Standing Stone Brewing Company

Employees & Partners

Introducing our new Chef Raider Babcock!

Standing Stone Brewing Company’s new Chef, Raider Babcock, was born on Super bowl Sunday 1981; the day the Raiders beat the Eagles.  His father named him Raider after the victorious football team.  And like his namesake team, Raider comes on the scene with his “guns blazing.”  He arrives at work on his bike; medium height, muscular build, fair-haired.  His 12” chef’s knife is tucked into the back of his apron, Like a Samurai he is ready for action.

Raider is busy from the moment he enters the kitchen.  He is checking inventory, creating new specials, organizing ingredients.  He switches easily between English and Spanish when communicating with kitchen staff.  Why he speaks Spanish so well?  “Four years of high school Spanish class, plus twenty years in kitchens.”

I sat with Raider at the bar at Standing Stone on a Saturday evening, in the slim space of time between a busy lunch and a busy dinner.  I asked Raider to tell me about his “Chef’s journey”; about where he started and how he came through, and how he got where he is now.

“Growing up in Lake Tahoe, eating out was very expensive, so my dad cooked for us. It was just the two of us my whole life. So, he cooked for us every single night.  And he cooked good food. Not gourmet, but good food.  And it was all scratch cooking.  That gave me the basis of it when I was a very small kid… And then my first legal job when I was 12 years old was a dishwasher and a prep cook in Tahoe at Squaw Valley.”

“All the way through high school I thought I wanted to be the next Bill Gates, so I was into computer engineering… hardware, software, writing programs and all that… My first job in college was an internship with Hewlett Packard.  I thought that was going to be my calling.  But, it turns out that pushing a cubicle for eight hours a day wasn’t exactly my speed.  So, after six months of that I got out of it and didn’t know what the hell I was doing…”

“What I was doing was cooking to pay my rent and my bills….. But in Sacramento it wasn’t exactly gourmet. … And then I kind of fell into the wrong crowd.  Then, I finally had a moment of clarity, a moment of realization that I was killing myself.  I called my Dad…… I hadn’t talked to him in years, but without a second thought he came and got me… I was able to load up my whole life into one pickup truck.  I left everything else behind and then came back to Tahoe.”

“So I found a job at a place called Plump Jack’s…… which is really, really fine dining.  For the first time I was able to cook really good food…. I got exposed to some really good culinary and got to work with some really good cooks. [It was] that speed and that energy for the first time and that was my niche and I fell right into in and loved it ever since.”

“That was in 2000 and ever since then I have been working my way up through kitchens; banquet chef, sous chef, line cook, pastry chef and so on.”

Ten years ago Raider got his first Executive Chef position, at Squaw Valley.  Three years after that he moved to Salem, Oregon.  During that time Raider and his wife took full advantage of their .5 acres.  They raised chickens and grew vegetables.  They had enough produce to feed themselves and to sell some back to the restaurant.”

“But, wanting to move closer to family they made the move to Ashland.  “We love the vibe.  We love the energy.  We love the people. We love the food.  We visited Ashland numerous times before we moved here. …  Every time we visited we fell more in love with the place.  They brought with them over 200 potted plants to restart their homestead.”

And now Raider finds himself at Standing Stone Brewing Company.  He says it’s a “dream come true… Honestly, this is the best crew, the nicest kitchen, I have worked in.  The food is my kind of pallet.  Everything is made from scratch.  Which you can do in volume, if you do it right. In fact it’s actually cheaper that way, and with a better product.  And that just makes sense to me.”

Game: either/Or

Coffee or tea? Coffee

Bacon or sausage? Bacon

Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla

Wine or Beer? Beer

About coming in to the position of Chef in a restaurant with a twenty year legacy:

“They just look at me and think: are you the same kind of chef or are you a different kind of chef? And, you know, of course, I come in with my guns blazing….I come in the middle of the summer, the busiest time…. But these people need to be able to see that.  Are you still going to be able to sustain that?  Are you going to be able to be the same guy? …That’s just who I am, so it will be pretty easy for me to sustain it.  But the energy level, the amount that you actually have to put out to make this thing work, it’s tough.  And I just need to get everybody to match that, and we will be just fine.

About teaching and training:

“I like people that I can mold and teach the way I do things.  I have a specific style and I know it.  All chefs do……There are so many different ways to skin a cat….but you got to learn how I skin it.  Because my way is, over the years of me doing it, the most efficient way, or the most productive way …. or simply the way not to hurt that cat. “

About challenges:

“Cooking is easy and I can teach anybody how to cook food.  I can’t teach everybody how to work together properly… to move at the same speed, to communicate really well with each other.”

“Consistency is the most important thing that we can do in this industry ….  If a customer comes in and has something one way.  They loved it.  They go back and tell all their friends how good it was.  Everyone then comes in and tries it and it’s different that time?  Nobody’s coming back….So we need to make sure that that person who had it amazing,  that is the way it’s done every time. “

Pints For A Purpose Returns!

Well, Summer is officially here!  Whether hitting the trails, lakes or rivers, we’re all excited for outdoor adventures and warm weather fun here in the Rogue Valley. At Standing Stone, it’s also a time we look forward to kick off our annual Pints for a Purpose application period, which runs from July 1st to October 1st, 2017.  

If you aren’t familiar with the program, through our Pints for a Purpose we donate $2 of every pint of beer sold to an employee-chosen nonprofit group, on their designated benefit evening. The top five voted recipients gather family, friends, and supporters from all over Southern Oregon on nights running November through March.

Our great staff votes for the top five favorite organizations, and we’re always amazed at all the wonderful work being done by the people in our communities. We award each nonprofit a special evening, during which all pints sold between 5pm – 10pm contribute to their cause. The organizations send representatives to answer questions, offer information, and participate in the fun! You just enjoy a beer, some excellent company, and have a great time knowing you’re helping a passionate local organization.

Last year’s Pints For a Purpose Events Supported:

White Oak Farm Education Center

The Maslow Project

Southern Oregon Alzheimer’s Association

Oregon Wild / Oregon Brewshed Alliance

Modern Roots Foundation

This year, to celebrate twenty great and exciting years of business at Standing Stone Brewing, we’re inviting all of our past Pints for a Purpose groups to apply, as well as looking for new groups to support.  If your nonprofit would like to apply for a Pints for a Purpose evening at Standing Stone, please visit our donations page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Standing Stone Brewing Company

Pints for a Purpose-Rogue Valley Farm to School

We are ecstatic to welcome Rogue Valley Farm to School into our brewery this Tuesday, February 9th as the beneficiaries of our Pints for a Purpose program. On this evening, from 5-10pm, we will donate $2 from every pint sold to this amazing organization.

What about this makes us so excited? We have a chance to do what we do best (pouring great craft beers) to support local food, farms, education, and children. It’s a chance for us to give back to our community on our turf and a chance for our community to show their support for the great work the Rogue Valley Farm to School does.

“Rogue Valley Farm to School educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals. We inspire an appreciation of local agriculture that improves the economy and environment of our community and the health of its members.”kids-768x576

But lets be real here: How AWESOME is this organization? We give them an 11 out of 10! They are working tirelessly to educate tomorrows generation about the importance of diet and how that connects to local food and farms.

As part of our mission at Standing Stone, we are committed to providing delicious craft beer and fare that utilizes locally grown ingredients and in turn supports small, local farms. We would like to thank Rogue Valley Farm to School for helping to support our mission and making it possible for the Rogue Valley to enjoy the rich bounties offered by our local farms.

For more information please visit Rogue Valley Farm to School’s website.

 

WEEKEND for WATER: JANUARY 30TH AND 31ST

Weekend For Water Posters 2015.compressed (1)

As proud partners of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance, we will be hosting “A Weekend for Water”. During January 30th and 31st, $1 from every pint of I ♥ Oregon Ale will be donated to Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Brewshed  Alliance (an Oregon Wild Alliance).

Why? Why would a brewery be so interested in donating money to help keep Oregon’s rivers and lakes clean you may ask? The answer is simple; beer is 90% water and CLEAN WATER MAKES THE BEST OF CRAFT BEERS.

“Since water comprises 90-95% of the liquid in your glass of beer, we need clean water to brew clean beer,” says Standing Stone brewer Larry Chase.

Besides our addiction to creating great craft brews, we here at Standing Stone Brewing Company feel that as apart of our community it is our responsibility to help maintain the health of our ecosystem. By supporting great organizations like Oregon Environmental Council and Oregon Wild we can do just that.

Please join us January 30th and 31st to show your support for Oregon’s clean lakes and rivers.

Meet Our New Chef, Javier Cruz

Javier Kitchen

It is with great pleasure that we announce our new chef at Standing Stone Brewing, Chef Javier Cruz. Congratulations, Javier!

We are beyond excited to have Chef Javier as our new kitchen leader.  He is conscious to healthy, sustainable living and shares the values consistent with our ethos – cuisine being fresh, locally sourced, innovative, seasonal and celebratory. Although he is new to his current position, he has been working at Standing Stone for the past 8 years, and we can’t wait for many more.

Chef Javier started his restaurant career in 1998, working through the service ranks to become the dining room manager of Il Giardino.  During that time he developed a real appreciation for the customer experience as it related to food service.  His admiration of the skill and creativity of the kitchen staff there led him to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu at the Medford Culinary Institute, from which he graduated in 2007.

Javier Chalkboard

Shortly after, two regulars at Il Giardino, (and coincidentally owners of Standing Stone Brewing) Abe Oberlin and Nancy Branghurst, encouraged Javier to come work in the Standing Stone kitchen.

From 2008 to 2015, while working as Sous Chef with Chef Eric Bell, Javier also continued his restaurant immersion in the Standing Stone as Dining Room Manager.  Javier has always appreciated that Standing Stone has provided opportunities for daily learning and growth, both in the kitchen, and especially the experiences outside the restaurant on our One Mile Farm.  There he has worked with our farm manager Michael Smelser, as well as cultivated relationships with local farmers and ranchers, and attended conferences to further his knowledge of local and sustainable food producers.  Javier has continually nurtured his passions and skills with food and kitchen management, aligned with a great belief and respect for sustainable, organic, and local products.  Chef Javier enjoys crafting specials with  the bounty our One Mile Farm provides, as well as opportunities to his express creativity with daily menu items, while exploring seasonable local ingredients.

Please come in and treat yourself to some of his amazing creations.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy November! Pints for a Purpose 2015/2016

Fall is here and we are very excited to announce the 2015/2016 recipients for our Pints for a Purpose program. For those unfamiliar with Pints for a Purpose, let us explain. Each year, we invite local nonprofits to submit applications on behalf of their organizations and we as a staff vote to choose our top five favorites. November through March each group is awarded their own special evening, and from 5-10 p.m. $2 of every pint of beer sold goes straight to their organizations. We invite the group’s representatives to spend the evening with us, and share a pint as they answer questions, and offer information as to who they are and what they do. Here is the lineup for this year:

friends of library

November 10- Sanctuary One

Sanctuary One provides a safe home to rescued farm animals and house pets. The farm includes expansive gardens which not only provide rich vegetables and food for the animals, but opportunities for growth of the people who tend them.

December 1- Bee Girl

To inspire and empower communities to conserve bees and their habitat. Bee Girl, a nonprofit organization founded by Sarah Red-Laird, aims to conserve our bees by educating the public on their importance through programs focused on community classes and events, public lectures, and their Kids and Bees program. 

January 12- Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

To meet the needs of children and families in our community by providing a community-based, child-focused center that facilitates a compassionate, multi-disciplinary approach to the prevention, treatment, identification, investigation, and prosecution of child abuse.

February 9Rogue Valley Farm to School waterwatch

Rogue Valley Farm to School educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals.

March 9- No LNG Campaign 

No LNG Exports Oregon is a statewide coalition of activists, experts, and community members with the goal of stopping two LNG pipeline projects in Oregon.

So there you have it! Last year, we raised over $2,300 (that’s 1,150 pints!) benefitting five different wonderful nonprofits including, Rogue Climate, Water Watch of Oregon, Friends of the Ashland Public Library, Rogue Farm Corps and Rogue Valley Earth Day. We are very happy to continue with the tradition and hope you join us at one (or all) of our Pints for a Purpose evenings this season.

Join the Drive Less Challenge, October 5-18

In our opinion, this time of year is the best for looking at the 10-day forecast. All we can see are sunny, 75-degree days in our near future, and that makes us want to get out and bike while the gettin’s good. Rogue Valley Transportaion District’s (RVTD) Drive Less Connect has the same idea, and this statewide program is launching the Drive Less Challenge October 5th-18th. We’ll ride along with events all week!

challenge logoFirst, we poured beer at the official Kick-Off Party at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum yesterday from 1-5 pm.  There was live music, demonstrations, raffle prizes, and beer from us!  It was a blast, and of course great to combine beer and science.

We’re also hosting the Drive Less Challenge Trivia Night on our patio at the brewpub. Join us Thursday, October 15th from 4-6pm for commuting-themed questions and prizes. We have plenty of bike parking out front; just bring your lock and settle in with a brew out back.

Here are the details to register: the Challenge is available to anyone living or working in Oregon. Visit drivelessconnect.com to register, and begin logging your alternative transportation trips. You can also connect with other users for carpooling and ride sharing, and use the calculator to track your fuel and CO2 savings.

bike parkingAnd there are prizes! Each day, there will be a social media prize winner. Post a photo of yourself using alternative transportation on Facebook or Instagram (@drivelessconnect) using #2015ORChallenge, and chosen winners get a $50 gift card. By logging trips, you’ll also be entered to win several grand prizes, including shoes, helmets and more.

Find a ride, seek out biking partners, or just log your trips for fun. At Standing Stone, we’re creating a group for our coworkers to see how many miles we can log total for the challenge. We’ll let you know at the end just how we did! We hope you have fun, commute safely, and enjoy some fresh air while hopping around during your day.

Why We Run

White Pasty Legs

Avert your gaze, you may go blind from the reflecting light (photo courtesy of R. Koning).

Nick gives us a glimpse at what the Wild Rogue Relay entails.  So sit down, grab a cold beer and read about other people working hard.  Because, really, that’s the best way to enjoy work.

When the Standing Stone running team (a.k.a Slaughterhouse 12) came to me last year and asked me to run in the Wild Rogue Relay, I was more than a little apprehensive about it.  Running long distances ranks somewhere near doing my taxes and cleaning my cat’s litter box in regards to things I would like to spend my time doing.

I’ve always excused myself from such activities by saying I was more of a sprinter, but, while true, it really had more to do with boredom. I’ve always felt running is a lot of the same thing: start running on pavement for 10 minutes, then move on to some running on gravel for 10 minutes, with a little trail running for about 10 minutes and finally, the run is capped off with a nice jaunt on pavement for 10 more minutes (just in case you missed it). There’s no Frisbee I’m chasing or “Free Beer” vendor I’m desperately sprinting towards, pint in hand.  In fact, all of those things I love about sprinting are perhaps the worst thing you can do while running distance, as you’ll likely injure yourself or run out of energy before you finish the run.  I have a newfound understanding for dogs on leashes, or stuck in cars; constantly waiting to be let loose and feel the exhilaration of running at full speed.

So you can understand my – what would you call it, complete and utter lack of any sort of interest in regards to any run that goes on for longer that two or three blocks?  Compound all of that with the fact that I work at a brewery – one that specializes in fried goodness and delicious desserts – and you’ve got the makings of one very unhappy runner.

And then I ran the Relay last year…

Truck Side

Getting Truck #1 ready for the next exchange (photo courtesy of L. Pfister)

…and confirmed pretty much everything I thought about running.  That crap is hard.  Each runner ran between 16 and 24 miles over the course of 34 hours.  Some runs were in the sweltering heat of the afternoon, while others took place in the eerie calm coolness of midnight.  None of the runners slept more than two or three hours during the event, testing the stamina and patience of everyone in the vans; because, let’s be honest, spending 30 hours straight in a vehicle with five other people lacking sleep has its ramifications.

Handoff Alex Nick

(photo courtesy of R. Koning)

That said, when I finished the relay, I found a part of me that I never knew existed: I was a distance runner.  And I had amazing teammates/co-workers/friends.  Of all the places I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) to work, Standing Stone has offered me some of the closest, lasting friendships I’ve ever had.  What kind of restaurant has twelve employees who enjoy each other’s company so much they’d actively choose to spend 30 hours straight with them, in the tight confines of a mini van where their only relief comes in the form of a seven mile run?

All of the excuses I made not to run were just that: excuses. I ran 18.1 miles, split in three different legs, without walking once.  This is coming from someone who hadn’t done a distance run since sophomore year P.E. (and failed miserably, I might add).

Why do people run in the first place? It’s a question I asked myself every time I spotted a sweaty runner while enjoying a nice, cold pint at the bar.  I ran not to have a good time, or to stay in shape,  or because I wanted to. I ran because they needed another runner and I was free.  All of my fears surfaced exactly how I expected: it was difficult, I was tired and, yes, I had visions of lounging by the pool with an ice-cold margarita in one hand and another ice-cold margarita in the other.  But something changed once I finished. I ran in the relay again this year because it was arduous.  Some of the best things in life are those that we have to grit our teeth for; to bear down and fight for that last reserve of energy.  It’s a wonderful feeling to complete something so grueling and terribly hard.

Truck 1 Night Shot

(photo courtesy of J. Donehower)

The satisfaction I felt for running that last fifty feet of my final leg was unlike anything else I’ve experienced, because I hit my limit a mile back but kept going. Anytime I wavered, my teammates would come through for me.  Whenever I’d feel that pang of pain biting at my motivation, my crew would summit a hill with Ride of the Valkyries blasting from a loud speaker Mad-Max-style-strapped to the top of a Ford F-250, and temporarily the Rogue River canyons would turn into my own personal concert hall.

Do I like distance running? Heavens, no.  I will, however, be running in the Wild Rogue Relay again next year. It was difficult, but it was also a blast. But naturally, I’ve gone into retirement: I need to make up for all these race-conscious decisions I’ve been making and eat a piece cheesecake with a pint or two, or thirty, to wash it down.

Photo Recap: Wild Rogue Relay

IMG_2126Last Thursday, before the Wild Rogue Relay

Rachel: “I’m so excited for the Wild Rogue Relay! I’m totally ready for a vacation.”

Danielle: “Oh, Rachel…This isn’t a vacation.”

Sure, we were exhausted after running 224 collective miles from Applegate Lake to Brookings, Oregon. Was it worth it? Absolutely. We raced along lakesides, orchards, rivers and beaches over 34 hours. We ran through mountains in the middle of the night and along the sand in the heat of the day. We came, we saw, we conquered, and we’re only still slightly sore from the efforts.

Our Slaughterhouse 12 team beat last year’s personal race time by three minutes with an additional 10 miles added to the course in 2015. We like to think we’re in better shape this year, but maybe it was the fear of cougars in the middle of the night that kept us moving quickly. Either way, we were happy to come in as #31 out of 80 finishing teams!

We want to send a huge thanks to the race organizers and all the volunteers at the check points and finish line. The exchanges went smoothly, the free coffee from Dutch Bros. was essential, and the after party was a blast. Standing Stone poured Double IPA, Commuter Gold, Milk & Honey, and Hefeweizen to quench racers’ post-run thirsts. Our apologies to all for running out of beer – turns out those racers were thirsty after running for two days – and thank you to Chetco Brewing for bringing over a keg ASAP to help us keep serving!

After all the running and sleep-deprived delirium, we’d do it again in a heartbeat. And we will! Look out for our team next year, racing to the finish line of the Wild Rogue Relay and pouring beer for all at the end.

By the way…the guy in the red cape in our group photo? We have no idea who he is. Well done photo-crasher, wherever you are!

(photos: R. Koning, Laura Pfister)

By in Employees & Partners 0

Meet Our New General Manager, Scott Allen

If you’ve been in the brewpub in the last few weeks, you may have noticed a new face among our staff. Last month we welcomed Scott Allen as our new general manager, and Scott brings with him a multitude of hospitality experience and familiarity with our local community. We asked Scott to share a bit about what drives him to live and work in Ashland, and what he loves about working in the brewpub industry.

scott allenTell us a bit about your restaurant experience (because, wow, there’s a lot).

Before moving to Ashland, I worked for McMenamins Pubs & Breweries in the Portland area for over 14 years. I managed many different venues during that time, including the Oregon City Pub, the Loading Dock Restaurant at the Edgefield Property, and the Rock Creek Tavern. I culminated my career with the McMenamin family as the general manager of the Kennedy School Property, a 35-room hotel with restaurant, small bars, movie theater and catering services. I always enjoyed working in a “Public House” environment, with the ability to provide a gathering place for families and friends along with great food and beer.

What motivated you to move to Ashland?

My wife, Gina, and I had a lifetime dream to relocate to Ashland. Members of my family have been here for almost 50 years, I lived here in my early twenties, and Gina had visited often in her twenties as well. I’ve always thought of Ashland as a magic place. There’s a great appeal to living in a small town as well as being a part of a closely-knit community. Of course, there are all the other fantastic features Southern Oregon has to offer – biking, skiing, hiking, theater and more – all moments from our doorsteps.

What has been your favorite part about doing business in Ashland?

When we moved to Ashland, we originally planned on purchasing an existing business. Instead, we began our property management company from the ground up. We saw an opportunity to do business in a different way here in Ashland, by engaging both our clients and our tenants in a more positive customer service experience. Being on a first name basis with our tenants, as well as providing that higher level of service, allowed us to grow our company very organically, almost solely on word-of-mouth referrals. The expansion of our client base over the last eight years could not have happened without the community involvement and support that Ashland offers.

_DSC4386_edited-2What drove your decision to jump into Standing Stone?

When the opportunity to manage Standing Stone was presented to me, I was honored to be considered. This organization and its founders embody many of the principals that I hold dear – responsible stewardship of our planet and its limited resources, community involvement and support, sustainable farming practices, and healthy lifestyle choices.

I see the Standing Stone continuing to embrace these ideals, as well as providing an ever-improving customer service experience along with our great food and beverage options. In this way, I hope to see the Standing Stone’s mission grow and thrive.

Now the info we’ve all been waiting for…What is you favorite beer style, and favorite food pairing?

I am partial to lighter, crisp ales like our Commuter Gold or Hefeweizen in the summer months, but nothing beats a Chocolate or Oatmeal Stout after a day of skiing or hiking in the snow. This time of year, our Double IPA and Standing Stone fresh fish tacos are my hands-down favorite combination.

Thanks Scott! We’re excited to welcome you to the team and toast our pints with you after a long day of brewpub work.