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?!

Progress Update: The Final Stretch!

dsc_0338You know how we’ve been saying we’re going to open “soon” for the last year and a half? We’ve had good intentions, promise! It’s just that we’ve really thought we were just months away this whole time, and then new projects and challenges pop up along the way. Such is the restaurant business. And we remained eternally optimistic all along that opening day was just around the corner, because, well, we’re really excited about it.

Now, we’re ready to say opening day really is coming up quick. We still don’t have an exact opening date yet (still waiting on final approval of the last permits), but we can tell you we are planning to open in the next couple weeks. That could mean anywhere from next week to New Years, but we’re definitely staring straight into that blaring light at the end of the brewery-building tunnel.

So what can you expect when we finally open our doors? Well first, it’s a big space. We have our bar area, a big, open main dining room, and mezzanine seating if you like sitting up high and people watching. Our small team built the entire second level out of steel and concrete, with plenty of room to seat guests and make beer.

Speaking of beer, while we won’t be opening with our brewing equipment on site, we do have our flagship Pale Ale on tap and ready to debut. Our brewer, John, contract-brewed our beer at another brewery, using their equipment to make our recipe. You’ll also find another sixteen (awesome, we think) craft beers from the region, as well as hard cider and wine, all on tap.

Our chef, David, has been creating some taste-erific recipes for the menu, and we even got to try some last weekend at our employee training party. We spent last Thursday through Saturday training our big, awesome opening crew, and they’re oh-so-ready to start serving up beer, food, and good times at our tables (see photos of our team and training weekend below).

So we guess what we’re saying is: stay tuned. Like, really tuned. We’ll send first word of our official opening date via our newsletter, so sign up at the bottom of our home page if you’d like to be on that list. And thank you to all for being so patient and supportive while we make our from-scratch brewery dream come true. Cheers, and we look forward to seeing you all over the holidays!

Rogue Valley Brewery Tours: Jump on the Bus (or Bike)

While family and friends visit over the holidays, what better way to entertain everyone (or get everyone out of the house) than with a brewery tour? Lucky for us, we’ve got a few options in the Rogue Valley for beer-hopping adventures. Sit back (or on the Pint Rider, pedal forward) and taste all the best beers our area has to offer in one big, awesome beer-tasting session.

Main St. Adventures Magic Brew Bus Tourlogo_brewtour_lg

(541) 482-9852

$69 per person

This all-inclusive, brewery-to-brewery bus tour takes guests around for beer tasting and appetizer pairing, and over the holidays they’ll also throw in a Grand Holiday Lights Tour to get you in the spirit. The four-hour ride also comes with rating sheets and notepads for your brews. Tours can be booked any night of the week over the holidays for groups of 8-16, so jump on it to schedule your own special event – because you’re special.

Pint Rider Bike Tourspint rider

(541) 227-9499

$300 per private group, 8-15 guests; $175 per shared group, 5-7 guests

Pedal-power your way around Medford on the area’s only beer bike! You and up to 14 friends can cruise at 5-8 mph, visiting as many beer stops as you can in the 2.5 hour time slot (usually about 3-4 stops). Pint Rider can make recommendations for brewery/tasting room pit stops along the way, or you can choose your own if you have a beloved beer haunt close by. Pair your beer with some fresh air!

and for after the holidays…

Beer 30 Tours beer-30

(541) 708-3569

$70 per person

Need to recover from the holidays? Jump on Beer 30 Tours, running full-steam later this winter. Choose from either the Beer 101 or Beer Enthusiast tours for four hours and 12 samples of local brews. You’ll explore Rogue Valley breweries, connect with other beer fans, and get safe transportation all around. What more could you want?

 

Meet Common Block Chef, David Georgeson

As we put the finishing touches on our building, we’re making plans to take your tastebuds on a ride to flavor-bliss, and we’ve got just the person to lead the way. We’re thrilled to introduce David Georgeson as our Common Block chef! When we met David (who has been with us for a couple months now), we immediately knew his focuses on quality ingredients, teamwork, and creative twists on classic dishes were all right up our alley. We love what David has come up with for our menu, and we can’t wait for you to try what he’s whipping up in the kitchen.

Meet Daviddavidcbbc2

Born and raised in Southern Oregon, David knows, loves and eats Rogue Valley food. With over 18 years of kitchen experience (11 of which were at the fabulous Larks Restaurant in Ashland), David has built a name for himself as a talented local chef, earning the title of Top Chef in the 2011 Food and Wine Classic (now the Ashland Culinary Festival). David’s relationships with local growers, producers and fishermen give him awesome access to regional ingredients, lots of which he has plans for in our menu.

When not in the kitchen, David enjoys fishing, hunting, spearfishing, and foraging for wild mushrooms. In fact, David took a professional break from the kitchen for a few years and became a professional fishing guide in Southern Oregon. Now, David is ready to fire up the grill again and throw some awesome recipes your way.

So what kind of mouth-watering goodness is David going to conjure up for Common Block’s menu, you ask? He’s super excited about our wood-fired oven, and has personal pizzas planned with housemade sausages among the toppings. He’s also incorporating beer (which we have lots of!) throughout the menu in sauces, desserts, dressings and more. David’s talent shines in taking classic dishes and weaving in creative twists, so expect to see sandwiches, burgers, salads and main dishes with ingredients that represent the season, our region, and Dave’s personal touch.

Hungry yet? We’re almost ready to feed your cravings, with an opening planned for the near future (stay tuned for an official date soon)! In the meantime, David is slinging recipes at home and in test kitchens, getting ready to serve up a menu that’ll knock your beer- and food-loving socks off. You can read more about David in The Local Dish and Ashland Chamber of Commerce website, and check out some of his recipes featured in 1859 Magazine.

The Zombies are Coming! Register NOW for the Running Dead 5K

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Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

That’s the sound you’ll hear all over downtown Medford on October 22nd for Goodwill’s Running Dead 5K. Zombies and humans are taking over the Medford Commons in a race to benefit Southern Oregon Goodwill and all the awesome things they do in our community. Sign up as an alive or undead runner, and then join us afterward for the Apocalypse Party in the Common Block parking lot.

Here’s how it works: Racers take off from the Medford Commons and run out-and-back along the Bear Creek Bike Path for 3.1 miles. Humans will take off with three flags around their waists at 4:30, and zombies will take off at 4:32. Zombies do their best to catch flags from humans, and humans have to dodge the zombies and get back to the finish line with as many flags as possible. Awards will be given to King of the Zombies and Ultimate Survivor.

And don’t forget about all the perks! Ro Sham Bo will be on-hand providing free makeup for all zombies – come as you are and start the race looking zombie-tastic. We’re giving $5 gift certificates to all the racers, and serving beer at the finish line alongside Ooblies Waffle Truck and Curbside King. Lastly, you can enter to win at the Drop Dead Beauty Contest – show off your fantastic zombie makeup as you strut across the stage! Kids ages 4-8 can join the fun, too, with the Survivor Sprint around the Commons park blocks.

If you’ve always wanted to practice for the impending zombie apocalypse and haven’t known where to start, this is it! Get real-life experience running from zombies or being a zombie – really, its just being well-prepared. You can double up on your costume, too, for Halloween (we won’t tell anyone).

Register online soon to chase or be chased, and be sure to come see us for a beverage from 2pm-10pm on race day. We’ll be here with open doors, corn hole, food trucks, beer and root beer on tap, and a whole lot of zombie-themed excitement. Don’t get caught dead missing out on the fun!

 

 

 

 

Hop on the Oregon Drive Less Challenge, October 1-15

PrintTune up your bike, lace your walking shoes, and grab your bus pass for RVTD’s annual Drive Less Challenge, October 1-15th! If you’re looking for a little extra motivation to try alternative transportation options around town, this week is full of prizes, events and contests to make the jump a little sweeter.

Participating is easy: register at drivelessconnect.com and start logging your trips every day. You’ll see your travel totals, arrange carpooling, and enter to win prizes. Trying to think of fun ways you can cruise around town? Hop on Medford’s Pint Rider and pedal around to breweries and bottle shops with 14 of your best friends. Just think, you can log miles and grab brews along the way!

Find new fresh-air travel routes for work and around town, and get your coworkers to log on, too, and earn your workplace status as a Regional Leader. Save yourself money and time while adding some fun and exercise to your routine, or hop on one of the fantastic RVTD busses and let someone else do the driving. Any which way you do it, have fun joining the masses of alternative transportation commuters in October, and logging all your efforts to see just how much you can save in money and CO2 emissions over two great weeks. Go forth, and ride!

Wanted: Awesome People

We’re (finally!) getting started on the finishing touches for the restaurant, and now we’re excited to begin hiring for our big, awesome brewpub team. If you’re looking for a job with rewards that include tasting and sipping, then you’re a like-minded foodie and beer-lover after our own heart, and we’d love to talk with you. Know someone who you think would be a great fit? Please send ’em our way!

awesome people wanted

Who we’re looking for at Common Block

We’re hoping to meet people who love eating good food and drinking craft beer, like we do! For our opening brewery crew, we’re looking for hard-working team players who are adaptable, driven, and independent.  And if you have extra talents, let us know – there will be lots of opportunities along the way to jump into creative roles on our brewery-building adventure.

Hiring our brewery team puts us another step toward opening our doors soon, so we’re excited to start gathering a great group of people! Here’s how to apply: print the application form, fill it out, and bring it along to any of our regular hiring orientations, Thursdays at 4pm and Saturdays at 10am. This is when we meet everyone face-to-face for about 30 minutes, offer a tour of the building, and give details on all positions. A few things to note: these are the only times we’ll be taking applications, and everyone on our service staff must be 21 and over (we’ll be making beer here after all).

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You can find us downtown at the Medford Commons, next to Lithia Motors. We’re the big, green building at 315 E. 5th Street. You can visit our Home page for a map and directions, too. And by the way, since we’re still a construction zone in here, we recommend sporting clothes you don’t mind getting a little dusty!

We’re thrilled to see opening day in our sights, and can’t wait to celebrate with a great crew. We get a kick out of working with fun, motivated people, and we have a fantastic staff in place already to welcome more great coworkers. Thanks for looking, and cheers!

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.

 

 

Medford Brewery-to-Brewery Running Routes

You know what’s great about running? Having a beer after you’re done. Well, sure, there’s the “runner’s high,” health benefits, awesome neon-colored clothing, and participant medals at all the races. But mostly it’s having a beer, right? Glad we agree.

Let’s say you find yourself at a local brewery in Medford, and you decide, “Hey, I think I’ve got more in me. I’m ready to keep running to the next place!” That’s where brewery-to-brewery running routes come in handy. Good news: they also double as walking and biking routes, and lots of them are close enough that you’ll still have plenty of energy to enjoy your beer once you get there. Of course, we always recommend enjoying responsibly…these breweries aren’t going anywhere after all, so you can take your time and plan several running/biking/walking excursions to tour all these Medford beer spots.

By the way, we’ve organized these routes in a sequence: Common Block to Opposition, Opposition to Walkabout, Walkabout to BricktownE, and so on…just in case you feel like making it a full-day running or biking tour from one brewery to the next (12.4 miles total). Click on the route links for Google Map’s step-by-step directions, and then lace up those running shoes!

6 Brewery-to-Brewery Running Routes

Common Block Brewing Co. to Opposition Brewing Co. – 1.7 miles

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Opposition Brewing Co. to Walkabout Brewing Co. -0.9 miles

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Walkabout Brewing Co. to BricktownE Brewing Co. – 2.6 miles

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Bricktowne Brewing Co. to The Rogue Growler – 1.3 miles

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PS, we know The Rogue Growler isn’t an actual brewery, but they earn major points for their extensive and rotating beer selection, and their contribution to Medford’s beer scene!

The Rogue Growler to Southern Oregon Brewing – 3.1 miles

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Southern Oregon Brewing to Portal Brewing Co. – 2.8 miles

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Pints at the Peak: Pouring Beer at the SOB

This Saturday is the race day we’ve all been waiting for! Well, only if you’re a runner training for the Siskiyou Out Back. And if you are, we applaud you! Racers will line up this weekend to compete in the 15K, 50K or 50-mile annual SOB run beginning and ending at the Mt. Ashland lodge. This race fills up every year (that’s right, there are 175 people out there willing to run 50 miles!), and for a good reason. The views are stunning, the volunteers are wonderful, and the swag at the end is pretty great, too.

About the Race

runoregonblog

(photo: runoregonblog.com)

Starting at a cozy 6,500 feet altitude, this course meanders along the Pacific Crest Trail with views of Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLaughlin. Runners traverse single-track trails through wildflower meadows and mountain-top terrain, as well as unpaved roads with plenty of sunshine. It’s one of those races where you think to yourself “If I’m running today, this is where I want to be.”

About the Finish

2015 15K finishers

Our Common Block Team of finishers in 2015 (the baby didn’t actually run).

This is the good part! Because, let’s face it, we all love the races we’ve done after we finish them. After charging across the finish line, every racer gets their finisher’s medal, and the 50-mile racers grab their commemorative S.O.B. ceramic mug. Our Common Block comrades are pouring free beer outside the lodge for all the runners, alongside meals for purchase from the race organizers. If anyone deserves a cold beer in the sunshine this Saturday, it’s these racers.

So if you’re racing or supporting, we’ll see you there! If not, we recommend heading up the hill (that is, Mt. Ashland) to cheer on these awesome athletes as they cross the finish line. Runners will be coming in 11:00am (for the 15K) to 7:00pm, so there’s plenty of time to drive to the lodge and make the racers feel great with claps, cheers, and high fives all around. We’ll high five you, too.