We visited Eugene this weekend and managed to stay right in downtown for not much money- we can definitely recommend the Travelodge as a great value. From there, we were able to walk to almost a dozen breweries and cideries. Here are the standouts and the mediocre ones we encountered.
Top Pick: ColdFire Brewing Company.
We literally could not believe how good the beer was here. The Oktoberfest was amazing- perfectly to style and delicious. Their coffee imperial stout was also perfect- not too much of anything, and even Susan loved it and she can rarely stand imperial stouts. Everything we had was flawless and delicious. It was also quiet and cozy.
McMenamins. We visited three of these and they were all very nice. Each of them had a fireplace and a slightly different draft list. We’ve always liked McMenamins and this experience reinforced that.
Elk Horn Brewery. Quite a wide selection and good food. The beer was fairly well done, although the hefeweizen was more like an American wheat. It was a little chaotic at dinner time, but at happy hour it was perfectly civilized.
WildCraft Cider Works. Do you like dry cider? If so, this is a great match. A wide range of delicious ciders. I wish the elderflower cider had more elderflower flavor. In fact all of their flavors were fairly subtle, which may be good or may be bad, depending on your preference.
Steelhead Brewery. A nice British-style brewpub. A good selection and all of their beer was nicely to style. Cozy and decent food.
Ninkasi Brewing. I know a lot of people love them, and those people must be hop lovers. Reminded me of Terrapin in the old days- just throw more hops in seems to be their motto. This is the second time we’ve visited the brewery and we also went to a pub with a tap takeover and we have been consistently unimpressed.
Hop Valley Brewing Co. This was just fine but not remarkable.
Sam Bond’s Brewing. Man, screw these guys. They were closed Friday and Saturday nights for private parties with no notification on the website.
Falling Sky Brewing House. The beer was just fine and it was very crowded and not comfy.
We were overall very impressed with Eugene as an alcohol tourism destination. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to any of the distilleries or wineries- there were just too many places to go! The small airport makes access to the city easy and it is highly walkable and relatively inexpensive. If you have the chance, we would recommend a visit! Do you have experience with Eugene? Please share it in the comments!