Wrapping Up 2015: Brewery Progress Update

Things are starting to look, well, more brewery-like around here. We’ve revamped our concrete floors, played with some big welding projects, and begun framing a section of the restaurant. Up next: finishing steelwork for the brewing mezzanine, insulating and building walls, and bringing in all our kitchen equipment for the prep area and cooking line.

While our construction team has been working away on the building projects, our busy graphic design team has been creating plans for Common Block glassware, coasters, shirt, signs, menus and more. And don’t forget about John…our brewer has been testing recipes for the big brew tanks once they get here.

Just so you don’t think we’re hibernating for the winter over here (ok, maybe we took a brief break at Thanksgiving), we put together a photo recap of some of our brewery progress over the last couple of months. You can also stay in touch on Instagram (@commonblockbrew) for the most up-to-date photos of Common Block projects and happenings.

Here’s what’s new on the block:

hallway

restrooms

IMG_2916

busy bodies

new concrete floors

 

Soap Box: Wild Rivers, Wild Brews

wildriverswildbrews

Our blog isn’t usually a place where we take a stance (except when it comes proclaiming our love of beer), but in this case we want to talk about something important to us.  We’ve signed on with the Wild Rivers, Wild Brews coalition.  The group’s purpose is to unify the voices of Oregon’s breweries to support the protection of southwestern Oregon’s rivers and public lands from three proposed nickel strip mines.

The nickel mines would be located on Hunter Creek near the coast and near California’s border, on the Smith and Illinois rivers. These rivers are not the only waterways at risk.  The Illinois flows into the Rogue River, which would be affected as well.  Arch Rock Brewing sits on Hunter Creek in Gold Beach, Oregon, with a salmon stream that would change forever if the proposed mine went through.

So why are breweries getting involved?  First, we Oregonians are protective of our natural habitat.  We’re a state that jumped on REI’s #OptOutside movement by offering free state park access to all the day after Thanksgiving.

We’re dedicated to maintaining what makes Oregon unique and beautiful.

Illinois River

Illinois River; one of the rivers at risk

Second, the primary ingredient of beer is water.  Though nickel is one of the main components for making brewing equipment, we’d be hard pressed to use that brewing equipment without water.   We feel the drive to preserve clean water where we can.  Nickel can be recycled, brewing equipment can be recycled, we can find nickel where it doesn’t damage some of the purest fresh water ecosystems in the lower 48 states.

Wild salmon streams would be impeded, river and creek paths altered, and the effects would be persistent and permanent. Oregon houses diverse climates, a rich microbrew scene, and breath-taking landscapes.  We can’t afford to lose what makes this state great for the sake of another resource.

Thankfully, our state senators have already introduced legislation (the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act) to protect these rivers.  The Bureau of Land Management has also done their part by segregating the lands in question to give our Congress time to make a decision. But our voice is only one. If you feel the same as we do, make sure to contact Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative DeFazio, and tell them you support protecting the wild rivers of southwestern Oregon from nickel mining. And encourage your other local breweries to join the Wild Rivers, Wild Brews coalition.

OK, that’s it for our soap box.  Happy Holidays!

Places To Stay & Walk to Beer in the Rogue Valley

During your holiday travels, you may find yourself overnighting in a hotel or two. If your mid-way stop happens to be in Southern Oregon, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of places to stay in the area that are within walking distance of local breweries. Because, heck, if you’re going to stay in a room for a night you should probably throw in a stroll and some local beer while you’re here.

Here’s our list of places to stay in the Rogue Valley with local craft breweries nearby:

IATC-exterior

(photo: innatthecommons.com)

Inn at the Commons | Medford

Nearby breweries: Portal Brewing Co.

This downtown Medford gem is right across the street from us, so when we open after the New Year we’ll be able to add Common Block to this list, too! From Inn at the Commons, Portal is an easy jaunt just a few blocks away. You can also hit up Beerworks bottleshop on Main Street, or BricktownE Brewing Co. on Central, if you’re wanting to grab a selection for back at the hotel. Make it a downtown beer tour!

 

holiday inn interior

(photo: Holiday Inn Express)

Holiday Inn Express & Suites | Ashland

Nearby brewery: Caldera Brewing Co.

Lounge in the hot tub and then walk a few minutes up the street to Caldera for food, beer, and great views of the hills. The brewery’s patio is dog-friendly, as is the hotel.

 

Blue Moon Bed & Breakfast | Ashland

blue moon

(photo: bluemoonbandb.com)

Nearby breweries: Swing Tree Brewing Co. (.4 mi)

This taproom is just under a half-mile walk for those of you who want a bit more exercise between pints. Cozy up at the bar, or channel your inner kid for the holidays with games like shuffleboard, Jumbo Jenga, foosball and darts.

 

Redwood Motel | Grants Pass

Nearby breweries : Climate City Brewing Co. (.8 mi)

redwood motel

(photo: redwoodmotel.com)

This brewery is a little further away from where you’ll stay, but worth the walk. Weather permitting, enjoy the patio (since you’ll have your walking jacket with you anyway), and munch on one of their several pizzas with your brew.

Safe travels to all over the holidays! While commuting to see family and friends, use the opportunity to visit craft breweries along the way. Grab some beer to-go, too, for gifts or parties, and be that person who shows up with great beer. We all love that person.

 

Rogue Valley Holiday Beer Challenge

Over the next few weeks, while we all get a little crazy with holiday parties, decorating, cooking, baking, book club meetings (if you’re cool like some of us), and photo ops, we want to take some time to remember why we’re here…beer, of course!

The Rogue Valley is teeming with delicious craft beer, and we know that we’ll be filled to the brim with things to do once we get ready to open the brewpub after the New Year. So, we’re dedicating ourselves to one month of tireless local beer tasting.

Welcome to the Rogue Valley Holiday Beer Challenge.

For December, we’re challenging our group of coworkers to visit one Rogue Valley brewery each week, AND enjoy at least one locally brewed beer at home. So, that’s one trip to a local brewery and one trip to a grocery store, bottle shop, brewery, distributor, etc. for a beer made in in our valley. Repeats are allowed, group visits are encouraged, and growlers, bottles or kegs are all fair game.

RV Holiday Beer ChallengeHere’s a list of local brewery choices:

Play along using our RV Holiday Beer Challenge Tasting Sheet, marking your two beers each week and taking notes.

On our quest, we’re using #HolidayBeerChallenge to document our collective journeys. We invite you to post your own photos for all of us to enjoy/drool over, too! Now go forth, and relish local beer responsibly with us in December… and then actually WITH US when we open after the New Year. Cheers!

amaroticosUPDATE: Due to popular demand for a prize, we’re doing a drawing at the end of the month for a Common Block t-shirt! Show us your completed sheet by using #holidaybeerchallenge on Twitter or Instagram, or share on our Facebook page. However you choose, we’ll throw your name in a hat – or whatever we have lying around – and pick a t-shirt recipient on Friday, January 8th. Now get out there and visit your local breweries!