Progress Update: We’re Open!

Wow.  It’s been a while.  Sorry about that, but so much has happened in the last month!  Let’s see… Nick’s cat went on a diet, our Resident Long Haired Hawaiian left to visit the homeland—oh, and we opened the restaurant!  That’s right, for those who haven’t been in yet, we opened our doors on the 26th of December.  We thought it’d make a great late Christmas present to ourselves.  Or an early New Year’s present.  A belated winter solstice present?

Regardless, Chef David has put together an awesome menu that features loads of local choices and some downright delicious food items.  (If you haven’t read our post on him, check it out and get familiar with the man behind the curtain.)  So far, fan favorites have been the Farmstead Pizza, Stout Battered Fish and Chips and, of course, our burgers.  Especially the Chefslayer (featuring a fried egg and IPA onions, served with a side of Food Coma) and the Bacon and Bacon Burger (we weren’t content with just bacon, so we made a bacon jam as well, because, really, the best pairing with bacon is always more bacon).

 

We’re also featuring 20 beers and ciders on tap, 11 wines on tap, a stellar handcrafted specialty cocktail list and a full bar for all of you drinking connoisseurs out there.  So far, our flagship Common Block Pale Ale has received rave reviews, and we’re about to start brewing more beers!  Keep an eye out in February for our Common Block IPA and Porter.

We’ve been so excited with the support that Medford and our surrounding communities have shown, and if you’ve already visited us, we thank you!  We’re humbled and grateful for the enthusiasm and feedback from our guests as we get this brewpub show on the road. And if you haven’t visited, all we can say is…

What are you waiting for?!

2 Summer Cocktail Recipes, Because It’s Summer

While we’re working away to open our doors for all you lovely people, we’re still making time for recipe experimenting in our free time. Our brewer, John, has been staying busy brewing pilot recipes for Common Block on his own homebrewing system, and our bartender extraordinaire, Andy, has tirelessly tested cocktail concoctions to sling your way along the bar top. Did we say recipe experimenting? Maybe we meant drink experimenting.

Because we love Andy’s creativity and focus on local ingredients, we asked him to pass along a few of his favorite seasonal drink ideas. These two drinks are summer-inspired and include ingredients that you can find at our local Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market (like cucumbers, strawberries and herbs from the Saturday gathering next door at the Medford Commons). We also recommend using Immortal Spirits craft products made here in Medford, Oregon! This just-down-the-street distillery on Central Ave. puts out an impressive array of craft liquors – all handmade from scratch. Mix, pour, and enjoy!

Honeydew Cucumber Mint Cooler

honeydew cucumber mint cooler1 honeydew melon, peeled and chopped, seeds okay

1 cucumber, English or standard variety, peeled

1 cup of fresh mint

½ cup fresh lime juice

1 ½ oz. Immortal Spirits gin

1-2 thinly sliced lime wheels, for garnishing

 

Blend melon, one-half of the cucumber, and mint in blender until smooth, and then strain through a mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Add fresh lime juice. Cut the other half of the cucumber into slices, add to pitcher, and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Stir well and pour over ice in a rocks glass with Immortal Spirits gin. Garnish with the thinly sliced lime wheels.

Can’t find honeydew? Substitute watermelon or cantaloupe and prepare the same way.

 

Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade

RV Market Strawberries

Market berries! (photo: Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market)

1 cup of raw turbinado sugar

8 sprigs of thyme

1 quart of strawberries (hulled and sliced)

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

1 ½ oz. Immortal Spirits vodka

 

Make your thyme simple syrup using the sugar, thyme and one cup of water. Boil ingredients in a small saucepan stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and discard thyme sprigs.

Combine thyme syrup with strawberries, lemon juice and five cups of water in a large pitcher. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve over ice in rocks glass with Immortal Spirits vodka. Garnish with a sprig or two of fresh thyme.

Short on thyme? Substitute rosemary instead.

 

 

Common Block’s Second Beer: Blueprint IPA + Homebrew Recipe

You can take the man out of the brewery, but you can’t take the brewer out of the man.  Brewer John has whipped up another pilot beer, one we’re naming the Blueprint IPA.  This may come as a surprise… we love it.

Here’s how the tasting went down: First thing Nick noted was its floral aroma.  Then Rachel noticed its peachy front.  That was the moment when Alex stated the beer’s hoppy finish (he gets ahead of everyone else).  At this time, Nick took another sip, just to make sure he got all the tasting notes right.  The notes were right, but another pint was needed just to be sure.  Turns out the second pint tasted a lot like the first, but would the third…?

The main flavor/aroma ingredient in the beer are the Mosaic hops, a Simcoe Pedigree.  The Mosaic hop gives the beer an incredible peach and dried apricot aroma.  The nose compliments the flavor well, as this IPA has a slight fruity front. The Columbus hops create a hoppy finish that keeps you wanting more.

Since we can’t sell our beer (yet!), we wanted to share the recipe for John’s Blueprint IPA, for all you home brewers out there:

This is sized for a 3x5 inch notecard, so print it off and add it to your recipe book!

This is sized for a 3×5 inch notecard, so print it off and add it to your recipe book!

And since you’ll be making the beer at home, why not pair some food with it, too?  Here are a couple of dishes we fantasized about pairing with this beer:

Bangers and Mash
The hoppy flavor from the IPA cuts through the fat of this hearty dish.  Additionally, the bratwurst and mashed potatoes would help cleanse your pallet of the Blueprint’s hoppy finish.

Spicy Mango Salsa with Salted Corn Chips
If you’re a spice fan, then any beer with hoppy bitterness is the beer for you.  Hops amplify spice, increasing the intensity of heat.  Furthermore, the fruity mango flavor from this salsa goes with the fruit front we tasted in the Blueprint IPA.

If you brew Blueprint IPA, please let us know!  We’d love to hear how it turns out.

Until then, we’ll keep a rigorous schedule when doing R&D; these beers aren’t going to drink themselves.

Common Block’s First Brew: Rough Draft Ale

We may not have our professional brewing equipment yet, but that doesn’t keep us from making beer! Our head brewer, John, brought his impressive homebrewing set-up to our downtown Medford building, and spent a day making a pale ale recipe for us all to enjoy after a hard day of brewpub-building work.

We just tapped it last week, and – no surprise here – we love it! John’s beer, Rough Draft Ale, has us more excited than ever to jump into this beer-making adventure. Here are the notes on Rough Draft, and all the things it makes us want to eat and do.

Grain-Drop

Separating grain. Eat your heart out, MacGyver.

What’s in it

Malts:
2-Row, Victory, Wheat Malt

Hops:
Citra, Simcoe

OG: 15.5*P
AE: 4.0*P
IBU: 42
ABV: 6.3%

John waits for a boil.

John waits for a boil.

 

What it tastes like

The first thing we noted about this beer is the citrusy hop aroma. The mouthfeel is light and crisp, while the piney and fruity hop flavors give Rough Draft a solid kick. The hoppy finish is long and lingering, like an awkward cross-the-room stare.

What we want to eat with it

The first thing that comes to mind is a basket of fried calamari. We’d also like to have a pint with a rosemary-rubbed pork chop, or crispy fish with lemon tartar sauce. Foods with light-to-medium bodies, a bit of fat, and slight citrus characters are right up this beer’s alley.

And if you’d like to learn a little more about John (because we think he does a heckuva job), check out our Headbrewer Bio post from earlier this week.