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Hop On This Downtown Beer Trail

This article originally appeared in the Visit Corvallis website

By Dan Shryock

It’s been an active day. A cold craft beer and some good food are now in order. But where in downtown Corvallis can one find a variety of beer styles to suit different tastes all under one roof?

There actually are five breweries that deliver unique craft beers and food to go with it and they all are within a four-block radius.

We set out on a recent  Saturday afternoon to tour Corvallis’ unofficial downtown beer trail. Here’s what we found:

Climb the stairs or take the elevator at Sky High Brewing (160 NW Jackson Ave.) near Riverfront Park. And you’ll find a family dining area, the large bar and the rooftop patio for fair weather days. The large chalkboard near the bar lists a variety of styles ranging from Kolsch to ale and stout. And, like most every Oregon brewery, there are a few  IPAs from which to choose. Freewheel IPS, the flagship beer, is almost always on tap, the bartender says.

Sky High takes pride in being authentic Oregonians. Hops used in the brewing process come from Woodburn, the yeast from Hood River. The brewing system was made in Canby and the cargo bicycle they use to deliver kegs in town was made in Eugene. The pub and brewery itself? “Owned and operated by real Beavers,” they say.

Exit Sky High and turn south on SW 1st Street. Two blocks later you’ll be standing in front of Flat Tail Brewery (202 SW 1st St.) at the corner of 1st Street and Madison Avenue. At first glance, you might think this is only a restaurant. Walk through the dining area and find a small bar in the back with an extensive beer list. They group their choices under different headings: Lighter Side, Dark and Malty (my favorites), Hoppy, Funky and Soar, and Experimentals. There should be something there for everyone.

Brewmaster and co-owner Dave Marliave got his professional start at Orgon Trail Brewery and draws on his mom’s passion for home brewing as he creates award-winning beverages.

Three blocks from Flat Tail is the Oregon Trail Brewery (341 SW 2nd St.) but don’t be confused by the sign over the door. The brewery is located inside the Old World Deli and its beers are featured on the deli menu. Oregon Trail Brewery began making beer in 1987 and, like the deli, remains a local institution. The short selection of beers has been polished with decades of experience. There’s an unfiltered WIT, a brown ale, an IPA, a Bourbon Barrel Porter and more. Try the Smoke Signal, a German-style Rauchbier.

Block 15 (300 SW Jefferson Ave.) started brewing downtown before moving to a larger facility across town. The original brewery is still in operation for small batches but the corner of Jefferson and 4th is now better known as one of downtown’s most popular restaurants. Walk in and see the display board announcing the day’s beer selections. There were 15 choices on this day dominated by seven different IPAs.

The folks at Block 15 practice sustainability in its brewing process and uses regional organic grains whenever they can. If there’s fruit in your beer, you can expect it was grown within four miles of town.

McMenamins Corvallis pub (420 NW 3rd St.) has been a downtown mainstay for decades. The longtime McMenamins classic beers, including  Hammerhead and Ruby Ale, are locally brewed at the company’s Monroe Avenue brewery a mile away and served along with a changing list of daily beer offerings and a food menu inside the English-style pub.

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