On a farmland estate only 18 minutes outside of Eugene, one of the more beautiful and underrecognized farmhouse breweries in the state has made itself a destination. Agrarian Ales sells most of its beer in the Eugene area, but kegs pop-up frequently at places like Saraveza, where beer geeks and farmhouse lovers seek out the farmhouse ales made of almost exclusively ingredients grown on the farm’s grounds. Though I had heard tale of the greatness of the Agrarian Ales tasting room at the farm that is only open weekends, it was not until recently that I had a chance to visit.
In an old barnhouse that has been built out and modernized, Agrarian Ales brews and operates a small kitchen and pizza oven using fresh ingredients. A handful of picnic tables over an awning covered with hops outside the brewery provides shade for adults and families. A view to neighboring hop fields and farms in the distance.
Walk up and around the side of the building and you will find a summertime campground-style oasis of a soccer-sized field of scattered picnic tables and outdoor games. There is so much room you can have a secluded game of cornhole to yourselves while your kids are across the field in a kids climbing structure; meanwhile, someone else is flying a kite or hanging out in the gazebo.
Through an open backdoor garage you can order food from the kitchen, most of which uses the vegetables, herbs, and spices grown right behind the building. Patches of bamboo grow out of various spots in the grass adding extra decor and shade, but this field is such a popular hangout I saw people coming with their own pop-up tents on a 90 degree day. Agrarian Ales has set up a big water mister you can walk through and kiddie pools you can cool your feet in while the kids play. It’s no surprise that couples, groups of friends, and families will come to Agrarian and spend all day there. There are even sometimes campouts, such as the annual Hop Harvest party where anyone can spend the day helping the brewers harvest the fresh hops for a free meal and beer, with many camping over night and sharing beers and stories over a bonfire with the staff.
Agrarian Ales brews primarily farmhouse ales, and while initial beers were quite hoppy, the latest beers have trended more towards using all ingredients found on the farm. There is an ongoing chili pepper beer series that has been very interesting, highlighting peppers we don’t see in beers often like roasted anchos and banana peppers in saisons and hefeweizens; on my recent visit it was house smoked chipotle peppers in an oatmeal porter. There are hopless gruits, tart fresh blueberry beers, malty altbiers, and herbal wheat beers.
Agrarian is even thinking about selling its house-pickled peppers, like the pepperoncini on the housemade pizza or the banana peppers that are in the Hot Banana Hef, possibly along with the tomato sauce on the pizza. While you’re there, inquire about the limited edition bottles that are rare and hard to find, like the “Akane Saison” brewed with fresh pressed, unpasteurized wild cider from the neighbors’ orchard and then aged in a used Pinot Noir barrel to ferment with additional yeast. Only 411 bottles were made, but some were still available on my recent visit
Now Agrarian Ales is focusing on the 2015 Hop Harvest Festival on the weekend of August 28-30th at the farm. The public is invited to come experience the harvest and join in the fun. From noon to 9pm each day the community supporters and friends help harvest the year’s bounty while the brewery provides live music, food, and brews.
Agrarian pub manager Todd Perlmeter says about the Hop Harvest Fest: “This year we have a new Marzen Fest Bier being released, along with a few other fun brews such as Clairvoyance Tart Wheat and everyone’s favorite summer chili beer, Hot Banana Hefe, a German style hefeweizen with banana peppers grown here on the farm.”
Agrarian Ales Tasting Room Hours
Friday & Saturday 3-8pm
31115 Crossroads Ln W.
Eugene, OR 97408