Pub & Brewery: 1334 Oak Alley, Eugene, OR 97401 / Delicatessen: 790 Blair Blvd, Eugene, OR 97402 / Pizzeria: 1395 University St #46, Eugene, OR 97403
This is a personal tale. One fine day, Jason Carriere asked me how many hours I was working at the Stein. That was probably the most casual job interview ever. Well, we did go and have a beer later. Jason was the owner of Valley Vintner & Brewer, one of the two local homebrew supply shops. He’d bought it several years earlier, and then moved it from its original location (the shack where Brail’s coffeeshop is now) to 13th Ave. just east of Willamette.
When I started working there, Toby Schock, Patrick Whiting, and Joe Giamatteo were all on their ways out; Toby and Pat to Hop Valley, and Joe to Oakshire (I think). I’d met Joe at a homebrew club meeting and connected well; then he went to Russian River for an internship.
Michael Zarkesh and Scott Sieber (who had previously brewed at the Rogue) were managing the shop while preparing to open a brewery in the empty adjacent space just down Oak Alley; I don’t think it had even become Falling Sky when I was hired in the spring of 2011.
So I worked in the shop and watched Mike, Scott, and Jason make very important decisions over many, many beers. I started the newsletter there, and was eventually given managerial duties.
Anyhow, when Falling Sky opened in March of 2012 it was the hippest brewery in Eugene. Corey Wisun, the original chef, busted his balls acquiring great local meat and veg and turning it into great seasonal food. Mike and Scott stuck their heels in European beer traditions and battled with the common mishaps and successes that new breweries encounter. I made soda from scratch with a vintage Champion juicer and a hot plate.
Today (2018), Falling Sky’s beer list is still vast for a brewpub; there are only a handful of common beers between the three locations. Scott Sieber and Jonathan Guidry handle all of the brewing duties now. Sieber finally gave in to the haze craze, though he’s been balancing that with a series of Brut IPAs. As always, Falling Sky produces the most lagers anywhere in town; Space is the Place schwarzbier won silver at the 2018 World Beer Cup.