Steelhead Brewing, Eugene, Oregon

Just over a week ago we made a quick but infrequent trip over to Eugene for the relative luxury of trip actually devoted to beer: the goal was to visit the Bier Stein (on friends’ recommendation; more on that soon), but they don’t open until 2pm on Sundays so we found ourselves with time for lunch. Since this was ostensibly a beer trip, we stopped in at Steelhead Brewing Company for lunch and brews.

My review of Steelhead from three years ago is still valid; service was good and the food was excellent. (One of the best pizzas my wife has ever had, she says. My BBQ pork sandwich was very good, with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce.) The brewpub has the same decor and atmosphere as before, though this time we sat outside in what looked to be a converted garage space, adjacent to the restaurant. It was quite pleasant—moreso that sitting in the direct sun (it was one of the hot days we’ve been having lately).

On the basis of the restaurant alone I’d recommend Steelhead to anybody looking for a good meal in Eugene. But of course, it’s also about the beer, so I ordered up a sampler tray and took notes on what I tried.

Steelhead Brewing sampler tray

My notes, in order of what I drank:

  • Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen: Cloudy American hef, very light and crisp and toasty mild. [Upper left, with the lemon wedge]
  • Barracuda Blonde: very light and fizzy; a straw-grassy bitterness, but it’s very clean. Gassy. [Top row center]
  • Seasonal: Raspberry Ale: Kind of brown-yellow. Smells like fresh raspberries; tastes like it too though it’s light and earthy. Not strongly “berry”. [Bottom row center]
  • Raging Rhino Red: Malty with a nice hop bite. Toffee and maybe a hint of molasses. [Top row right]
  • Bombay Bomber IPA: Mellow IPA with soft floral notes and very pleasant—I wouldn’t say “intense” like the description but it’s nice. [Bottom row left]
  • Dublin Dry Stout: Roasty, dry, complements the spicy pork sandwich well. Coffee—it’s definitely an Irish stout in style, but really reminds me of coffee. [Bottom right]

Four of these were the same beers I’d sampled last time; now, three years later, it’s interesting to compare. Also, note the way they handle samplers now: the four house brews, plus the Stout or Porter they have on tap (whatever it might be), plus one seasonal of your choosing.

End result: great lunch, good beers, great experience. Eugene may not be the beer mecca that Portland is, but Steelhead delivers.