckagain Heights 2009 Pinot Noir, which comes to us in kegs from the nearby Umpqua Valley.

Why do we love kegged wine so much? It’s simple to store, saves thousands of pounds of glass bottles and associated resources every year, and easy to transport. A full sized 15 gallon keg takes up little more than the backseat of a car. The same amount of wine in bottles would require six cases. We save a trip or two a month – and a lot of fuel and emissions – by purchasing in “bulk.”

The wine industry has fine tuned every aspect of the process to ensure you enjoy the same flavorful, fresh, high quality experience that you’d get from bottled wine. Positive customer response to our current lineup convinced us to expand. Indeed, several vintages of the Misty Oaks Stuckagain Heights Pinot Noir have garnered awards. The 2006 release won the Greatest of the Grapes’ only Platinum Award while the 2007 vintage received a Silver Medal from Oregon Wine Press. We’re proud to offer this well-received wine, merging quality with sustainability and serving the smartest product choices.

Misty Oaks

Misty Oaks Stuckagain Heights Pinot Noir rounds out our already popular assortment of wines on tap. Since June 2009 we’ve been tapping three selections from Wooldridge Creek Winery: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. As our region is well known for producing fabulous Pinot Noir, we felt we needed to add this varietal to complete a missing link in our program.

Food & Wine Pairings

Misty Oaks’ flavor profile offers a light body and smooth velvety texture, so it matches well with some of the lighter fare on our menu. Try pairing a glass with the Chicken Marsala or Olive Trio. Or, play off its creamy vanilla and oak aroma and enjoy with a bowl of our sometimes-daily soup special, sweet potato and coconut milk. Its soft tannins and easy finish are palatable for most wine enthusiasts, and it serves as a great pre-meal wine to warm the appetite.

Expanding and Welcoming New Neighbors

If you’ve been downtown recently, you may have walked past the vacant storefront that was once home to The Book Exchange and wondered: What’s going on in there? This familiar business on Oak Street has moved to a larger location a block away, next to Tabu on Pioneer Street. With this space now empty, we’re jumping on the opportunity to expand our restaurant-brewery and remodel the store front for a longstanding favorite gallery that’s relocating to our block, Hanson Howard.

Since mid November, Standing Stone Brewing Co. employees have taken turns hammering and tearing down walls and ceilings to get the space to its core. As one of the older buildings in Ashland and one that’s on the National Register of Historic Places (read more and see vintage photos on our website), this building boasts brick walls and classic high ceilings. We hope to showcase these period features while bringing the interior and exterior up to date.

The plan for the building has multiple layers. Standing Stone intends to expand the kitchen along the back of the building, including a larger storage and prep area for our variety of house made foods. We’ll also construct an office area for our fine behind-the-scenes employees. We can’t keep tempting them with fresh beer and food all day long; they have work to do after all!

The front of the building will be the new home of Hanson Howard Gallery. They’ve been a fixture of Main Street in Ashland for 24 years and will be relocating in the spring. They’re excited about the opportunity to be closer to the Shakespeare Festival and we’re thrilled that they’re bringing fine art to our street.

Of course, were doing all that we can to ensure the remodel doesn’t harm the planet. We were excited to give bags and bags of old insulation to a small-scale local farmer who plans to use it to insulate cabins on the farm. This will keep good materials out of the landfill and improve efficiency for the housing units.

If you’re in the area, peek in the windows to see what’s changing daily. Then, stop in the restaurant, grab a beer and browse our photos of historic Ashland in the hallway. See if you can pick out the building next door in its earlier days (hint: don’t use Standing Stone as a landmark because the building was not built until 1925). You can also get an update from a Mail Tribune article.

Holiday Spirits: Mixing It Up

We love to mix things up and add spice to life around our restaurant and brewpub. While we’re best known for our handcrafted beer, our bartenders and beverage mavens are always crafting festive, flavorful concoctions. To satisfy the entire family, they specialize in both libations and non-alcoholic drinks.

This holiday season, we’ve got a few delights waiting. Come and enjoy them, and share your own favorites in the comments section.

Wassail

Our wassail is a steamed blend of rum, spiced apple cider and Standing Stone Oatmeal Stout, melding tradition with one of our brewery favorites. Wassail refers to a drink, a festival and caroling. The custom originated in England as part of a celebration expressing gratitude for the apple harvest and toasting future growing seasons. Communities would go a wassailing, singing and drinking among the orchards to boost apple trees’ health and protect them from evil spirits. Traditional wassail drinks combined cider, mulling spices and toast, sometimes with ale or mead. It’s evolved into lots of recipes over time, and we hope you enjoy our take on it. It goes well with our Marionberry Cobbler, Cheescake or Bread Pudding, as well as many of our other special seasonal desserts.

Spiced Apple-tini

Apple cider is synonymous with autumn in Southern Oregon, where orchards dot the landscape and trees with ripe fruit can be found on almost any street. To add a little kick to this seasonal beverage, we created a martini by shaking organic cider, cinnamon schnapps and spiced rum. This will warm the palate and awaken your taste buds on winter’s cloudy cool days.  We think it pairs best with warm gingersnap cookies or our Oregon Raised Pork Chops with sauteed apples and spinach. You can try this at home, too. With such a hearty local bounty of apples, it’s easy to find an organic cider from an orchard in your area. We like Thompson Creek Organic from the Applegate Valley.  If you have a juicer, consider buying organic apples from your local coop, natural foods store, orchard or roadside fruit stand and prepare with your own spices.

Chai Toddy

Our house made Black Chai Tea is a customer and employee favorite year round, served either steamed and warm or shaken over ice. We brew the black tea and spices from scratch, offering a unique chai blend available only at Standing Stone. As much as we enjoy the alcohol-free version, which is always available, we thought we’d add a holiday twist to make this the perfect night cap. Our bartenders are happily preparing the new Hot Chai Toddy, served warm with spiced rum and Tuaca liquer. With a little bite and and sweetness, this wintertime drink satisfies through the last sip. We enjoy a glass with our Stir Crazy Cake,  served warm with cinnamon and topped with bourbon whipped cream.

Steamed Ginger Lemonade

Our housemade ginger lemonade is a staple on our menu. We like the zest of  fresh ginger as it plays with honey and freshly-squeezed lemon to create a refreshing and healthful beverage. Last year, one of our employees was feeling under the weather and our bartender steamed a mug and served it to her warm. A new drink was born!  Steamed ginger lemonade has steadily become a favorite among our local customers as the weather grows colder, and we suggest asking for it this way on your next visit.  We don’t have it listed on our menu, but our servers are happy to bring it steaming and warm upon request.

Prepare Your Palate for the 30th Annual JPR Wine Tasting

We’re excited to join the 30th Annual Jefferson Public Radio Wine Tasting. This annual extravaganza takes place December 9th from 6-9 PM at the Ashland Springs Hotel.  It’s one of our favorite events to participate in, and supports our local public radio station, JPR.

This gathering offers a sampling the best wines from 37 highly-acclaimed, favorite regional wineries, as well as plenty of savory and sweet fare from food artisans, fine restaurants and confectioners in the Rogue Valley. Tasting tables fill the hotel’s conference and ball rooms, so there will be plenty to keep you satisfied for the entirety of the evening. Attendees will receive a souvenir tasting glass, which helps eliminate waste and make this more sustainable. We like that!

The event also features a “Not So Silent” auction, which is a great place to get unique holiday gifts that benefit a great cause, and live music from Pachanga and the Flat Five String Band.

Last year, Standing Stone Brewing Co.’s Goat Cheese Spinach and Artichoke Fondue with Multiseed Crackerbread was a big hit, and we promise to please your taste buds again this year with another of Chef Eric Bell’s creations. Don’t forget to stop by our friends at Noble Coffee Roasting as well to refresh your palate and reawaken your senses between wine and snacks.

We look forward to seeing lots of our favorite local customers, JPR supporters and community members, and meeting new folks, just as we have in years past.

Advance tickets are available online, at the Ashland Food Co-op and Adam’s Deli & Catering (Medford) or by calling 1-877-646-4TIX. This event is sponsored by the Ashland Food Co-Op. If you’re visiting from out of town, the Ashland Springs Hotel is offering a reduced rate for attendees who request the “JPR Block of Rooms.”