Top 5 Favorite Beers from BBC 2014

•08/29/2014 • Leave a Comment

In case you missed it, our lucky social media team attended the Beer Blogger’s Conference in San Diego last weekend.  The conference was filled with loads of sessions, ranging from photography techniques to beer blog writing etiquette.  With the days loaded from 9:30am to 10pm, there was never a dull moment.

One of our favorite parts of day two (and the conference as a whole) was the “Live Beer Blogging.”  Spanning over the course of roughly an hour, 10 breweries rotated from table to table pouring their brews (which was usually a seasonal, and at times not yet released). Allan Wright, founder of Zephyr Adventures and conference director, was partial to calling it “beer blogging speed dating;” quick, rapid-fire tastings where bloggers learn a lot of information in a small amount of time.

To avoid uploading the entirety of our notes (although it is tempting), we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite beer products from the conference:

Photo courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Number Five: Pivo Hoppy Pils by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 5.3% abv
A Czech style beer that is the current reigning gold medalist at the Great American Beer Festival.  This Pilsner has a crisp flavor and gold color.  That, however, is where it leaves all other Pilsners behind.  Clocking in at 40 IBU gives this pils a mildly bitter front and slightly spicy flavor.  Finally, it has a lemongrass finish that’s both crisp and clean.  It’s an incredibly diverse pilsner that leaves your palate wanting for more.

Number Four: Sonoma Farmhouse Sour by Lagunitas 6.8% abv
This tart, sweet, acidic, medium bodied sour was one of two sours shared at the tasting.  The beer is blended with a barrel aged saison to balance out the tart flavor created by the sour.  The Sonoma Farmhouse is a unique experience, and letting the beer change in temperature only enhanced and changed the beer further.  It’s just plain fun.   

Number Three: Marionberry Braggot by Rogue Farms 11.5% abv

Photo Courtesy of Rogue Farms

A beer named after a berry (and not a mayor) and style of ale in which malt and honey are both used in the brewing process.  The marionberry and honey give this beer a  fruity flavor and a heavy body.  Its robust, stone fruit flavors pair well with anything sweet and big, like cheesecake, cobbler or pie (you know, the healthy stuff). Beers in the Rogue Farms series are made with fresh ingredients from Rogue’s farm, including fresh hops and honey harvested from over a dozen hives.  We don’t have quite that many hives on our farm, but it’s great to hear of other Oregon breweries with similar interests!

Photo Courtesy of Stone Brewing Co.

Number Two: Xocoveza Mocha Stout by Chris Banker, Stone and Insurgente 8.1% abv
The name isn’t the only thing complex about this stout.  With flavors ranging from Mexican chocolate to cinnamon and mild peppers, this collaboration beer is far from you typical stout.  The only thing that could make this beer better – a healthy portion of vanilla ice cream.  Xocoveza will hit stores sometime in mid-September, so make sure to grab one to try for yourself!

Number One: Beer Bread Mix by Boardwalk Food Company 0.0% abv
Beer and bread.  Together.  Could there be a more perfect match?  We’re huge fans of pairing food and beer so naturally this Beer Bread Mix was one of our favorites.  Boasting four different flavors (Cornbread, Lemon Poppy, Rosemary Sea Salt, and Original), the mix only needs one ingredient: beer. Just add 12oz of your favorite beer, mix and bake.  Want a zesty, spicy bread?  Try Mt. Shasta Brewing Co.’s Jalapeno Lager into the cornbread?  Something a little more savory?  We’re told the Lemon Poppy Seed mixed with milk or chocolate stout will blow our socks off.  The combinations seem limitless; a beautiful love child of both beer and food. Luckily, we’ll get to try more soon as they sent us home with our own mixes for personal chemistry experiments.

 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we tried!  Samuel Adams had an out-of-this-world sour called Kosmic Mother Funk. Green Flash shared an incredibly refreshing Citra Session IPA, perfect for hot days and lawn mowing.  Goose Island Beer Co. poured a collaboration beer, mixed with Intelligentsia Coffee Co.’s brew and aged in bourbon barrels. There was so much to try and taste!  So stop by your local store, pick up one of these beers for yourself, and tell us what you think!

SSBC at the BBC 2014

•08/22/2014 • Leave a Comment

BBClogoWe’re thrilled to announce we are writing live from the 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego! This year’s conference runs August 22-24th and is chock-full of sessions, speakers, panels, blogging, eating, and (of course) beer drinking.

Working in the craft beer industry obviously has its tasty benefits. We get to try new batches of Standing Stone beer all the time, and enjoy hopping to other breweries to taste the ales and lagers they keep on tap. This weekend, we’re overjoyed to be in San Diego where some of America’s best-known breweries are joining the event and bringing their best brews for us to enjoy.

Here are some of our favorites so far from beer tasting at the Opening Lunch and Trade Show:

Peanut Butter Milk Stout by Belching Beaver Brewery

White IPA from Green Flash Brewing Co.

Indra Kunindra Curry Export Stout by Ballast Point Brewing Co.

Black Rye IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout from New English Brewing Co.

The last on our list was brewed with 50 lbs of coffee and chocolate, making it a rich beverage suitable (we think) for both breakfast and dessert – just like our own Noble Stout. In fact, we may have dipped our after-lunch churros in the beer just to make sure it paired well with sweet fare. It did.

larry brewery tourWe also heard from Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, speaking to the importance of beer education for the masses. Enthusiasm in the American craft beer community continues to grow year after year, and we’re honored to be a part of this giant, flavorsome movement.

Next up on our conference list: dinner at Karl Strauss Brewing Co. and a dance party hosted by Lagunitas Brewing Co. We’ve tasted so many quality craft beers, and seen so much beer industry collaboration. This passionate American craft beer community has come together for one big, educational and tasty event, and we’re grateful to be here. We’ll keep you updated all weekend long on the up-and-coming happenings in the craft beer world, from this sunny scene in San Diego, CA.

3 Lessons We Learned at Bee School

•08/21/2014 • Leave a Comment

Last weekend our Standing Stone beekeepers attended an all-day bee school, hosted by Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association (SOBA).  The guest speaker, Lincoln Mettler of Mountain Rain Bee Products in WA, is a beekeeper of 35 years, and at one time had 2,500 hives by himself! In comparison, we’re going into our third year of beekeeping on our One Mile Farm and have two happy hives. Nonetheless, Lincoln had great advice for all varieties of beekeepers, and we took away lots of information to guide us in our future bee-care efforts.

Though we accumulated six full pages of beekeeping notes and drawings (our brains are buzzing with information!), here are the three major lessons we learned from a day at bee school:

bee hivesKeep a journal.

Feeding, harvesting honey, splitting hives, and treating for mites all require keeping track of dates. Bees run a tight ship and operate on a schedule, and so should any good beekeeper. Keeping a journal handy near your hive will help you remember when you last visited, what you did, and when you need to come back. It will also help you keep track of what worked or didn’t work year to year. There’s a lot that can happen within a hive, and every hive is different. Write down your thoughts, methods, and dates to keep a good history and move forward.

Tap into your local beekeepers association.

Our area beekeepers association, SOBA, is a wealth of information and resources. SOBA sends out newsletters, hosts workshops, offers seasonal tips and reminders, and connects beekeepers with one another to share stories, failures and successes. SOBA also works with local retailers to keep beekeeping supplies in stock, and has a honey extractor for members to rent. Check into your local beekeepers associations and clubs, and seek out other beekeepers nearby.

Bee Girl, a local advocate for beekeeping, conservation and education, helped us get started with our hives three years ago, and offers classes, workshops, and one-on-one hives visits. We recommend tapping into your local beekeeping experts, and looking into beekeeping mentoring programs. Remember, beekeeping methods can differ based on climate and surroundings, so learn what others are doing locally to maintain thriving hives.

beesKnow that everyone does it differently.

It turns out, there’s no one way to keep bees. There are lots of ways people keep bees! Beekeepers’ methods differ depending on whether you’re hoping to harvest honey to sell or enjoy at home, pollinate fields, or just spend time with bees as a hobby. Some people re-queen their hives every year, while some let a successful queen run her course. Some people do mite-rolls (a mite-counting method) with powdered sugar, and some swear by rubbing alcohol. Some harvest once in summer, and some harvest all spring and summer long. Learn about different possibilities and decide what’s best for you and your hive. And give yourself a break if you find out your doing something a little different than your neighbor.

Lastly, a big thank you to Shastina Millwork and Ruhl Bee for donating wonderful goodies for the bee school raffle. We won a new hive tool and will certainly put it to good use practicing the new methods we learned last weekend!

Staying Cool with Improved A/C, Plus Cucumber Julep Recipe

•08/06/2014 • Leave a Comment

front windowWow, talk about a hot leap into summer! To all our loyal customers who have been patient with the brewery’s air conditioning system this season, we want to say “Thank you!” We’re thrilled to say our brewpub is back on track to be a cool haven from the heat outside, and just in time for the annual August hot spell in Southern Oregon .

We know that temperature is a big factor in a brewery’s atmosphere. Cooling down with a crisp beverage and yummy food feels fantastic after a hot day of walking downtown or playing outdoors. Now, we’re excited to say our system is running better than ever and we’d love to see you relaxing in our comfortable brewpub building soon.

In the spirit of cooling things off, here is a new seasonal cocktail recipe from our bartenders. Order one here and refresh yourself up at the bar, or collect the simple ingredients and craft your own at home.

chelsea barCucumber Julep

1 ¾ oz. Whipper Snapper Whiskey

½ oz. Simple Syrup

2 slices cucumber

4-5 springs of mint

Muddle cucumber and mint leaves in a pint glass. Fill with ice, then add whiskey and simple syrup. Shake vigorously and strain into a bucket glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and drink responsibly.

Again, we want to say thank you to our guests who have been so patient with our transition into summer, and invite all those back who have had warm experiences this season. We also thank our fabulous employees for staying positive when the heat has been trying! We hope to see you cooling off with us in the brewpub soon.

Five Tips For Enjoying Any Restaurant Experience

•07/25/2014 • Leave a Comment

We welcome back guest blogger, Nick Blakeslee, for a follow-up to his previous post, Year One at Standing Stone. Nick has now been with us for over two years and he’s ready to share a bit more about what he’s learned in the food industry…with a dash of humor, of course. 

It’s hard to believe I’ve been at Standing Stone for two years. It seems like yesterday I was writing my year one blog post about receiving my Standing Stone Commuter bike.  We have a lot to catch up on, you and I, as some things have changed since then.

Rest assured, I still have my bike.  I’ve only crashed it a handful of times, most of which happened because I was trying to be cool and ride with no hands.  Once I went up on a curb and tried to balance on the edge of the sidewalk. Easy enough, right? It ended with my tire sliding off, and me face first on the ground in front of a family of four.  They were nice enough to stifle their laughter and seemed genuine when they asked if I was OK.

“I’m good,” I labored to say, readjusting my helmet and desperately trying to get the breath back into my lungs.  My only hope is they were nice enough to forget my face.  Moral of the story: bike tricks are cool, but helmets are cooler.

nick bartending

photo courtesy of Dave Blakeslee

I also picked up bartending. In the time I’ve spent talking to patrons, mixing drinks and serving beer, I’ve learned I can make a mean Bloody Mary.  Some servers and customers say they appreciate my attention to detail, others wonder why I take so long to make a pretty simple drink.  They tap their feet and check their watch, wondering what the heck is taking so long.  Chaos can ensue around me; drink orders may pile up as my work flow increases, but when that Bloody Mary gets ordered it’s like time stands still.  For the briefest of moments, it’s just me and the Bloody Mary.

Most of all, I’ve learned to be a more capable server.  Two years have given me plenty of opportunities to make mistakes and ample time to hone my skills.  I think I’ve finally hit my stride.  Malcolm Gladwell once said that it took ten thousand hours to achieve true expertise.  I’m about eight thousand short, but I think I have at least a tinge of server savvy.

And what better way to use that dash of expertise than to share it with all you beloved readers?  I’ve compiled a quick how-to when dining out at a brewpub.  Recently we shared some tips and hints for enjoying beer entitled, What Can You Do with a Sample Tray? 

I’ve come up with my own, and the title is a work in progress.  I’ve been told, Tips and Tricks for Enjoying a Restaurant works well as a title, but I don’t want my creativity stifled.

I think my title is much more descriptive, it leaves the reader wanting more, all while being succinct and far from wordy.  Without further ado, here goes:

Nick’s Five Tips and Hints for Enjoying Food and Experiencing Restaurant Atmosphere While Having a Memorable Time and Positive Relationship with Your Server. 

Tip 1:  Allow plenty of time to relax.

While many restaurants are perfectly capable of accommodating time constraints patrons may have, it’s more fun to not be in a hurry.  The dining experience should be far from fast food and no one enjoys feeling rushed when they’re eating.  It’s hard to fully enjoy your food or your beer if you are constantly checking your watch.  So come early and have a beer, a glass of wine or simply sit and relax. You can always try a sample tray (lots of breweries have them) before a meal so you can choose a beer you like most.

Tip 2: Try something different.

I’m guilty of ignoring this rule.  I’m the type of person who finds what they love and sticks with it.  I have my ‘regular’ item wherever I go.  Cashiers give me a worried and surprised look when I order something different, their faces saying, “Who are you, and what have you done with Nick?”

That said, you’ll never find something new if you don’t try something different.  Standing Stone’s menu has a broad range of items ranging from Thai to Mexican to Italian.  Look for ingredients in items that you enjoy.  If you’re a chicken and vegetable person, why not try a Chicken Curry?  Are you a fan of greens and cheese?  Try a Pea Shoot Pizza.  Get a little weird, and look for menu items you can’t get anywhere else.

Tip 3: Ask questions.

Your server knows what’s most popular in a restaurant and has probably tried most everything on the menu.  Ask them what they like.  Tell them things you prefer or things you don’t.  Look to your server as a guide; they’re a sort of food Sherpa to culinary contentedness.  Ask them which beers or wines go best with which foods.  Inquire on which dishes are popular and which are not.  Take advantage of the knowledge they have.  They want you to have a positive experience just as much as you do.

Tip 4: Get to know your server.                   

I know for me personally, the tables I enjoy most are the ones who get to know me as much as I get to know them. And, of course, there are perks. I know a server who would personally tour out-of-towners around local mountain biking trails if they inquired. We even invite a few regulars to our annual Thanksgiving morning football game in the park. We’re actually a lot of fun, I promise. However, if you’re into having an intimate meal and catching up with friends or family, we totally understand that, too. Just know I’m here if you need me.

Thanksgiving Football 2013

photo by Nick Blakeslee (with Standing Stone’s very own GoPro!)

 

Tip 5: Have a good time.

Most of us don’t go out to eat just because we’re hungry; we do it because it’s fun.  It’s nice to go somewhere, eat good food and not have to worry about the dishes afterwards.  Bring friends and family, or make new ones when you go out. You’ll have a much better time if your mentality is to have a positive experience rather than just to fill a hungry stomach.  It’s possible to have both.

 

And there you have it.  That’s what I’ve been able to come up with in the two years I’ve worked here.  If you look at the time invested, it’s about five months per tip.  Which is either really impressive or not at all, depending on how you look at it.  Make sure to let me know if you think it’s the former.  If it’s the latter, it’d probably be best to keep it to yourself (I’m sensitive).

A friend of mine once said there’s no substitution for time invested.  Regardless of how well I’ve used it, the time I’ve invested has paid off so far, hopefully for both you and me!

Pints for a Purpose 2014/2015 Application Period Open

•07/16/2014 • Leave a Comment

pints_logo_smOur Pints for a Purpose application period has just opened for the 2014/2015 season! Encourage your favorite nonprofits to apply for the beer-sales donation program between July 15th and October 15th for a chance to be chosen by our employees as one of five local organizations to be celebrated here at the brewpub.

Giving back to our community has always been one of Standing Stone’s central missions, and providing donations to nonprofits is one way we like to do it. A few years ago we put together our first formalized in-house donation program dubbed Pints for a Purpose. Employee-chosen organizations are given specific benefit evenings, during which $2 of every pint of beer sold from 5-10pm goes to the featured nonprofit. It’s that easy!

Here are the participants from last year’s Pint for a Purpose:

pintsforapurpose fotasAshland Food Project – Bringing in over one thousand pounds of food a year for local food banks.

CASA of Jackson County – Speaking for the safety and well-being of children who have come under the care of Child Welfare due to abuse and/or neglect.

Rogue Valley Farm to School- Educating children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden projects, and increasing local foods in school cafeterias.

Friends of the Animal Shelter- Helping animals in area shelters by encouraging adoption, improving quality of life, and educating the community.

OSF’s Daedalus Project – Raising funds to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and support those living with the condition.

rvf2sAll in all, our beer and nonprofit-loving customers raised over $2,000 last season for these grassroots groups. It’s a great way for supporters to enjoy local brews and give to a good cause at the same time.

To apply, go to our online application page and check out the guidelines. Once the application period has closed, we’ll put together a list of all the applicants for our coworkers to vote on. We’ll then host monthly benefit evenings for the chosen nonprofits throughout the winter. Together, we’ll get the word out for fans, friends and family to come out, enjoy a beverage (responsibly, of course) and support these groups!

The Family Stone: Behind the Scenes Photos

•07/14/2014 • Leave a Comment

At Standing Stone Brewing Company we have a lot of fun at work. Like, a lot of fun. Besides the beer and food, it’s one of the great perks of being a part of the “Family Stone,” as we like to call it. Throughout our adventures at the brewery, group races, relays and events we’ve collected a fair amount of photos that we have stored away in an online album, and it’s about time we share a few. Some of these silly, fun characters are now Standing Stone alumni, but most us are here planning new group activities and adventures all the time.

Here are some of our favorite group moments from the last year:

Mark and Gina race to the top of the boat ramp during the 2013 Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race. Standing Stone entered four teams with 24 total employees! These two are from teams “Sparkle Motion” and “Sun’s Out, Guns Out.”


mark and gina

Nick scored pink girl sunglasses somewhere for our bike ride in the 2014 4th of July parade. Co-owners Alex and Danielle Amarotico were chosen as this year’s Grand Marshals, and we cruised our Standing Stone commuter bikes along the route behind them. 


nick sunglasses

Get your workout on! With really good food and beer so readily available, a few of us decided a Standing Stone Bootcamp was in order. Check out those lean, mean muscles.

flexing

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

 

Yep, we work out in the wintertime, too.

workout group

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

 

We had a fantastic crew working the 2014 Winter Beer Dinner at Standing Stone. Six courses and three hours later, here we are taking a little break and showing each other some love at the end.FOH huddle

And here’s the kitchen crew that brought you all those amazing courses. Don’t let those crossed arms fool you – these folks get giddy about preparing a beautiful and thoughtful plate of food.BOH huddle

Whoa there, Easy Rider. Did you know Standing Stone has a Brammo electric motorcycle? If you haven’t heard, it’s because the hum of the battery-powered engine is so quiet. It’s perfect for quick trips to and from our One Mile Farm, and errands around Ashland.alex on bike

The “Family Stone” and others after our annual Turkey Day football game.  (For NFL scouts reading this blog, please show up at 7am sharp for some awe-inspiring football). 

Thanksgiving Day Football

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

Last month we entered a 12-person team in the Wild Rogue Relay Race, and poured Standing Stone brews at the end in Gold Beach for all the racers. Our team name: Slaughterhouse 12 (yes, those are lamb costumes).

wild rogue group

(photo: N. Blakeslee)

Here are a few more hooligans from the 2013 Siskiyou Challenge Relay Race…siskiyou challenge tanks…and a few more still.sisk challenge

And at the end of the day, what we like to do best is sit down with friends and enjoy craft beer. gina sienna

We may have left out some photos of mountain bike rides, group runs, volleyball, and frisbee golf, but we’ll continue to bring our cameras along when we can. Watch out for more Standing Stone shenanigans in the future, just for the fun of it.

 

 

 
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