By Andi Prewitt
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
If you browse around the website for Ashland’s Standing Stone Brewing Company, you’ll find a lot of information about the beer, the food and the atmosphere. But what’s unique is that you’ll also discover how much the business cares about its employees. There’s an entire section describing all of the support Standing Stone provides for its workers and the larger community. Now the brewery has taken another step toward increasing employee health and wellness by joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Work@Health Program.
Standing Stone is one of at least 300 employers across the country that joined the comprehensive workplace health training, according to the latest numbers from the CDC. The program was established with funds from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund and introduced in 2014. It’s meant to help all sorts of businesses, particularly small employers, as long as they have at least 20 full-time employees and were up and running for one year prior to February 2013. Employers are then taught about ways to implement prevention and wellness strategies, primarily to quell chronic health conditions.
The brewpub ended up dedicating nine months of training and development to create an in-house version of the program, which it is calling “Cheers to Health.” And so far, a CDC-modeled program has never sounded so fun! For example, Standing Stone has hosted a movie night for workers, has brought in chair massages and has handed out yoga class vouchers. These activities and events are meant to help employees by decreasing their stress and encouraging them to socialize, volunteer, and use relaxation techniques. Workers have also benefitted from finance classes and emergency preparedness education.
The latest phase of the “Cheers to Health” program ended in November with a volunteer project for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Standing Stone employees spent a day constructing and installing new metal shelving to replace wooden racks in the organization’s walk-in refrigerator. They also stocked donated food.
“There are all sorts of studies that show how being part of our community and helping others decreases stress and lowers blood pressure,” says Standing Stone server Carolyn Stone. “Volunteering increases our health and happiness.”
Standing Stone Brewing
[a] 101 Oak Street, Ashland
By Peter Korchnak
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Since summer 2013, Mikki Trowbridge has led free yoga classes in Salem-area craft breweries. When Trowbridge, a certified yoga instructor who has been teaching yoga in Salem for more than five years, visited Rogue Farms in Independence, she thought the place needed a yoga class. The meeting hall's managers agreed, as did more than a hundred people who came to the first class. “I guess people love the combination,” Trowbridge said.
So much so that in early 2014 she expanded the program, called Yoga and Beer, to Vagabond Brewing. According to co-owner Dean Howes, each monthly class fills up (the space accommodates 40) and often they have to turn people away. “It's a fun program,” Howes said.
The example provided by Rogue and Vagabond inspired Laura Beans, events manager at Gilgamesh Brewing, to extend an invitation to Trowbridge. The brewery's south Salem location features a large backyard with a creek, providing an ideal ambiance for a biweekly yoga practice. Though the program at Gilgamesh is currently on hiatus, Beans said, “We’re happy to have Mikki come back next summer to lead this fantastic program.”
Both Howes and Beans know Trowbridge as director of special events for Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties, where she spearheaded the annual Cinco de Micro Brewfest. Al Tandy, a local business owner, believes Yoga and Beer, where he has been a regular for over a year, is positive not only for attendees but also for Salem overall. “It's wonderful she donates time to improving our city,” Tandy said.
In addition, Tandy enjoys the camaraderie that develops within a large group at a brewery yoga practice compared to a studio class. “It's more low key,” he said, “and it's fun to hang out and socialize afterward.”
The social aspect of Yoga and Beer isn't lost on Trowbridge. Not only is “drinking the international way of making friends,” the high-energy classes, which spring naturally from her boisterous personality, are full of laughter. “I have groups of women coming for ladies night out, for example. Plus you can't be super serious doing downward-facing dogs while burly guys pour micros in the next room.”
For Trowbridge, a self-professed imbiber who became a full-time yoga teacher last November, Yoga and Beer combines two things she loves. It also expresses what's best about the local culture. Often she has heard people remark that pairing a yoga practice with drinking craft brews in a barn “feels so Oregon.”
An added benefit: the program promotes both the hosting brewery and yoga. “The stereotype that only skinny people in tight clothes do yoga makes a yoga studio intimidating for newbies,” she said. “A class at a brewery opened yoga to people who would never come to a studio.”
Each 75-minute class is open to all levels and allows attendees to “detox and retox,” a practice that is becoming increasingly popular across the country. But, Trowbridge said, “There’s no judgment if someone wants to do beer and yoga and beer, instead of just yoga and beer.”
Yoga + Beer Schedule
Vagabond Brewing: Second Wednesday of each month
Rogue Farms Hopyard: Last Wednesday of each month
Gilgamesh Brewing: Returns June 17, 2015
By Andi Prewitt
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
Most of us have been there. You wake up only wishing you hadn’t because you’re slogging through a booze-induced haze. Blame it on the beer festival, the ABVs that snuck up on you, or the special birthday party. Nobody enjoys a hangover. Moreover, decades of research have shown that heavy drinking, particularly over a long period of time, increases mortality risk. Too much alcohol could lead to liver disease and several types of cancer. But studies on the effects of moderate drinking have been more complicated. Part of that is due to the problem of how truthfully subjects self-report. Some research also ends up conflicting. And since we’re in a state that thrives off of a strong beer culture, it’s worth exploring the connection between alcohol, some of beer’s basic ingredients, and your health.
Moderate Drinking & the J-Shaped Curve
Whether it’s beer, wine or spirits, any alcohol in moderation may prove to have health benefits, according to Dr. Thomas Shellhammer, professor of fermentation science and food science at Oregon State University. For healthy adults, moderation means one serving a day for women and up to two servings a day for men under the age of 65. The Mayo Clinic has classified 12 fluid ounces of beer as one drink. Of course, factors such as age, body mass index, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and even education should also be taken into account when discussing health and alcohol intake. However, moderate consumption can result “in a decrease in mortality due to cardiovascular disease. And cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of folks in the U.S.,” explained Dr. Shellhammer.
The Mayo Clinic reported that restrained consumption can possibly reduce the risk of an ischemic stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted due to narrowed or blocked arteries. There may also be a diminished likelihood of developing diabetes associated with controlled alcohol use. A 2004 meta-analysis of previous studies published on the American Diabetes Association website determined that moderate drinkers were 30 percent less likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Since the late 1970s, research amassed on the benefits of moderate intake led to the development of what epidemiologists and medical professionals call the “J-shaped curve” regarding mortality. Dr. Shellhammer described that the curve on a graph would dip below the x-axis before rising again, creating a shape that resembles the letter “J.” The x-axis represents the number of alcohol servings a person or population would consume. The y-axis is then the risk of mortality. “A teetotaler has some fixed amount or average risk of mortality. As alcohol consumption increases, that risk of mortality decreases. It actually starts falling down below that x-axis and at some point out there it starts coming back up,” said Dr. Shellhammer.
A study published in 2013 by the Research Society on Alcoholism seems to reaffirm the data on moderate health benefits. Researchers analyzed the results of the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2001. That information was then paired with the latest release of the NHIS Linked Mortality Files, which provided follow-up data through the end of 2006. Results showed that more than a third of the drinkers recorded heavy use. Mortality risk grew as drinking increased, where ultimately daily excessive users had “an almost two-fold risk of death compared with abstainers,” researchers reported. Moderate drinking was connected to decreased mortality, but the health benefits “peaked around two non-heavy occasions per week,” the authors concluded.
Of course the health benefits may not be felt by everyone who drinks alcohol, even moderately. But research does indicate there can be positive implications. Apart from considering the body and beer, though, breaking down some of the health research on hops and barley can lead to a greater appreciation for the components of your brew.
Hops and Health
Many beer lovers, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, love the flavor and aroma hops add to beer. But those little cones have a lot more to offer in terms of medicinal qualities. Dr. Fred Stevens, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry at OSU and principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute, had a role in much of this groundbreaking research. OSU’s laboratory was the first to report that the main flavonoid, or compound synthesized by a plant, found in hops has anti-inflammatory and cancer chemopreventive properties. That flavonoid is called xanthohumol and never really turned brewers’ heads because it has no taste, according to OSU’s website. During his post-doctorate period at the university in 1995, Dr. Stevens started looking into the chemistry of hops. With the assistance of other professors, he was able to isolate and research xanthohumol. The team found that in cancer cells, it gives rise to one type of enzyme that detoxifies cancer-causing agents. It also stops another enzyme from activating carcinogens.
There’s evidence showing xanthohumol has the potential to prevent one particular type of disease: prostate cancer. Dr. Stevens published a paper with another researcher that showed how the flavonoid gets in the way of a particular protein’s signaling. That protein just happens to regulate 400 genes connected to inflammation, which is an important factor in the development of prostate cancer, Dr. Stevens shared on OSU’s website.
Similarly, a medicine company called Metagenics announced in 2012 that an acid compound in hops could stop the hardening of arteries during the early stages of the condition. That same compound also demonstrated an ability to prevent weight gain and improve intestinal health with mice on high-fat diets in studies out of a university in Belgium. Additionally, hops might help with menopause. Dr. Shellhammer explained they contain a compound that’s phytoestrogenic — essentially it’s a chemical created by plants that acts similar to estrogen. He recalled a company selling a hop product as a more natural estrogen supplement.
Barley and Beta-glucans
Hops have been more of the lead singer in recent years while barley plays backup, but this beer ingredient boasts its own health rewards. Dr. Shellhammer pointed out that barley has a fair amount of beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber, which can reduce blood serum cholesterol levels. Some food barleys have higher levels of beta-glucans than malting barleys. Most brewers actually want barley with lower levels of beta-glucans because they can lead to difficulties when making beer. The malting process degrades beta-glucans, so you won’t find levels beneficial to your health in the final product or even the wort.
There’s likely much more research to come on the health effects of alcohol and the ingredients in beer, especially as technology continues to improve. OSU is sure to be an important contributor to the growing pool of knowledge, putting the state of Oregon at the lead of an important discussion.
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe
For the Oregon Beer Growler
As we ring in the new year, many of us will make a list of resolutions which inevitably include something related to health and fitness. Why not accomplish several things at once by participating in some fun activities with the added bonus of beer as your reward?
Note that there were too many events to list here in print, so be sure to check with travel bureaus, breweries, gear shops, fitness and sports clubs, and tour operators for even more outings involving beer.
Event: Fit Right First Thursday Urban Adventure Run
Details: Similar to a scavenger hunt. At 6 p.m., a checkpoint map will be revealed in person and on the Fit Right Facebook page. You'll have one hour to go to as many stops as you can to receive a raffle ticket. At 7 p.m., there is a raffle drawing where you can relax with one complimentary beer and listen to music from the disc jockey. All abilities and paces are welcome.
Dates: March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3
Event: Fit Right Pub Runs
Details: A social running event that happens monthly or sometimes twice a month at a designated brewery. The pub run is three miles in length and will start and finish at the brewery. Occasionally, footwear brands will sponsor the run and bring footwear demos for runners to test. After the run, happy hour beer prices are offered to the participants, who have a chance to socialize over a few drinks. The breweries rotate around Portland and Vancouver, Wash. All abilities and paces are welcome.
Dates: This run typically happens on the third Tuesday of the month.
Event: Thirsty Thursday Run
Location: Portland Running Company, 800 SE Grand Ave., Portland
Details: Join owner Dave Harkin and a fun group of runners at 6 p.m. for a 4- to 6-mile waterfront or neighborhood run, followed by beers at a nearby watering hole. PRC will buy the first round for everyone who shows up, provided you're age 21 or older.
Dates: Every Thursday night
Event: Shamrock Run
Details: Run really fast and win your weight in beer! The men and women winners of the 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon (including the wheelchair divisions) will be mailed gift certificates from the Shamrock Run during the week of March 16 with instructions for how to redeem their weight in Widmer Brothers beer.
Date: March 15
Event: Bite of Bend Beer Run
Location: Downtown Bend
Details: The Beer Run happens each June in conjunction with the Bite of Bend. It’s a 5K walk/run that includes stops at several local breweries.
Date: Late June
Event: Bend Beer Chase
Details: The Beer Chase is a one-day six-person running relay approximately 70 miles long, consisting of 12 legs of varying distance (4 to 8 miles per leg). The course starts in Bend at Worthy Brewing, travels to Redmond, then goes to Sisters and back to finish in Bend at Crux Fermentation Project. Each time you hand off at a brewery, you will have the option to enjoy a 3- to 4-ounce sample of beer.
Date: June 6
Event: Pints to Pasta
Details: Pints to Pasta is an award-winning Portland 10K run. Participants follow a downhill course through the city to Widmer Brothers Brewing, then across the Willamette River, finishing at the Old Spaghetti Factory where runners get to enjoy free post-race pasta meals along with their finisher’s beer.
Date: Sept. 13
Event: Santa Speedo Run
Details: The Santa Speedo Run is an annual fundraiser for The Ethiopia Project. Included in your entry fee are four drink tickets for Deschutes beer and light appetizers. This event is for men and women over the age of 21. Speedos and costumes are not required but Santa hats and bells are encouraged.
Date: December TBD
Event: Worst Day of the Year Ride
Details: The Worst Day of the Year Ride is Portland’s annual you-can’t-stop-us celebration of year-round riding. The event draws around 4,000 riders who show up in sometimes outrageous costumes (there are prizes!) or not, enjoy belly-nourishing warm treats along the way, and ride 15 (or 46) miles with wide smiles no matter what the weather. Laugh at the elements and enjoy the finish line party at Lucky Lab Brew Pub.
Date: Feb. 8
Event: Blitz 2 The Barrel
Details: Blitz 2 The Barrel is all about having a good time. From start to finish, there is something to satisfy every bike fan. Racing, jumping, downhill riding, street riding, arm wrestling — and let's not forget beer! Traditionally hosted at 10 Barrel Brewing, this event truly embraces its Central Oregon roots.
Date: June 16
Event: Baker City Cycling Classic
Location: Baker City
Details: This is the first bike race in the world to offer equal prize money for women and equal distances for all riders. It's one of the most difficult stage races in the country and is open to amateurs and professionals. It also finishes at the highest elevation in the Northwest at 7,238 feet above sea level. Barley Brown’s Beer is a longtime sponsor of the Cycling Classic and is a commanding presence at the finish line where all participants enjoy beer and winners get pint glasses containing their cash prize.
Dates: June 26-28
Event: Petal Pedal
Details: Petal Pedal is a gourmet distance bike ride like no other. You’ll journey along scenic, quiet roads along mostly flat routes (with a hilly option to visit Silver Falls) as you drift away to another world. The ride starts and finishes at The Oregon Garden, Oregon’s premier botanical garden with more than 80 acres of specialty areas. Your ride pass includes breakfast, lunch, gourmet dinner, free Hopworks beer and access to the garden.
Date: June 27
Event: Anthony Lakes Mountain Bike Festival
Location: North Powder
Details: The second annual Anthony Lakes Mountain Bike festival features guided rides for all abilities, a kids bike park, barbecue and beer from Barley Brown’s, bike demos, swag giveaway, and lots of good ol’ Anthony Lakes fun.
Date: Aug. 1
Event: Tour de Lab
Details: This annual festival is a triple threat that celebrates a few of Portland’s favorite things: beer, bikes and dogs. After a spirited costume contest, participants choose from two bike rides: the Puppy, a 19-mile flat ride or the Big Dog, a more challenging, 40-mile ride that offers a spectacular tour of the city. Riders stop for rest and “people treats” at up to four Lucky Lab Brew Pubs, earning dog costume gear (tail, ears and nose) along the way.
Date: September (TBD)
Event: Deschutes Brew Bus
Details: Throughout the winter season, Mt. Bachelor partners with Deschutes Brewery to offer the “Deschutes Brew Bus” between Portland and Mt. Bachelor. For $109, riders get bus transportation from the Deschutes Brewery pub in Portland to Mt. Bachelor, a lift ticket for the day, a lunch voucher, a light dinner at the Deschutes Brewery pub in Bend and transportation back to Portland — all in the same day. Of course, riders can enjoy some Deschutes Brewery beer as well!
Dates: Jan. 19 and 31, Feb. 16, March 7 and 28, April 25
Event: Laurelwood Town Challenge
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: The Town Challenge, sponsored by Laurelwood Brewing Co., is a recreational race series designed for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The goal of the series is to provide both business and non-business teams the opportunity to enjoy Mt. Hood Meadows in a team-oriented, family friendly, recreational racing environment. Participants may race as an individual or as a team.
Dates: Feb. 27, March 6, March 13
Event: Anthony Lakes Nordic Crawl
Location: North Powder
Details: This new event invites you to Nordic ski from brewery to brewery for tastings. Enjoy up to 10 different beers and up to 10 different wines, all local of course! Family friendly, non-alcoholic beverages provided. Enjoy at your leisure or register for the competitive event.
Date: March 22
Event: Full Sail Banked Slalom
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: Sponsored by Full Sail Brewing, this event challenges skiers and snowboarders to complete a series of banked turns. The faster a rider goes, the bigger the course becomes due to the nature of the course’s high walls. Everyone gets two runs and the combined time will be used to determine the finish order. The event is open to men and women, juniors as well as adults, open and masters divisions. There is a cash prize purse to be split among the open and masters division winners (based on full fields) and gift cards for the junior divisions.
Date: April 4
Event: Sno-Kona Pond Skim
Location: Mt. Hood Meadows
Details: The ninth annual Sno-Kona Pond Skim at Mt. Hood Meadows, presented by Kona Brewing (brewed in Portland), challenges snowboarders and skiers to skim across 100 feet of frigid water. All competitors must be 21 or older. Participants get one attempt to cross the pond successfully. There will be prizes for the top competitors as well as best costume, best splash and more!
Date: April 25
Event: Shoes, Brews & Views
Details: Wanderlust Tours offers snowshoeing tours in the winter with a beer component.
Dates: Daily, check website for availability
Event: Brews & Views
Details: Wanderlust Tours offers canoeing tours in the summer with a beer component.
Dates: Daily June-October, check website for availability
Event: Raft n’ Brew
Details: In the summertime, Sun Country Tours does whitewater rafting trips in conjunction with local breweries.
Dates: Various, check website for schedule
Event: Beers Made By Walking
Location: Various cities in Oregon and other states
Details: Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. Each walk is different and each beer is a portrait of that landscape. The program happens in multiple cities each year.
Dates: See website for schedule
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