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Sustainable Suds: Standing Stone Brews What It Preaches

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standing2Standing Stone cares about sustainability. In case we doubted that sentiment, on a recent visit, right away the server begins to lecture us (in a pleasant way) that the wheat for the beer is grown locally, and the hops, of course, as well.

“I’m not really sure where the hops come from, near here, Oregon definitively,” she tells us, “but I’ll find out for you.”

A fact sheet about their sustainability practices shows that their commitment is more extensive than simply sourcing locally-grown ingredients (which, after all, isn’t so hard with hops): 75 percent of employees bike, walk or carpool to work. Their to-go boxes are plant-based products. They even generate some of their own electricity right on site. Oh, right, and a year or so ago, they even started their own farm, with all their beef coming from cows on the Standing Stone Farm. They are creating their own self-sustaining micro-environment.

The venue itself is welcoming: Located in downtown Ashland, the front room is fairly typical—high ceilings and a bustling crowd on most evenings. The real charm is the back patio, perfect for autumn evenings. It feels removed and quiet from downtown, with tables there are spaced comfortably for a certain sense of privacy, all while being out in the open. The view catches the crown of downtown and looks into the hills; a great vantage point with the leaves turning color. Stylish translucent panels that raise to block sun, or drop to allow the view, depending on the time of day.

Oh right, and the beer itself? The standards are good—the stout is smoky, but only slightly so, and the IPA on tap that evening had a slight (and pleasant) bitter sting. A Milk & Honey Ale is one of their more unique brews—cooper complexion and creamy—and they rotate regularly with seasonal and inspired beers, some typical (and tasty) IPAs, others more inventive, like blackberry ales and a current Lavendeula Saison, a solid farmhouse ale that with gentle floral undertows.

Yes, sustainable. Which is good: We’d like to see them stick out forever and ever.


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