Happy Christmahannukwanzaakah! As we continue our ascent into darkness, towards the solstice and inevitable return of light, it can be tough to stay positive (especially when you listen to NPR; I’ve switched to KWAX). Well, some local breweries and beer bars have just the thing for you. Starting tomorrow (12/5), Eugene and Springfield light up the night through the weekend. Here’s the scoop *cue random Debbie Downer noises*:
Wednesday, 12/5, 6pm – Ugly Sweaters and Dinner with Ninkasi @ The Bier Stein
This event may be sold out – give the Stein a call to be sure (485-2437). If you manifest a ticket, you’ll be buoyed along, supposedly in a sea of gaudy acrylic weave, to a place where your sense of smell overcomes your sense of disbelief at the state of human rights in the world. With a bonus beer and six bespoke courses, including an Ethiopian lamb dish paired with Ninkasi’s Vanilla Oatis, the collective enjoyment and dopamine rush experienced at these dinners is sure to stave off your winter blues.
Thursday, 12/6-9 – 2nd Annual Cidergarden @ Beergarden
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, they say; so if you drink the fermented juice of several dozen apples a day you can ditch your high deductible healthcare plan, right? Ciders are uplifting and refreshing, and come in so many varieties you’ll be hard *ahem* pressed *ahem* to resort to beer at Beergarden’s second annual Cidergarden event. Their entire taplist will be taken over by local and regional ciders and meads (for good measure), and feature a mini tap takeover from a different producer each day except Sunday.
Get “sauced” on a flight of Schilling Cider on Thursday; “branch” out into wild, dry, and barrel-aged cider from 2 Towns on Friday; and catch a “buzz” with four different barrel-aged wildflower meads from Nectar Creek on Saturday! Live music every day.
Friday, 12/7, 5-8pm – Monkless Festivus Pairing @ First National Taphouse
It’s no secret that I really like Monkless, even more than I like the video of our Lame Duck getting some instant justice from Terry Tate after his infamous lecherous comment. Thankfully, you can administer your own justice this Friday, as First National Taphouse downtown offers you the opportunity to air your grievances, and then wash them down with tasty, tasty Belgian-style beer. They’ll tap several Monkless beers, and offer a small plate pairing for each.
Friar’s Festivus is the star of this show. The annual mace and cardamom laced holiday strong ale earned top marks at the Oregon Beer Awards last year, after selling out the first batch quicker than you can say “this is extremely dangerous to our democracy.” Don’t worry, this beer has your best interests in mind.
Saturday, 12/8, 2-11pm – From the Woods Barrel-Aged Beer Fest @ Plank Town
This fest has managed to fly under my radar for some reason, kind of like those Korean missiles we’ve been hearing about. Get thee to Springfield for a lineup of the big guns from over a dozen local breweries. If the vibe at Plank Town’s annual Cask Fest is any indicator, From the Woods will be a hoot and a half; $10 gets you a Belgian-style glass and 5 tickets for high-quality clinks and swirls. The $35 VIP ticket is the real deal, coming with the glass, 15 tickets, a t-shirt, AND a specialty bottle.
Participating breweries: Agrarian, Alesong, Block 15, McMenamins High Street, Manifest, McKenzie, Ninkasi, Oakshire, Nectar Creek, Plank Town, Viking, The Wheel, and WildCraft Cider Works.