Standing Stone Brewing Company

News On Tap

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. “

By in Sustainability 0

Skip the straw at Standing Stone

You may have seen the viral video on You Tube showing a single-use, plastic drinking straw being removed from the nose of a Costa Rican Sea Turtle. If not, you can go to www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org to check it out. The video is painful to watch because the afflicted creature is clearly suffering and the cause is so obviously generated by wasteful human habits.

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States. That is a huge number of straws; enough to fill 125 school busses! Once found mostly in Soda fountains of the 1930’s, straws have come to be expected with every beverage served. And while there are some legitimate reasons that some people need single-use straws, for the most part, they are unnecessary.

Because of their size and light-weight, straws do not usually make it into plastic recycling streams. They go into landfill where they take centuries to break down and emit toxic pollutants into the earth and ground-water. Or they go into the oceans where they become dangerous to marine life.

Plastic straws are just the tip of the plastic iceberg. And the issue of plastic straws has been taken up by environmental activists as a “gateway” to raising awareness about the monumental, global problem of single-use plastics in general. Choosing not to use plastic straws is a first step that we all can take in the direction of curbing the use of single-use plastics.

At Standing Stone Brewing Company we have a commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. Long ago we gave up on petroleum-based, plastic drinking straws in favor of biodegradable, corn-based straws. However, the biodegradable straws still require an inordinate amount of time to break down in landfill and are still at risk of being washed into the ocean.

Now we are going a step further. Standing Stone Brewing Company has joined with the City of Ashland and Recology in participating in the “Straws on Demand” program.  This pilot program will be kicked off on May 14. Participating restaurants will make straws available on request. The pilot will run from May 14 to August 14, 2018.  Participating businesses are requested to take notes of the reduction of number of straws, on customers’ reactions, and to staff reactions.

We recognize that as food-servers we have an opportunity to help educate people about the dangers of single-use plastics. So, while we will continue to give straws to guests who prefer to use them, we will not be bringing a straw with every beverage. We welcome our patrons and guests to join with us in reducing unnecessary, single-use plastic waste.

For more information about the “Straws on Demand” pilot program, visit www.Recology.com/Recology-Ashland.

 

 

December 12th Pints For A Purpose – The Ashland Food Project!

On the evening of Tuesday November 14 Standing Stone’s dining room was alive with the sound of music. The teachers and students from Modern Roots Foundation played fiddles and guitars and sang to the delight of guests and staff. It

was the first event of our 2017-2018 Pints for a Purpose program, and it really kicked off our season-of- giving with a flourish. The music was so much fun! Kids and adults together playing familiar tunes from traditional Americana, to pop and rock, even some yodeling by a
very talented young singer. Friends and family gathered around and raised a pint to Modern Roots Foundation and their work in musical education for youth. For each pint of beer sold that night SSBC donated $2 to Modern Roots. Together we also raised over $250 to support their programs.

We are really looking forward to our next Pints for a Purpose event. On Tuesday, December 12 we will celebrate and benefit the Ashland Food Project.

The Ashland Food Project is known by the jaunty green bags that we see outside the homes of our friends and neighbors six times a year. The green bag program was started in 2009 as a way to help Ashland residents donate to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

How it works is that green bags are
given to volunteers who fill them with non-perishable food items. The bags are then collected – and replaced by an empty bag – by volunteers on a Saturday morning. The food collected is taken directly to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and placed on shelves by more volunteers. This amazing process brings over 25,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank every other month. The Ashland Food Project provides a regular supply of food to our hungry neighbors, creates new neighborhood connections that strengthen our community, and serves as a model for other communities.

Standing Stone Brewing Company is pleased to partner with Ashland Food Project this year. Whether you are already involved with the Ashland Food Project, or are interested in volunteering or just wanting to learn more, come down to Standing Stone from 5-10pm and meet representatives from Ashland Food Project. Bring your friends and raise a pint to help support their work in our community.

The Second Annual Harvest Dinner on Oak Street

A little over a year and a half ago, one of our staff members brought to the table an idea that made us ask ourselves, “why didn’t we think of that first?” Because we work alongside some brilliant people, we are fairly used to that feeling; but this idea just seemed like something we could not pass up.

The idea was to host an outdoor dinner on Oak Street towards the end of summer. We love throwing parties and we love interacting with the community outside of our own four walls, so this was a no-brainer for us.

As we started to envision what the event would look like, we quickly agreed that donating proceeds to a local non-profit would be a definite. We also knew that we wanted the dinner to highlight our local region, farmers and produce. After putting two and two together, we knew who the beneficiary would be–our friends at Rogue Valley Farm to School.

Over the course of several months, we poured everything we had into planning the first

Harvest Dinner 2016 picture by Allie Harrington Photography

Harvest Dinner on Oak Street. It was the first event of this type we had ever planned and it was a true labor of love. With the help of local vendors, donors, restaurateurs and our awesome staff, the event sold out and was more of a success than we could have ever imagined….

That was, until this year.

The Second Annual Harvest Dinner on Oak Street was held in mid-October. The event sold out, and over 75 guests wined and dined under the stars in celebration of all things local. We were thrilled with the success of the dinner and happy to have hosted it another year.

What we didn’t expect in our wildest dreams, was that this “fun idea” our employee suggested would have such an impact on the community. This year, more than $34,000 was raised to support farm to school education, connecting local schools with local farmers and supporting a healthier community.

The generosity of guests and our sponsors helped Rogue Valley Farm to School raise more than $19,000 in cash and in-kind gifts.  That amount was matched with an additional $15,000 from a private foundation.

The proceeds will be used to hire a dedicated staff member who will be working closely with local producers and schools to create systems so that schools can readily incorporate healthy, locally grown and processed food into their school meal menus.

We are filled with pride and gratitude. As a company who is driven to have a positive impact on our community, the Harvest Dinner on Oak Street has become one of our greatest success stories.

We would like to thank all the sponsors, volunteers and vendors who helped make this event possible. From the beautiful tables and decor donated by Motif Event Rentals, to the flower arrangements by Jack Lily Seasonal Floral Design and especially the helping hands from Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine, this could not have happened without your help and support. Thank You.

 

9th Annual Pumpkins & Pints – Sunday, Oct 29th 1-5pm

Fall is here and we are excited to announce our 9th annual Pumpkins and Pints! Come join us at the brewpub for an afternoon of pumpkin carving fun and spooky festivities.

We’ll provide the pumpkins and carving tools (you’re welcome to bring your own if you take pumpkin carving really seriously), and you just show up with your creative ideas. You can purchase beer, hard cider, lemonade, brats and burgers once you’ve worked up a hearty appetite. We’ll have live music from Phoenix Sigalove and games to keep kids of all ages entertained.

This year we will be holding a costume and pumpkin carving contest at 3pm. Prizes will be awarded to all participants; so get those little gremlins dressed up and in the Halloween spirit.

Bring the family and dress warm as the event will be held outdoors on our patio (weather permitting). We look forward to seeing you at the 9th annual Pumpkins and Pints!

Standing Stone Brewing Turns 20! Come Celebrate!

1997.

Men In Black and The Titanic were filling movie theaters, while Third Eye Blind’s ”Semi-Charmed Kind Of Life” was playing from your car’s radio. Speaking of radios, it was the year Radiohead’s “OK Computer” was released, as we were first introduced to Buffy The Vampire Slayer and South Park, not to mention the publication of the first Harry Potter books.

Ah, 1997. And here, in Southern Oregon, three brothers with vision and a mission were opening what would come to be a mainstay of the Ashland brewpub and restaurant scene. Yes, in 1997, Mark, Emile & Alex Amarotico completed remodeling the historic Whittle Garage in downtown Ashland. Soon after, Standing Stone Brewing Co. opened its doors and began serving our signature hand crafted beers, with a menu that featured local organic ingredients and Pacific Northwest flavors.

Now, twenty years later, Standing Stone Brewing Co. proudly continues to serve the Rogue Valley, with a continuing focus on local sustainable ingredients, friendly service, and awesome beers!

And to celebrate, we’re throwing a party!

Please join us Saturday, August 5th from 4-10 PM, for a special event block party here on Oak Street in Ashland! We’re closing the street, firing up the grills, and opening our arms to all of you that have made Standing Stone Brewing the success that it’s been for TWO DECADES!  Featuring local live music by the Creekside String Fiddlers, Swift Pony, 33 String Drive and other entertainers, BBQ from our own One Mile Farm, and of course, beers brewed from regionally sourced hops and malts, hand crafted just for you!

Besides awesome music, great food and amazing ales, we will have face-painting and games for the kids, cornhole competition for bigger kids, with great prizes and giveaways, including a chance for one lucky person to win a Standing Stone Commuter Bike!

In the spirit of community that we support as it supports us, a portion of the sales for our 20th Anniversary Bash will be donated to local non-profit organizations.

We can’t wait to see you here!

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

“Go big or go gnome” at the Little Woody Festival

Join us this weekend for some Rogue Valley beer-drinking fun! We’ll be pouring alongside 20 other breweries and distilleries at the Harry & David Field in Medford this Friday and Saturday. The Little Woody Barrel Aged Beer and Whiskey Festival will celebrate craft wood-aged beers from across the Northwest, along with small-batch American rye whiskeys, bourbons and barrel-aged ciders, during the third annual festival May 12-13, 2017.

Seriously though, how could you get not excited about a festival chock-full of incredible brews, cider & whiskey? The line-up this year is absolutely killer (check it out here) and if beer isn’t enough to entice your taste buds, the food trucks should do the trick. We hear local favorites, Peruvian Point will be there slinging their tasty Peruvian fusion cuisine along with All Smoked Out BBQ and more.

If running is your thing, than you won’t want to miss the Beer Run happening Saturday, May 13th at noon. Grab your friends and lace up those running shoes– this 5k fun run around the Harry & David Field includes tastings from 10 Barrel and from yours truly, Standing Stone Brewing Co. We’ll be pouring tastes of our I ♥ Oregon Ale and Vienna Lager to quench your thirst while you and your beer-drinking compadres earn your brews for the day. After you finish, you’ll receive 6 tasting tokens, a Little Woody tasting glass and entry to the festival– all for $30 (sign up here).

Speaking of beer lovers, our friends The Brothers Reed will be playing both Friday and Saturday from 6-10pm. If you’ve yet to see these guys perform, you’re in for a treat! We’ve had the duo out at the brewpub several times and love their music.

Tickets can be purchased online for a discounted price ($30 for a VIP package say what?!) or at the gates. All ages are welcome Saturday until 6pm and designated drivers will receive entry for only $5. Check out the Little Woody Festival website for more information.

We hope to see you out at the Little Woody this weekend!

Zwickelmania 2017- Saturday, Feb 25th 11am-4pm

 

Calling all craft beer fanatics! Zwickelmania 2017 is upon us!

This Saturday, come on down to the brewpub and join in on the action. The day dedicated to all things craft beer is being celebrated by breweries all over the state of Oregon. A tradition going on it’s 9th year, brewers open up their doors to give tours, tastings, lectures and more. If there ever was a day to bribe a friend to spend their day driving you from brewery to brewery, this would be it! (now think real hard, who owes you that huge favor?) Check out the list of breweries in Southern Oregon representing their craft brewing pride. Pretty impressive!

Our Brewer extraordinaire, Larry Chase will be offering free brewery tours every half hour. If you have ever wondered what goes in to brewing a batch of beer, what a brewing system looks like or how on earth someone gets lucky enough to brew beer for a living, this is your chance to get the down low. And for those of you who can’t resist a free sample or two, our brewing assistant, Cat will be giving away samples of our beer paired with small bites of delicious goodness. It will be a great opportunity to get a sneak peak behind the scenes and hang out with our Brewing masterminds and other craft beer lovin’ folks just like yourself.

Swing on by, grab a pint and celebrate some Zwickelmania madness with us!

 

Carharts and protective eyewear not required

 

 

 

Pints for a Purpose benefits Oregon Brewshed Alliance

McKenzie River photo by Tim Giraudier

At SSBC we really love our brewshed! Every day of the year you may find Standing Stone guests and employees enjoying the majesty of our local brewshed. We love to ski down its slopes, hike up its ridges, kayak down its creeks and drink its delicious beers.

You might ask, what is a brewshed? According to the experts at Oregon Wild, the term “brewshed®” refers to the “watersheds where brewers and breweries source their water to brew craft beer.” That means the wild lands, forests, streams and rivers that surround our communities here in the Rogue Valley. Brewsheds are so important to brewers because beer is over 90% water. The quality of the water is paramount to the quality of the microbrew. Our purest, best-tasting water comes from rivers and streams flowing through unspoiled public forest lands.

Yes, we love our brewshed! That is why Standing Stone Brewing Company is a proud member of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance; a group of craft breweries from across the state that seeks to protect Oregon’s many amazing brewsheds by supporting the efforts of Oregon Wild. Founded in 1974, Oregon Wild has been instrumental in securing permanent legislative protection for some of Oregon’s most precious landscapes, including nearly 1.7 million acres of Wilderness, 95,000 acres of and almost 1,800 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers. As a leader in the national grassroots campaign for conservation of roadless areas in our national forests, Oregon Wild helped secure administrative protections for more than 58 million acres of spectacular roadless areas across the country.  Oregon Wild’s wilderness, old-growth forest and clean rivers/watersheds programs protect pristine drinking water, unparalleled recreation opportunities and fish and wildlife habitat across Oregon.

Learning about the work or Oregon Wild makes me think of one of my favorite Dr. Seuess books, “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I’m asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs…”  The Lorax is a fable about the destruction of the environment at the hands of corporate greed.  Although things get pretty dreary, there is a message of hope in the end, and a stern warning, “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Advocating for healthy brewsheds means speaking up for the trees, and protecting the wild animals that live in them.

On Tuesday, February 7, from 5-10pm Standing Stone Brewing Co. will celebrate our love for our Oregon brewsheds at our Pints for a Purpose event. SSBC will donate $2 for each beer and $1 for each root beer sold during the event to Oregon Wild to support their ongoing work to protect our precious wild lands.

So come on by next Tuesday for a delicious meal and a pint – or just a pint (or two).  Bring friends. Come learn more about Oregon Brewshed Alliance and raise some funds to support the work of Oregon Wild. Come check out our newest brew “You Asked for it Amber” to go with our wood fired Steelhead. Or grab a pint of Fireside Porter to accompany a nice warm vegetable salad. Or try a pint of Citrine Pale with our yummy Fig and Bacon Pizza. Or choose a pint of Grizzly Peak Pilsner and a plate of Baja Tacos. Or just have your old favorite Twin Plunge Double IPA. Whatever you choose, make your pints count at Standing Stone Brewing Company’s Pints for a Purpose.

–Written by Joan Seybould