To mark a decade of brewing and being a pivotal business in downtown Springfield, Plank Town Brewing is bringing back its annual strong ale festival on Feb 25-26, 2023 (1pm, or noon for VIP passes). The fest will feature Plank Town’s anniversary beer, Springtucky Strong Ale, as well as high-test ales from six of our local brewery friends and a cask of ale from the 3 Legged Crane.
Tickets are available now at Plank Town or online at our website, and come in two tiers. A Standard Pass ($10) includes four 4oz. tasters and a commemorative glass. The VIP Pass ($50) includes early admittance, a commemorative glass, t-shirt, ten 4oz. tasters, and a bottle of Springtucky Strong Ale. More beer details below.
When Plank Town opened in early 2013, Springfield was on the cusp of revitalization. The new brewpub brought residents back to the historic downtown area, acting as an economic catalyst and paving the way for numerous locally-owned businesses to open along Main Street. Defying skeptics, local business owner Bart Caridio forged ahead with his plans for a brewery.
“The appeal was this beautiful building in the heart of downtown Springfield, along with the lack of anything else here. All the businesses I’ve owned have been about bringing a neighborhood up. The city was very welcoming and supportive. Also, that underdog thing has an appeal for me. It was the way Eugene looked down its nose at Springfield. I wanted to help counter that, and I saw a challenge and an opportunity.”
Caridio recruited veteran brewer Steve van Rossem (shown above, in his element) from Block 15 and Curtis Phillips, whose varied resume included opening Pike Brewing’s Seattle brewpub. John Crane, a homebrewer and craftsman, worked as assistant brewer until 2020, when he purchased the Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge (and renamed it the 3 Legged Crane).
Van Rossem scoured the state for the 10-barrel brewing system, and began brewing Plank Town’s early recipes―including an ESB and a smoked porter called Foggy Scotsman―at Block 15. “John and I brewed that beer after the Sasquatch Brew Fest Brewer’s Dinner,” says van Rossem. “That’s where the foggy part came from.”
Another early brew, Bart’s Best Bitter, was awarded first place as the people’s choice at the McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival. Van Rossem also brought his legendary Hobbit’s Habit, a luscious, strong, dark ale, back to life; it remains a staple brew and a local favorite.
The anniversary celebration takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25-26, and offers folks the opportunity to taste three versions – regular, cask conditioned, and wood-aged – of Springtucky Strong Ale. At a nice, hefty 10% abv, Springtucky is intensely flavored and chewy. The beer has layers of rich caramel malt flavors from Simpson’s Malt (see what we did there?), citrusy and piny American hops, and a candied-fruit expression of our house ale yeast. The wood-aged version, conditioned on toasted oak staves, adds a mellowing layer of vanilla and a cocktail-like feel.
Plank Town will also be participating in Zwickelmania on Feb. 25th, which makes the fest an added bonus (and good starting point) for those who enjoy the annual holiday of brewery tours.
Other beers featured at the fest are:
Alesong Brewing & Blending – Cellar Season
Imperial Brown ale aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels
This winter sipper was inspired by a collaboration we made last year with our friends at Deschutes Brewery. It began its journey as a massive brown ale before being matured in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for the better part of a year, picking up vanilla and bourbon notes that accent the rich caramel and nutty flavors of the base beer. 13.5% abv
Block 15 Brewing – Super Nebula
This year’s annual imperial stout release was matured in Evan Williams bourbon barrels and then conditioned on wild harvest, fair trade Bolivian cocoa nibs, specially selected to complement its decadent character. 12.3% abv
Coast Fork Brewing – Biere d’Abbaye de Noel
Belgian Abbey ale with orange peel added to the kettle, and Ecuadorian cacao nibs added to the fermenter. Brewed in March of 2022 and cellared until December 2022. 10% ABV, 20 IBU.
Covered Bridge Brewery – Joe’s Garage IIPA
A double IPA heavily hopped with Zappa hops. Named after the legendary Frank Zappa, these Neomexicanus hops have developed their own rebellious flavor and unique aroma characteristics such as passionfruit, mint, and Fruity Pebbles. It’s all backed up by a solid base of English Maris Otter and crystal malts. 10.0% ABV 100+ IBU
Oakshire – Hellshire XII
Imperial Stout aged in Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon Barrels. 13.5% abv
The Wheel Apizza – Single Malt Barleywine
Brewed with dry-farmed Genie Vienna malt, aged two years in Thinking Tree Spirits Bourbon Barrels. Notes of maple, vanilla, rich malt, oak tannin, and lingering warmth. 11.8% abv
Beergarden – 7th Annual Bacon, Bluegrass & Boneyard Festival
What is better than bacon? Bacon, Bluegrass AND Boneyard Beer… That’s what. We are at it again with our 7th installment of this epic 7 day event, and I know you’ve heard this before… but this will be the best one ever. More Details
The Bier Stein – Thursday Tasting Series featuring Oakshire Brewing, 5-7pm
Claim 52 Kitchen – Pick the Thicc: Strawberry Lime & Watermelon. On tap and in cans at 3 PM at The Kitchen. Conditioned on strawberry, watermelon, and lime purees. Created by “Pick the Thicc” winner DJ Hobgoblin.
Zwickelmania! The annual celebration of brewery tours is back! Taste beer from the tank at breweries around the state. Noon-4pm
Eugene-Springfield Zwickelmania participants: Alesong (on Territorial Hwy), Falling Sky (Pub on Oak Alley), Gratitude Brewing, Ninkasi, and Plank Town.
Plank Town – Anniversary Beer Fest
Featuring the release of Springtucky Strong Ale, plus strong beers from Alesong, Block 15, Oakshire, The Wheel, Covered Bridge, Coast Fork, and the 3 Legged Crane. VIP Tickets: $50, include 10 4oz tasters, commemorative glass, t-shirt, and a bottle of Springtucky. Regular entry $10, includes four 4oz tasters and a commemorative glass.
Alesong on 5th: Monthly Bottleshare: Barleywines. More info here
Oakshire Inspires: Free Bikes 4 Kidz. Free Bikes 4 Kidz Eugene-Springfield is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used bikes, we organize volunteers to clean and refurbish them, and then we give them away to kids in need. $1 per pint donated.
Alesong on 5th, 5-7pm – Engage with Alesong Happy Hour with Pink Boots Society. Throughout the month of March, 25% of all sales of Alesong’s Pink Boots blend, Pink Froots, a mixed culture sour ale with cranberries, will be donated to Pink Boots Society to support their mission to assist, inspire, & encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry through education. Additionally, Alesong on 5th will be hosting a happy hour on March 1st from 5-7pm where a portion of EVERY item sold will be added to the total donation, so come out to the happy hour, have a beer, and support women in beer!
The Bier Stein, 5-7pm – Thursday Tasting Series featuring Steeplejack