May is the Month to Hop On Your Bike!

 

May is National Bike Month, making it the ideal time to pedal, walk, bus or carpool around town from Point A to Point B. It’s also the month for joining two statewide and local challenges: The Street Trust’s Bike More Challenge encourages individuals and workplaces throughout Oregon to compete for most miles and trips biked during the month of May. The Rogue Commute Challenge by the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) pits local workplaces on a leaderboard to see which organization can log the most collective alternative transportation trips. Both are awesome reasons to try new ways to get where you need to be!

 

About the Bike More Challenge

 

The Challenge is a state-wide, month-long friendly competition between workplaces to see who can get the greatest percentage of employees to log the most trips on their bike. Ride your bike to work, the grocery store, or for fun and log all of your trips at bikemorechallenge.com! At the end they tally the results, give out awards in different categories of company size and sector, and celebrate everyone’s hard work and commitment for the month.

 

About the Rogue Commute Challenge

 

The Rogue Commute Challenge allows workplaces to team together and compete against other local workplace teams to see who can log more walking, biking, carpooling, transit, or telecommute trips and earn glory by being named King of the Rogue Commuters! This fun competition is a great way to learn more about commuting options, earn prizes, get healthy, reduce our carbon footprint and build camaraderie while competing to have your workplace win the Challenge! It’s all about fun, building teamwork, and learning about the commute options available in the Rogue Valley.

 

If you haven’t already, you can still sign up for the Bike More Challenge, as well as enjoy all the local events associated with RVTD’s Go By Bike Week, May 15-19. Register for the bike skills class, join group rides with free snacks and schwag, visit a breakfast station, and sign up for the Grow a Pear Run, Walk, or Bike 5K.

 

And if you find yourself biking in downtown Medford, feel free to use our community bike racks! We’ve got plenty of room for all, and then come inside and grab a beer because, dangit, you deserve it! Our team of Common Blockers will be cruising on bikes and busses logging points, too (we have coworkers biking from Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Eagle Point!), so please cheer them on if you see their blue shirts commuting around the valley.

 

 

Beer History: India Pale Ale

We invite you to sit back with a cold one and enjoy a guest post by bartender, history major and story-teller extraordinaire: the one, the only, Nick Blakeslee.

There are many different styles of beer in the world.  Beer Advocate puts the number around 104, but styles are constantly being invented or improved upon, mixed or matched, tweaked or tailored.  Once upon a time, there were only a handful of selections: stouts, porters, pale ales and the like.   But where did those staples come from?  Great question, hypothetical inner monologue that brings up the perfect questions exactly when I need them.  Today we’re going to talk about a beer that has become a staple for breweries all over America for the past decade: the India Pale Ale – or as you probably know it, the IPA.

The IPA is a relatively new ale, one that’s only graced bars, saloons, restaurants, tap houses and my weird teacher’s secret cache, since around the turn of the 18th century, making it one of the newest ales brewed to date, considering beer has been consumed for the past several thousand years or so.

Now, before we get started, like many things in history it’s hard to say which story is true – which is legend and which is just a bold-faced lie. Humans are OK at record keeping, but they’re even better at telling stories. We have the uncanny ability to embellish, over-exaggerate or just straight make things up: for example, my uncle thinks he’s a good fisherman.

Artist’s rendition of what Billy McSchnockered might have looked like.

Which is where our friend, the IPA comes in.  In our research, we found that there’s no agreed upon origin story of the IPA.  There’s no clear document that says in bold typeface, “THE IPA WAS CREATED BY BILLY McSCHOCKERED, THE TOWN DRUNK OF LONDON IN 1821.”  Instead, like much of history, we have to piece together bits of a story—some truth, others fiction—in order to find the semblance of what really happened.

So we’ll start with a disclaimer: there’s no 100% agreed upon origin story of the IPA.  That said, there is one that highlights the most common history told of the IPA; a story that provides at least a bit of insight, as to how the iconic beer may have gotten its name.  It involves soldiers far away from home, an overreaching brewer and colonial England.

At the time of the IPA’s creation, pale ales were very popular in England.  Often floral, a milder flavor than the stout and porters, this beer was enjoyed year-round, but especially in the summer time in England—a season lasting about four days.

Though recently losing the thirteen territories, England was nearing the height of its empire – it spanned from Europe, to the Americas, to Africa, Australia and India.  Being a large empire means having a lot of peacekeepers, which is just a fancy way of saying, “people with guns.”  The Royal Navy was at its zenith, and it held the trophy for largest naval force since the sinking of the Spanish Armada in the late 16th century.  Having the largest navy meant England was able to plant loads of flags all over the world to claim territories for queen and country (kind of like a kid at a dessert buffet sticking his finger in every cake to claim them for himself).  Wealth, power and commerce flowed freely into the hands of England.  This tiny country had all the things it’d need to become the largest empire in the world and eventually hold sway over a quarter of the world’s population.

And this large population needed food and drink…and beer.  British soldiers were actually given a beer ration, because beer is a great way to keep people happy (especially those very far away from home).  India was a relatively new territory for England (who showed up early in the 17th century), and supplies were sent from all over for their soldiers, but one thing could never quite make it: a nice pale ale.

Route from England to India, before the construction of the Suez Canal.

Because here’s the deal with pale ales: they’re delicate, temperamental and arguably weak in constitution (basically me in middle school… and high school…and now.).  It was much too hot to brew a pale ale in India (remember: no refrigerators) meaning the beer would need to be imported from England.  But the delicate beer couldn’t make it; merchants had to go around the tip of South Africa (the Suez Canal wasn’t constructed until 1869), meaning the trip would take six months by ship, one way.  Ales only take 2-4 weeks to brew, so the beer would be sitting in barrels for 5 months.  That, compounded with dangerous seas and mankind’s uncanny ability to reason their way into drinking someone else’s beer, meant that the ales never survived the trip.

Porters and stouts could last the voyage – the heartier beverage is naturally more resilient, due to many things (like its color, inherent ingredients and abv.).  But having a porter on a hot 115 degree day isn’t exactly what many would call refreshing.

English soldiers wanted beer, specifically refreshing English beer.  So a London brewer by the name of George Hodgson took up the case.  They decided to prolong the life of the beer by changing one simple thing: adding freshly picked hops, and lots of them.  The increase in hops elongated the brewing process while also bittering the beverage and increasing the alcohol content.  This allowed the more delicate pale ale to be resilient to natural beer-destroying things like bacteria.  He called it the “October Beer.”  Rumor has it that Hodgson steeped the first test brew in a tea kettle, though that can’t be confirmed as a fact or simply a legend.

His idea for including more hops originally came from barley wine, a style of beer rich in both color and alcohol content that used just-picked hops for the brewing process. These beers lasted years, and sometimes lords and ladies would brew a batch for a newly born child and tap it once that child turned 18.

Using this method of brewing—incorporating fresh hops and plenty of them—Hodgson sent off his first batch of beer late in 1821.  That first shipment showed up on the shores of India in January of 1822.  It was a historical event even then, “Hodgson’s warranted prime picked ale of the genuine October brewing. Fully equal, if not superior, to any ever before received in the settlement.”

For a time Hodgson and his sons had a monopoly on the beer style, being the only brewery that made and shipped this style beer to India. They also let merchants pay for their beer shipments after reaching India and returning, meaning merchants were more inclined to take his goods because they could pay him after they’d seen a profit and made the voyage back.  But after overreaching for a price deal, other breweries threw their hats into the ring.  Burton-on-Trent and Bass breweries both created a similar style of ale and thus the style of beer was popularized.  That said, Burton-on-Trent was the first to designate it by its modern name: the India Pale Ale, or IPA for short.  Before long, it found its way back to Europe and became another popular style alongside porters, stouts, pales, and the like.

And that’s where things begin to differentiate.  Some sources say an IPA style beer had been brewed in England for decades prior to Hodgson ever conceiving the idea.  Others say Hodgson wasn’t even the first one to send it off to India.

Whatever the origin is, there is truth to Hodgson’s creation of his beer.  It happened.  It was sent.  It was loved by the British Peace Keepers.  He just may not have been the first, but it was certainly the most romantic of them all; and if history has taught us anything, it’s that we humans love a good story, even if it’s a bit exaggerated.  We like the idea of this beloved beer having a romantic origin story: of being created in a small kitchen, in something as iconic to British culture as a tea kettle, and sent off to imbibe soldiers in a faraway land.  That sounds a lot nicer than, “It just kind of showed up, no one really knows.”

Since then, the IPA has become a staple for breweries to have on tap.  Frankly, we love it.  It’s a beer that goes great with any season, and its relative flexibility means there’s a style of IPA for everyone: a Ruby Grapefruit IPA from Wildcard brewery in Redding for some summertime citrus, or perhaps Ninkasi’s Tricerihops for the masochists out there that love their beer to taste like the Dead Sea.

And that’s all I’ve got on the IPA.  Look at that.  You learned something today.  Feel free to gloat about it and be that person at the dinner table that shares a bordering-inane piece of triva.  Better yet, appreciate the men and women before us who made it possible for us to enjoy such a delicious beverage.

Racing Toward the Siskiyou Challenge, 4/29

What has five legs, gives free beer, is seven years old and runs all over?

No, it’s not a rocket-fueled elderly starfish with a keg of beer on its back. It’s the 7th Annual Siskiyou Challenge Relay in Ashland, Oregon! We love this yearly race, so much so that we sponsor the event with free beer and food for racers at the finish line. The five relay legs weave all around Ashland on April 29th, from Emigrant Lake to the hills north of town, and then end at a big finale party at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.

The Siskiyou Challenge Relay benefits one of our favorite local organizations: Rogue Valley Farm to School. RVF2S educates children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals. We love their mission, their programs and this race!

 

Here are the Siskiyou Challenge race legs:

 

  1. 3K kayak at Emigrant Lake
  2. 30K road bike around Ashland, over to Valley View Road, and back to Lithia Park
  3. 6K trail run above Lithia Park
  4. 13K mountain bike in the hills above Ashland
  5. 6K run to the finish at ScienceWorks!

 

Speaking of racers, watch out for our team on the course: the Common Block Fantastic Five. And when we say “Fantastic Five,” we really mean a group of moderately active people that hope to survive until the free beer at the end (less fantastic, more thirsty).

Looking for something for the whole family? There’s also a 1-mile fun run that begins and ends at ScienceWorks. Sign ups start at 9am on Saturday and the run begins at 10am. Everyone can enjoy finish line activities, including live music on the outdoor stage, vendors, exhibits and more.

Register now for the Siskiyou Challenge!

You can still register online through 4/27 at 11:59pm (late fee of $20 after 4/25)! Grab your best athletic pals, come up with an awesome team name, and join us for the fun this Saturday. We’re serving up enchiladas, beer, cider and root beer at the finish line (if you need a little more incentive), and the weather is supposed to make for a beautiful race day. We hope to see you there!

 

A Brief History with Beer

April is beer history month.  You’ve probably never heard that because it’s not actually a thing.  UNTIL NOW.  We’ve made it beer history month for a few reasons:

  1. No one claimed April.
  2. We love beer. Duh.
  3. Nick wanted to prove his degree in History wasn’t completely useless. (see, Dad?)

We want to start things off with a little bit about people in beer history. For example, did you know that John Adams loved beer?  All alcohol, actually.  So much so he tried to use his diplomatic immunity with France to try and smuggle in 500 bottles of French Bordeaux duty free.  When that didn’t work, he just made his friend Thomas Jefferson and his connections do it for him.  Those founding fathers hated taxes.

But John Adams wasn’t the only one; far from it.  Check out our five picks for people in history who loved beer!

  1. Benjamin Franklin. Founding father, professional partier, often misquoted.

Appears both on the $100 bill and upset.

“Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Actually, the quote goes, “…wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves us to be happy.”  Perhaps one of the more misquoted men in history about beer.  That said, we don’t think Ben would really be upset with the change in vocab; the guy liked to have a good time.  We get the gist of what you’re saying, Ben: you like to imbibe and FRANKly (get it?), we don’t blame you.  Benjamin Franklin was known to party, known for his relations with loose women and also, you know, helped start America or whatever.  He was never one to shy away from having a good time, especially if spirits were involved. Some people call him America’s Winston Churchill – a man always quick with a retort, often at the opposing party’s expense.

He enjoyed imbibing spirits so much, he published The Drinker’s Dictionary.  A list of 228 “Round about ways” to describe drunkenness.  Seriously.

Our three favorites are: Sir Richard has taken off his Considering Cap, Nimptopsical, and As Dizzy as a Goose.

Call us crazy, but something tells us personal experience might have played into coming up with some of those names.

  1. Peter the Great. He’s pretty great. Also, Czar of Russia.

    A completely undoctored painting of Peter the great balancing his favorite beer with his favorite sword.

“Destiny may ride with us today, but there is no reason for it to interfere with lunch.”

Peter the Great was pretty great, but don’t take our word for it, just read the guy’s business card.  Like a proper royal, he was a fan of food and alcohol.  His beer of choice was Stout; an ale he first fell in love with when visiting England in the late 17th century.  He requested some be shipped to Russia for him to enjoy in his imperial courts, but when the beer got there it had spoiled.  The Barclay Brewery in London came up with an idea to increase the shelf life of the beer: increase the alcohol content and hops used in the beer.  Making it one of the first high abv. stouts to date.   Since the beer was enjoyed in Peter’s imperial court, it became known as the Imperial Stout.  The name is regal, so really it makes sense that it stuck.

150 years later, Catherine the Great (also a great person) would enjoy the same beer.  So much, in fact, she’d get special Imperial Stout imported much like Peter before; the beers supplied were brewed to last “as long as seven years.”  But somehow we doubt they made it that long; they just taste so darn good.  Those Russians know how to drink.

  1. Dionysus, God of Wine and Beer.

    “Who the eff put wine in my beer goblet?!” -Dionysus. Probably.

“I love booze.” – Dionysus. Probably.

What else can we say about this dude?  The guy was the Greek God intoxication, does he really need more of an explanation?  He was into being happy and partying, and even showed up in politics a few times.  So, in a way, he was a lot like Benjamin Franklin.

  1. Ernest Hemingway Professional Drinker with a Writing Problem

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.  That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

This one might be cheating.  Saying a writer enjoyed alcohol is kind of like suggesting Bob Marley enjoyed Cannabis.  They really go hand in hand.  What do you get when you combine a drunk with the ability to write?  A lot of great quotes about beer.  Seriously, the guy has dozens of them.

Like: “I drink to make other people interesting.” And “An intelligent man is often times forced to be drunk to spend time with fools.”

He liked to insult people, that’s for sure.

Ernest Hemingway was a man who enjoyed all spirits, beer included.  His drinks of choice usually centered around cocktails—extra dry martinis especially—but the Ballantine Ale was his favorite.  At least, according to an ad he appeared in where he talks about the best thing to do after catching a big marlin (something we can all relate to):

“…You are tired all the way through. The fish is landed untouched by sharks and you have a bottle of Ballantine cold in your hand and drink it cool, light, and full-bodied, so it tastes good long after you have swallowed it. That’s the test of an ale with me: whether it tastes as good afterwards as when it’s going down. Ballantine does.”

OK, the money he got (and rumored free beer for life) might have had more influence than the actual flavor, but we appreciate him gentrifying the beer culture.  Arguably one of America’s founding fathers of writing, it’s no wonder he’s made this list.  His works include For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea.

  1. George Washington Beer lover and all around nice guy.  Oh, and the first president of the United States of America.

“I use no Porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America.”

Shop local, folks.

Washington’s Distillery.

There’s been debate about how our first president felt about alcohol in general.  Certainly in all of his speeches (especially to his troops), he speaks ill of imbibing spirits:

“An aching head and trembling limbs which are the inevitable effects of drinking, disincline the hands from work; hence begins sloth and that listlessness which ends in idleness.”

But actions speak louder than words (he did admit to chopping down that cherry tree, after all).  Washington was the first president of the United States to start a distillery.  And it was no small time operation, either.  By 1799, Washington’s distillery barreled 11,000 gallons alone.  And during his presidency he spent an estimated 7% of his income on alcohol.

And what about beer?   He loved beer so much he became a regular customer with brewer Robert Hare and had dozens of cases of Porter sent to his offices during his presidency.  He even had that Porter sent ahead of him when taking a small vacation to his estate in Virginia.  In multiple letters, he described the beer as the “best Porter in Philadelphia.”

But his beer love didn’t stop there.  Our first president was a brewer. In his journal, he wrote down a recipe for small beer; an alcoholic beverage that didn’t exceed .75% that was meant for everyone.  Including the children.  Yes, children.  The 18th century was a different time.

The best part about Washington?  During a farewell party his troops threw for him before the signing of the constitution, he and his men accrued a tab over $15,000.  Which included 54 bottles of wine, 36 bottles of beer (including his favorite: Porter), and seven “Large bowls of spiked punch.” The guy knew how to throw a sendoff, that’s for sure.

 

Who knew history was so rich with beer?  The beverage has been a centerpiece for enjoyment in humanity for a very long time.  Some potteries indicate its consumption from as far back as 3,500 BC.  It’s no wonder there’s been some important people that have enjoyed a good ale every now and then.  And who knows, maybe one of you will be the next person in history who loved beer.

If you are, just make sure to use Common Block Brewing by name, so the future beer lovers of the world know where the good stuff was.

An April 1st R&D Update

It’s been a while since we checked in with our Research and Development Department.  Mostly because our R&D is located in the deep catacombs that run beneath the Hydronic Heating system of our restaurant.  To be honest, we forgot about them down there.  Well, Nick did.  He can be forgetful.  The good news is they have health insurance and are being treated by the doctors, so we’re hoping for a speedy recovery.

While we weren’t able to save all of their fingers, we DID get a hold of all the wonderful things they’ve been researching.  Frankly, we think the sacrifice was worth it, and we hope their lawyers feel the same.  Speaking of sacrifice, doesn’t it totally suck that you can’t have beer all the time?

Like, if you’ve ever been at work and thought to yourself, “Man, I could really use a beer right now.” Especially when it comes to paperwork.  Who hasn’t, right?  We’ve got some good news for you!  Common Block Brewing is happy to announce our newest merchandise item: Beer Flavored Post-it Notes.  I know, I know, we’re brilliant.  Now, whenever filing something or leaving a note for someone, you can choose that special flavor that’s perfect for the occasion.

Want to tell someone they did a great job and you think they’re sweet?  Go with the Chocolate Porter Post-it!  There’s nothing quite as good as getting a compliment and then being able to eat it.  That’s decadence as far as we’re concerned.

Leaving a note to remind Debbie that she needs to stop eating your clearly labeled tuna salad in the fridge?  Why not choose the IPA Post-it note to match the bitterness in your heart.   It’s called a bag lunch, Debbie.

Need to remember a bachelorette party?  Why not write it on our Blueberry Hangover Gose flavored Post-it?  It’s a little like pregaming.

 

Our team is also working on some Common Block Brewing Beer Goggles.  Perfect for weddings, blind dates or settling.

But our changes don’t stop there.  Taco eaters will be happy to hear that we’ll be serving all you can eat tacos between 4:45am and 5:03am on Tuesdays, 3:17am to 4:01am on Wednesdays and every 6th Sunday from 10am to 5pm during the month of Octember.  Whoa!  So cool.  Our chef is never happy about giving things away, but we feel like he’s wrong and we’re right.  Also we have the login information for Facebook where we post all of our special menus, so generally things go our way.  Also he doesn’t know  yet.

Photo of our vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free Flank Steak served with our current gluten free, nonalcoholic beer option.

Where were we?  Oh yes!  Menu changes. Don’t worry about your favorite food item getting the ax because we’re keeping everything on the menu the same, with one exception: we’re going to be modifying our Flank Steak (served with buttered mash and beer marinated vegetables) to allow for a Dairy free/Gluten free/Vegan option. (See photo >)

Finally, we’ll be drawing checks at random every week to give our customers some GREAT giveaways.  We don’t want to spoil all of the surprises, but the raffle prizes will include things like 99¢ Dollar Store Gift Cards, DISCOUNTED Blockbuster Memberships and a lifetime supply of toothpicks**. WOW! Those are some enticing prizes.

That’s all we’ve got for now!  But keep an eye out for future announcements.  We can’t give you all the details, but we will say this:

Post-it note flavored beer.

 

**Lifetime supply calculated using data from the American Dental Association study on toothpick consumption with denture dependent patients.

New Beer on the Block: Block & Mortar Porter

Tall, dark and handsome. That’s how we’d describe a 20 oz. pour of our newest house beer: Block & Mortar Porter. It’s also how we’d describe Jon Hamm, but who wouldn’t?! This traditional-style porter goes great with outdoor fireplaces, jackets with shoulder pads, and an extensive library collection. If you don’t have the jacket or books, don’t worry. We at least have a fire pit, and you’re welcome to use it.

Block & Mortar Porter

Malt

  • 2-row
  • Crystal
  • Honey
  • Chocolate

Hops

  • Kent Goldings
  • Fuggle

ABV: 5.8%

IBU: 30

 

From the brewer

“Block and Mortar Porter is a substantial, malty dark ale made with traditional English hop varieties and yeast.  The blend of crystal, honey, and chocolate malts create a complex and flavorful roasty character.”

 

If you like food with your beer, we’ve got that too! We recommend the Beer-Braised Pork Nachos (for an appetizer), Bacon N Bacon Burger (for dinner), Porter Chocolate Cake (for dessert), and a scoop of vanilla ice cream (for second dessert).

We think this porter is a fabulous, delicious addition to our house beer collection. But maybe come try Block & Mortar Porter for yourself, because can you really trust what blog writers say anyway?

 

 

Where to Walk to Beer Downtown Medford

We’ve got some good news. At least, if you like walking from brewery to brewery without ever getting in your car, it’s good news. Maybe even fantastic news. By doing a very extensive, scientific, comprehensive search (a.k.a. typing in locations on Google Maps), we’ve found that you can walk to all three breweries and one bottle shop in downtown Medford, and it’s only ¾ of a mile total! Under a mile to cover all four awesome places to grab beer!

At a walking pace of 3.1 miles per hour (apparently that’s average), it’s just 15 minutes of travel time between beers. It would take more time to get in the car, drive, and park at all these places. If that’s not motivation to trek from beer to beer on foot, we don’t know what is.

With that said, if you feel like some more exercise then trek on over another brewery in the downtown area that just popped up: Osmo’s Alehouse. The tap house is located at 522 S. Central, just 1/3 of a mile from BricktownE Brewery.

Our recommendation: bike or bus to downtown (we have lots of bike parking available to be your home base), and then meander around all the great beer-centric places within a few blocks. You can also call on our friends at Pint Rider if hopping on a group bike with dance music and a chauffeur is more your style.

To recap, here’s our suggested route:

  1. Park your bike, and yourself, at Common Block for your first stop. Maybe grab a bite to eat to lubricate your belly and get ready for the adventure ahead.
  2. Stroll over to Portal Brewing Co. for their Coconut Cream Ale and Peanut Butter and Jellyfish Sandwich.
  3. Head South to Beerworks for your choice of over 300 beers, in bottles and on tap.
  4. Walk up to BricktownE for a game of pool and their Table Rock Red Ale (a local favorite).
  5. Tighten your laces and high-tail it to Osmo’s for a taste of something new in southern Oregon.
  6. Make your way back, slow and steady, to Common Block, where you hop on your bike or have us call you a cab, depending on how much tasting you’ve done.

There you have it. Probably the best way to spend your next day off.

So, Where’s the Brewing Equipment?

In the past two months since we opened, we’ve gotten loads of questions about our brewery and our building’s history.  We’ll be writing a post in the future about our building’s very cool, rich past (as well as some other FAQ’s), but we wanted to take the time to talk a bit about our most common question: “Umm…where’s your brewing equipment?”

That’s a great question.  Thanks for asking.  We’d like to have an exciting answer.  You know, something like, “It was on the way, but it got stolen by a rival brewing crime syndicate in Northern Oregon.”  That would be a fantastic story.

We found our Common Block Pale pairs well with a warm fire and good company.

Currently we don’t have any brewing equipment in the building because we wanted to open our doors first and deliver on our promise of opening in 2016.  We recognized that we needed to get things rolling, and so we concentrated all of our construction efforts and funds on finalizing our building so we could do what we love doing best: serving food and beer to the masses!

Also, just because we don’t have equipment here, doesn’t mean we don’t have our own beer!  If you’ve been in, you’ve seen that we currently feature two house beers: the Common Block Pale Ale and Rogue Runner IPA.

How did we do it?  It wasn’t from Santa Claus, though beer was certainly on our Christmas list. Instead, we’re contract-brewing our beers through Wildcard Brewing, an awesome brewery in Redding, California (we also server their delicious Ruby Red IPA). The recipes and sourcing all came from the brain of our brewer, John Donehower.  He’s been brewing at home and commercially for over twenty years, so he’s got some good ones saved in his little black book.  We’re continuing to grow our beer list, too; expect to see a new specialty beer each month as we play with more house recipes and get feedback on people’s favorites and go-tos.

And if you’re curious about what it’s all going to look like when our brewery is finally installed, you can check out our video about our planned construction.

So if anyone asks you: “Are they brewing their own stuff?” the answer is irrevocably and unequivocally yes.  Just not on site.

Not yet.

 

New Beer on The Block: Rogue Runner IPA

There’s a new beer on the block, and its name is Rogue Runner IPA. This generously hopped ale officially marks our second house beer, brewed with our own Brewer John’s recipe. You can count on Rogue Runner IPA and the Common Block Pale Ale gracing our menu from now on…until the end of time. Really.

For all you knowledgeable or curious beer fanatics out there, here’s a bit about the Rogue Runner IPA:

Malt

  • 2-Row
  • Crystal
  • Dextrine
  • Biscuit

Hops

  • Columbus
  • Cascade
  • Centennial
  • Chinook
  • Mosiac

Abv: 6.7%

IBU: 65

 

From the brewer:

“This beer’s malt profile is mild and nutty, with a candy-like sweetness. Generous hop additions create a spicy and floral blend of piney, citrus and tropical fruit flavors.”

That John, so eloquent.

Love having food with your beer? We recommend pairing the Rogue Runner IPA with the Chefslayer Burger, Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Grilled Cheese, or the Farmstead Pizza. Or whatever your favorite food is, because, dangit, it’s up to you.

Come try our newest addition to the Common Block beer family, and reminisce about running, the Rogue River, running along the Rogue River, rafting the Rogue River, or a reddish version of Wile E. Coyote’s arch nemesis.

(That’d be the Road Runner.)

‘Medford Beervana’ Package at Inn at the Commons

Alright all you beer-loving, romantic-getaway planners…you know how you’ve been looking for the perfect overnight stay that features beer and food in Medford? (We know, mind readers over here.) Look no further than the new Medford Beervana package at Inn at the Commons!

We’ve partnered with Portal Brewing downtown and our next-door neighbors at Inn at the Commons to put together a special treat for those wanting an all-inclusive experience of food and beer in downtown Medford. Everything is within walking distance, so you can enjoy your entire package without ever having to get in your car once you check in. Here are the details:

Medford Beervana

• Overnight stay for two
• Beer & Appetizer pairing for two at Common Block (Two 10 oz. CBBC Pale Ales paired with Fried Cheese Curds and House Marinara)
• Flight of 3 beer tasters at Portal Brewing for two
• $30 Dinner credit at LARKS Restaurant Medford located inside the hotel
• Continental breakfast
• Free WiFi and parking

Starting at $129. To book your Medford Beervana package, visit the Inn at the Commons website.

Looking for other fun places to check out downtown? We recommend Beer Works for an awesome selection of craft beers from around the world, Bricktowne Brewing for another great downtown brewery, or Jefferson Spirits for creative, unique cocktails to wind down the evening. The Craterian Theater is just up the street from Inn at the Commons and Common Block if you’re looking for a show, or you can cozy up at Limestone Coffee the next morning for a cuppa Joe before taking off back home (it’ll be hard, but we’ll still be here anytime you need more beer).