Putting Its Money Where Its Beer Is: Standing Stone Brewing Goes For 100% Sustainability
A lineup of eight brews—three seasonal and five year-round—are brewed on-sight, to headline a local/organic menu and operations plan that puts its money where it mouth is. Not just local ingredient sourcing, but increasingly local ingredient production, at the One Mile Farm just outside town; not just benefits and progressive training to develop a loyal, informed and enthusiastic staff, but an employee-commuter program that allows staff to earn free bikes; not just eco-friendly and sustainable management ideals, but a progressive ‘no-waste’ agenda dedicated to eliminating waste, inclusive of kitchen-scrap composting at the farm, recycling and reuse—such is the commitment at Standing Stone.
The airy, high ceiling and warehouse feel of the bar and dining rooms, the cheerful energetic waitstaff, and fabulous aromas and flavors, promptly eliminate any suggestion of “green washing” in the casual, easy-going atmosphere; this is the real deal and commitment. The hearty Northwest comfort menu is highlighted with daily specials that include One Mile Farm rib-eyes, halibut burgers, rockfish or steelhead tacos, several local poultry creations, all embellished with a diverse array of local grains, veggies and seasonings. But center stage is reserved, of course, for the brews.
My recommendation: The eight-brew tasting, with accompanying food pairings, which proceeds from light to dark, simple to complex, mild to robust. Not that anything is simple—the seasonal Commuter Gold Ale refreshes light-as-a-lager, with a light-ale spicy herbiness. Milk and Honey Ale adds lactose to honey malt, producing a striking creaminess and hint of sweet amidst the fuller body and color.
Much darker, but still light on the palate, is Steel Cut Stout uses oats to preserve tasty smoothness while allowing the complexity of deep roasted malt to mature in notes of coffee and cocoa; um, exceptional!
Backing off the deep color theme while stepping up the hops, I “heart” Oregon Ale steeps all Oregon barley and hops for a classic unfiltered pale—crisp and citrusy. The seasonal Request IPA boosts the hops a notch, along with ABV, while retaining a dry, fruity tang without bitterness, and Cascadian Dark Ale “Hop Night” reaches 70 IBU, highest of all in the lineup, and though an aftertaste of bitter lingers, hop-assault again is avoided as heavily roasted malts soften.