Best Oregon Brewpub: Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen
Three year old Falling Sky Brewing in Eugene’s 2nd location, Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen, raises the bar to become the best brewpub in Oregon. I don’t throw around the term “Best of” anything lightly, but I truly cannot think of another spot with the game of the Falling Sky Pour House. There are many factors into determining the best brewpub, with the top two obviously being beer and food; an excellent brewpub must do both exceptionally. While most brewpubs try to please a wider audience with American pub grub like burgers and pizza, Falling Sky has upped the ante with its 2nd location, offering a menu made up of all house baked, cured, smoked, fermented and brined food running the gamut from Jewish deli classics to American BBQ and Middle Eastern.
I stopped into Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen, opened in July of 2013, expecting more of a sports bar-esque vibe, based on my knowledge that the team had added liquor and bar games to this location. While the new spot does have those things, it is most certainly not a sports bar, or really pub-like at all. Instead, it has the vibe of a upscale diner, brightly lit with everything on display. There are lots of colors, communal beer hall-style seating, and a kitchen open to onlookers from outside the building.
In just a few years Falling Sky has really integrated itself into the community. For example, the Bike Here, Bike Share program that allows you to borrow a bike, a lock, and a helmet for up to 24 hours in exchange for simply sharing the program by posting and tagging a pic on social media.
Imagine a local diner–bright, pleasant, and warmly lit, with bicycle and vehicle parking and a locally sourced food menu where everything was made in house, from the smoked pastrami and brisket to the beers and even sodas like Maple Cream and Carrot Ginger, each terrific on its own but even better in a house cocktail.
The taplist is extensive: 15 Falling Sky beers on draft plus 4 wines, a mead, and 3 ciders. You gotta respect a brewery that puts out such a variety of special beers, never adhering to one particular style, and all from a 7-bbl system. I was there for brunch and really appreciated the 2 beers that come in under 4% abv and 8(!) under 5%. Even better, I’m are talking a range that includes lagers, an English-style bitter, an India session ale, and the ultimate breakfast beer, a 3% Coffee Table Beer.
If you’re lucky enough to get a nice day out, the Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen has a small but lovely wood framed patio with lots of green vegetation and views of the quiet neighborhood.
I would be crazy not to share some pictures of the food at Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen, because even though I might be a beer guy, I am always looking for the next great food and beer combo. On this challenge Falling Sky delivers in spades…
Not every brewpub has to fill every nook and cranny of its menu with grilled and fried food like burgers and fries, or greasy pizzas. How about some deli-style cured meats and fresh and pickled veggies? How about a menu that gives equal play to vegetarian and vegan options, as well as hand cut slices of meat? The Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen menu takes equal influence from BBQ, Middle Eastern, and Jewish items, and does them all well without committing entirely to any of them. We started our meal off with a refreshingly crisp pickle plate that featured pickled onions, cucumbers, and green beans, along with crispy and spicy curry cauliflower and heirloom carrots, for only $5! Perhaps you want something warmer and richer, but still light and fluffy and meat free? How about the perfectly crispy Summer Squash Latkes with saffron creme fraiche and brown ale apple sauce for just $6.
My companion opted for a more balanced meal and finished solid with another veggie option–Golden Beet Borsch topped with creme fraiche. Although already full on a delicious Bloody Mary, pickle plate and stolen bites of latkes, I could not refuse a beef brisket pastrami sandwich with a side of potato salad for $13.
The Falling Sky Pour House menu is full of delicious-sounding items, I wish my time in Eugene was longer, but my must-try list for next time includes the many varieties of house cured pastrami sandwiches. In addition to the Beef Brisket Pastrami I tried, there is also the Pulled Lamb Pastrami, Duck Breast Pastrami, and, of course, Corned Beef. Bubbe’s Chicken & Latkes is a smoked then fried quarter chicken with summer latkes, fried kale, apple sauce, and roasted baby carrots for $14. A BBQ Brisket Platter includes all the fixins with cole slaw, baked beans, and a spent grain roll for $15. Mix it up a bit with the Lamb Matzoroccan Bowl of moroccan spiced ground lamb, zucchini, kale and spiced couscous, even a Ragout or Favalafel Fritters.
Vegetarians can go for a house smoked portobello Reuben, or the housemade Whitaburger with a barley-veggie patty, kale, hummus, fried chickpeas, and a cucumber salad.
Of course, you’re going to need to wash down this hearty pub grub with a brew of some kind, and I chose the refreshingly crisp Maris Lager that was light but full bodied. The 3% ABV Coffee Table Beer and Hey Hay ISA were also calling my name. Hopheads and traditional English beer buffs would also not be disappointed by the large rotating taplist.
Sure Oregon has some great brewpubs like Double Mountain, Burnside, and Laurelwood, but I haven’t found the variety of food and drink brought to the same level of excellence and inviting atmosphere to boot.
FALLING SKY POUR HOUSE & DELICATESSEN
790 Blair Blvd, Eugene, OR 97402
Thursday- Saturday 11am-1am
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com