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Epic food/beer/wine day

December 15, 2011

There are many reasons I love Eugene, and this Saturday had them all:  good food, good friends, good beer, good wine, more good food… not even any rain!  It’s been super cold and dry (knock on wood) around here, which makes for fantastic chilly WINTER days.

A group of us had bought coupon deals for Oakshire Brewing and LaVelle Vineyards and so we decided that the best time to use them was on the same day, right before the holidays (booze makes a good gift!).  First we fueled up with lunch at Café Yumm, a delicious local chain that makes rice bowls with a special Yumm Sauce.

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Our first stop was Oakshire Brewing, in Eugene along the railroads tracks in an industrial area.  We had all had their beers before at various bars around town, but had never been to the brewery.  I didn’t realize that they’re such a young company – founded in 2006!  They’ve been doing really well and look like they just keep expanding.  We took a quick tour of the premises and got to see the chickens, garden, and grain silo, plus all the fermenters for beer.

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Of course during and after the tour we tasted beers.  I started with a single batch brew that was aged in gin barrels – tasty!  I tried the Ill Tempered Gnome next for something seasonal, but didn’t love it (actually didn’t even finish it), so I ended with the special release Skookumchuck Wild Ale (in celebration of 100 years of EWEB and clean water).  That one was tasty enough to get a bottle to go.

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There’s a food cart in the parking lot at Oakshire that brought everyone in the tasting room a batch of fresh ( = hot) powdered donuts, which were delicious.  We’re definitely coming back here!

Next on the agenda was LaVelle Vineyards, out near Veneta.  We loved pretty much all TEN wines in the tasting (of course I didn’t like the sweet whites, but there were only a few of those).  The guy working there was doing a great job too – we got to compare two similar wines from different years side by side to see if we could taste the difference.  How fun!  Another place we’ll be back to, probably when the weather’s a little nicer so we can explore the grounds.

By this point it was getting dark and we thought it was time for dinner, so we drove back to Eugene and ate at one of my favorite Eugene restaurants, Belly.

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Belly is super tiny, but they’ll take your phone number and let you go hang out in the 5th street area until your table is ready.  We had a drink downstairs at the Granary, another awesome downtown spot.

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Dinner was amazing.  I got the pork belly (how can you resist the namesake of a restaurant?) over lentils.

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Yum!  The menu is all local foods and changes every month, so we make an effort to go once a month.

What a great day!

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