Steelhead Brewing Company

Steelhead Brewery neon signWe took a day trip over to Eugene today, and had lunch downtown at the Steelhead Brewing Company. I actually had the foresight for once to bring a notebook and pen so I could take notes as I went! Seems like that should be a no-brainer, I know, but I learn eventually. :)

The brewery is located right on the corner of 5th and Pearl in downtown, really a prime spot. They offer some outdoor seating, but all the tables were occupied when we got there. Inside, the space is large and nice, combining an industrial look (open pipes along the ceiling, corrugated sheet metal trimming the bottom of walls in the back) with brick and dark wood. There is seating at the bar (of course), tables, booths, taller tables and stools, and even high-backed wing chairs at a few of the tables—nice. There’s a red antique English phone booth in the front and fairly typical brewpub decor around.

Service was prompt. I ordered the beer sampler (five beers, four ounces each, for $5.25), my wife ordered a local white wine, and one of the kids ordered the homemade root beer (which was rather tasty). I’ll cover the beer in a minute…

The food was really quite good. I had the fish tacos, my wife had the shredded barbecue pork sandwich with onion rings, the kids had pizza bread and fish and chips. Everyone agreed it was a really good lunch. Even so, we skipped dessert, though it sounded tempting: brewery brownie, mud pie or root beer float.

And, the beers. The sampler I had consisted of: Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen, Barracuda Blonde, Raging Rhino Red, Bombay Bomber IPA, and a seasonal, White Dog Pale Ale. The short version: they were decent, but nothing that really stood out to me.

The longer version: I’ll just transcribe my notes (the order that I drank them).

Barracuda Blonde: Grainy, corn-y. Wheat character. Dark straw in color, and clear. A little bitter, due to the hops… it’s a little distracting, actually, the bitterness offsets the crispness I’d expect here. Mouthfeel is thin, effervescent.

Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen: Cloudy, the color of a yeasty wheat ale, served with a slice of lemon. It’s a Pacific Northwest style of hefeweizen, the Widmer style, though this has kind of a neutral character. Bitter? Slight yeast flavor. Okay, but not great.

White Dog: Described as an American Pale Ale—that is to say, like a regular pale ale but highly hopped. It’s clear and copper colored. And hoppy! The hops are resiny and strong, but without any characteristic greenness or fruitiness or citrus character. They kind of drown out the malt bill, though what I can tell of the malt is kind of neutral, plain. The body is on the thin side of medium.

Raging Rhino Red: This is hoppy, but much less so than the White Dog. Nice deep red amber color. There’s a malt bite—the black patent malt at play (giving it the red color)… it’s kind of a tangy character. Easy drinking. Malty, but mild. Medium-bodied. I’d order this again.

Bombay Bomber IPA: Good; malty, hoppy. It’s little thin for an IPA, but I like the overall character. Not sure of the strength behind it. But a pretty good sample of an India pale ale, one I’d order again.

So, overall: decent (though largely average) beer; excellent food; nice atmosphere (sitting outside would be nice, I think). Definitely worth a visit when you’re in Eugene.

Bonus link: photos of the brewery.

Steelhead Brewing Company
199 East 5th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 686-2739

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