McMenamins High Street
1243 High St, Eugene, OR 97401
McMenamins High Street was the first brewery established in Eugene after Prohibition. The 6-barrel brewery has been a launchpad for many brewers, including Steve van Rossem of Plank Town. This follows suit for the Oregon brewery-restaurant-hotel chain, as Ecliptic’s John Harris got his start there, too. Currently, Hanns Anderson brews there; he’s a long time McMenamins brewer, and definitely turned the beer quality up a notch.
The brewhouse is in a famously non-ergonomic basement below the restaurant, which serves the classic lineup of McMenamins pub grub. That wasn’t always great for the beer quality or the physical health of its brewers. Another soul crusher was the fact that McMenamins put the brewers on a price-per-keg budget; that didn’t deter some, who would spend their own money to get higher quality ingredients to make better beer. That has since changed.
In town, the brewery is mostly insular by design; you won’t find McMenamins beer outside of its namesake locations. Over the years, the beer went through various permutations of quality; at least two Sasquatch Brewers Dinners featured beer so buttery you could smell it across the table. Thankfully those issues seem to have cleared up. All quibbling aside, McMenamins has done a great job creating a one-stop-shop empire of cool, comfortable spaces that are really, really fun to get drunk in.