Siskiyou Challenge Photo Recap

We traversed grueling terrain, raced against strapping athletes and perilous odds, pushed ourselves to the edge of sheer exhaustion…

Ok, maybe that’s all a BIT exaggerated. But, wow, did we feel ready for our recovery beers afterwards.

IMG_3973Last weekend, our Common Block crew joined the Siskiyou Challenge Multi-Sport Relay in Ashland as competitors (we’re using that term lightly here) and sponsors. Our team “Common in Hot” raced with the crowds via bike, kayak and two legs to complete the race and earn a spot among the top 30 finishing teams! We won’t say how many teams there actually were…

We also fed the masses with free food and beer for the racers, because they earned it! What an awesome day of teamwork, encouragement, and all-around fun, provided by the fine folks at Rogue Valley Farm to School. This great organization puts on the Siskiyou Challenge every year as their major fundraising event, and we could see from the happy crowds that this year was one for the books.

Congrats to the winning team, Flywheel Bicycle Solutions, and the top solo racer, Bobby Carpenter! We’ll work on catching up to you all next year.

Here are some of our favorite team photos from the day, to remind us how much we love working together to support this awesome southern Oregon tradition. Our fun meter ranked off the chart! So long, Siskiyou Challenge, and we can’t wait to rally for the relay again next year.

 

Tri-Ath-Wheat Debut at the Siskiyou Challenge, 4/30

Have you ever put together a team of friends for a relay? Because we highly recommend it. Not only do you and your comrades cheer each other on along the way and offer encouragement and support, but also everyone gets to toast a beer at the end. At least, that’s how we do it.

IMG_1046The Siskiyou Challenge Multi-Sport Relay takes place Saturday, April 30th in Ashland, and we’re jumping in with our first Common Block sponsorship.  This annual race is a fundraiser for Rogue Valley Farm to School, an awesome local non-profit that educates kids about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs. We love the folks at Rogue Valley Farm to School, and we’re thrilled to support this event near and dear to our hearts.

You’ll find us pouring beer and serving food at the finish line for all the racers at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum. We’re grilling up Oregon-made hot dogs, and serving organic apples and Kettle Brand chips (did you know they have a Beer Pairing Guide on their website?). We also joined forces with our friends at Swing Tree Brewing Company in Ashland to make a collaboration beer just for the occasion. Our brewer, John, and Brandon from Swing Tree are excited to debut…wait for it…Tri-Ath-Wheat! Here’s a bit about this refreshing, post-race beer, made with fresh orange zest and teamwork:

Tri-Ath-Wheat

Style

American Wheat Ale

Malt

Wheat, 2-Row, Caramel

Hops

Cascade, Eureka

ABV

4.5%

IBU

27

 

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John from Common Block and Brandon from Swing Tree, toasting their day of collaboration brewing.

A generous 60% wheat malt makes this beer light, tart, crisp and refreshing. The Cascade and Eureka hops combine with fresh orange zest for a spicy citrus finish. Just the thing for a post-relay refreshment, we think.

If you haven’t registered yet for the race, there’s still time! Get your five best fun-loving friends together, come up with a killer team name, and sign-up by April 28th. You can also register as a solo or duo team, if you’re hardcore like that. We’ve seen some impressive solo racers over the years! (Does anyone else remember the unicycle mountain biker?) We’ve got our Common Block team ready to relay, so be on the lookout for team ‘Common in Hot.’

Great race, great cause, great people…what more could we ask for? We’re excited to greet everyone on race day, and pour you all a beverage afterwards for your efforts. Happy training, and see you at the finish line!

Countdown to Pear Blossom Run: 6 Unscientific Training Tips

The annual Pear Blossom Run is right around the corner, April 9th. It’s, you know, the day where we all wake up ridiculously early and run in southern Oregon’s largest race so we have a (legitimate) reason to enjoy a beer at 11:00 in the morning. Or is that just us?

pear blossom start

(photo: ujenafitclub.com)

Since at least a handful of us at Common Block are running (some people just can’t be lured out of bed at 6am, no matter what), we want to share some unscientific tips to help get you prepared for the big day. With less than three weeks to go we may be pushing it a little close to race day, but maybe some of these tips will give you just the boost you need to bite the bullet and commit to The Pear.

6 Unscientific Training Tips

  1. Sign Up – Register online now! There’s nothing like officially signing up to get you motivated to start training. It’s already past the March 15th deadline to be guaranteed a 2016 Pear Blossom t-shirt, but they will still have limited availability at packet pick-up if you want commemorative proof to show your friends you actually did run.
  1. Find Your Motivation – Everyone’s motivation is a little different when it comes to running. We take a cue from The Beer Runner: if you run for the day, you get to enjoy a beer. Run = Beer. No Run = No Beer. Simple. Of course, we’re biased for the reward. Some other ideas for motivation might be beating a personal record, racing a friend, enjoying fresh air, or getting a shiny medal at the finish (for the 5k and 10 mile races).
  1. Pick a Training Guide – There are plenty of training guides online to get you ready for race day, like this one from Nike +. Browse around and choose one that you think best fits your training level and schedule. Luckily, most can be tailored to fit certain days of the week if your running opportunities are limited. We like having a guide, though, to help keep us on track when we feel like running just two miles and then stopping for a beer.
  1. wild rogue relay van 1Get Friends/Partners Involved – Nothing gets us consistently moving like having running partners. You can organize runs through group texts, keep members motivated, and fit in some great social time. Encourage a friend to sign up and train with you, or join an established running group like Rogue Valley Runners (they host weekly Wednesday night trail runs). And may we suggest four-legged friends, too? Get your dog out and about, and then toss Fido an extra treat while you enjoy your post-run beverage.
  1. Mix Up Your Routes – The Pear Blossom has some flats and some hills, so get ready to work  different muscle groups. Vary your running routes by throwing in hills, trails, roads and the track. We know it can be hard to motivate your self to go out and climb hills on a run, but you’ll be glad you did come race day!
  1. Follow Runners Online – Add inspiration to your feed! Scroll through great photos, learn about races, and get inspired by other people who love running. Our top five social media accounts by runners and running groups include:

 

Medford Market Season Begins, March 3rd

RVGCM_Logo2010_CMYK-2It’s practically here! The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market (RVGCM) returns for the season next week, and the Thursday location has moved to Hawthorne Park, just down the street from our brewpub. But wait, it gets better. The Saturday Medford market starts in May, and is literally just across the street from us at the Medford Commons. That’s right – two fresh and tasty markets within walking distance of Common Block. We’re not even open yet, and already we’re salivating at the beer and food possibilities.

The market welcomes growers and producers from Jackson, Josephine and Siskiyou counties, making their offerings truly regional specialties. To get an idea of the produce you’ll find at the market throughout the year, visit the RVGCM In Season page. There are also crafters and producers with year-round products (including cheese, bread, meat, coffee, salts, wood-work and more), so the market is not-to-be-missed all season long.

Walking distance from CBBC to Thursday Market

6 minutes? We think we could do it in 4.

Hungry for breakfast or lunch? The market also welcomes a handful of food carts with prepared fare to swoon over. Katrina’s Tamales, Sultan’s Delight, Daddy’s Doughnuts and Peruvian Point are just a few of our favorite (mmm…we can taste the fresh doughnuts now). We recommend getting a bite and relaxing at one of the picnic tables while the kiddos keep busy at the playground.

In the near future you’ll be able grab goodies to go, pick up a growler of Common Block brew, and celebrate local food and drink the best way you know how. Stay tuned for beer pairing ideas with seasonal fare (we’re talking Hefeweizen and Strawberry Shortcake, people!) and vendor highlights. Get excited ahead of time by visiting their webpage and browsing the photo gallery. Or don’t, if you’re nowhere near food – you’ll be hungry.

6 Local Races with Beer at the Finish Line

It’s New Year’s resolution time! While some of us have resolved to drink a huge variety of craft beer in 2016 (we’re so proud of you, Nick), lots of oath-makers pick exercise as their January 1st life-change of choice. So we’re making your dedication easier by compiling a list of races in southern Oregon that boast beer at the finish line. Training is just a little more palatable when you know you’ll be racing toward beer, don’t you think?

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The finish line party at the Wild Rogue Relay, 2015. And world’s best photo bomb.

Siskiyou Challenge Relay RaceApril

This five-leg relay in Ashland, Oregon features running, kayaking, road biking and mountain biking, followed by food, beer, and entertainment. The race begins and ends at the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, where racers can browse exhibits after they finish, peruse the outdoor Harvest Fest, or just relax in the big, open field. Common Block (that’s us!) is pouring a free pint and serving up food for all racers at the finish.

Wild Rogue RelayJune

Gather 11 of your best running pals for this 220-mile relay from Applegate Lake to Brookings, Oregon. Over the mountains and through the woods, racers trek all day and night to get to the finish line where craft beer and food await. Local coffee maker, Dutch Bros., also provides free beverages for racers along the way, in case staying awake for 30+ hours isn’t normally your thing.

Siskiyou Outback (SOB) July

We’re excited to jump on board as the official post-race beer sponsor for Southern Oregon’s favorite grueling and gorgeous mountain-top race. Runners can choose from 15K, 50K, or 50-mile options, all starting from the parking lot at Mt. Ashland. We’ll be cheering in the racers with free pints at the finish line – maybe after a little cool-down for those 50 mile folks.

Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run August

This 13.3-mile footrace is not for the faint-of-heart (just look at the cover photo on their Facebook page). Runners climb over 5,600 feet to the summit of Mt. Ashland from Lithia Park. At least there’s cold beer for runners at the finish, provided by Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Ashland.

The Rogue Run September

The marathon, half-marathon, and 10K races end at a beer festival! After running along the Bear Creek Greenway, racers can browse the Southern Oregon Harvest Festival and BrewFest at the Jackson County Expo, with over 70 beer vendors. Plenty of options for beer-induced recovery, we’d say.

Running Dead, presented by Southern Oregon Goodwill October

This 5K race of mortals and zombies will end with an Apocalypse Party at Common Block’s parking lot in downtown Medford. Runners choose to either chase or be chased, with make-up artists on hand to transform everyday humans into running-dead, man-eating creatures. We’ll pour a free beer for all racers at the finish, because zombies drink beer, too.

Side note: Have you heard about this guy, 65,  from Massachusetts? He’s vowed to run at least one mile, and drink one can or bottle of beer every day in 2016. All 365 days! Cheers to taking your resolution to the next level, Tim.

Eat (and Drink) Local Week

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Sharpen your cutlery, shine your silverware, and have your camera on standby for Eat Local Week, September 11-20. All around the Rogue Valley you’ll find food tastings, demos, cooking classes, tours, festivals and more. You can also enter in the Eat Local Week Selfie Contest for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate and a copy of Thrive’s local veggie cookbook.

So basically…you have to eat delicious local food and take photos of yourself doing it for a week. Wow, life is tough.

Personally, we’re most excited about the Salsa Showdown on Saturday the 19th at the Commons. Because…well…it’s a salsa showdown. And it’s right across the street. We hear there’s going to be dancing, demos, and music, too. If beer or wine are more your thing, jump on the Meet the Brewer Happy Hour Tour in Grants Pass, or the Wine and Cheese Pairing at Wooldridge Creek Winery.

Visit the the Buy Local- Buy Rogue website for the full list of events all week, and plan your personal food-lover tour around the valley. You’ll find menu specials at lots of southern Oregon restaurants featuring local ingredients, so eating out is a no-brainer.

Next year, you bet we’ll be joining in the fun with local specials, too. This year, we’ll just have to tour around, eat, drink, and enjoy. Again, life is tough.

Permit Party Photo Recap

full houseWhat do we do when our building permits get approved? We celebrate! And how do we celebrate? With all the best people we know, lots of beer and food, corn hole, live music, and impromptu dance parties.

Last Friday we hosted our first ever official Common Block shindig, and we loved seeing our building full of people talking, playing, dancing, and enjoying beer. That’s exactly why we’re doing all this! We want to send a big thank you to everyone who came downtown to join us, and let you all know we count your presence as a huge party success.

ooblies and beerThe local beer and food was a hit – Ooblies Waffle Sandwiches filled the air with cooked-to-order waffle batter, which lured us all to the awesome food truck selections. Beer and cider from Southern Oregon Brewing, Standing Stone Brewing and Apple Outlaw kept us satiated all night long…and maybe helped inspire the fore-mentioned impromptu dance party.

We invited local photographer and friend, George Rubaloff, to snap shots all night so we can add this memorable event to our Common Block history books. We hope you enjoy looking through these photos like we have! Stay tuned to our blog and sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of our webpage) to get word when we plan our next bash. We’re more excited than ever to get the doors open and make these get-togethers regular affairs!

A Weekend Guide to Brewery Events in Southern Oregon

While putting things together at our brewery, we’ve had lots of time to relish local beer and cruise the Southern Oregon beer scene on weekends (we’re enjoying these days now, before they get too busy later this year). We’ve put together a guide for what we think are some of the best brewery activities in the Medford-Ashland area all weekend long. Of course, our weekend begins on Wednesday, but shouldn’t everyone’s?

WEDNESDAY: Portal Brewing
Start the weekend early with a group of your nerdiest friends, and show off your collective intelligence at Portal Brewing’s Trivia Night, starting at 7:30pm. Visit their Facebook page to see the week’s theme, and study up beforehand – the competition is fierce!

THURSDAY: BricktownE Brewing
On Day 2 of the “weekend” visit downtown Medford for Thirstday at BricktownE. You’ll keep your wallet stacked with Happy Hour prices all day long! Two-wheel commute to burn off those extra beer/food calories, and hang your ride on their spacious outdoor bike rack.

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Big-kid games at Swing Tree Brewing in Ashland

FRIDAY: Swing Tree Brewing, Southern Oregon Brewing
Warm up for the evening with darts, shuffleboard, foosball, or jumbo Jenga at Swing Tree in Ashland. Or if you’re not the pub-sports type, grab a pint and relax outside at the picnic tables while reading this post and planning out the rest of your weekend.

Afterwards, trek to Medford for live music Friday nights at Southern Oregon Brewing. They almost always have awesome local food trucks hanging out, too, so you don’t even have to stop for dinner on the way. Thanks goodness – no one like interruptions in beer tours.

SATURDAY: Opposition Brewing, Caldera Restaurant and Brewery
Take your time in the morning on Saturday, and then head over to Opposition Brewing when they open at noon. Their dog-friendly taphouse welcomes your four-legged friends to join the fun, so bring a leash and follow up your pint with a stroll around the neighborhood.

Over in Ashland, Caldera’s restaurant and brewery location on the south end of town showcases 40 beers on tap, outdoor seating and a fireplace/couch seating area for those casual Saturday get-togethers. If you bring a group, consider their 100 oz. beer tube for $21. Because, why not?

beer and brussels

Sunday Beer Pairing (photo: George Rubaloff)

SUNDAY: Standing Stone Brewing Co.
Wind down your beer-filled weekend with a lazy afternoon Beer and Food Pairing at Standing Stone in Ashland. For $25 you’ll join a multi-course, staff-led pairing over the course of one hour. Taste some fare, learn pairing concepts, and finish up with time left in the day to do whatever else you love on weekends. Begins at 3pm.

And that’s how you spend a brewery-themed, activity-filled weekend in Southern Oregon. Or, at least, that’s how we do. What are your favorite weekend happenings in our area? Next summer, we’ll throw in some not-to-be-missed Common Block events to add to the list. For now, go forth and enjoy the fruits (a.k.a. beers) of summer in Southern Oregon.

Market Goodness Saturdays in Medford

RVGCM_Logo2010_CMYK-2On the long list of reasons why we’re loving downtown Medford, the Saturday Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is near the top. From May-October you’ll find tents full of produce, sweets, prepared food and crafts all along the park block at the Medford Commons (just steps away from Common Block). From 9am-1pm you can get your locally produced groceries and goods for the week. Next market season, you’ll be able to stop at Common Block, too, for a pint and snacks before heading home.

Every week we’ve seen the market grow this year, with new vendors joining all the time. One of our favorite booths, Auntie Mama Cookies, joined just a few weeks ago and totally satisfies our savory/sweets craving with Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. That’s right, you read correctly. Bacon Chocolate Chip. We’re also fond of fresh tamales and strawberry lemonade at Katrina’s Tamales, and full lunch plates at Peruvian Point. Who wants to make lunch at home on the weekends, anyway? You can find a full list of all the market vendors on Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market website.

Saturday Market

Saturday Market at The Commons Medford

We also love that the Market Sprouts Kids Club can only be found at the Saturday Medford Market (kids’ incentives + nearby playground = easy to convince our kids to get going on the weekend). While you’re browsing for groceries, the kiddos can get their passport stamped, participate in free activities, and spend $2 in free tokens. And the program is sponsored by our next-door neighbors at Lithia Motors – you all rock.

While we’re busy working inside on our brewery space, it’s been a weekly pleasure to run outside across the street and take a break at the Saturday market. Bring the family (or just you, if you prefer keeping those cookies to yourself) for a morning in fresh air, fresh food, and – next year, once we’re up and running – fresh beer. We’re thinking a pale ale might pair nicely with those tamales.

Ready Your Pint-Holding Hand for Medford Beer Week, 6/12-20

SOCBF logoSo maybe we’re not brewing beer just yet, but we certainly know how to appreciate a good local beer gathering. You’ll find us – imbibing and tasting – next week at Medford Beer Week and the Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival, Saturday, June 20th.

Medford Beer Week is a citywide annual celebration of the craft beer industry, focused on local and regional craft beers. June 12th-20th you’ll find happenings everyday in breweries, tasting rooms, markets and restaurants around town. Check out the Kickball Tournament or Brews, Burgers & Bluegrass on 6/13, rally your brainiest buds for Trivia Night on 6/16, or sign up for a Beer Dinner on 6/17. Find the full list of events with Medford Beer Week online, and fill up your calendar with events everyday (if you feel so inclined, you beer connoisseur, you).

On Saturday the 20th, you’ll find local and regional craft breweries pouring at the Craft Brew festival – just down the road from our soon-to-be brewery – on Bartlett and Main Streets in Medford, OR. The event runs Noon-8pm, and promises beer, food, and good times. At the door, $16 gets a pint and five tasting tickets (or $14 if you buy early at Beerworks Bottleshop & Tasting Room in Medford) and the event is open for beer-lovers 21 and over. Taste some great craft brews side by side, then take your logo’d pint home to relive the annual soiree over and over again (“Remember that one ale from that one tent in that one area? That was awesome!”).

We’re excited to see lots of local beer fans around town – be sure to stop over and say “hi” if you pass by the brewery throughout the week. We may not have beer to contribute to this annual celebration just yet, but we’re eager to jump into the fun and cruise around town tasting all the other great varieties Medford has to offer. Look out for us at Medford Beer Week in 2016!