Standing Stone Brewing Company

specialty beer & seasonal beer

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Latest Specialty Beer: Backyard Brew

With summer approaching quickly and local farms bustling with crops, we’re digging the opportunity to showcase our state’s excellent harvests in a seasonal beer: Backyard Brew. This ale is crafted with 100% Oregon-grown ingredients, and showcases a few of our favorite farms right here in our own regional backyard.

We’re tapping this specialty ale on Wednesday, May 16th at 6 PM in honor of American Craft Beer Week. This nationwide celebration shines the spotlight on the entire craft brewing community, and we’re joining the fun with events all week long. We’ve invited Ashland Mayor John Stromberg to read the Proclamation of Beer Independence and be our guest to tap this new specialty beer. Check out our event calendar for more info about happenings throughout the week.

We’re also thrilled to bring this ale with us across the country to Washington D.C. for SAVOR: A Craft Beer and Food Pairing Experience. This weekend-long, sold-out event features a handful of breweries from across the U.S. to pour craft brews that perfectly pair with select culinary creations. We’ve been chosen to feature the Backyard Brew at one of the private tasting salons, where our brewmaster, Larry Chase, will speak about beer ingredients and flavors, and pair our ales with cheeses from award-winning Rogue Creamery of Central Point, OR.

About Backyard Brew

This Oregon-bred beer is modeled after farmhouse ales of Belgium, where historically farms brewed beer with the ingredients that were readily available. Gold with a white haze, bubblegum aroma provided by a Belgian wheat yeast, and lots of spiciness in the flavor with some hints of anise and a tinge of smokiness.  Dry finish with a lingering bitterness.  5.7% abv

Ingredients

  • Oregon Select Malt (Klamath Basin)
  • Yamhill Variety White Wheat-unmalted (Dunbar Farms, Medford)
  • Maple Blackberry Honey (Wild Bee Honey Farm, Eagle Point)
  • Nugget Hops (Willamette Valley)
  • Organic Liberty Hops (Willamette Valley)
  • Corriander (Dunbar Farms, Medford)
  • Belgian Wheat Yeast (Wyeast, Odell)

Pairing Suggestions

The spicy and fruity qualities in this beer pair well with like flavors in food, and the seasonality of its ingredients make this a fun beer to match with other seasonal produce.  We recommend visiting your local farmers market and browsing fresh, wheaty breads and creamy cheeses, too. For added fun, try tasting an apple or plum and see if you can pull those same flavors from the beer, or bubblegum to match the hoppy aroma. Here are our pairing suggestions from our menu:

  • Pretzel with Marionberry Mustard
  • Calamari
  • Black Bean Hummus Plate
  • Spicy Thai Curry
  • Artichokes – from our Specials Board

We think the best way to enjoy the Backyard Brew is, of course, outside! Come order a pint to enjoy with the view of the hills from our back patio.  Or, take some to-go and relax in your own backyard. The Growers and Crafters Market is in full swing outside our front doors on Saturday mornings, so stop by to stock up on fresh finds from your favorite local producers before or after coming in, and raise a glass in honor of their efforts.

Celebration on Tap! American Craft Beer Week Returns, May 14-20

American Craft Beer Week is here! Each May, independent craft brewers and beer fans unite to honor and enjoy this wonderful beverage and all it brings to our communities.

Breweries across the nation take part in the festivities, and we’re doing our part to ensure Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley isn’t left out. To us, American Craft Beer Week is really about the community surrounding our brewers and brewpubs. We appreciate everyone in this community, and relish the chance to offer a little fun and special flavor as a way of saying thanks.

Here’s what’s on tap. Among the highlights: Mayor John Stromberg will read a Proclamation in support of the event, and we’ll tap a new specialty beer made entirely with ingredients from Oregon.

Every Day

  • Enjoy our new specialty beer made with 100% Oregon-grown ingredients (on tap from 5/16)
  • Chef Eric Bell is designing menu specials to pair with various beers
  • We’ll offer a special beer & cheese sampler plate

Daily Special Happenings

  • Monday, May 14th, 6 PM:  Brewery tour for women with Women Enjoying Beer. Sign up online
  • Wednesday, May 16, 6 PM: Specialty beer tapping (100% Oregon-grown ingredients) and reading of Mayoral Proclamation by Ashland mayor, John Stromberg
  • Thursday, May 17th, 6:30 PM: Guest beer tapping with Southern Oregon Brewing
  • Friday, May 18th: Brewery tours at 4 PM, 5 PM and 6 PM

As we know, beer is much more than a simple libation. It’s the hub of conversation and community, and an economic engine that creates jobs, boosts allied supply and distribution industries, and supports communities. We’re proud to offer good jobs to more than 50 employees in our extended family, support local food producers and suppliers, and give back to our community, thanks to customer support. We also love how each day gives us the the opportunity to engage with friends and neighbors, while getting to know new folks and providing hospitality to travelers.

Craft beer contributes a lot to our state as well. According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, Oregon is the nation’s number two craft beer producer, with 139 breweries employing over 7,900 staff. It’s also the number two hop-growing state, with a crop value estimated at over $31 million in 2010. Southern Oregon’s brewing scene is quickly growing, and features several commercial brewers along with myriad brewpubs and taprooms.

We’re grateful and proud to be a part of this growing movement, and appreciate all those, near and far, who have helped it grow. Join us for American Craft Beer Week – it’s your party, too!

For more information on Standing Stone’s events visit our event calendar. If you’re not in the Rogue Valley and want to find events elsewhere, or if you’re looking for more information on American Craft Beer Week, see the ACBW website and calendar.


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Latest Specialty Beer: Pacific Crest Ale

Southern Oregon is known for teeming with beautiful hiking trails, including a portion of the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). We’ve named our latest specialty beer in honor of this famed West coast feature that brings visitors to Ashland, OR all spring and summer long: Pacific Crest Ale.

About the trail

The 2,650 mile path runs from the Mexican to the Canadian border, traversing California, Oregon and Washington. Locally, the trail passes right by Pilot Rock, the natural landmark Standing Stone is named for. Hikers who complete the trail brave 60 major mountain passes, visit seven national parks and pass by more than 1,000 lakes along the way. Some choose to complete the entire trail in one long season, while others chip away at hiking portions of the trail over the course of a life-time. To find out more about the route, plan a hike, or learn about donating time or funds for trail upkeep, you can visit the Pacific Crest Trail Association website.

About the ale

The Pacific Crest Ale is perfect for those coming off the PCT or any of our fabulous local trails. This is our lightest beer on tap, in many respects, and just right for cooling down on a warm, sunny day. With a light golden color and medium-light body, this ale gives a biscuit aroma and bready taste with a clean, crisp finish. The hops are very light in this beer, which lets the malt shine through. 4.6% abv

Malt

  • Organic Pilsner
  • Briess Bonlander (a Munich-style malt)
  • Acidulated

Hops

  • Nugget = Bittering
  • Willamette = Aroma

Pairing suggestions

Because of this beer’s light body and flavor characteristics, we suggest pairing it with equally mild and refreshing foods, such as the Sea Scallop and Spinach Salad from our menu. The maltiness also complements bready foods, like grilled cheese sandwiches or crackers – a pairing that you can take with you on the trail. We like matching it with our house Pretzel with Marionberry Mustard at the restaurant. Finally, the lack of hop bitterness and presence of malt accents will help tame spicy dishes, if that’s what you’re looking for. Try an order of our Buffalo Wings, and sip this beer in between bites to cool the heat.

With all this sunny, spring weather we’re enjoying, we can’t think of a better brew to savor outside. Grab a pint and relax on our back patio, or take a liter or half-gallon to-go and reward yourself after long day of hiking.

Pilot Rock photo: M.A. Schweisguth

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Latest Specialty Beer: Return of Hop Night

Back by popular demand (and the fervent requests of Standing Stone employees), Hop Night makes its return to our specialty beer menu! This Pacific Northwest style creation has been a staff favorite since its birth last year, and its big, rich flavor and body make it a great brew to bring back during the chilly winter months.

Also called Black IPA or India Black Ale, early pioneers of this beer style prefer the name Cascadian Dark Ale, as it features our region’s signature Cascade hop varietal. Characteristics typical of this brew include a piney, citrusy aroma from Cascadian hops, toasted malt flavors and a semi-dry finish. In recent years, the beer’s national popularity has grown, and The Brewers Association recognized it as a style for the first time at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.

About Hop Night

This microbrew is as dark as night with a light tan head of foam. Before you imbibe, take in its savory aroma to prime your palate. You’ll enjoy a big, full mouthfeel, roasted malt flavor, and a strong finish of hop bitterness to top off the experience. 7.3% abv

Malt

• Organic Two-Row

• Organic Crystal 60

• Organic Carapils

• Blackprinz

• Midnight Wheat

Hops

• Bittering = Apollo

• Aroma/Flavor = Cascade, Goldings, Liberty

• Dry Hop = Centennial, from the Applegate Valley, OR

Food Pairings

Hop Night has a big, robust, strong character. Naturally, this beer pairs best with foods that can stand up to its hearty nature. During the winter months, we think rich, comfort food is the best pick for the job. Here are some menu items that can complement its qualities and leave your taste buds perfectly pleased:

  • Spicy Barbequed Chick Pizza
  • Black Bean Chilli
  • Standing Stone Cheese Burger
  • Charbroiled 5-Spiced Teriyaki Ribs
  • Italian Sausage Linguini

Stop by to enjoy a pint of Hop Night while it lasts! It’s a great way to savor and celebrate the Northwest’s passion around brewing, and our region’s contribution to the greater craft beer world.

Oregon Chocolate Festival (and Chocolate Stout) – Savor a Preview

We look forward to the first weekend in March since it brings the Oregon Chocolate Festival to Ashland, OR. This annual celebration of all things chocolate unites chocolatiers from across the state with bakers, brewers, wine makers and coffee roasters.

This year’s fiesta takes place on March 2-4, and includes two days of sampling, vendors and workshops, a Chocolate Makers Dinner and Art Walk, menu specials at local restaurants and more. You can get full details on the event website.

At Standing Stone Brewing Co, we’re offering a Chocolate Stout (brewed with cacao nibs, or cacao bean pieces), menu specials and cocktails. Our bartenders will satisfy your sweet tooth with some of our favorite Oregon distilleries’ chocolate-inspired creations, such as New Deal Distillery Mud Puddle Chocolate Vodka and our house-made steamed hot chocolate infused with Bendistillery’s Cofia Hazelnut Espresso Vodka. We’ll announce menu specials and Chocolate Stout tapping on Facebook and Twitter so connect with us there. The Chocolate Makers Dinner will feature our Chocolate Stout, too.

Beer lovers can also enjoy a chocolate and beer pairing workshop with Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer, featuring our Chocolate Stout, and a “Bean to Brew” event at Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point. If you’re attending the festival, visit Southern Oregon Brewing for a taste of their excellent craft beers, too.

Chocolate, like beer, is the result of an alchemical transformation. Here’s a peek into the magic to whet your palate for the Festival. Chocolate starts with cacao beans, the seeds of the Theobroma Cacao tree. It grows within 20 degrees of the equator and loves lush rainforest environments that provide moisture and shelter its delicate flowers. Cacao pods grow all over the tree and hold about 40-50 beans. It takes about 200 beans to make a pound of chocolate.

First, cacao farmers harvest ripe pods and scoop out the pulp covered beans, which are fermented for about 3-7 days to develop the beans’ chocolatey flavor. Then, beans are dried in the sun (or energy-powered driers if it’s rainy).

Chocolate makers roast the beans, shell them with a winnower, then grind them into a thick paste (cacao liquor). This liquor can be pressed with a hydraulic press to make cocoa butter and powder, or refined into a smooth consistency then blended with sugar (and milk, if used) in a melangeur to make fine chocolate for bars, truffles, drops and other delectables. Lillie Belle Chocolates makes chocolate starting from the bean, and is a must-try at the festival!

Of course, there’s variation in chocolate, just like craft beer. Not all chocolate is refined or made from roasted beans. In cacao producing countries, roasted beans are ground by hand and rolled into balls for rich hot chocolate. Raw chocolate, made with ingredients that haven’t been heated above 118 degrees, is growing. Don’t miss Ashland’s Zorba’s Chocolates, which makes incredible raw chocolate, at the festival.

Our mouths are watering just thinking about the Oregon Chocolate Festival. Indulge, and stop by Standing Stone for some Chocolate Stout and menu specials to top it off.

Cacao photos: M. A Schweisguth

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Pints for a Purpose, and Latest Specialty Beer: Peace Ale

(photo: Rachel Koning)

Our newest specialty beer is on tap – Peace Ale. This beer is part of our  Pints for a Purpose program, with portion of the sales benefitting the non-profit Peace House.

Peace Ale is expected to be on tap for about six weeks. The Pints for a Purpose program runs for three weeks, beginning with a kick-off party tonight, January 23rd, from 5-9 pm. During the kick-off, we’ll give 50 cents for every pint sold to the organization.  If supporters purchase more than 50 pints, we’ll up the donation to $1 per pint! For the remainder of the donation period, Standing Stone will give 25 cents per pint to Peace House. Come downtown and toast a pint to supporting this local non-profit!

(photo: peacehouse.net)

Peace House is a local organization that promotes community and environmental sustainability, along with non-violence and social justice in Southern Oregon.  Their list of programs includes Uncle Food’s Diner, which provides free weekly community meals in Ashland for the homeless and economically disadvantaged.  We’re thrilled to support this local group and their mission.

About the beer

This beer shows off with a bright yellow color.  A mild, slightly spicy aroma is contributed by Willamette Valley hops grown in the Oregon.  A distinct, cracker-like malt flavor balances nicely with medium bitterness. With a lower fermentation temperature (62F) than our other ales, this beer has a crisp, dry finish, much like a classic pilsner.  5.3% abv

Malt

Organic Pilsner
Ashburne Mild
Organic Carapils
Acidulated

Hops

Bittering = Centennial
Flavor/Aroma = Willamette

Beer and Food Pairings

Complement the light body and flavor of this beer with lightly flavored food. The cracker-like, dry characteristics of this beer also make it an excellent choice with foods that exhibit a light sweetness. Here are some suggestions for pairings from our menu:

  • Sea Scallop and Spinach Salad
  • Tempeh Stir Fry
  • Fish Tacos
  • House Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Sauteed Veggie Wrap
  • Black Bean Hummus

We invite you to help raise funds, and your glass, while satisfying your tastebuds with Peace Ale, January 23rd through February 12th. Support local non-profits and celebrate responsibly.

Top 11 Standing Stone Brewing Happenings for 2011

As the year draws to a close, we wanted to take a moment to look back and celebrate the great things we’ve been a part of, and the employees, vendors, customers and community that made it all happen. Here’s our top 11 for 2011 at Standing Stone Brewing Co.

11.We remodeled and got a new neighbor

After months of work by Alex and the remodeling team, Emz Blendz and Hanson Howard Gallery settled into refreshed, functional spaces that preserve the character of our historic building. Phase two – creating additional office and kitchen space – continues.

10. Our beer took the national stage at SAVOR

The Brewers Association selected us for SAVOR, an exclusive craft beer and fine food event in Washington, DC. Attendees enjoyed – and raved about – Milk and Honey and other selections.

9. We amped up our events

Our summer “Music and Brews” series featured an increased array of bands across an extended season that made for great afternoons on our patio through October. We held our annual Pumpkins and Pints event on our new farmland with our biggest turnout ever. Thanks to all who helped create fun and community!

8. Employees got fitter together

Our RPM bike commuting program rolled into its second year with 35 participating employees. We fielded two teams in the Siskiyou Challenge Relay and earned the best costume prize. Supported by Standing Stone, server David Conley qualified for the XTerra triathlon national championships and represented us proudly. Server and yoga instructor Lindsay Holy continued to lead employees through fabulous classes. A group of SSBC employees is training for half marathon in May 2012.

7. Our sustainability efforts gained traction and inspired others

Other businesses started employee bike commuting programs and installed bike racks, motivated by our efforts. Our efforts gained notice including Oregon Sustainable Business’ Innovation award, the Ashland Conservation Commission’s Conservation Hero award, BTA’s Alice Award and a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business designation. We’re touched, and geared up to do more.

6. The Ashland Growers & Crafters Market moved to our street

We welcomed our favorite local farmers and food producers to Oak St for the weekly market, and launched a Saturday brunch in their honor. The market and our brunch will be back in the spring of 2012!

5. Brewmaster Larry Chase crafted a slate of fabulous specialty beers

Larry delivered a diversity of well-received specialty and seasonal beers, including I Heart Oregon, Jefferson Common, Indie Pilsner, NPK Ale, Hop Night, Chocolate Stout, Madrone Red, Benefit Bock and more.

4. Customers enjoyed Pints for a Purpose

We revamped our giving program (where we donate a portion of specialty beer sales to nonprofits) to invite non-profits to apply, then voted for recipients and held kickoff events to build community involvement. Thanks to all who enjoyed specialty beers (over 2,000 pints) to help us donate more than $900 across Rogue Valley Farm to School, AIFF and Mt Ashland Give a Kid a Lift.

3. There’s a garden on our roof

Seeking to bring our food production in house, we put a container garden on our roof. Customers enjoyed greens, tomatoes, tomatilloes, herbs and more harvested just steps from our kitchen.

2. New babies joined our family

Standing Stone couples Alex and Danielle, Eric and Sophie, Rachel and Rob, and Ashley and Matt became the proud parents of beautiful babies. We can’t get enough of them!

1. We started a farm!

Realizing a long held goal to farm, we signed a lease for 260 acres of City land, which is home to our cattle, egg laying and poultry chickens, sheep and sheepdogs. Our community joined us there for our Pumpkins and Pints event, and we’re planning more ways to welcome folks.

Thanks for helping make 2011 so fantastic. We look forward to an even better 2012 together!

Barley Wine is Here to Toast the Holidays!

Standing Stone Brewing Co regulars know the winter holidays bring a special gift from us – Barley Wine. We know our customers anticipate this every year and wanted to let you know…the wait is over! This annual favorite is now on tap for all to enjoy responsibly.

Barley Wine blends elements of beer and wine making, thus its name. It uses traditional beer ingredients but has a higher alcohol content (typically 9-12%) like wine, so we serve it in a wine glass as a half pint size.

About our 2011 Barley Wine

Our 2011 blend is reddish brown and full boded. It offers aromas of toffee swirl with vinous, prune and raisin-like flavors.  This beer will warm your heart, not to mention your soul, with its big malt flavors.  Best enjoyed at a cellar temperature of 50 F. 9.9% abv.

Malt

  • Organic Two-Row
  • Briess Extra Special
  • Acidulated

Hops

  • Bittering = Nugget
  • Flavoring = Cascade & Golding

Food & Beer Pairings

Barley Wine is a bold, rich beer so pair it with dishes with lots of flavor intensity or rich sweet desserts. We suggest these items from our restaurant menu:

  • Charbroiled 5-Spice Ginger Teriyaki Ribs
  • Our Own Valley View Beef Cut
  • Spicy BBQ Chicken Pizza

Also check our Specials Menu for the latest dessert.

Enjoy the holidays with a glass of Barley Wine. Like all our beers on tap, you can get this to go to liven up your celebrations at home and take to parties to be the most favored guest. To add even more fun for the beer lovers in your life these holidays, check out our gift selection, too.

Latest Specialty Beer: NPK Ale

We’ve got a freshly harvested specialty beer on tap for you to enjoy: NPK Ale.

This craft brew is part of our Pints for a Purpose program wherein specialty beer sales benefit a nonprofit for three weeks. Rogue Valley Farm to School (RVF2S) is the beneficiary. You can learn more about this cause and program on a previous blog.  Join us for the kickoff on Monday, 11/7 from 5-9 pm, and enjoy a few pints from 11/7-11/26 to support this great cause.

About the name

NPK Ale is named after the NPK balance – nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (K is its elemental symbol) that farmers seek to achieve in nourishing their soil. Soil amendments often list NPK proportions. These important nutrients help build productive, healthy plants with strong roots—analogous to what we’re doing by supporting RVF2S, and the work they’re doing to connect kids, schools and local farms to cultivate a resilient food system.

About the beer

NPK Ale has a soft amber hue and a light body. You’ll enjoy a toasted marshmallow aroma, a smooth mouthfeel, rounded sweet malt flavor and low bitterness.

Malt (2nd runnings from a mash with these malts*)

  • Organic 2-Row
  • Briess Extra Special
  • Acidulated

Hops

  • Bittering:  Organic Magnum
  • Flavor/Aroma:  Goldings, Cascade

* This beer was brewed from the second runnings of our upcoming barley wine.  So what’s that mean? During the later process of brewing, the sweet wort (sugar water) is separated from the malt and run to the kettle.  The initial wort sent to the kettle comprises the high content sugar water made up of the initial mash water added to the process.  More water is added to rinse the malt of remaining sugars through a process called sparging.  This next bit of wort is lower in sugar content and is called the second runnings.

We effectively made 2 different beers from the same mash:  a higher alcohol barley wine from the first runnings and a lower alcohol “small beer” from the second runnings. While they both have the same malt bill, albeit different sugar contents, the beers can be hopped differently in the kettle.  Our small beer was very low hopped to approximately 12 IBU, allowing the malt profile to shine through.  We also added a touch of lactose to add weight to its naturally light body.

Beer and Food Pairings

Schoolkids learning about seed saving (photo: RVF2S)

We suggest complementing NPK ale with lightly flavored foods so as not to overwhelm its delicate flavor.

  • Wood Fired Pretzel
  • Savory Chicken Soup
  • Caesar Salad
  • Sauteed Veggie Wrap
  • Local food menu specials – support local farms and reward yourself, too!

Enjoy responsibly – and help RVF2S cultivate healthful eating and strong family farms!

By in Brewery & Beer 0

Latest Specialty Beer: Farmer Brown (2011)

Our latest specialty beer is Farmer Brown Ale. Standing Stone Brewing Co regulars might remember enjoying an ale with this name last fall. This batch is a bit of a different recipe, however.

It’s a marriage of two well-received brown ales we brewed in 2010, its namesake Farmer Brown Ale and Butternut Brown, which was brewed by our intern at the time, Acacia Baldner. Its darker color and body are reminiscent of Butternut Brown while its strong toasty flavor and lower alcohol harken back to the Farmer Brown 2010.

Despite the new formulation, we’ve recycled the name Farmer Brown to celebrate the launch of our farm project on October 1st. We’re now farmers, leasing farmland that’s home to our ever expanding flock of chickens and our new herd of cattle. (If you want to check out our farm and meet our animals, don’t miss our Third-annual Pumpkins & Pints on 10/23, to be held on our new farmland!)

Back to the beer, here are the specs…

About Farmer Brown (2011)

This ale sports a light coffee color and a light to medium body. You’ll enjoy a warm, roast-like aroma with a pronounced toast flavor (like the essence of bread fresh out of a wood-fired oven…mmmmm). 5.2% abv

Our Farmland (photo: M. Schweisguth)

Malt

  • Organic 2-row
  • Carabrown
  • Organic Chocolate
  • Organic Carapils

Hops

  • Bittering = Nugget
  • Flavor/Aroma = Willamette

Beer & Food Pairings

Farmer Brown Ale goes well with hearty and savory foods, especially those made with fresh ingredients. Here are some of our favorite restaurant menu items to pair it with.

  • Black Bean Hummus Plate
  • Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
  • House Greens with Savory Walnuts
  • Pesto Pizza
  • Standing Stone Cheeseburger
  • Alder Planked Wild Alaskan Salmon
  • Bread Pudding

Head on over and enjoy it before it’s gone. Grab a liter or growler to go to enjoy with meals at home made with fresh finds from local farms and ranches, too.