6 Beer-Themed, Fall-Themed Recipes

Do you ever sit inside during the fall wondering, “How am I going to fit more beer into my day?” Us too! One great way to show your undying love for craft beer is whipping it into your favorite recipes. We add beer to soups, roasts, stews, marinades, desserts…freezing leftover beer in ice cube trays and storing them in tupperware is a great way to have it on hand any time.

from Beeroness

from Beeroness

We scoured the internet for fall-themed recipes to use your favorite flavored brews, or even the leftover keg beer from last night’s party. Here are our picks for fitting beer onto your plate all throughout the day:

Breakfast | Pumpkins Ale Waffles | from The Beeroness

Second Breakfast (c’mon, you know you want it) | Beer-Candied Bacon | from Tide and Thyme

Lunch | Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup | from Spoon Fork Bacon


from Tide and Thyme

Afternoon Snack | Pale Ale Cheddar Cheese Crackers | from CraftBeer.com

Dinner | Beef and Stout Stew Over Mashed Potatoes | from Kitchen Vignettes

And for Dessert | Pumking Monkey Bread with Pumpkin Beer Caramel Sauce | from CraftBeer.com

Now farewell, and cheers to your upcoming cooking-with-beer adventures! Let us know how they turn out. Or bring them by. Either way.

Drive Less, Save More

The Oregon Drive Less Challenge has come and gone, and we’re excited to tally our Common Block team’s overall numbers for using alternative transportation to get to work from October 5th-18th:

Gasoline saved: 54 gallons

drive less challenge logoCO2 saved: 1,062 lbs.

Trips not driven alone: 114

Miles not driven alone: 1,523

Methods of transportation: biking, carpooling, RVTD bus

Thanks to Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) for giving us the inspiration to trek it to work in something other than our single-driver cars. The week was full of events, meet-ups and prizes all over the Rogue Valley. The daily themes and rewards kept things interesting and, we’ll admit, slightly competitive. One of our coworkers, Matt, won a Nutcase bike helmet! More than anything, it was a great daily reminder that there are lots of enjoyable ways of getting to and from wherever we need to be.

bike tripWhat was our favorite part about the alternative transportation week, you ask? Chatting it up! We exercised our muscles and our jaws socializing with coworkers on group bike rides. And the post-work carpool is a great way to decompress with workmates at the end of the day. Especially if the carpool ends up at a brewery on the way home. Just saying.

What were some of your highlights from the week? We loved seeing all the #2015ORChallenge photos on social media, and getting motivated from other awesome bikers and walkers. We hope you were able to join in the festivities, too, and look forward to next year!

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.


Separating grain. Eat your heart out, MacGyver.

What’s in it

2-Row, Victory, Wheat Malt

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.

Meet the Brewer: John Donehower

Meet John. John likes beer. John likes to make beer. We like John.

We’re thrilled to have John as our head brewer, and while our brewing equipment won’t be ready for a few more months, he’s been busy making homebrew recipes at the brewpub and at home (for R&D purposes). He’s also donned his beat-up denim jeans and old t-shirts everyday to come help build the brewery from the ground up. You’ll often find John wearing safety goggles, either for making a small batch of beer or chiseling away at some construction project.

John 1995

John’s first batch (stout) in 1995

Here’s a bit about Mr. Donehower, his brewing history, and what he sees brewing in the future for Common Block.

John, you beer-making machine, tell us about your personal and professional brewing history. 

I brewed my first beer in 1995 on a stovetop. It was a 5-gallon partial mash batch of stout. A lot went wrong. The kettle boiled over. I over-filled the carboy. The fermentation blew the airlock off spraying beer all over the coats in the closet. However, I got the beer successfully bottle-conditioned and it turned out all right. I drank every bottle!

Gauge Tap

Eight years later I was brewing 10-gallon all-grain batches on a three-vessel
system with propane burners and a pump and hoses, hacking air-conditioners for controlling my fermentation temperatures, and pouring the finished beer from a three-faucet home-made kegerator. There was nowhere to go but pro.


Making the Rough Draft Ale at Common Block

My first brewing job was at Pyramid Breweries in Berkeley, CA, working in the fermentation cellar and in the brewhouse. I couldn’t wait to learn how to do everything. The sheer size of the equipment was amazing. Mashing six or seven thousand pounds of grain and hopping four thousand gallons of boiling wort is a mighty thing. While working there, I studied brewing at UC-Davis.

In 2011, I went to Arizona with two other former Pyramid folks to build and to open the Phoenix Ale Brewery. I enjoyed building a brewery from the ground up and designing all of the recipes, but when it’s 110 degrees outside you can guess how hot it is inside standing next to a 20-bbl brewhouse.

And so here I am, finally, in beer heaven swinging a hammer, turning a shovel, and snapping chalk lines again on a brand new brewery. The old homebrew rig is back out and busy turning out fresh ideas. It’s going to be so much cooler this time.

We’ve spotted you with beer in hand after running the Wild Rogue Relay
 and Mt. Ashland Hillclimb this year. Be honest, is it part of your motivation when you’re out there running?

If you have to run 13.2 miles uphill for a beer then you’re probably
doing something wrong! The beer is more like step 1 of recovery. And
steps 2 and 3.

John at permit party

Showing onlookers his homebrew set-up at our Permit Party in August

Can you give us a sneak peek of the beer styles you have in mind for brewing at Common Block?

Common Block will have a multi-tap format where we’ll pour our beers alongside beers from other craft brewers. This allows us to offer a wide choice of styles without limiting our brewing capacity to the usual pale ale, IPA, stout, and amber line up. I see us doing things like single-hop pale ales and IPAs alongside one another for the sheer joy of comparing ingredients, or bringing in authentic yeasts to brew flights of Belgian ales and German lagers, or taking advantage of the Rogue Valley to brew with seasonal ingredients like grapes, peaches, pears, apples, and of course, fresh hops. I’ve also got my eye on an out-of-the-way spot in the brewery where I think a few oak barrels will fit nicely.

Thanks John! You can read about more folks on our Common Block team here:

Meet Common Blocker Nick Blakeslee

Meet Common Blocker Ashley Nunes

Meet Common Blocker Rachel Koning