Getting to Know Griess Family Brews

Let’s all raise a glass for a moment to toast this: our region is home to some awesome craft breweries. So much so, that All About Beer Magazine wrote last year about Southern Oregon priming to be a big beer destination in Oregon. We’re excited to jump in and join the fun soon, and in the meantime we’re getting to know some of our fellow beer-making enthusiasts. We’re asking local breweries some questions, they’re giving us answers, and we all get insight into what makes these awesome local businesses…well…awesome.

IMG_2526 (1)We’re starting our brewery spotlight series with Griess Family Brews in Grants Pass. This downtown nano brewery features a welcoming taproom with beer, wine and cider. They brew their beer on-site, and offer guest tap options alongside their flagship ales, such as Girlfriend IPA and Little Orphan Amber. On your visit, enjoy ping pong, live music, trivia, or just sit back with a beer!

When did you start brewing?

For fun, six or seven years ago. Commercially, in 2014.

What are some not-to-be-missed events at the brewery people should know about for 2016?

Our Anniversary Party in April is alway epic, and this year will be for sure! First Friday music events, and First Tuesday of every month Trivia. We also have our annual Ugly Sweater Party in December. (Visit their events page for monthly happenings)

daveDo you have favorite music you listen to while you’re brewing?

Hard Rock – what else is there?

What is your favorite beer and food pairing at the end of a brewing day?

Little Orphan Amber and pizza.

Say the apocalypse happens, and you’re only allowed to pack away one GFB beer for your 12-month bunker supply. Which beer do you choose?

Grandpa Hall and Oats. It’s an oatmeal stout, so it is fortified with oats to sustain us!

(photos: Griess Family Brews)

Beer-Themed Valentine’s Dinner Inspiration

Dig out your Barry White albums, dim the lights, and get ready for a delectable Valentine’s Day with these beer-themed recipes. We went ahead and collected some ideas for a five-course affair, if you’re into that kind of thing (which we are). So go on, and impress your significant other with your beer cooking know-how. Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like whipping up a handful of courses with everyone’s favorite ingredient. We’re talking beer here, people. Chocolate’s already been done.

 

First Course: Shrimp Skewers with Spicy IPA Vinaigrette ~ from Craftbeer.com

Salad Course: Drunken Winter Farro Blood Orange Salad with Stout Balsamic Glaze ~ from The Beeroness

Soup Course: Brie & Cheddar Apple Beer Soup with Cinnamon Pecan Oat Crumble ~ from Half Baked Harvest

Main Course: Slow Cooker Beer Braised Brisket ~ from Bon Appetit

Dessert: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Flaked Sea Salt ~ from Broma Bakery

And because it sounds like a really good idea, we’re going to be making the Brie & Cheddar Apple Beer Soup. How can we not? Did you see that photo? Stay tuned to our Twitter feed to see how it goes, and how long it lasts. We’re guessing not long.

Getting to Know Our Neighbors at Inn at the Commons

Since posting in December about places to stay and walk to breweries in Southern Oregon (because there are quite a few!), we’ve spent time with our awesome neighbors across the street at Inn at the Commons. This newly-renovated, downtown Medford hub of visitors is loads of fun year-round, and it’s a stone’s throw away from our front door.

Inn at the Commons

We chatted with the newly designated Bike-Friendly hotel (which borders the Bear Creek Greenway for cycling, running, strolling, etc.) about how the Inn came to be, what they love in and around Medford, and what visitors can look forward to when staying at Inn at the Commons.

Tell us a bit about the property and how Inn at the Commons came to be?

Originally built in 1968 as a motor lodge, the hotel had already become a gathering center in Medford for large conferences and annual community events before we took it over. In July of 2013, Doug and Becky Neuman purchased what was then a Red Lion and went about an enormous renovation project that continues to this day. Becky Neuman’s talent for restoring historic properties came in handy! She and the Neuman Hotel Group (NHG) team put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into overhauling a once-neglected set of buildings into the hip and happening inn it is today.

In partnership with the City of Medford, we tore down some existing structures, and planned a new parking lot (which is currently being built.) Only 118 guest rooms from the original 185 were kept. Drawing from the farm-to-table restaurant concept established at Larks Restaurant inside the Ashland Springs Hotel, our management team and the Larks team took over what was a former restaurant/bar/coffee shop and opened a second Larks Restaurant. Beyond that, all banquet spaces, the lobby, guest rooms, the breakfast room, the facades and some landscaping were completely overhauled. Sometime in 2016, we’ll be building an outdoor courtyard for those warm summer evenings by the pool, too.

What are some highlights of being in downtown Medford?

The biggest highlight for us is that we get to play an active role in Medford’s huge economic transformation. We sort of think of downtown Medford as being like the Pearl District of Portland was 10 years ago – we see enormous potential for growth here. In the early 2000’s, downtown Medford wasn’t exactly a place you would call a bustling hive of activity (at least not compared to other bigger cities), but that is definitely changing.  People are coming here for the local food scene, for the arts, for shopping, for business. There are great shops and coffee houses and businesses popping up here these days; it’s very exciting to watch it all happening! And we think the outdoor concert lawn right across from the Common Block has the potential to attract really large numbers of people. We also feel that with Inn at the Commons’ potential to bring large conferences right into downtown Medford, we can play a part in helping other businesses thrive.

Larks Medford

Which not-to-be-missed places do you encourage guests to see?

Medford as a town is going through a fantastic revitalization – the city and certain investors have poured millions of dollars into the downtown Commons area, creating outdoor spaces for gathering, entertainment, and play. Hawthorne Park is one great example of these efforts. So one thing we encourage our guests to do is to see Medford on foot. Get out and walk around! There’s so much fun to be had in the downtown area!

Medford has a lot to offer travelers, beyond being a gateway to Ashland, the Applegate Valley, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Britt Music Festival, the breathtaking Oregon outdoors, or the metropolises north. Since those are the attractions most people from out-of-state already know about, we like to brag on our thriving artisan food scene, Southern Oregon wine country, and of course, all the local breweries and brew pubs. So we’ll direct our guests to places like Jefferson Spirits, Elements Tapas Bar, The Bohemian Club, Capers, Habanero’s, Porter’s, Beerworks, Kaleidoscope Pizzeria, and soon, Common Block Brewing!! And for the serious foodies, trips to Butte Creek Mill, Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolates, and Rogue Creamery are musts. And also the Medford Grower’s and Crafter’s Market on Thurs. and Sat. mornings, and Dunbar Farms’ “Honor Barn Farm Stand.”

We also like to point out that there’s a pretty hoppin’ antique scene, with several antique dealers within blocks of each other right in downtown Medford.

What are some of your guest packages visitors should know about?

Our most popular is the Night Away Package. And we’re very excited to be working on a “Pub Crawl Package” with several local establishments, so keep your eyes out for that one!

We’re guessing your heated outdoor pool is the place to be in the summertime. What kinds of activities do you recommend for guests in the winter season?

Inn at the Commons just qualified with our state’s tourism board, Travel Oregon, as a Bike Friendly Business and we encourage our guests to take advantage of the Bear Creek Greenway just behind the Inn, winter or summer (when in Rome…).

In winter, we encourage guests to visit Mt. Ashland for top rate skiing and snowboarding, or to try the trails at Buck Prairie for cross-country skiing. And indoors, there’s Rogue Air trampoline park, or taking a tour of Harry & David, which is part of another package we offer.

Thanks to Inn at the Commons! Visit their website or call for more info: (541) 779-9811

6 Local Races with Beer at the Finish Line

It’s New Year’s resolution time! While some of us have resolved to drink a huge variety of craft beer in 2016 (we’re so proud of you, Nick), lots of oath-makers pick exercise as their January 1st life-change of choice. So we’re making your dedication easier by compiling a list of races in southern Oregon that boast beer at the finish line. Training is just a little more palatable when you know you’ll be racing toward beer, don’t you think?

IMG_2126

The finish line party at the Wild Rogue Relay, 2015. And world’s best photo bomb.

Siskiyou Challenge Relay RaceApril

This five-leg relay in Ashland, Oregon features running, kayaking, road biking and mountain biking, followed by food, beer, and entertainment. The race begins and ends at the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, where racers can browse exhibits after they finish, peruse the outdoor Harvest Fest, or just relax in the big, open field. Common Block (that’s us!) is pouring a free pint and serving up food for all racers at the finish.

Wild Rogue RelayJune

Gather 11 of your best running pals for this 220-mile relay from Applegate Lake to Brookings, Oregon. Over the mountains and through the woods, racers trek all day and night to get to the finish line where craft beer and food await. Local coffee maker, Dutch Bros., also provides free beverages for racers along the way, in case staying awake for 30+ hours isn’t normally your thing.

Siskiyou Outback (SOB) July

We’re excited to jump on board as the official post-race beer sponsor for Southern Oregon’s favorite grueling and gorgeous mountain-top race. Runners can choose from 15K, 50K, or 50-mile options, all starting from the parking lot at Mt. Ashland. We’ll be cheering in the racers with free pints at the finish line – maybe after a little cool-down for those 50 mile folks.

Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run August

This 13.3-mile footrace is not for the faint-of-heart (just look at the cover photo on their Facebook page). Runners climb over 5,600 feet to the summit of Mt. Ashland from Lithia Park. At least there’s cold beer for runners at the finish, provided by Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Ashland.

The Rogue Run September

The marathon, half-marathon, and 10K races end at a beer festival! After running along the Bear Creek Greenway, racers can browse the Southern Oregon Harvest Festival and BrewFest at the Jackson County Expo, with over 70 beer vendors. Plenty of options for beer-induced recovery, we’d say.

Running Dead, presented by Southern Oregon Goodwill October

This 5K race of mortals and zombies will end with an Apocalypse Party at Common Block’s parking lot in downtown Medford. Runners choose to either chase or be chased, with make-up artists on hand to transform everyday humans into running-dead, man-eating creatures. We’ll pour a free beer for all racers at the finish, because zombies drink beer, too.

Side note: Have you heard about this guy, 65,  from Massachusetts? He’s vowed to run at least one mile, and drink one can or bottle of beer every day in 2016. All 365 days! Cheers to taking your resolution to the next level, Tim.