Better Than Your Average Brew Pub: Falling Sky Brewing (Eugene, OR)


Craft breweries are springing up almost everywhere. The Pacific Northwest has seen its mini-explosion start business only within the last decade. It’s fun when the beer is served in a pub setting, even more so when there are noshes, too. Most of these places are content to sell burgers, fries and pizza, maybe chicken wings. It’s the rare pub that aspires to something more and succeed at it. Better still that its ingredients are sourced locally and has vegetarian and gluten-free options. Enter Falling Sky Brewing and Gastropub in 2011, which has received numerous commendations and a loyal following. In 2013, Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen opened with even a larger food menu and questions began to be raised if this could be the best brewpub in all of Oregon, which could tweak Portlanders. Zounds, they even do their own baking, smoking, curing, brining and fermenting.

Copper brewing equipment

Copper brewing equipment

Order counter

Order counter

Finding the place can be a bit tricky, located as it is in an alleyway. The tavern is spacious with communal beer hall tables from which can be seen their huge copper brewing equipment through large glass windows. The current beer list is printed on a blackboard, as are the specials and wine list. Their standard menu is also handed out before you order.

Flight of four beers

Flight of four beers

The list of house beers is impressive, covering the gamut of styles, from lagers to IPAs. And, if you have specific preferences about your beer but know nothing about Falling Sky’s offerings, a convenient system of classifying their beers is provided: alcohol percentage (ABV) and bitterness (IBU), which can sort of tell you what to expect. (Falling Sky also supplies a beer’s original gravity, or OG, number.) I had a four-beer flight: Ready to Mingle Belgian Single (4.6% ABV, 19 IBU), Morning After Pils (5.0% ABV, 25 IBU), Dr. Optic Standard Bitter (3.6% ABV, 28 IBU) and Mash Transit Ale (5.8% ABV, 40 IBU), all of which were pretty nice.

As I mentioned, the food menu is taken very seriously. Going through it gives an indication of how serious. For example, appetizers include roasted brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and pretzel sticks. The chicken wings are thankfully not buffaloed but coated in za’atar and honey. One of their favorites is poutine, that Canadian snack of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Falling Sky’s gravy is made from mushrooms. Their sandwiches include two vegetarian ones (one of them a burger), a lamb burger and a burger made from grass-fed local beef and served (hallelujah!) medium-rare, which can only be possible when the quality, safety and provenance of the meat can be verified. It would normally be VERY tempting.

Moules frites

Moules frite

But, we weren’t particularly hungry, so we settled for a shared house salad and moules frites, one of tonight’s specials. The salad with lemon-tahini dressing and Belgian-style hand-cut fries were very fine, but the mussels were outstanding (☆☆☆☆). The mollusks were perfectly cooked, meaty and succulent, bathed in a cream sauce with leeks and star anise. No spoon was provided, so both my wife and I polished off the broth with empty mussel shells. It’s tragic that this is not on the regular menu.

Falling Sky’s motto is LET IT POUR, which (aside from being a clever phrase) has significant meaning in this Land of the Ducks. When it rains, a discount is applied to your beer, which happens often.

Count me in for return visits whenever I’m back in town.

Falling Sky Brewing and Gastropub
1334 Oak Alley
Eugene, OR 97401
541.505.7096

Late Lunch at Harmon Brewery (Tacoma, WA)


After the high-calorie dim sum meal at Jade Garden this morning, we weren’t very hungry even in mid-afternoon. We walked up and down Pacific Avenue during a respite from the Washington State History Museum to find a place to have a quick bite. Nothing appealed to us until we came across Harmon Brewery that was about to offer happy hour in just a few minutes (3pm).

IMG_4403

The happy hour menu advertised all Harmon beers and house wines for $3 and a range of nibbles from salads, nachos, sandwiches and more.

The brewery crafts several styles of beer, including the Expedition Amber Ale that I ordered. It was hoppy, smooth and amber-colored, a pretty good brewski.

We split a Caesar salad and, get this, BONELESS chicken wings. The salad was serviceable (☆☆½), not particularly memorable. Recently, my wife read or overheard somewhere that young adults nowadays don’t like handling chicken wing bones. Really? Heaven knows, there are plenty of young adults at UW Tacoma next door. This no doubt was the impetus for inventing this hybrid thing called boneless chicken wings. The “wings” were actually something akin to chicken tenders made into wing shapes, battered and fried. Chicken skin, which may be another reason why some people may shun them, was nowhere in sight or bite. But the batter was generous and, to the restaurant’s credit, quite crunchy. The buffalo wings we ordered were nicely slathered with, not Tabasco, but probably the milder Frank’s hot sauce. When all was said and done, whatever-you-want-to-call them were pretty good (☆☆☆) if you don’t think of them as real wings. I was pleasantly surprised.

Caesar salad

Caesar salad

Boneless buffalo chicken wings

Boneless buffalo chicken wings

Harmon Brewery
1938 Pacific Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98402
253.383.2739