Standing Stone Brewing Company

Larry Chase

WEEKEND for WATER: JANUARY 30TH AND 31ST

Weekend For Water Posters 2015.compressed (1)

As proud partners of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance, we will be hosting “A Weekend for Water”. During January 30th and 31st, $1 from every pint of I ♥ Oregon Ale will be donated to Oregon Environmental Council and the Oregon Brewshed  Alliance (an Oregon Wild Alliance).

Why? Why would a brewery be so interested in donating money to help keep Oregon’s rivers and lakes clean you may ask? The answer is simple; beer is 90% water and CLEAN WATER MAKES THE BEST OF CRAFT BEERS.

“Since water comprises 90-95% of the liquid in your glass of beer, we need clean water to brew clean beer,” says Standing Stone brewer Larry Chase.

Besides our addiction to creating great craft brews, we here at Standing Stone Brewing Company feel that as apart of our community it is our responsibility to help maintain the health of our ecosystem. By supporting great organizations like Oregon Environmental Council and Oregon Wild we can do just that.

Please join us January 30th and 31st to show your support for Oregon’s clean lakes and rivers.

Catching Up with BA Board Member Larry Chase

larry drinkThis is our head brewer, Larry Chase. 
Larry likes craft beer.
Larry makes craft beer.
Larry advocates for craft beer.
And, yes, Larry drinks craft beer.

Larry just returned from his most recent trip to Boulder, Colorado to attend the quarterly Brewers Association Board Meeting. He was elected to the Board in 2012, and this year moved into a new position as Secretary/Treasurer and Finance Chair on the Executive Committee. Way to go, Larry! When he got back, we asked him all about the Brewers Association, what they do, and where his travels take him.

What does the Brewers Association Board of Directors do?

The BA Board of Directors is the governing body for the Brewers Association. We develop high level strategy and provide direction for the Brewers Association staff of 50 employees. In 2013, we met for a two-day strategic planning session where we refined the organization’s purpose and revised our mission looking forward past the year 2020. The big goal that came from this session is for craft brewers to have 20+% market share by 2020. Board members also chair and/or participate in one or more of the ten committees that do more specific work in conjunction with staff.

How often do you attend BA meetings?larry desk

The board has four meetings per year. The first meeting is always in late February in Boulder, CO where the Brewers Association has its headquarters. The second quarter meeting generally occurs in conjunction with SAVOR (SSBC was a participating brewery at SAVOR in 2012 & 2013) and the BA’s annual legislative Hill Climb in Washington, D.C. For the Fall and December meetings the board picks locales around the country where we can meet with local brewers and state guilds. 2014 included Kansas City and Los Angeles. This year we are headed to Portland, ME and Tampa, FL.

How were you elected to the Board in 2012?

The Board is comprised of Brewpub members, Packaging Brewery members, and At-Large members. In 2012 I ran for a Brewpub seat – the third time I had run – and was elected by other Brewers Association brewpub members. As some would say, third time’s a charm. The elected position is a three-year term, so if I’d like to continue on the Board I’ll need to run for election again in Fall 2015.

How has your role changed over the last few years?_DSC3980_edited-1

One way the BA Board vets potential candidates is by looking for participation in committee work. Beginning in 2005 the Public Relations & Marketing committee is where I first began gaining experience with the work of the BA. In 2011, one year after I began working at Standing Stone, the BA created the Brewpub Committee in an effort to ensure the organization remained relevant to its brewpub members. I was an inaugural member of that committee, became vice-chair in early 2012, and briefly took over as chair in the latter half of 2014. Since mid-2012 I’ve worked on the Brewpub Server Training Manual subcommittee, and after almost three years we will be publishing Beer Server Training for Brewpubs – A Manual for Hiring, Training & Retaining Great People.

In 2011 I also joined the Finance Committee which is tasked with overseeing the financial side of the organization. Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant was the long-time chair of that committee as the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization. With his departure from the board at the end of 2014 the board requested that I take over his position. Beginning with our February 2015 meeting in Boulder, I am now a member of the Executive Committee in my position as Secretary/Treasurer and Finance Chair.

What else do you like to do when you’re in Boulder, CO?

Drink beer and hang out with BA staff members who have become friends. On this past trip Boulder received 13 wonderful inches of snow, so [my wife,] Ginger [of Women Enjoying Beer] and I went snowshoeing in Chatauaqua Park on the outskirts of Boulder.

Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Larry! Standing Stone is proud to have you as our brewer. Cheers!

By in Brewery & Beer, Events, Food 0

Belly Up to the 2015 Winter Beer Dinner

Grab your beer-loving buddies and join us for the 2015 Standing Stone Winter Beer Dinner on Thursday, January 8th at 6:30pm. This is our biggest beer and food pairing soiree of the year, and we’re thrilled to debut this year’s menu. Our brewer and chef, Larry Chase and Eric Bell, have teamed up to create a mouth-watering line-up of craft beer and tasty fare. We host this six-course event over two-and-a-half hours, giving you and guests plenty of time to savor each sip and bite.

Here is this year’s Winter Beer Dinner menu:2015 Beer Dinner Poster

 

To make your reservation, call us at (541) 261-0021. Seating is limited to 80 guests, so be sure to book yours soon as we fill up every year. The dinner is $60 per person (gratuity not included), and Brewer Larry and Chef Eric will walk you through tasting notes with every course. Have friends you know are attending? Let us know! We are happy to seat friends and groups together at any of our tables of 8-10 guests.

If you’re looking for a holiday treat for your favorite beer fan, we have gift cards available, too. Call us, visit the brewpub (101 Oak Street, Ashland, OR), or email rachel@standingstonebrewing.com and we’ll get you set up with a reservation and gift card.

In the meantime, here’s a look at our previous Winter Beer Dinners. If these photos don’t get your stomach rumbling, we simply don’t know what will. Cheers!

By in Brewery & Beer 1

10 More Barrels of Beer with Our New Brewing Tank

We had a special delivery this Tuesday – a brand-spanking new serving tank for our brewery! Our other five serving tanks are positioned right above our bar and allow us to serve cold beer fresh from our taps everyday. This vessel will allow us to always have six beers on tap (a goal we sometimes struggle to reach with our current brewing capacity) and increase the variety of beer styles we offer.tractor move

Our brewer, Larry Chase, is particularly excited about the opportunity to experiment with brewing more lager-style beers. Because of their colder fermentation temperature and longer maturation time, lagers take longer to brew and therefore take up more tank space. With this extra serving tank we can transfer batches faster and free up fermenters to start new batches all over again.

Here’s the specs on our new tank:

Working capacity :10 BBL (310 gal)

Total capacity :12 BBL (372 gal)

Weight: 1000 lbs

The tank was built by Marks Design & Metalworks in Vancouver, WA. After it arrived on upstairs viewTuesday we brought our New Holland tractor up the road from our farm to move it to a safe space in our back alleyway. This afternoon, co-owner Alex Amarotico and his team will move the vessel upstairs to our overhead brewing facility inside the brewpub.

Larry hopes to start using the new tank right away, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store with new varieties and more of old favorites on the way! Stop by to gander at our new pride-and-joy, and, of course, have a pint while you’re here.

Celebrating Craft Beer & Biking Events May 13th-19th

As we roll through the month of May we tap into several local, regional and nation-wide events that celebrate lots of the things we love! We already saw the kick-off of the Saturday Growers and Crafters Market in front of Standing Stone on Oak St. We now have our favorite local growers and producers just steps away every week through November. We also cheered a group of seven Standing Stone runners last weekend who participated in the Avenue of the Giants. It’s an annual race in Humbolt Redwoods National Park, with 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon events. Next week, we raise our glasses and celebrate two more events, American Craft Beer Week and Go By Bike Week, May 13-19th.20130503-largemap

American Craft Beer Week is organized by the Brewer’s Association (BA) and encourages craft breweries, beer sellers and beer lovers around the country to join in festivities and promote our talented American microbreweries. Last year the BA saw record participation with all 50 states holding special events and 35,000 beer lovers following in the Facebook community. Every year we mix it up and participate in new ways – here’s what on deck for the 2013 celebration:

• We’ll highlight a new beer every day! We have five beers we keep on our menu year-round and two seasonal specialties on tap for the occasion. Ask for a free taste of the beer-of-the-day, and check out our specials board for flavorsome food and beer pairing ideas. We’ll also feature each beer-of-the-day on our blog, writing all about ingredients, flavors, pairings and more.

• We’re raising our glasses for the nation-wide toast on Thursday, May 16th at 5pm. AcrossIMGP7515_edited-1 the country, participating breweries and independent beer lovers are invited to take a moment to cheer our unified appreciation of craft beer. Join us with either a free sampler of beer or your own pint and show your dedication to quality American beer.

• Brewer Larry Chase will host three sessions of brewery tours and tastings on Saturday, May 18th. Come in for a walk-through of our brew deck and try a couple of our house-made beers on tap. Tours are scheduled for 12pm, 1pm and 2pm, and there’s no need to sign up – just jump in to the group.

We’re also supporting goRogueValley.org’s Go By Bike Week, a local celebration in the middle of the League of American Bicyclist’s National Bike Month. During Go By Bike Week, several local businesses in Southern Oregon are offering both early morning coffee_GEO9159_edited-2 and snacks, and “happy hour” free food gatherings for anyone commuting by bike. We’re setting aside the outside patio from 4-6pm on Tuesday, May 14th for all bike commuters and supplying appetizers for hungry appetites. We’ll have lots of Standing Stone employees joining in and riding their bikes to work all week. Visit goRogueValley.org for the full schedule of local events and pledge to ride for the opportunity to win discounts and prize drawings.

There are plenty of opportunities to join us in the fun this month, so mark your calendar with any of our upcoming events and celebrate craft beer, bike commuting and thriving communities in our valley and across the country.

To Serve & Protect…Beer

We are happy to announce our Standing Stone’s brewmaster Larry Chase is the newest _GEO2546_edited-1board member for the Brewers Association! It’s a national organization that works to promote and protect small and independent brewers, their beers and the brewing community. Larry says he’s excited to be a part of such a vital resource for the industry and is looking forward to taking the responsibility of helping to lead the organization.

“Ever since I started brewing I have gotten so much from the Association” he says. “People already on the board are the rock-stars of the industry and I am thrilled to help and lead.”

The Brewers Association is made up of more than 15-hundred breweries and 34-thousand members, including the American Homebrewers Association community, wholesalers and other beer industry workers.

Larry is currently serving as vice-chair of the brewpub committee, and also sits on the _GEO9458_edited-4organization’s finance committee. Larry emphasizes he won’t only be leading – he’ll also be learning, and bringing new insight and ideas back to Southern Oregon.

“I am looking forward to helping guide the organization as the craft beer industry continues to grow. I will be sitting on the board with big names in the industry and expect to learn from other colleagues on the board.”

Larry will be heading to Boulder at the end of the month for the first quarterly board meeting of the year. Join us in lifting up a glass to congratulate Larry and to wish him success in his new beer role!

A Beer Year in Review: Our Top 10 Highlights of 2012

Every December at Standing Stone Brewing Co we like to grab a pint, relax, and look back on all the events, beers and happenings that we feel characterized our year. We’re thrilled with our batch of news and brews for 2012, and we’re sharing our Top 10 with our beloved News on Tap blog readers. Thanks for staying in touch with us year-round, and we’re excited to keep you updated with beer news and highlights in 2013.

1. We brewed brand-new specialty beersgalaxy hops

Our brewer has a blast experimenting with new beer recipes and ideas, and this year we tasted some of our new favorites here at the brewpub. The list of never-before-brewed specialty beers includes: Pacific Crest Ale, Backyard Brew, Pints for a Purpose Ale, Galaxy Session, Wildcraft and 2012 Barley Wine. Which was your favorite? Let us know which specialty you’d love to taste from our menu again!

2. We were chosen the #3 Best Green Business to Work For in Oregon

Oregon Business Magazine bestows annual awards to the top 10 Green Businesses to Work For in Oregon, and this year we were one of the top three for the third year in a row! We’re honored that our employees voted to place us so high on the list – we think maybe it has something to do with the beer.

3. We rolled on more commuter bikes for our employee bike programnew bikes

We started our RPM bike program in 2009, getting brand new commuter bikes into the hands of our employees to cycle to and from work every day. Two and a half years later we’ve purchased 50 bikes total and the program continues to be a favorite benefit among our staff. Cheers to two-wheeling in 2013!

4. We started beekeeping

With our lush farmland down the road teeming with blackberries, we thought we’d better get some honeybees out there feeding on and pollinating the good stuff. We have four colorful bee boxes buzzing with honey-makers and we harvested our first batch (5 liters) of honey in October. We’ll debut our harvest in the first course of this year’s beer dinner, alongside local goat cheese and fig butter. We’re thrilled to see what year two of beekeeping brings!

5. Twenty four employees competed in the Siskiyou Challenge Relay Raceteam 1

In September 2012 we had a record number of Standing Stone athletes participate in our favorite relay race of the year, the Siskiyou Challenge! Participants biked, kayaked and ran all around Ashland in the six-leg, multi-sport course, and ended with food and beer from Standing Stone by Lithia Park. We also threw our own costume contest for the occasion, with team “Let’s Get Physical” winning growlers of beer for all their racers.

6. Our brewer, Larry Chase, was elected to the Brewer’s Association Board of Directors

We are ecstatic that our very own Standing Stone brewer has been chosen to serve on the board for the largest organization of craft brewers in the U.S.! Larry has been an active member of the BA for some time, serving on various committees and hosting seminars for the annual Craft Brewer’s Conference. Congratulations Larry!

7. Joel Salatin came to our farmjoel and melza

The owner of Polyface Farms and an agriculturalist featured in book The Omnivore’s Dillema, Joel Salatin is the front-runner of a national movement toward sustainable and traditional agriculture. In fact, he helped inspire our own multi-species rotational-grazing system on our farm, and he came to Ashland last March to visit in person! We shared a great day on our pasture and Valley View Beef’s pasture with Joel and 30 other farming enthusiasts from around the valley. We’re more excited than ever about farming in Ashland and look forward to bringing even more produce from our farm to the brewpub tables.

8. We got a Brammo electric motorcycle

We’re fortunate to have the internationally-known electric vehicle company, Brammo, just down the road in Ashland. In April, we purchased our very own Enertia bike from their warehouse to make quick trips to and from the farm and brewpub. We like that we can get 40 miles on a 4-hour charge (in our regular restaurant outlet), which is plenty to meet our brewery and farm needs. And, it’s really quiet so we can sneak up on people easily.

9. We paired delicious food and beer at our Annual Winter Beer Dinner

Every year we put our collective beer and food loving heads together and create a mouth-watering, multi-course pairing extravaganza. melza tractorOur annual beer dinner is always a festive gathering of like-minded culinary enthusiasts, and last January’s dinner was a hit! Six-courses featuring local fare and Standing Stone beer brought about three hours of fun, and this year’s dinner promises to be no different. With local farms and products taking center stage, how can we not love what’s brewing and cooking?

10. We won a tractor

Through the creativity and efforts of one of our employees, Standing Stone won a free five-year lease on a New Holland tractor to use on our farmland. The agriculture equipment company hosted a video contest last year asking entrants to describe how they would use a Boomer 30 model tractor, and our own Melza Quinn submitted a video on Standing Stone’s behalf. Now, we turn compost, move chicken housing and build trail on the farm with ease, and we’re so grateful for the helpful hand (or tractor claw).

We hope your 2012 was as monumental and enjoyable as ours was at Standing Stone! We wish you a great 2013 and may your season be flavorful and bright.

Behind the Scenes: Brewing our Craft Beer

Jeff mills the grain

Through our Brewer for the Day package, we welcome beer aficionados to our Ashland brewery to craft a batch of beer with brewmaster Larry Chase.

Participant and avid homebrewer, Jeff McJunkin, who helped brew a well-received Double IPA, tag-teamed with Larry to share an account of our brewing process.

Larry took the great photos in this post, featuring our first three participants: Jeff, Brad Galusha and Chris Oliver.

You can see more on our Facebook “Brewer for the Day” photo gallery.

Mashing In & Out

Chris Oliver mashing it up

To start out, Standing Stone mills a blend of grains for the chosen microbrew. These go in a mash tun, where sugars from malt extracts are extracted from the grains using hot water, taking about an hour. The grains enter the mash tun in a controlled manner through a chute, allowing for  thorough sugar extraction and ease of handling. Once we’ve collected all of the resulting wort (sugar water), we remove the spent grain from the mash tun.

Boiling and Adding Hops

Jeff makes it hoppy

After this, the wort is heated and hops are added when it reached boiling temperature. For a five-gallon batch at home I add around three ounces of hops. Standing Stone used twenty-three pounds for the Double IPA we created. That’s more than 120 times as much! The brewery boils the wort for about the same time as homebrewing, though the temperature control at the brewpub is much better.

Wort Chilling and Yeast Pitching

Before yeast can be ‘pitched’ to start fermentation, the wort must be brought to yeast’s favorite temperature, around 68 degrees for ale.

Brad Galusha and the yeast

Larry explains…We lower the temperature of the wort using a heat exchanger, a series of thin stainless steel plates. The hot wort flows on one side of the plate while cold water flows on the other side. The cold water absorbs all of the heat from the wort. We then have hot water that is pre-heated and saved for the next brew, and colder wort at the temperature that makes for happy yeast.

Jeff continues...After this, we transfer the wort to a fermentation vessel (a 360 gallon double-jacketed stainless-steel tank), using a pump and hoses that run through the brewpub’s heat exchanger, and add yeast to produce CO2 and alcohol. Standing Stone maintains their own yeast from batch to batch for the most part, and introduces considerably more of it. I use less than an ounce for homebrewing compared to 8-10 liters at the brewery!

Larry states…At this point, the beer ferments until it’s ready to tap. We schedule our production carefully to ensure our beers are always fresh and at their peak for your to enjoy.

Cleaning

Brad Galusha cleaning up

Jeff continues...In each of these steps, cleanliness is extremely important. Between raking out spent grain, cleaning the mash tun and boil kettle, sanitizing hoses and fittings, and sweeping and mopping the floors, there’s more time involved in cleaning than brewing!

Thanks, Jeff, for joining us to brew an excellent Double IPA and sharing the secrets of brewing at Standing Stone Brewing Company.

Chris Oliver makes a clean sweep

And a big thank you to all of our Brewer for the Day participants –  our customers have enjoyed the pints of your labor!

Want to peek further into our tanks? Check out videos from Southern Oregon University’s TV station: Our brewing process and an interview with Larry Chase & summer intern Acacia Baldner.

Jeff gets down with the cleaning process

“Brewer for the Day” & Supporting Homebrewers

We recently had the pleasure of inviting Isaac Overacker, an avid homebrewer, to spend a day at Standing Stone Brewing Co. and take part in the professional brewing process. Isaac was the lucky winner of a raffle prize we donated to a homebrewing event hosted by our friends at Grains, Beans & Things (supplies for homebrewers). It was a great experience so we thought we’d share it here.

Homebrewers are vocal proponents of small craft breweries. As a professional brewer I always enjoy conversing with homebrewers who are as passionate about their avocation as I am about my work. Here at the brewery, we love to welcome our hobbyist friends and help them advance their craft. So, when Dennis Dye of the Bear Creek Homebrew Club called for a raffle prize for a “Learn to Homebrew Day” event hosted by Grains, Beans, & Things as part of an annual, nationwide celebration sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association, I was glad to help. After musing about what a home brewer might like most, I thought they’d probably enjoy working on professional equipment and being able to share questions and insights with a brewmaster. So, we offered the grand prize of “Brewer for the Day,” providing the lucky winner with the opportunity to spend the day brewing at Standing Stone Brewing Co., including sampling our range of beers, eating a delicious lunch and taking home a Standing Stone t-shirt.

Isaac sent us a note reflecting on his experience and has allowed us to post it here:

I stopped by Grains Beans & Things a few weeks ago to pick up a few supplies for my next batch of beer. While I was there, I entered a drawing to be a “brewer for the day” at Standing Stone Brewing Company. I’ve been brewing all-grain with my dad for two years, but when I won the opportunity to help brew a batch of beer at Standing Stone, I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to improve my techniques. Spending a day helping a brewer as skilled and friendly as Larry was certainly one of the best things I’ve done for my brewing! Incorporating some of his tips and tricks, we improved the mash efficiency of our next batch by 50%. But more importantly, I had a lot of fun. Thank you, Larry, and the rest of the Standing Stone staff, for a great day! ~ Isaac

We had fun too, Isaac! Thanks for coming by, and thanks to Grains, Beans & Things and the American Homebrewers Association for supporting the growing movement of homebrewers. If you’d like the opportunity to be a “Brewer for the Day,” or know a special someone who would, we offer this package for purchase with other merchandise and gift items . . .perfect for the holidays or any day.


Meet Acacia Baldner: Our Fantastic Brewery Intern

Acacia brewing up great beer

We had an incredible summer intern, Acacia Baldner, and asked her to share her experience. Her guest post follows. She’s an avid home brewer and a senior in biochemistry at Southern Oregon University who will be attending the UC Davis Extension Brewing program in 2012 to become a professional brewmaster. Acacia brewed a specialty beer, Butternut Brown Ale, that may still be on tap if you’re lucky!

My interest in beer and brewing began when I was a kid and helped my family harvest the hops my dad grew on the side of the house. Eventually I started brewing a few batches of beginner beers with my dad and fell in love with the artistry, chemistry and biology of brewing and fermentation. I found that I liked homebrewing enough to look into making brewing my career.

One of the best ways to get started in the professional brewing field is to gain experience by participating in an internship and obtaining formal brewing training. Knowing that Standing Stone makes excellent beers and is very supportive of the local community, I thought they might want to help me on the road to being a professional brewer by taking me on as an intern.

Things turned out perfectly. I started working with Larry Chase, the brewmaster, in late June to begin learning the tools of the trade. One of the first things I learned was that 75% of the brewer’s time involves cleaning and sanitation and 25% is spent actually making beer. Lots of hard work soon followed, including learning how to transfer beer from the fermenters to the serving vessels, fill kegs properly, mill and mash the grain and boil the ‘wort’ into the sweet liquid that would soon become beer.

At the end of my internship I designed and brewed my own beer, Butternut Brown Ale. It is a medium bodied, malty beer that is very flavorful and has a mild, floral hop aroma. For my first attempt at brewing professionally, the beer seems to be a great success.

Though my internship is complete, I’ll still be working with beer for one of the senior projects I’m undertaking for my studies at Southern Oregon University. This will involve taking samples of immature “green” beer from Standing Stone and analyzing its flavor compounds as the beer matures. At the end of the project I will determine whether a five-day maturation period in a fermenter is necessaryfor the beer, or if a shorter maturation period is adequate.

The internship has increased my knowledge about brewing one thousandfold. When I attend the University of California Davis’ Master Brewer program in 2012, I will obtain the formal training to complement the wonderful start I’ve received here.

I want to thank Standing Stone co-owners, Alex and Danielle, for allowing me to have this wonderful experience, and extend special thanks to thank Larry for taking me under his wing and teaching me so much about brewing and the brewery.

~ Acacia Baldner, Summer 2010 intern

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