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Drink Around Track Town 

Three beer-centric walking tours of Eugene

Clockwise: Ninkasi Brewing Company, ColdFire Brewing and Hop Valley Brewing Co. Photos by Kevin Gifford.

Clockwise: Ninkasi Brewing Company, ColdFire Brewing and Hop Valley Brewing Co. Photos by Kevin Gifford.

The Bier Stein, located off Willamette Street about a mile from the U of O campus in Eugene, is a veritable shrine to good beer. Originally opened in somewhat cramped quarters in 2005, the bar/restaurant/bottle shop moved to much larger digs three years ago, expanding to offer thousands of bottles and some of the best beer you can get along the I-5 corridor - including a lot of stuff unavailable in Bend, such as the wheaty Oberon ale from Bell's in Michigan.

Neighborhood Beer Stroll

The Beer Stein is ground zero for Eugene's beer scene, which is impressively large, filled with both old mainstays and a litany of places that just opened up within the last year or so. Walk a couple blocks north from The Bier Stein to find the Falling Sky brewhouse, a place where the décor is no-frills but the food and drink isn't. Great sandwiches with local ingredients are the name of the game, punctuated by relatively chill ales like the Bare Hands bitter. (Their beer occasionally shows up at Broken Top Bottle Shop in Bend.) Just a few blocks from there, meanwhile, is 16 Tons Taphouse & Bottleshop, a cozy place that is home to a well-curated bottle list and 18 off-beat taps, including Sunriver's Blueberry Pancake fruit beer.

West Side Walk

The compact nature of Eugene's west side makes it great for brewery walking tours. Want to hit the big guys? Travel to the Whiteaker neighborhood, home to Ninkasi, Hop Valley, and Oakshire Brewing, all mainstays in Oregon's craft brewing scene. Hardcore beerheads might be a bit disappointed that the Ninkasi pub doesn't offer much that can't be found in other bars and shops, but the brewery features a lot of scenic outdoor/concert space, making it ideal for people-watching and time-wasting. The same can be said of Oakshire's Public House, a wide-open warehouse-type facility with 13 taps and a new beer tapped every Tuesday at 6pm.

River Stumble

But let's not forget about the new guys. For that, travel closer to the river, where ColdFire Brewing - Eugene's newest - is putting out some really astounding beer, from IPA and stout mainstays to an impressive variety of Berliner weisse and other tart varieties. Then walk south to Sam Bond's Brewing, in an enormous ex-foundry building that oozes with atmosphere, before wrapping up the evening at Elk Horn Brewery for smoked meats, pleasant ales, and (for the adventurous) Nutella-flavored stout and an extensive whiskey list. In the midst of all this, be sure to stumble into the Tap & Growler, featuring 81 taps of beer, wine, kombucha, and cold-press espresso, all to-go.


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