One of the greatest things about Oregon is the proliferation of amazingly good craft beer! From the major producers such as Deschutes and Full Sail, to the tiny nano-breweries such as Beetje and Vertigo, the opportunity of find and consume some of the best beer in the country is abound in Oregon. And while not quite as prolific in number as other parts of the state, Southern Oregon is no stranger to quality craft breweries. Indeed, two operate right here in Ashland! Caldera Brewing Co. and Standing Stone Brewing Co. both operate in the city and offer both high quality brews and an excellent dining experience.

Caldera, the first brewery to establish itself in Ashland, is the larger of the two facilities operating in town. Producing just over 3,600bbls (a bbl, or barrel, is 31 gallons of beer!) in 2011, Caldera Brewing is currently the 16th largest brewery in the state. Caldera was one of the first craft breweries to introduce canned beer to the market. Offering their three flagship varieties, Ashland Amber, Pale Ale, and IPA, in cans, Caldera Brewing was a leader in altering the misconception of consumers that canned beer isn’t good beer. Indeed, cans do a far superior job in protecting beer from the damaging effects of light and oxygen than do bottles and Caldera’s beers taste as good from the can as they do from the tap.

But that’s not all Caldera offers. For those living or visiting Ashland, Caldera has a pub as well. Offering traditional pub fair, one can pair their burger and fries with any number of beers on tap. Currently the pub beer selection numbers as many as 21 offerings! Ranging from the classic pilsner to the more avant-garde Ginger Beer, it’s near impossible to not find something that would appeal to the taste buds.

Interested in checking out the Caldera lineup?
Find them at 31 Water Street #2
Call them at (541) 482-HOPS
Visit them online at www.calderabrewing.com

If you’re looking for a bit of a more refined experience, Standing Stone Brewing may be more your style. Founded in 1996 by local residents and brothers Emile and Alex Amarotico, Standing Stone Brewing has quickly established itself  as a model of sustainable brewing and business practice in Southern Oregon. With a much smaller production of 540bbls in 2011, Standing Stone clocks in at the 64th largest facility in the state. And while 540bbls is no small feat by any stretch of the imagination, they manage to keep their beers truly artisanal in character and production.

Standing Stone currently offers seven beers on tap and, while not available in retail establishments, brews can be taken to go in bottles, growlers, and kegs. With selections ranging from the Madrone Red Ale to their amazing Oatmeal Stout, there’s a beer style for everyone at Standing Stone Brewery. And if quality craft beer wasn’t enough for you, how about an upscale bistro dining experience to boot? At Standing Stone the food speaks almost as loudly as the beer. With everything from wood-fired pizzas to Tempeh Stir Fry, the food selection is robust.

If their product isn’t enough to impress you, how about their business philosophy? Stand Stone prides themselves on their sustainable, environmentally friendly business and production practices. From their super efficient kitchen equipment and solar panel array, to their grain recycling program and support of local vendors (spent grain generated as part of the brewing process is sent to farms to feed cattle that are then purchased back to make the amazing burgers in the restaurant!), Standing Stone is a leader in sustainable business practices not just in Southern Oregon but throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Interested in check out Standing Stone Brewing Co.?
Find them at 101 Oak St.
Call them at (541) 482-2448
Visit them online at www.standingstonebrewing.com

This article was written by Nick Ellis of Southern Oregon. Nick and his wife, Erin, are in the process of starting a brewery of their own, called Apocalypse Brewing Co.

Ashland, Oregon: Craft Beers

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