Thanks for Joining Us at Bales & Ales!

We had a toe-tappin’, pumpkin-carvin’, corhole-throwin’ good time last Sunday at Bales & Ales at Common Block, and want to thank everyone who joined us throughout the day! You all carved nearly 200 pumpkins, and we loved seeing the sweet, scary, silly and spooky jack-o-lanterns from kids and adults alike. Seeing families hanging out on hay bales warmed our hearts (and the Bale Bucker Harvest Ale warmed the rest of us!).

Tunes from DK Jazz Duo and The Brother’s Reed were fantastic, and we so loved the live music in the sunshine. A huge thank you to both groups for joining us and keeping the outdoors fall-time spirit alive! And we were so happy Pint Rider spent the day with us, too. Nothing like a beer bike in the sunshine to remind us why we love downtown Medford.

We want to share some photos from throughout the day, because y’all are just so darn cute. And — wow — we were lucky to have some amazing Southern Oregon autumn weather. We loved getting everyone together to share good food, beer and company, and we can’t wait to do it again next October!

Join Us for Bales & Ales, October 14th

 

 

Sure, you could carve a pumpkin.

You could even carve a pumpkin with a beer.

Or, you could come hang out with us to carve pumpkins with beers, BBQ, games, sweet treats, a parking lot party and live music. Your choice.

We invite you to downtown Medford for Bales & Ales on Sunday, October 14th, 12-5pm at Common Block! We’re roping off the parking lot and spreading out hay bales for seating while you carve pumpkins and enjoy seasonal goodies. Bring your own pumpkin, or get one free with any food or beverage purchase. We’ll have all the carving tools you need – just bring your skills!

Of course, we’ll have our corn hole boards set up for playing and tossing, and we’ve invited the DK Jazz Project (12-2pm) and The Brothers Reed (3-5pm) to play live music throughout the day.

Bring the family, because they’ll be jealous if you leave them out of the fun. We’re cooking up snacks for the outdoor grill, and whipping up some fall-themed treats for the kiddos. We also talked our brewer into making a seasonal ale (it wasn’t hard), so look for the debut of our Bale Bucker Harvest Ale to warm you up on a fall afternoon.

How does it all work?

Show up anytime 12-5pm, and get a free small pumpkin with any purchase. Pick your pumpkin, find some carving tools (or bring some with you if you’re a pro), and enjoy some live tunes and grub while you carve an award-winning jack-o-lantern (c’mon, we know you have it in you!). And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll just move the party inside.

To recap:

  • Live music
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • New Harvest Ale Release
  • Fall-Themed Treats
  • BBQ

Mark you calendar, save the date, tie a piece of string around your finger, or do whatever it is you do to remember events, because we’d love to see you at Common Block for our first annual Bales & Ales on Sunday, October 14th!

Local is Love: May Specials with Dunbar Farms

Food and beer go together like…well…food and beer. And as much as we think our entire food menu is special, for the last year our chef has been pining over seasonal produce from the Rogue Valley. There’s just so much awesomeness that comes from local farms, and we’ve been daydreaming about all the food specials we can feature throughout the seasons.

local is love may specialsSo, we’re excited to announce our new Local is Love program! Each month, we’ll feature a local farm in three to four menu specials. The star-ingredients will come from our chosen featured farm, until the next month when we’ll shine the spotlight on another. You can find the specials on a cute little notecard at your table, with information on the back about the farm of the month.

We’re launching this program with one of our favorite local farms in Southern Oregon, just up the street in Medford: Dunbar Farms. This family-owned farm has been a gem of the Valley for over 100 years growing organic produce, stone-milled flours, grains, beans and other fantastic staples, as well as grapes for delicious award-winning red wines.

 

May ‘Local is Love’ Specials

 

‘The Beet Is On’ Salad

Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper tossed Arugula, topped with Roasted Chioga Beets, Marinated Carrots & Creamy Goat Cheese

 

Spring Up! Pizza

Grilled Spring Onions, Lamb Sausage, Mozzarella, Marinara, Scallions & Crisp Parsnips

 

The Herbed Bird Burger

Housemade Turkey & Herb Burger, Smoked Onion Mustard, Spicy Mayo, Lettuce & Five Cheese Sauce

 

Modeling the farm as a complex ecosystem, Dunbar focuses on varying crops on the diverse terrain below Medford’s “Rocky Knoll.” And to educate the next generation of local growers and buyers, they also partner with Kids Unlimited of Medford and Rogue Valley Farm to School to offer after-school programs, field trips and summer programs for youth at the farm!

Want to try Dunbar Farms produce for yourself? Well first of all, you can come in and try their goodness in our May specials! You can also swing by their Honor Barn Stand on Hillcrest Rd. anytime from dawn until dusk, or join their Farm Pick-Up newsletter list, where you can order your veggies, fruits, breads, eggs and more online and then pick them up at the farm stand each Friday. As a bonus, you can purchase their Rocky Knoll wine and wood-fired pizza while you’re there, too.

We invite you to come taste the flavors of Southern Oregon in our new ‘Local is Love’ specials! Your choice to dine on dishes made with local ingredients supports our local farming community, and just tastes really freakin’ good. Pair your plate with your favorite beer, and you’ll be about as fresh as it gets!

Drive Less, Bike & Walk More, September 16 – 30th

The Oregon Drive Less Challenge returns for two weeks this year, September 16-30. At Common Block, our team is joining the fun and logging our collective trips to try and beat last year’s numbers – 1,523 total miles for Common Blockers not driven alone! Our favorite parts of the Challenge: catching up with coworkers during the commutes and rewarding our efforts with beer at the end of each day. Because, heck, we feel like we’ve earned it. Also avoiding traffic, because…grrrrr.

Join us in burning calories instead of gas by biking or walking to work and play. Divide the ride and the cost by carpooling, or take the bus and let someone else do the driving so you can listen to music, read or dominate Candy Crush. Then log your trips at DriveLessConnect.com to win awesome weekly and grand prizes!

Cutting back on driving alone even a few times a week can make a big difference for your health and happiness, and we’ve got the awesome Bear Creek Bike Path that makes it easy to get from Point A to Point B throughout the valley. Plus, the more non-drive-alone trips you log during the Challenge, the greater your chances are to win weekly and grand prizes like Hydro Flasks, Dutch Bros coffee, KEEN shoes, gift cards and more. Every trip counts!

How to join the Oregon Drive Less Challenge

  • Sign up at DriveLessConnect.com (or reactivate your account)
  • Bike, take the bus, carpool, vanpool, walk or telework for work, errands or play
  • Log trips Sept. 16-30
  • Challenge yourself to drive less…every trip counts!
  • WIN PRIZES!
oregon drive less challenge common block

Last year’s dedicated Common Block commuters

Thank you to the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) for promoting this awesome community event, and we’re excited to log trips and join events for the rest of the month. To see what’s happening near you, check out their Events page for meet-ups and themes everyday from Grants Pass to Ashland (and be sure to plan a bus trip on Transit Tuesdays, when you can ride the RVTD buses around the valley for free!). For more information, visit the Oregon Drive Less Challenge page on www.RVTD.org, and we’ll see you on the road!

Seven Wonders of Southern Oregon

You may have seen Travel Oregon’s list of Seven Wonders in the state. Heck, you may even be lucky enough to have visited a few (or all!). Well, we’re big fans of Southern Oregon in general, and feel like our home is worthy of it’s own Seven Wonders list.

So here you go! This is our list of mesmerizing, fascinating, super unique and fun-filled places to visit in Southern Oregon, for the adventurous local and globetrotter alike. Pack a bag, plan a trip, and let us know your own favorites to add to the list!

1. Crater Lake National Park

Obviously, this repeat from Travel Oregon’s ‘Seven Wonders’ list earns top mention as Southern Oregon’s most famous gem. The fifth oldest national park of United States, Crater Lake is an international destination for those in seek of a totally awe-inspiring view. The turquoise waters along the shore and dramatic view of peaks around its edges make for a one-of-a-kind backdrop for day hikes or picnics. As Southern Oregon is home to the state’s only national park, we’re pretty proud to call this second-deepest lake in the U.S. ours. We recommend grabbing a beer in the lodge during the summer season, or bringing your own to enjoy while hiking around in the snow much of the year.

2. Southern Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is officially divided into three sections, and we think the Southern portion is pretty darn great. At the mouth of the Chetco River, Brookings is home to several worth-while eateries (we like Oxenfré and Fat Irish), Chetco Brewing Co. and Superfly Distilling Co. Head north and find Gold Beach next, at the mouth of the Rogue River. Here, you can play all day at the beach, fish along the Rogue, wander inland to camp, or spend the afternoon soaking in hot tubs at Ireland’s Rustic Lodge (our personal favorite).

3. The Table Rocks

When it comes to volcanic plateaus, we’ve got it goin’ on. The Upper and Lower Table Rocks are both home to endangered wild flowers, vernal pools of fairy shrimp, and awesome views that extend along the Rogue Valley and to the Siskiyous and Cascades. Hike Upper Table Rock for an easier 2.8 mile loop, or head to Lower Table Rock for a moderate 5.4 mile trip, which ends with a slightly higher viewpoint of the valley. Together, the Table Rocks annually see about 45,000 hikers.

4. Mt. Ashland

Mountain biking, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, snowboarding, sledding, camping…if there’s an outdoor mountain sport you enjoy, Mt. Ashland delivers. In the Siskiyou mountain range, it’s the highest peak at 7,532’. The southernmost stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon skirts the south and east sides of the mountain, where you’ll find wildflowers like crazy in the summer months. For all you runners, we sponsor the S.O.B. race in July and highly recommend this trail run! In the late summer, we also like to head to the summit or any of the other secluded back roads and watch the annual meteor showers away from the lights (and sometimes smoke) in the Rogue Valley below.

5. Mt. McLoughlin

Also known as Mt. Pitt, Big Butte, or Snowy Butte, this steep-sided, lava-coned mount gives a dramatic view to hikers who climb the 10-mile roundtrip trail (FYI, it’s a rocky scramble at the top). It’s central to the Sky Lakes Wilderness, where you’ll find plenty of hiking and backpacking trails, as well as high mountain lakes all summer long. We recommend planning a trip in September to avoid the mosquitos.

Fun fact: each year, as the snow melts on Mt McLoughlin’s western side, the remaining snowpack takes the shape of wings. Locals see the wings as a sign that fishing at nearby mountain lakes is at its peak.

6. Rogue River

It’s wild. It’s scenic. It’s full of salmon and super fun for rafting. Bubbling up from a spring near Crater Lake, this rugged river gathers steam for 215 miles and then clashes with the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach. With public parks, hiking trails, camp grounds and boat ramps galore, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in and along the Rogue.

Another fun fact: ‘The River Wild’ (you know, that awesome 90’s movie with Meryl Streep and Kevin bacon) was filmed along the Rogue River.  Watch the movie, and then go do a jetboat trip out to Hellsgate to see scenery from the film.

7. Umpqua River Hot Springs                                          

On your next secluded getaway, check out these geothermal pools on the North Umpqua River! Three oval soaking pools (one covered) are accessible all year long, giving you a warm water retreat even among the surrounding snow. The hike in is about ¼ mile much of the year, though you’ll have add an additional two miles if the access road is snow-covered and not plowed. Just so you’re not shocked when you get there, know that clothing is optional, and often missing.

Our Top Picks for Medford Beer Week 2017

It’s like Christmas, but with beer and in June, and only in the Rogue Valley! Medford Beer Week is an annual Southern Oregon-wide celebration of our awesome region’s contributions to the craft beer world. Not only do we have world-class beers being brewed locally and regionally, we’re also home to top-notch establishments – both restaurants and bars – that understand the importance of quality beer and the food served alongside it.

For the celebration, June 1st-10th, we’ve teamed up with Climate City Brewing Co. in Grants Pass for a collaboration beer – Slow Row Single Hop Amber. This brew is made with smooth and floral Azacca hops and Mecca Grade malts, and you can come get a taste starting this Thursday, June 1st to kick off the celebration week!

 

Here are our top 5 picks for things to do during Medford Beer Week 2017:

 

Brews, Burgers & Bluegrass | Saturday, June 3rd | RoxyAnn Winery

This family-friendly, fundraising event includes more than a dozen breweries, five foot-tapping bluegrass bands, delicious BBQ, home brew classes, and kid’s activities all at RoxyAnn Winery. Ticket outlet and online sales at roguebbb.org

6th Annual Kickball Tournament | Saturday, June 3rd | The Schoolhaus Brewhaus, Jacksonville

Teams compete in a double elimination bracket for the coveted Deschutes Kickball Trophy (and of course bragging rights!). $50 per team, minimum 8 players fielded (teams are co-ed, 21+ only on the field – minors welcome in the audience). Sign up at info@theschoolhaus.com

Cornhole Tournament | Thursday, June 8th | Middleford Alley, Medford

Get your team together, and come downtown on Thursday night to try your hand at the Ninkasi and Summit Cornhole Tournament. Sign-ups and beer garden open at 5pm, and live music with Beth Henderson & Blowin Smoke starts at 6pm. Cornhole until 9pm, with prizes for the top three teams.

2nd Annual Hearts and Hops Food Truck and Brewery Competition | Friday, June 9th | The Medford Commons

Join your favorite food trucks as they compete for the “Best Pairing” with local craft beer offerings. Enjoy music by The Rogue Suspects and sample tons of specialty brews all evening long. 100% of the proceeds go toward community-based organizations dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence. For more information and tickets visit www.heartsandhops.com

9th Annual Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival | Saturday, June 10th | The Medford Commons

This is the mac-daddy finale of Medford Beer Week! With over 60 beers to sample, the Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival is a “must attend” for Beer Week lovers. $20 gets you a commemorative pint glass and eight tasting tickets, with additional tasting tickets available for 5 for $5, or 12 for $10. Finish your week at Southern Oregon’s only beer-centric beer festival. Pre-sale tickets available at Beerworks Medford and Beerworks Jacksonville for $16.

 

Don’t forget to come by for the newest Common Block/Climate City beer on tap, Slow Row Single Hop Amber. It’s got a medium body, malty mouthfeel and light hoppy finish – we’re thrilled with how this beer came out! We feel ridiculously lucky to live, work and brew in this awesome place, and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone during Medford Beer Week 2017,

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

‘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).

 

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?