A long-awaited addition to Cottage Grove, Oregon’s craft beer scene, Covered Bridge Brewing Group will open to the public Tuesday, June 16. The remodeled auto repair building features an expansive indoor space, large back patio with food trucks, and, as the other half of the “brewing group,” a coffee shop run by local Laurel Mountain Coffee Roasters. Nate Sampson, whose résumé stretches back to Rogue Tracktown Ales around 2010, is co-founder and brewer. Business partner Dave Barclay is the roaster/owner of Laurel Mountain, and the coffee side of the business will be open mornings.
The brew house is one of the first produced by Portland’s Practical Fusion, though it has undergone some modification to add updated bells and whistles (such as a grist hydrator, which moistens the crushed grain with hot water as it travels through an augur from the mill room into the mash tun). In the process, the 7-barrel kettle was expanded to match the oversized mash tun, and can produce 10-barrel batches. Upon opening, Covered Bridge will showcase a range of styles on tap, and has more on the way. A double IPA brewed with New Mexican Zappa hops (which I’ve been meaning to try for some time now…) had a fruit salad of hop aroma, and with a bit of residual sweetness was awfully easy to drink. The Amber Waves of Grain is a homebrew recipe from one of Sampson’s old neighbors, and features a handful of different grains milled at Eugene’s Grain Millers. A dose of chocolate rye for color also adds a pleasant spiciness. Other options include a porter (add a shot of cold brew coffee!), English bitter, cider, and more. A pilsner and witbier will debut soon.
Beer is available to drink in-house as well as for takeaway in growlers and Crowlers. On that note, Sampson says he anticipates doing a lot of educating about the brewing process (including the fact that beer can be canned on-the-spot) as the brewery opens. The brewery itself is open, and people can sit at a bar that looks directly into the brewery. The barrel-aging space at the back of the room is also tableside, so one might feel like they’re *really* drinking in a brewery. Cottage Grove, which sports one other brewery, the 1-barrel system at Coast Fork Brewing, does not have anything like Covered Bridge.
The brewery has been in the works for over a year now, and though Sampson had planned to open several months ago, he says the pandemic actually helped them get all their ducks in a row rather than rush the opening. Right now, indoor seating is sparse, and all tables are placed plenty far apart. There are currently two food trucks out back: a Guatemalan street taco vendor and The Big Dipper. More options are on the way.
Current business hours are 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Mondays
It must be mentioned that visitors to the men’s room will have a difficult choice to make: Coors or Anheuser-Busch…