By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Whether a Eugene/Springfield local or visiting for a University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) home game at Autzen Stadium, it’s nice to have a pregame or postgame stroll … with beer, of course. The walking portion of this 1.5 mile route can be done in around 30 minutes. In addition to watering holes and restaurants, you’ll also take in an iconic cinema spot and go from near downtown Eugene to the heart of the UO campus.
Sam Bond’s Brewing Co.
540 E. Eighth Ave.
After parking your car in one of the city’s downtown garages (free on weekends), make your way east on foot, by taxi or by bus to our starting point. Nestled in between downtown and campus, Sam Bond’s is a natural evolution from its namesake, local favorite Sam Bond’s Garage. The iconic bar always has a good tap list, so it only made sense that the owners (also behind the scenes at both Plank Town locations and Cottage Grove’s The Axe & Fiddle) would want to dip their paddles in their own wort. You’ll start your tour with an excellent beer in a mellow setting: Think of it as the warmup stretch for the day’s stroll. Founded in 2013, Sam Bond’s Brewing supplies the Garage, and their 10-barrel brewhouse pumps out Northwest favorites, such as Sam I Am Beer (amber, get it?) and Crankshaft IPA, along with up-and-coming beers of interest: 50-Stone Scottish Wee Heavy, Accelerator ISA, Pre-Klassic Kolsch, and a stellar Filbert Brown made with hazelnuts. If your appetite needs food in addition to excellent beer, a full menu offers pizza, salads, paninis, pastas and more. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
Beer Nut Mix: Mixed nuts slowly caramelized in butter, brown sugar, spices and Filbert Brown
Foundry Sampler: Seasonal assortment of cured meats, cheeses, tapenades and marinated vegetables with toasted bread
Elk Horn Brewery
686 E. Broadway St.
She’s from the Willamette Valley, he’s from Mississippi. When wife-and-husband team Colleen and Stephen Sheehan decided to step up from food cart to brewpub in 2014, it was only natural that they combine the Northwest’s food and drink sensibility with warm and welcoming Southern hospitality. The whiskey bar is well stocked, but the main event is Elk Horn’s 24 taps, pouring their own beers, ciders and sodas brewed by Rogue veteran Nate Sampson. (Lemon Pils just took home bronze for American- or International-Style Pilsener at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.) The family-friendly space has racks for board games and plenty of big screens so you can catch the big game. If it’s nice, sit outside at least a little while: the comfortable, spacious screened patio quickly and surprisingly makes you forget that you’re near busy streets. The Northwest touch of Elk Horn’s food combines with a solid Southern pedigree, including hearty bowls, burgers, sandwiches, plus some salads and wraps to keep a few light touches.
Hushpuppies filled with jalapeno cheddar, served with chipotle aioli
Bayou Gumbo: chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, okra, celery, bell pepper and onion, served with rice
Cafe Yumm! - On Broadway
730 E. Broadway
Just down from Elk Horn, our next stop brings us to a healthier, home-grown option. While waiting for your food, Ninkasi is on tap (with other wines and beers by the bottle). Raise a glass to Cafe Yumm! on Broadway, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday. Taking home The Register-Guard 2017 Readers' Choice awards for Lunch Bargain and Vegetarian (no easy feat in a former hippie town renowned for its veggie and vegan fare), Cafe Yumm! started in Eugene. Today, the Oregon benefit company has 20 locations in Oregon and Washington. Since you’re walking today, the six electric vehicle charging stations aren’t of use, but it’s good to know that you can charge your ride for free while you eat — and that this is the first restaurant in the country to offer solar-powered EV charging. Back to that food. Wraps, sandwiches and soups are available, but you are here for the Yumm! Bowl — and specifically, the magical, mysterious Yumm! Sauce. What’s in it? How does it get its savory yet tangy flavor? You will never know. You won’t care either, because this is the sort of vegetarian food that others aspire to (though chicken is available). Cafe Yumm! elevates humble rice and beans to satisfying, sumptuous fare, with organic ingredients, generous helpings of Yumm! Sauce, plus cheese, avocado, salsa, olives, sour cream and cilantro. It’ll fill both your body and your soul.
Original Yumm! Bowl
751 E. 11th Ave.
By now you are likely ready to walk and digest — a great time for an odd detour. Strolling south down Alder Street, we’ll turn right onto East 11th Avenue for the sake of seeing something that doesn’t exist anymore. Really, we’re paying some respect. 751 E. 11th Ave. is where parts of the 1978 zany classic “Animal House” were filmed. Home of the Psi Deuteron chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity from 1959-1967, the house fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1986. Today, perhaps as a sign of fate or irony, the site is now home to the School of Education and Counseling for Northwest Christian University. Head to the parking entrance and look for a boulder: it has a plaque that commemorates the Delta House location. Next time you watch “Animal House,” keep an eye out for other Eugene spots: much of the film was shot around the UO campus, the parade and road trip took place in Cottage Grove (and the marching bands were from Eugene’s own Sheldon and Churchill High Schools), and it’s thought that Greg and Mandy’s scene in the MG was filmed on top of Skinner Butte. Much of the movie’s wardrobe is local too: since John Landis had such a small budget, his wife Deborah thrifted for costumes at area secondhand stores. Nearly 40 years later, please stop and take a moment to reflect: No more will anyone dump a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet. No one will deliver the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner. And no more will Halloween see the trees filled with underwear. Oh well. “Grab a brew. Don't cost nothin’.”
Mashed potatoes and cheap lager
1214 Kincaid St.
After stopping to reflect on what was and no longer is, it’s time to turn around and head back to Alder Street. We’ll continue south, going past a row of little shops and eateries that continues as we turn left and head east on East 13th Avenue. Turning left onto Kincaid Street, it’s time for a classic. Right across the street from the eastern edge of the UO campus and located in the historic John Rennie house (built in the 1920s), Rennie’s Landing is a favorite watering hole. “We love our Ducks,” they say at Rennie’s, “but opponent’s fans are welcome too.” Fair enough. Also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sports of all kinds are showing on six TVs throughout the interior (and one more on the upper deck). Nine craft and specialty beers, two domestics and 2 Towns hard cider are pouring, but also check out the trademark Rennie’s Lemonade. Locally made art is sprinkled throughout the second floor, including sculptor David Thompson’s metalwork of a McKenzie River boatman, and paintings by George Von Der Linden (who also carved a signature whale over the fireplace). Over the front door hangs a large aerial photograph, taken in the 1930s, to help plan the site for what is now the Knight Library.
Breakfast and a Bloody Mary until 1 p.m.: ‘nuff said
Falling Sky Pizzeria & Public House
1395 University St., Room 46
Now we cross into campus itself, walking amidst the old brick and stone buildings and towering trees that give UO the world-apart feel unique to college campuses. Our final destination is at the heart of campus in the newly renovated Erb Memorial Union. The Pizzeria & Public House is Falling Sky’s third location (and part of why they expanded their downtown brewery). No stranger to local acclaim, Falling Sky recently was named one of the Best Microbreweries in The Register-Guard 2017 Readers’ Choice awards. Pouring 11 house and guest beers and ciders, Falling Sky offers a mix of seasonal, limited-release and flagship Northwest, Belgian-style, British-style, and German-style ales and lagers. Be sure to try Polar Melt Pale Ale, made with Glacier hops and a new yeast strain they’re experimenting with. This third location builds Falling Sky’s pizza menu that consists of house doughs, cured meats and produce that you’d find at the pizzeria’s sibling sites. Calzones, Italian sandwiches, soups, salads, bowls, wings and a kids menu are also available.
Vegan & Loving It: Roasted vegetables, spinach, squash, garlic, vegan white bean and red pepper sauce
The Reubenator: House-cured turkey pastrami, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing
Now that you’ve reached the end of our walking tour, you still have options. If you want to venture some more, you are still a stroll, bus, or cab ride away from other restaurants, sports bars and more. Want to keep your walk going strong? Head to the nearby Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System. A riverside walk and one footbridge can have you at Autzen Stadium in minutes.
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Have you ever wondered what “The Simpsons” and renowned counterculture author Ken Kesey have in common?
You’ll find both in downtown Springfield. However, while an unofficial “Moe's Tavern” is nearby, only Ken Kesey has a direct connection to local beer.
Old City Artists, with offices in both Studio City, Calif. and Portland, painted a 15-foot-by-30-foot mural of the long-running animated TV show in 2014. Old City has also worked with Nike, Disney and Madison Square Garden. Then, during four days in August 2015, Old City Artists returned to Springfield to paint a new mural — photorealistic and two stories tall — of Ken Kesey, the Merry Prankster of the 1960s, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion,” and graduate of Springfield High School (where he was voted “Most Likely to Succeed”). Kesey originally moved to Springfield in 1946 and lived much of his life just south of town in the rural community of Pleasant Hill. He died in 2001. The Kesey mural is on the wall of the Odd Fellows Building at 346 Main St., better known as Plank Town Brewing Company.
“The City of Springfield approached Plank Town with their idea to honor Ken Kesey,” says Bart Caridio, owner of Plank Town and Eugene-based Sam Bond’s Brewing, as well as the pubs Sam Bond’s Garage (Eugene) and the Axe & Fiddle (Cottage Grove). “The Odd Fellows were instrumental in agreeing to this idea, agreeing to have the mural on their building, and Plank Town just had to agree to have in on their business. It was a big fat ‘YES’ from both parties."
A panel of Springfield civic and business representatives, including Caridio and Kesey family members, put out a call for designs. The panel reviewed and selected the final design from eight submissions. Caridio recalls the design’s innovative incorporation of the wall’s windows and building elements as being key in the panel’s decision. The winning design was by Craig Ferroggiaro of Portland-based Willamette Valley Color, who has also created images for Swiss Army, Toyota and Apple. The $28,000 project cost was funded by Springfield hotel taxes.
Once selected, Old City Artists collaborated closely with the Kesey family to include memorabilia in the bookcase that is the primary part of the mural, such as the tie-dyed FURTHUR bus that Kesey and his fellow Merry Pranksters drove around the U.S. during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. In a video about the mural, Old City Artists described its “impossible idea” to tell Kesey’s story as a “father, farmer, magician, writer, athlete and counterculture icon,” focusing on imagery such as the bookshelf, a family photo and a concert ticket. “The mural is at once simple and complicated — just like Ken,” concludes Old City Artists. In addition to owner Erik Nicolaisen, Old City Artists members Christopher Slaymaker, Eduardo Garcia, and Patrick McGregor worked on the mural. The finished piece was unveiled and dedicated at a public celebration, also attended by Rep. Peter DeFazio, on Aug. 28, 2015.
Since its opening in 2013, Plank Town has become a cornerstone of downtown renewal in Springfield, once known more for strip joints and dive bars, and now increasingly known for craft beer, the performing arts and small businesses. Along with Hop Valley Brewing Co., Plank Town serves as a Springfield destination — particularly for folks working their way along the Eugene Ale Trail of breweries. The mural, Plank Town is finding, also gives people another reason to visit downtown Springfield and stop in for a pint.
“We all have noticed that there has been a pickup of tourism to check out the mural,” says Michelle Long of Plank Town. “It's pretty common now to look out the side window of the restaurant and see someone across the street taking pictures and staring at the building for quite a while to read and discover every part of the memorabilia in the bookcase. It's not uncommon to see people quite taken and going through a range of emotions while looking at the mural.”
Long sees the mural as enriching the Springfield art scene and enhancing the city’s growing reputation and new identity as a destination for art, culture, food, craft beverages and the outdoors. “Springfield has Second Friday Art Walks,” explains Long. “Adding another mural in the downtown area of this caliber is wonderful for getting people to notice what lovely things we have going on out here.”
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