Why We Run

•07/02/2015 • Leave a Comment
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

•06/25/2015 • Leave a Comment

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)

Meet Our New General Manager, Scott Allen

•06/15/2015 • Leave a Comment

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.

Racing to the Coast in the Wild Rogue Relay, 6/19

•06/11/2015 • 1 Comment

wrr_logoWhat was that super fast blue flash that just went by? Oh, you know, probably just one of the racers on our Wild Rogue Relay team! (Or maybe someone threw a Smurf). We’re back for our third year in this 220 mile relay race, and our Slaughterhouse 12 team has been training for months to run all the way to the Oregon coast and pour beer at the finish.

The Wild Rogue Relay starts at Applegate Lake in Southern Oregon and winds along rivers, country roads, mountain passes, and beaches to the finish line in Brookings, Oregon. There are winery stops along the way, and Dutch Bros. coffee tents to energize those sleepy middle-of-the-night racers. Our 12 teammates will each run three legs averaging between 17-25 miles total, over the course of 30+ hours! (Okay, so maybe we’re not so fast after all.) Here’s the line up of Standing Stone athletes toeing the line:

Group #1: Maire, Rachel, Laura, Nick, Alex, John

Group #2: Gina, Alecia, Josh, Suzanne, Danielle, Chuck

Good luck everyone! After the race, Standing Stone is pouring beer for all the particiants at the finish line in Azalea Park, Brookings. If you’re racing, be sure to bring your race number and ID to the beer trailer. All runners get a free pint and logo’d glass, and we’ll sell extra pints to fans, groupies, visitors, and – frankly – anyone of age who wants to toast a beer with WRR frameus!

Finishers will also find post-race grub, live music and vendors at the end, and camping nearby for those so-inclined. Personally, we’re thinking a soft bed and hot tub might be in order.

Oh, and back to that “blue flash” comment in the beginning…you’ll spot us wearing matching logo’d blue running wear along the route. Because, let’s face it, a team race is just a little more fun with matching schwag. We’re excited to debut this year’s Slaughterhouse 12 design…we’ll post photos along the way.

For now, back to the training. With just a week to go there are trails to run, bags to pack, food to buy, beer to transport…

Standing Stone Ranks #5 Best Green Workplace in 2015 by Oregon Business

•05/29/2015 • Leave a Comment

OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-500pxwToday we toast our ranking as the #5 Best Green Workplace in Oregon in 2015! The designation comes from Oregon Business and its annual review of the Top 100 Best Green Workplaces in the state. We’ve been honored to appear in the Top 10 in each of the past six years, and we’re thrilled to maintain this coveted designation alongside other great, sustainably-minded Oregon businesses.

The Top 10 Best Green Workplaces awards ceremony welcomed event-goers to The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR. The keynote speaker, Sarah Severn, engaged the crowd about staying true to sustainable values in the business world. Thank you Oregon Business for hosting this great event and bringing together a room full of passionate and pioneering business representatives from our region!

IMG_2025Standing Stone’s RPM Bike Program, waste management program and One Mile Farm operations were all recognized as top reasons for our brewpub making the list. We’re overjoyed with the recognition (especially because it’s employee-driven) and want to thank our coworkers for all their innovation and energy that keep these programs thriving!

Every year, Oregon Business offers employee surveys to companies all over the state to rank a list of the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, Top 100 Green Companies and Top 100 Best Nonprofits. Our coworkers rank how satisfied they are with efforts in various areas, as well as how meaningful those efforts are. In 2015, Oregon Business received 17,000 employee surveys from 430 businesses. Our coworkers rock for taking the time to fill out the survey so that we can join this awesome recognition year after year.

And we’re thrilled to see lots of other sustainable businesses on the list representing Southern Oregon! Congrats to Rogue Creamery, Coyote Trails School of Nature, RHT Energy Solutions, Adroit Construction, and Habitat for Humanity Rogue Valley.

IMG_2029You can view the entire list of the 2015 Top 100 Best Green Workplaces, and be sure to send congratulations to the names you recognize. These businesses are creating unique, original programs, and drive their operations with sustainable practices in mind. We feel inspired by the range of successful green-business models throughout the state, and we’ll continue to do our best to make it on the list again in 2016!

(photos: R. Koning)

Latest Specialty Beer: 2015 Hefeweizen

•05/24/2015 • 1 Comment

There are a few tell-tale signs of the transition to summer in Southern Oregon. Mornings get bright earlier, light sweatshirts replace down jackets, and Hefeweizen makes its annual appearance on our tap list. Hefeweizen (pronounced HAY-fuh-veyt-ssenn) is one of our favorite summer seasonals, and it makes a return just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Now’s a great time to toast a pint to warmer weather to come, and pair with some great local produce like seasonal salad greens and strawberries.

hefeweizenAbout the beer 

Our German style wheat beer is hazy yellow with mild banana and spice aroma, a clean, clove flavor, and light mouthfeel. 5.4% abv, 18 IBU

Malt

  • Organic Wheat
  • Organic Pilsner
  • Acidulated

Hops

  • Bittering: Organic Magnum
  • Flavor/Aroma: Organic Sterling

Yeast

  • Southern German Munich Wheat

marioncobblerFood Pairing Suggestions

If you’re taking your Hefeweizen to-go in a growler or keg, stop by the Tuesday or Saturday Growers & Crafters Markets in Ashland and pick up some local fruits and veggies to pair with this light, bright beer. Strawberry, goat cheese, and spinach salad is an easy winner, as are local jams and jellies. At the brewpub, check out our specials board for featured seasonal ingredients, or choose a lighter-bodied, year-round option from the menu. Dessert is a winner with this beer, too! Here are our suggestions:

Roasted Beet & Chevre Salad

Calamari with Fried Jalapenos & Lemon Wheels

Fish & Chips

Rhubarb Crisp

Marionberry Cobbler

We hope you get a chance to enjoy the Hefeweizen soon, before we drink it all to ourselves. We’re suckers for seasonals, and plan to enjoy lots of pints on the back patio. We’ll probably take some growlers on upcoming raft trips, road races and camping journeys, too, since nothing quite says “summer” like Hefeweizen outdoors.

Ashland Saturday Growers Market on Oak Street Returns, May-October

•05/14/2015 • Leave a Comment

What’s that hustle and bustle on Oak Street in Ashland on Saturday morning? The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is back in swing right outside our front doors from 8:30am-1:00pm, and we’re happy to see familiar vendors and market-goers once again signaling the change of seasons in Southern Oregon.

oak streetThe Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market operates Tuesdays and Saturdays in Ashland, and Thursdays and Saturdays in Medford. The weekly event outside our doors in downtown Ashland runs May-October, so the white tents lining the streets means warm weather is near. We’ll take it, since sunny days mean patio dining and pints outside.

We also get the added bonus of having lots of wonderful local growers and vendors just steps away every week. We use our specials board to highlight local produce that we may not offer on our regular menu, but looks so good we just can’t turn it down! For instance, if radishes are looking mighty fine we’ll create a special to show off the red root, even though we don’t have radishes on our daily menu. It gives us flexibility to offer super fresh plates and gives credit to the nearby producers who raise the delicious ingredients.

tomatoesTo get an idea of what kinds of foods to expect at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, visit their In Season page to see what’s currently available. Right now, we’re drooling over asparagus and strawberries. You can also view their Photos page with shots of goodies from lots of different vendors. And even when harvests might be a little slow, there are always several talented artisans with ceramics, wooden crafts, and body products in tow.

We hope to see you downtown soon, browsing the booths and stopping in for a pint. We also offer beer to-go in growlers, if you prefer to take some home with your loot. Whatever your shopping style, make sure you check out the Saturday Oak Street market to see the wonders that our local growers and producers have to offer.

 
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