Beer for Racers at the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb, 8/15

•07/30/2015 • Leave a Comment

Earlier this month we cheered a small handful of coworkers who took on the 15K Siskiyou Outback Run (S.O.B.) at the top of Mt. Ashland. On August 15th, we’ll cheer on another handful of running coworkers, this time trekking from Lithia Park TO THE TOP of Mt. Ashland for the annual Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run. They’ll scale 13.3 miles and climb more than one vertical mile (5,600 ft.) to the peak. They’re nuts, and awesome.

race beerWe’ve been proud sponsors of this local race for years, giving gift certificates and pouring free Standing Stone beer for all the runners at the finish line party in the Mt. Ashland Lodge parking lot. The runners have to continue past us for the last steep crawl to the peak, but we like to think we’re good motivation rather than just a tease. We wave and clap for their efforts, and pour the athletes a cold one when they arrive on the shuttle to the parking lot. You’ve never seen such grateful faces.

This year, we’ll be applauding the extreme running skills of Gina, Alecia, and John – all Standing Stone employees who’ve been training tirelessly for the big day. We’re excited to see your (maybe smiling?) faces at the top!

IMGP0312_edited-1The top male and female winners get an additional claim to fame –their names engraved on our dedicated Mt. Ashland Hillclimb keg displayed at our brewpub! Since 2004 we’ve been updating our keg with the winner’s names each year, and we only have room left to continue until 2017. Once finished, it will be an irreplaceable part of Standing Stone/Hillclimb history. Ahhhhh, nostalgia.

Come to the Mt. Ashland lodge on Saturday, August 15th and help us cheer on all these intrepid trail-lovers on their big day. You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy watching other people work, trust us. The views are great, the weather is always beautiful (and several degrees cooler), and the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb is always well-organized and fun. Bring water and sunscreen, and toast the efforts of all the awe-inspiring runners who journey to Ashland for this awesome annual event.

A Bit of Ashland History: Whittle Garage (aka Standing Stone Brewing Co.)

•07/23/2015 • Leave a Comment

To coincide with the tapping of our latest specialty beer, Whittle Wit, we thought we’d give some background on our historic building and the story behind the name. Here’s a bit of history about Standing Stone’s abode, the old Whittle Garage, as told by local writer Nancy Bringhurst when Standing Stone first opened in 1997:

Floyd Whittle built his one-story, fire resistant, reinforced concrete structure and concrete floors to last. If he thought about how his building would be used in the future, surely a micro-brewery restaurant would not have entered his mind. After all, that was 1925, eight years before the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition. And the Amarotico brothers, responsible for converting the Whittle Garage Building into the classy Standing Stone Brewing Co, surely have trouble believing that Whittle built that garage for $6,000. It took a half million dollars for them to renovate the garage before it was suitable for public assembly in 1997.

ssbuild1By the time Whittle arrived in 1909, Ashland, founded in 1850, had already developed a substantial industrial base. Whittle formed a moving and storage operation, and in 1925 built a new industrial building in the commercial area. The plan he chose was an adaptation of the Falsefront form used extensively in the towns of Oregon since 1850. The extended facade gave the appearance that a one-story building was larger and more formidable than it was; it also hid the simple gables and sloped roofs from the public view. During the early years of the 20th century, the automobile became the main source of personal travel. New buildings were needed to accommodate the growing businesses needed to service the cars, while existing buildings were simply modified.

Upon completion, Whittle leased the garage to Sim Morris and Sons, owner of Morris’s Oak Street Garage. Over the 20 years they occupied the space, Morris’s garage and machine shop business expanded to include other services related to automobile repair. Eventually, they found their niche in the manufacture of welded steel tanks. Nold patioo one is certain how the building was used subsequent to the Morris’s relocation, but there is speculation that Lithia Motors may have used a portion of the building for repairs and storage. Regardless, the garage remained essentially unchanged for almost 30 years, until August 13, 1953, when a fire at the Busch Motors Building spread and damaged the Whittle building.

Whittle hired E.H. Nicholson and Charles Delsman, owners of the Pioneer Glass and Cabinet Shop, to repair and replace the windows, to tear down the rear wing ruined by the fire, and to build a wooden deck for storage. Nicholson and Delsman, in need of additional space, then rented the newly repaired garage and moved their shop in November. When Nicholson died the following September, James Delsman joined his brother Charles to run the company. In 1977, they purchased the property from the Whittle estate, and ran the operation there until their retirement in 1994.

In March, 1996, the ownership was transferred to the Amarotico brothers. From the beginning, they recognized the importance of retaining the original integrity and industrial character of the building. All renovation was designed with the intent to appear as though the brewery/restaurant was simply tucked into the open original space. Most of the flooring is still exposed concrete, though now it is sealed with clear polymer. The original or similar raw concrete and brick walls remain exposed, and the original open truss system is still apparent. Requirements to meet seismic, sanitation and the ADA (American Disability Act) codes were installed so as not to detract from the original interior. The wooden storage deck, demolished in the early l980s, has been rebuilt and now serves as a large outdoor dining area.bikes in front

The building was officially registered with the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. According to George Kramer, an historic preservation consultant and the preparer of the nomination’s The Whittle Garage Building, completed in 1925, remains Ashland’s best surviving example of the simple utilitarian Falsefront form as it was employed in southern Oregon during the 1920s. Substantially unaltered from its historic exterior appearance, the Whittle Garage Building retains exceptional integrity in appearance, workmanship, setting, and use of materials. Floyd Whittle should be pleased.

Beer, Bloggers & Care Packages

•07/16/2015 • Leave a Comment

With the annual Beer Bloggers Conference coming up July 17-19 in Asheville, NC, we’re reminiscing about last year’s conference in San Diego. The beer, the people, the seminars…we remember most of it and some of it’s hazy, but we know we had a great time! Beer Trio

After the conference, one of our newfound beer-blogging friends sent us a care package of Colorado beers (gotta love beer writers, right?). We sat down, had a group tasting, and took notes on our loot. In the spirit of the annual conference coming up again, we want to share our impressions of these awesome Colorado beers:

Vindication Brewing Co., Big Samson’s Imperial Rye IPA

For an Imperial IPA, we thought this beer was totally approachable (but wait, aren’t all beers?). Grapefruit hop aroma, medium mouthfeel, and a round, fruity bitter finish. But watch out for that 9.0% abv – it’s easy to forget. Consider this beer vindicated; Imperial IPAs are not always what they seem.

Our food-pairing vote: Kimchi. As funny as it might sound, a spicy and briny kimchi offers a great contrast to the round, citrus fruit aroma and flavor. We tried this one alongside our Kimchi Pork Burger, and pretty much didn’t talk for the next five minutes. No time for words when you’ve got a beer-food marriage going on.   Tasting Duo

Strange Craft Beer Company, 1000 Barrel Imperial IPA

Amarillo, Simcoe, and Summit hops give this beer a strong hop aroma and bright astringency. The light body and soft mouthfeel were pleasant surprises.

Our food-pairing vote: Chinese 5-Spice. We tried this beer with Standing Stone’s Teriyaki Ribs and Sweet Potato Fries with Harissa Aioli. This beer had the right bitterness to cut the fat, while still allowing us to taste every bite with the not-too-overwhelming hop flavor and aroma. And the golden ale just looked so nice alongside the plate. Color coordination can be everything, you know.  

Apple Pie PairAvery Brewing Co., Einzigartig Barrel-Aged Wild Ale

So fun! Think Sour Apple Jolly Rancher and Sour Patch Kids candy…this apricot/orange beer gave us a face-squinting sour finish, but we couldn’t stop tasting it. Sparkling mouthfeel and pale honey color finished bright with every sip.

Our food-pairing vote: Apple Pie with Cinnamon. From our brewpub menu, we chose the Marionberry Cobbler as a great year-round pairing, but really, the Apple Pie takes the cake (so to speak). We just happened to have a slice as a special, and we wallowed in beer-dessert-tasting heaven.

Thanks to Darlene for taking care of us! Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it to this year’s conference, but we can almost taste the beers from Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, and so many more. We’ll maybe miss the Live Beer Blogging most of all (single tear, sad frown), but we’re excited to follow along with #BBC15 to check on everyone’s tasting notes. Have fun, everyone! Play safe, use the buddy system, and drink some great beer.

(photos: R. Koning)

Latest Specialty Beer: Whittle (a Belgian-Style Witbier)

•07/14/2015 • Leave a Comment

At our Ashland brewery you’ll find our five year-round brews on tap everyday – Twin Plunge, Milk & Honey, I ♥ Oregon Ale, Steelcut Stout and Noble Stout. We fill in our other tap lines with rotating seasonals throughout the year, and every once in a while we brew something brand-spanking-new when we get a whim. Well, we got a whim, and we’re excited to debut our first ever Whittle, a Belgian-style witbier.


Historic Whittle Garage, also previously Pioneer Glass & Cabinet Shop. Now we make beer here.

Belgian style wits are often brewed with unmalted wheat, like the hard red wheat we used from Dunbar Farms in Medford. Dunbar is a 102 year old family-owned farm producing hay, grain, flour, eggs, produce, breads, beans, and more. Their growing practices (which we find totally marvelous) include rotating crops, saving seeds for reuse, diversifying produce, and serving as a drop-off site for local arborists and landscapers to compost clippings. We’re excited to share the fruits of their labor in our favorite form – beer!

About the Beer

Our first ever witbier is named after our historic building, Whittle Garage. The beer is pale and hazy, with aromas of coriander and warm spice. The low hop bitterness and high carbonation give this brew a refreshing mouthfeel and light finish. 4.9% abv, 20 IBU


  • Unmalted Wheat (hard red) from Dunbar Farms in Medford
  • Organic Pilsner
  • Acidulated


  • Organic Hallertau


  • Coriander from Spice and Tea Exchange in Ashland
  • Dried Curacao Bitter Orange Peel


Food Pairing Suggestions

Our wit (or “white”) beer features coriander and bitter orange peel, giving it a bright spice alongside a light body. We think shellfish, carrot cake, and fruit salad all make great summertime pairing options. Heck, why not all three and call it a meal! Here are our suggestions from our brewpub menu:

Salmon Springroll Salad

Mussels and Clams in Jalapeno Beer Broth

Fish & Chips

Marionberry Cobbler a la Mode

Did we mention the coriander comes from the Spice and Tea Exchange, just down the road in Ashland? We love our local partners who helped make this beer awesome. Raise a glass of Whittle on your next visit, and let us know your thoughts on this fresh, new special!

Pints for a Purpose Application Period Open

•07/07/2015 • Leave a Comment

Summertime brings along so many good things: Lazy afternoons by the lake, cold beer in the shade, and the 2015/2016 application period for Pints for a Purpose. Every summer we send a shout-out to local nonprofits for our upcoming donation season, and now’s the time to rally your favorite Southern Oregon organization to join in the fun.Print

With Pints for a Purpose, we give $2 for every beer sold from 5-10pm to a chosen recipient on a dedicated benefit evening. It’s a chance to gather fans and beer-lovers together to toast great nonprofit work in our community! The more people who show up, the more money we’ll donate to a cause. What could possibly be better than having a beer to benefit a local nonprofit? You generous beer-connoisseur, you.

In the last two years we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming ten local groups to our program: Ashland Food Project, CASA of Jackson County, Friends of the Animal Shelter, Friends of the Ashland Public Library, OSF’s Daedalus Project, Rogue Climate, Rogue Farm Corps, Rogue Valley Earth Day, Rogue Valley Farm to School, and WaterWatch of Oregon.

Our staff of over 70 employees chooses the organizations each fall. We’ll collect applications now through October 1st, and then ask our coworkers which top five they’d like to see as Pints for a Purpose recipients. We then dedicate one night of every month, November – March, to a different nonprofit. They rally as many supporters as possible and have a big donation-raising party at Standing Stone. roge valley earth day

Now’s the time to submit your application for the 2015/2016 season! Applicants must be locally based, grassroots organizations with 501c3 status. To benefit as many causes as possible, we’ll limit eligibility to organizations that were not recipients in the last year. Know of any local groups that would be great partners? Please let them know! The application is now available online.

We’re excited to debut the five chosen nonprofits for this year’s Pints for a Purpose donation program after the application period closes. Stay tuned for the rollout in mid-October, and stop in all winter long to toast local beer in the name of great local causes.

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)


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