When one thinks of Oregon beer, they usually think of Portland. However, located just two hours south of Portland is the small college town of Eugene. Mostly known as home to the University of Oregon Ducks and many famous Willamette Valley wineries, Eugene is also home to the Eugene Ale Trail.
Today, the Eugene Ale Trail has over 14 breweries located throughout the city and the surrounding area. Some of the breweries on the ale trail include craft beer veterans such as Ninkasi. Then there are new comers, such as Cold Fire. But, whatever your craft beer preferences are, there is certainly something for everyone!
My guide to the Eugene Ale Trail covers 3 days of beer tasting at all of the breweries on the Ale Trail. I’ve grouped the breweries based on location to minimize travel time between breweries and ensure maximum time for beer tasting.
1. Viking Braggot– This brewery is one of my favorites in all of Eugene and it’s the one located closest to the airport. It specializes in braggot, which is mead made with honey. You can even taste the honey in all the braggots
2. Claim 52-To be honest, this is actually the only Eugene brewery I have yet to visit, but I am determined to visit before I graduate! Claim 52 has to locations, one near Viking Braggot and one in the town over in Springfield.
3. Falling Sky– Falling Sky actually has three location, two in town and one on the University of Oregon campus. They make a variety of beers and also have a great pub menu
4. McMenamins– This brewery also has three locations. My favorite McMenamins location is the one off High Street and my favorite thing to do is have some of their beers and munch on their spicy cajun tater tots (which happen to be $2 during happy hour!)
5. Ninkasi– The most famous brewery in Eugene, Ninkasi has made headlines with their beers, such as the Tricerahops. If you’re into hoppy beers, this place is for you
6. Oakshire– Another one of my favorite Eugene breweries, Oakshire is a small batch brewery that makes a variety of styles. My personal favorite? Their cucumber berliner weisse
7. Hop Valley– With a large tap list, there is sure to be something for everyone. But make sure to grab a pint or flight and enjoy your beer by their amazing outdoor fire pits
8. Steelhead/McKenzie River-What I love about this brewery is that the brewery has a full restaurant and it’s located right on the famous 5th Street. You can eat and drink at the brewery and then walk along 5th street and do some shopping
9. Coldfire– One of the newest players on the Eugene Ale Trail, Coldfire has been taking the Eugene craft beer scene by storm. I am obsessed with everything they put out and this place should not be missed
10. Agrarian– Agrarian is actually located 30 minutes outside of downtown Eugene, but its ambiance makes up for the long drive. In addition to being a brewery, Agrarian Ales is also a hop farm and it uses the hops it grows in their beer. So grab a beer and enjoy it outside amongst the hops plants.
11. Plank Town– This brewery is actually located in the neighboring town of Springfield. Stop by and enjoy some of their handcrafted beers and take in the views of historic Springfield
12. Elk Horn– This brewery probably has the largest tap list out of all the Eugene Ale Trail breweries. I highly recommend trying any of their ciders or the Nutella Stout
13. Sam Bond’s– This place also has two locations and in addition to serving great beer, Sam Bond’s also serves up some great local music. Stop by to have a pint and hear some live music
Alesong– Alesong recently opened its doors and although it’s not technically on the official Eugene Ale Trail just yet, it is still in Eugene so I’m counting it. However, Alesong currently does not have a taproom. But not to fear, you can find their beer at various beer bars located around town, at their occasional dock sales or you can purchase some of their bottled beer through their mailing list
Wildcraft Cider Works– Although not technically a brewery, this cidery is one of my favorite places to grab a drink in Eugene. They specialize is making some unique and delicious ciders, such as rose, plum, persimmon and lilac flavored ciders and you seriously should’t miss this place