by Anthony St. Clair
As part of the kickoff for Eugene Beer Week and a new way to experience craft beer in Lane County, the Eugene Ale Trail launches Mon., June 2, 5-8 p.m., at the 16 Tons Café. Local breweries will be giving tastings of what people can expect to find on the Eugene Ale Trail.
The Eugene Ale Trail includes 10 Lane County breweries: Ninkasi, Oakshire, Falling Sky, Hop Valley, Claim 52, McMenamins, Steelhead, Agrarian, Track Town Brewery/Rogue, and the Brewers Union Local 180 (participants must be Travel Lane County members in order to be on the Eugene Ale Trail). Beginning June 2 at 8 p.m., the public can download a Eugene Ale Trail Passport from EugeneAleTrail.org or pick one up at participating breweries.
“We were inspired by other ale trails around the state and country,” says Molly Blancett, Public Relations and Social Media Manager for Travel Lane County. “We want to be a top craft beer destination, and this is our way of supporting that effort.”
In addition to working with a University of Oregon Ad Campaigns summer class, for over a year Travel Lane County collaborated with members of the Lane County brewing community to develop the Eugene Ale Trail. “We consulted with the breweries on nearly every aspect of the Eugene Ale Trail,” says Blancett, “from the name to the logo to the design to the map.”
One side of the Eugene Ale Trail passport is an easily navigable map with a list of participating breweries, their locations, and hours of operation. A panel lists where an Ale Trail traveler can fill growlers, such as at The Bier Stein, First National Taphouse, Growler Nation, The Tap & Growler, and 16 Tons’ two locations.
The other side of the passport includes details of how the Eugene Ale Trail works, how to redeem the passport for a prize, and alternative transportation options such as taxis and buses. There are also suggestions for other trip ideas, such as Hikes & Bikes, Wine & Dine, and Live Music.
Visitors present a passport at the breweries and receive a stamp or sticker. For breweries with multiple locations, only one site is required. Once a visitor has stamps from at least seven Eugene-area breweries, they can receive a free 16-oz. amber growler. For also visiting Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge, in addition to having stamps from at least seven Eugene breweries, visitors can receive a stainless steel pint cup (while supplies last). “The Brewers Union is surrounded by epic mountain bike trails, waterfalls, and unbelievable hikes,” says Blancett. “It’s more than worth the drive.”
Eugene Ale Trail prizes can be redeemed in person at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center in Springfield, or by mail (must include $5 for shipping).
“Travel Lane County developed the Eugene Ale Trail to give visitors an easy way to explore Eugene’s growing craft beer scene,” says Blancett. “Our breweries have an incredible product, and we want to help show that off. The Eugene Ale Trail gives us a better way of showing people how to find craft beer in Lane County.”
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