Corvallis's Beer Offerings are Beckoning

We offer a pint-by-pint itinerary for exploring the booming breweries of Benton County's coolest college town.

By Kristin Griffin September 2, 2014 Published in the September 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

This oft-forgotten college town, located amid the spectacular greenery of Benton County, runneth over with beery obsession. Students study brewing science. Librarians build brewing archives. On the drive from Portland, you might see new hop varieties growing, Jack and the Beanstalk style, in the fertile midvalley soil. The beloved Cascade hop was born there. In recent years, the town’s brewery count has exploded—and this month, as their ranks grow, breweries join forces to celebrate the foaming bounty with Corvallis Beer Week, followed by the seventh annual Septembeerfest. It’s time you pop down for a tour!

10:30 a.m. Drop in to Les Caves, a Belgian-inspired tavern, for a beer-spiked brunch of waffles with ale syrup and pilsner with OJ. 

NOON Preempt your food coma with a bike ride to Oregon State University’s tree-filled grounds and pick up Campus Way. Keep your eyes peeled for Wiegland Hall, home to the Fermentation Sciences Program and its state-of-the-art research brewery. Soon, you’ll bike right through the middle of a covered bridge and catch knockout views of the Coast Range. 

2 p.m. It’s time for a beer. If it’s Septembeerfest, head for the Benton County Fairgrounds, where local breweries will be pouring their latest brews. Don’t miss newcomer Mazama Brewing and its standout Belgians, or whatever creative concoction the adventurous Block 15 might have on tap. Need a break from beer? Look for 2 Towns Ciderhouse, a craft cidery with unique flavors like marionberry and ginger. 

7 p.m. Escape the festival crowd for dinner at FireWorks, a friendly spot with an adobe pizza oven that would fit in on the set of an Indiana Jones movie. Expect fresh, local ingredients prepared with love from this 12-year-old Corvallis institution. 

9:30 p.m. For something sweet, try Francesco’s Gelato. Any one of the late-summer harvest flavors—blackberry lemonade, honey lavender—makes a fine palate cleanser for the next beer. You didn’t think you were done, did you? 

10 p.m. Got a designated driver? Cap off the day with a pint of June Bug wheat on the spectacular roof deck at Sky High Brewing, where you can watch the sky fill up with stars. 

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