American Craft Beer Week, May 13-17

Celebrate American Craft Beer Week with your loving, local downtown breweries! For the occasion, we’re featuring downtown Medford beer in our specials all month long. Get a taste of Portal Brewing Co., BricktownE Brewing Co., Osmo’s Alehouse and Common Block, all under one roof.

Here’s what on the plate for May:

Downtown Beer District Sampler $12

Osmo’s Alehouse ESB Pickles
Portal Brewing Company ’Grace O’Malley‘s’ Irish Red Ale Glazed Almonds
Rogue Creamery ‘Hop Yard’ Cheddar
Soft Pretzel with BricktownE Brewing Company ‘Dark Soul’ Stout Infused Sea Salt
Common Block ‘Block & Mortar’ Beer Mustard

Beer Bratwurst & Roasted Red Pepper Pizza $13

with Osmo’s Alehouse Oatmeal Stout-Sriracha BBQ Sauce, Mozzarella

Ale-Steamed Mussels $17

in BricktownE Brewing Company ‘Blue Collar’ Cream Ale, Garlic, Chorizo, served with Bread

 

Let the Fun Begin: New Brew House In The House

“Where do you make your beer?”

“When are you getting an in-house system?”

“What do you mean by ‘soon'”?

 

Folks, the time has come! As we speak, our long-awaited, inaugural brewing system is being installed in our dining room. It’s big, beautiful, shiny, and full of beer-making potential.

 

About Our Brewing System

 

Our team has gone to work immediately (because we waited a long time for this) installing the stainless-steel tanks and fixtures in the brewery. We purchased the used O’Neil brand brew house from a brewery in Denver, Colorado, and it just happens to fit perfectly in the space we’ve set aside since opening.

With its 15 barrel batch size, the up-cycled system has the capacity to brew 720 barrels (or 22,320 gallons) of beer each year. The fermenting and serving tanks, which will live on the upstairs mezzanine of Common Block, are currently being fabricated separately by Practical Fusion in Portland, Oregon.

Since opening in December 2016, we’ve contracted-brewed our original recipes on equipment at other local breweries, including Climate City Brewing Co. in Grants Pass and Wild Card Brewing Co. in Redding. And to them, we say a big THANK YOU – we couldn’t have made it through these first couple of years without you!

Our new in-house system will allow us to expand our varieties (including more specialties and seasonals), explore new distribution options, and develop employee and community education about the beer making process with brewery tours, classes, pairings and more.

 

brewing tanks

 

A Special Thank You to SOREDI

 

We secured final funding for the brewing system with the help of SOREDI, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc.  This organization works to advance local economic development, and fortunately they like beer…or at least they’ve chosen to help bolster local brewing in Southern Oregon. So a big thank you to the SOREDI team for helping make our beer dreams come true sooner rather than later.

 

So What’s Next for the Brewery?

 

You’ll see lots of changes over the next several months while we install the new system on the platform in the dining room (you know, the big empty concrete pit), and the upstairs mezzanine. We’ll be open during construction, and anyone interested will be able to watch the process phase by phase, until expected completion in the late summer or early fall of 2019.

While we’re building, you can still imbibe the same beers we’ve been serving, brewed at the same great local breweries. And once the system is fully in place, be ready to watch the brewing process in-action on our fully-visible platform.

 

So, are we excited? Uh huh.

Do we have a lot to do to put it all together? Yep.

Are we going to throw a big party when we make our first batch of beer AT COMMON BLOCK???!!! You betcha.

 

Stay tuned for news, photos, progress reports and all the updates over the next couple of months. We couldn’t be happier to reach this milestone, and we want to say thank you to all our guests who have supported us during the past two and a half years while we’ve maneuvered, pivoted, and planned to make beer happen. We’re over the moon to finally be able to brew right here, on our own equipment, and pour straight into your pints.

 

 

New Beer on the Block: Tangerine Squeeze IPA

tangerine ipa

Squeeze more local craft beer into the last days of summer with our latest Common Block seasonal special: Tangerine Squeeze IPA. This beer takes citrus notes from Centennial, Citra, Columbus and Ekuanot hops, and then splashes in additional tangerine notes to give us a late-summer beer worth writing home about (seriously, if you want, we have postcards here and we’ll mail them for you).

We also have new Common Block growler bottles in stock if you prefer your beer to-go. Grab a liter for the road – $12 each for Common Block brew fills – and take your beer along to pair with your own summer feasts at home. We love this beer with grilled chicken, pineapple salsa, and romantic sunsets (obviously).

We’re also big fans of organizing your own brown-bag IPA tasting, and seeing which flavors you and friends can pull out of a blind taste test. Grab a few of your favorite IPAs, throw in some lesser-known options, and then do a side-by-side comparison and see where your favorites pop up. It’s also a great way to pull out some less-obvious flavors and aromas when comparing your beers side-by-side. You might get some funky hop flavors or malty undertones where you never noticed them before.

Tangerine Squeeze IPA

Malt:

  • 2-Row
  • Wheat
  • Crystal

Hops:

  • Centennial
  • Columbus
  • Citra
  • Ekuanot

6.3% abv, 65 IBU

Food pairing recommendations: This brew drinks great on it’s own (like really great), but of course we’ve had to test it alongside food on the menu, too. Our top picks are the Double Blue Buffalo Chicken Burger, Sea Salt Truffle Chicken Breast, Cold-Brew Chicken Tacos, and Fried Cheese Curds. If you’re taking a growler to-go, we recommend pairing it with chicken, lamb or guacamole at home. It’s light, bright mouthfeel and slightly astringent finish make it a fun match for spicy foods.

Come and get it while it lasts! This beer has quickly become a Common Block guest favorite, and we may even make it a year-round brew if enough IPA-lovers are banging down the doors to get their pint before this batch runs out. We wouldn’t want that (doors are expensive), so we’ll probably just brew more.

Medford Beer Week 2018

Got anything going on mid-June? Of course you do! You’re going to at least one, if not many, of the Medford Beer Week events all around the Rogue Valley. Because they’ll be really great! Specialty beer tastings, happy hour deals, beer dinners, games, releases, and all other sorts of beer-centered Southern Oregon fun!

We’re celebrating with a specialty beer flight and debut of our new beer taster trays! Each flight includes a 4oz. pour of our Common Block house beers, as well as complimentary housemade Beer Nuts to snack on between sips.

Visit the Medford Beer Week Events page for the HUGE list of happenings every day. Head out there, go forth, and enjoy some local brews after a hard day’s work all week long.

New Beer on the Block: Deep Down Double IPA

We have a new brew on tap: the Deep Down Double IPA.  We call it ‘Deep Down’ because, deep down, we really love beer. Everything about it. Creating new recipes, pouring it fresh, pairing it with food, serving it at race finish lines (like the upcoming Siskiyou Challenge Relay), and drinking it (duh).

This beer, like all our Common Block brews, also pays homage to a beloved Southern Oregon landmark – Crater Lake. We named this beer in honor of the deepest lake in the United States, because that’s how deep our feelings for beer run. And now that we have Common Block liter growlers available, you can take your Deep Down Double IPA to the rim itself and look deep down while savoring a glass…or whatever vessel you choose to use for your beer to-go. We don’t judge if you drink straight from the bottle.

Here’s a bit about the beer from Brewer John:

Dee Down Double IPA has a mellow malty profile that lets the pounds and pounds of hops added to the kettle shine through. Generous amounts of Citra, Ekuanot, and Mosaic hops added after fermentation give this beer a fruity, floral, herbal and citrusy aroma and deep down hop flavor. Brewed for us by out friends at Climate City Brewing Company in Grants Pass.

 

Deep Down Double IPA

 

Deep Down Double IPAStyle: Double India Pale Ale

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: 90

 

Malt:

  • 2-Row
  • Crystal Malt
  • Dextrose

 

Hops:

  • Cascade
  • Chinook
  • Centennial
  • Citra
  • Ekuanot
  • Mosaic

 

Food Pairing Suggestion:

  • Bacon & Bacon Burger
  • Reuben
  • Beer Braised Pork Nachos
  • Usual Suspect Pizza

New Brew on the Block: Tunnel 13 Cascadian Dark Ale

We’ve got a new beer on the block!  Tunnel 13 is a unique, dark ale with a crisp, hoppy finish.  The laymen might call it a Black IPA or a IBA (India Black Ale),  but we’ve been told by our brewer, John, in no uncertain terms, that this beer is not a Black IPA or IBA.  It’s a Cascadian Dark Ale.

What’s a Cascadian Dark Ale you might be asking?  It’s called a CDA for short, and the beer typically has proponents of flavor, color and aroma from both an IPA and something like a Stout or Porter.  CDAs typically combine a dry hop finish with a sweeter, roasted malt body.  The color is usually either very dark brown or black, and the head of the beer should be tan or khaki.  Black IPAs, IBA’s and CDA’s all share similarities.  What makes the CDA unique is in the ingredients list.  Like the name would suggest, Cascadian Dark Ales should source most of their ingredients from the Cascadia Region of the US (The Pacific Northwest).  This means, a beer made in a similar style should not be called a CDA if the ingredients were solely sourced in Europe or on the American East coast or from Gibraltar.   It might sound like petty semantics, and perhaps it is, but hop flavors are affected by different climates in the same way wine grapes, peppers and coffee beans are.  It is a technicality, but technicalities are what help us make distinctions, people.

Additionally, it’s a bit confusing to be drinking a Black India Pale Ale, and India Black Ale brings to mind the strong hop finishes an IPA typically has.  So what we’re saying is, most breweries making this particular style of beer will worry about semantics and call their beer what it is: A Cascadian Dark Ale.

Whew, OK, that’s enough beer style background. Let’s get to the beer itself.

Tunnel 13 Cascadian Dark Ale

 

7.1% ABV
65 IBU

Malts

  • 2-row malt
  • Carabrown
  • Chocolate
  • Carafa II

Hops

  • Columbus (bittering)
  • Cascade
  • Amarilla
  • Citra (dry-hop)

From the Brewer:

Common Block Tunnel 13 CDA balances the spicy, citrus, and piney hop flavors of the Pacific Northwest with a laid-back chocolate malt roastiness.  In spite of its dark appearance, Tunnel 13 CDA finishes light and smooth.  Dark as a tunnel, light as day!

That John, what a poet. We’ve debuted seven beers in the last eight months of being open, and we wont stop brewing now.  For further reading on the history behind Tunnel 13 (spoiler alert, there’s murder and robbery involved) check out our other blog post on the name behind the CDA. And keep an eye out for the next beer on the horizon –  we’ll be tapping our Session Bitter Ale come mid-September.

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?

 

 

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.)

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!

American Craft Beer Week

It’s a party in the USA! For the 11th year in a row, the Brewers Association has declared American Craft Beer Week (ACBW), the nationwide celebration of U.S. small and independent craft brewers. All 50 states are holding events including exclusive brewery tours, special craft beer releases, food and beer pairings, tap takeovers and more to celebrate the ever-advancing beer culture in the United States. It’s super official.

Visit the CraftBeer.com Celebration Calendar to see what’s happening in your area! And stay tuned for our updated plans…we have some ideas up our sleeves to join in the fun.

Cheers to the sweet land of li-beer-ty!