The California beer road trip was almost complete. But you can only be on the highway so long before you need to sink your palate into some craft beer. Luckily, Ashland, Oregon is a little hub for Southern Oregon craft brews. Caldera is a fabulous production brewery from Ashland that produces some of the best beers in the state of Oregon. We were not fortunate enought to hit them up, but we were quite fortunate to experience and old favorite, Standing Stone.
Open seven days a week for great beer and artisan food, Standing Stone Brewing Company in Ashland is located in a historic brick building that is part of the National Register of Historic Places. Formerly the Whittle Garage founded in 1925, the now chic environment in the heart of the affluent Southern Oregon community.
The service was stellar, the place was immaculate, and the beer was top notch. Standing Stone is worth your time on any travel along I-5 through Southern Oregon. Our bartender Robin served us a wonderful sample tray of seven house beers prepared by brewmaster Adam Benson with the utmost precision.
Honey Cream Ale: A very light soapy straw colored ale with a sweet, creamy, and crisp biscuit flavor. This soft, well-balanced session brew finished with a mildly peppered hop finish.
Hefeweizen: A hair darker than the honey cream, this wheaten brew possessed a slight phenolic banana-clove attitude in the light nose. Quite refreshing and easy drinking was this standard beer. Clean, Bavarian, delicious.
Amber Ale: A deep copper-bodied amber ale with a thick off-white head. Crisp, malty and with a gentle hops balance, this Northwest rendition held a brisk and bitter finish.
India Pale Ale: West Coast Pale with a copper body and an off-white creamy head. Mildly flowery with some creamy aromatics. Soft and very approachable for those who may be skeptical of the IPA genre of beers. Nice.
Nitro Oatmeal Stout: Opaque deep brown-black bodied stout with a small bubbly tan-gray head. Roasted malt nose lingered as did notes of coffee and chocolate to develop a reference to mocha that stood out. Quite smooth.
Wet Hoptoberfest: 200 pounds of wet Centennial hops for Willamette Valley to make this seasonal brew. A lager brewed at ale temperatures, this copper-orange autumn hued Marzen with a creamy off-white head was in tact with a sticky caramel, nutty, and fruity nose. Uniquely flavorful, harboring on overdone, yet a mesh of styles and Munich and Caramel malts that worked amicably.
Double IPA: Almost as light as the IPA here. Again, a mild hops nose with a very soft bittering presence, especially for an imperial IPA. Smooth, creamy, and approachable for those who are reluctant to jump into a hoppy beer.
While we enjoyed our wonderful beers, we noticed the classic brick and steel frame of the building with appealing wood and iron beams. Five fermenters sat in lofts above in open view. Malt sacks were stacked in the space between the main bar area and the back open dining family portion of the establishment. Catering drinkers of all ages, Standing Stone makes two brands of their own lemonade including a ginger and a cherry variety.
It is no surprise that Standing Stone had accumulated a number of awards since its inception in 1996. Perhaps the most notable is the one for the State of Oregon’s Governor’s Sustainability Focus Award for small buiness in 2007. The brewery cuts waste and energy in a number of ways and utilizes 98% organic malt and 75% Northwest hops on top of thriving on local growers to make its beer.
Unfortunately, like many stops on our trip south, we were forced to cut our stay short and head northward from one heck of a trip.
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org